First Day of School

May 6, 2008
By Erica Drach, Cincinnati, OH

Sarah tugged on her backpack and gave one last look back at her mom. She steps up onto the big black platform, inhaling the new foreign smell of the exhaust from the big yellow vehicle. A quick smile to the driver and she began down the narrow isle, with the heavy load on her back bumping every brown seat along the way. As Sarah plopped down into her new seat, she stared out the window and touch her small fingers to the cold, dirty glass waving a silent goodbye to her mother who was growing smaller and smaller. In an instant her mother disappeared. Sarah turned her back to the window and rested against the firm seat. Carefully sounding out each syllable of the graffiti written on the back of the bench, but just as she had figured out Susie hearts Jacob, a halt jolted her forward and the screech of the bus doors consumed her ears and the footsteps of a new passenger excited her, filling her tummy with jumping beans and butterflies. The sprout from a little boy’s head of hair rose above the seats as he made his way towards Sarah. As she awaited the new stranger, he happily scooted his way onto the same bench as Sarah, ignoring the fifth teen other empty seats around her. Glancing at his white knuckles, tightening his backpack and the nervous twitch of his feet rattled the window and squeaked the cushion as it released the air. Without even turning his head, Tommy’s eyes shot in opposite directions. She concluded his name was Tommy from his monogrammed backpack, which was now facing her and a nervous smile spread across her lips. Briefly Tommy turned back and gave Sarah a quick smile which in return turned his freckled cheeks a flushed, warm red as Sarah reacted with a toothy smile, minus two front teeth. The rest of the bus ride, even though it was filled with blurred figured of all different travelers, the noise and shadows were drowned out by the dialogue of exchanged giggles of the innocent children. Their terrifying first day in a new world it was all omitted by the start of a new found friendship. As she made her way down the aisle Sarah began thinking about the day she would get to leave her mark on the used brown seat.

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