Hannah couldn’t help but feel flooded with a feeling of irritation and disappointment as she entered the front doors of Lemont’s public high school. While the floors were shiny and new the sweet yet sour smell of artificial lemon was so pungent she held her hand over her nose and mouth, queasy from the smell. She scrunched up her face in disgust and disapproval. The hallways were covered with the same old fading neon posters and peeling puffy paint from clubs and teams. Students cluttered the halls, laughing and hugging, greeting friends and exchanging stories of their summers. The hallway echoed, bouncing their voices off the walls on the ceiling and back into the mish-mash of students. Hannah, backpack slung onto one shoulder, began to maneuver through the crowd of students to her homeroom period, careful to avoid the backpacks swinging in her direction and the annoyed look of her peers. When she finally got to her homeroom, room 880, she slung her backpack to the ground and slumped into the chair closest to the door. She sat alone, watching the clock in silence as people began shuffling into the classroom, first came the teacher a sleepy look on his face and a mug of coffee in his hand, yawning and looking just as unthrilled and irritated as Hannah felt, then a small group of girls who all of which were clearly breaking the dress code despite it being only the first day, and lastly a group of boys with sports t-shirts and Nike shoes, laughing, high fiving and yelling despite being only a foot or two apart. Hannah closed her eyes and tuned out the abruptive laughs and high pitched squeals, “I can’t believe we’re seniors this year! It’s so exciting” “I feel like the years have just flied by!”. Hannah squeezed her eyes shut and shifted in her seat with discomfort. She couldn’t help but feel isolated and excluded from the rest of her peers. To Hannah, senior year was nothing to get too excited over. Mostly because it felt like every other year, yes, they were all seniors this year, but after three years of math and science and socializing and grades and waking up early and going to bed late and hating school and hating herself, Hannah was fed up, because nothing had changed. She still hated the smell of artificial lemons in the hallways, she still ignored the old outdated activities posters on the walls, she still couldn’t stand the loud noises of teens chatting and laughing and yelling and screaming. And still, Hannah hated herself for hating all of them. Hannah hated herself for not trying hard enough to integrate into their crowd, their activities, their fun. But she just couldn’t do it, she couldn’t stand the tasteless conversations and non existent originality. So Hannah hated herself, just as she had done the year before, and the year before that and the year before that. Hannah couldn’t help but feel disappointed, her very last year of high school would be just the same as all the others, slow, painful and long. Unlike Hannah’s peers Hannah’s high school days hadn’t exactly ‘flied by’. Hannah struggled day after day with a severe case of depression and anxiety, she couldn’t even make it to school without an antidepressant in hand. No, high school hadn’t ‘flied by’ at all, in fact it felt like it had crawled by. All the days she spent wishing she could just disappear, run away from the crowd of bustling students and low self esteem. She had longed for a way to get out and now, finally she had her chance. So no, while Hannah slumped in her chair, she was not looking forward to this upcoming year, but yes, Hannah was excited for the year to finally come to a close. All her awkward anxious depressing high school years would finally be behind her. She closed her eyes and smiled, after today she only had 179 days left.
The Last First Day
August 29, 2017