Three Moments in a High School Life

May 1, 2010
Peer at yourself in the scratched, smudge of a bathroom mirror. Look into those eyes, scrutinize that skin. Contemplate: are you pretty or not? Girls have watched themselves blow smoke at the glass, applied their lipstick, even wept, facing that reflection. Your hands grip the sides of the sink. The wastebasket overflowing with brown paper towels, the cold air rattling through the sorry excuse for a window, the pigeons cooing on the ledge are wrenching, tender in their familiarity. Almost a comfort.

You're the first one to rehearsal. You climb up the stairs to the stage, dusty and blank. Those lights, that, for as brief a time as you stand beneath them, tell you who you are in the world. Wait for the other kids, who show up only so they can punch their friends with an inside joke, only so they can laugh loudly and often. You feel half-asleep, walking through your day, your mind somewhere else. You sit on the edge of the stage, hands in your lap. You have a long time to wait.

Walk out through those doors, on the first day of March. A season starting, high school ending. Time to slam your physics book shut forever, to run your hand over the cotton of a sundress, to forget about weather or not your should get drunk on the weekend or tell an old friend you're sorry or a new friend your secrets. Time to let scraps of unrequited love fly, like something released from a car window, above the trees, only to end up on the ground. Time to breathe into your future like air filling up a lung, to tell your family that they're not so bad, to tell the boy who sits alone that it will be o.k., eventually. You walk out those double doors, the weight dropping behind you. The new spring air lifting your feet off the sidewalk.

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