The Prospect of Summer

April 30, 2008
By Erik Reusink, Arvada, CO

It was May 31, and summer was finally commencing. I opened my locker, and grabbed the year’s accumulation of homework, notes, and candy wrappers in both hands and scrunched them up, unceremoniously throwing hours and hours of work into the trash. There was something cleansing though - throwing the year away, a clean slate for a new grade. I kicked open the big, green, industrial sized door harder then necessary and hustled over to the bus. Gobs of kids were in it already, hurried by the prospect of grabbing their swimsuits and going swimming. I planned to do just the same.
The only empty spots were at the end of the bus. I plopped down on one of the worn leather seats. Scratched in names and small burns adorned it. I penciled my initials into the leather, feeling obligated to scratch a little bit of myself into the bus. The whole mood of the bus was changed; usually sullen and quiet, people were now laughing and smiling. I engaged in a conversation with a boy next to me. With an obvious sense of pride, he bragged about how “he was going to Vegas!!!”. I couldn’t contribute to this conversation in part because my family never took trips, but mostly because I had to restrain myself from telling him to shut up.
There was a buzz of energy which seemed to take away the stuffy facade that the bus driver had built around himself. It was not uncommon for him to never speak a word to us, but now here he was laughing and chattering away. It was a striking contrast, one that made me feel even more relief that it was finally summer. No more boring “class discussions” (it was usually just one especially talkative student and the teacher), no more homework and no more boring power points. Ugh. The only thing that proved to be favorable about school was Mr. Egan, my art teacher. He was young and energetic - straight out of school and already famous around our small community. Despite his inexperience, teaching was something that came naturally to him and he taught with the perfect balance of instruction and letting us just do art.
The bus finally came to my stop and about five of us jumped out, our moods seeming to translate into our movement. The neighborhood that I lived was populated by old, magnificent homes with beautiful wraparound porches and expansive, emerald green lawns. Ivy grew up the front of my house, weaving so thickly that it was impossible to see the brick underneath it. My front door was ajar, our little jack russell terrier peering out with her unusually soulful eyes. She began to yap and I could hear my mom screaming for her to shut up (it never worked). I smiled.
In a sudden haste I ran up to the door and picked up Sally. When she got loose it mostly consisted of her running about two feet away from me then speeding right away when I showed any indication of trying to catch her. Thankfully that was not the case this time, most likely because she was so excited to see me. I yelled up to my mom and told her that she had left the door open. There was no reply so I assumed that she was absorbed in one of her computer games. For a week or so all my mom would do is stay in her pajamas and click away at the computer, then one day wake up and without any suggestion get dressed and begin living life again.
My sister lay on our plush leather couch, reading some celebrity “trash” (that’s what my father called it, secretly I enjoyed reading them). She ignored me and I did the same, not caring to get into an argument, which usually resulted whenever we talked together. A sudden urge of hunger struck me and I went into the kitchen and grabbed some organic pudding and an apple. My mom was a health nut whose philosophy was that of “if it tastes good it ain’t good for you”, so our cabinets were stocked with unsalted potatoes chips and cookies that mysteriously tasted like cardboard.
I grabbed a magazine and headed outside to our pool, which glimmered in the sunshine. I dipped in my feet in response to the heat and began to skim the magazine, accidentally getting globs of pudding on it. Soon it became unbearable to just keep my feet in the water so I ran inside, slipped on my swim trucks and jumped into the pool. The water splattered onto the magazine, furthering its abuse, but I took no notice. I went under and held my breath, the coolness enveloping my whole body. I swam for about an hour until the novelty began to wear off and then I just laid in the sun. My eyes began to droop and I fell asleep.
“Jefferson. Wake up. JEFFERSON!” I woke up, feeling confused and very hot. “Oh god, look at that sunburn.” All I could do was mumble in reply. “Get inside, we need to put some aloe on that. How could you have fallen asleep?” I finally realized that it was my mom and gathered my senses together and ran inside. It turned out to look worse then it really was. I hadn’t been out there for very long so it was really just a superficial burn, but I still felt like crap. All I got from my father was grief for how stupid I was and silence from my sister. Dinner was asparagus with a very tasty butter sauce, but it was not enough to fill me up so I turned to a tub of sugarless and calorie less choc-o-CHIPS ice-cream. Yum.

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