The Day I Grew Up This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Blah, blah, blah. These were the words I had the joy of hearing every day in math class that year. It was always one jumble of meaningless words after another: circle, factor, square, term, triangle, quadratic formula. Nothing could ever make me pay attention. My mind wandered through one hundred different worlds, each one revealing a part of my inner psyche. None helped me on the quizzes.

Every day the man would walk in, cup of coffee in one hand, math book in the other. I don't even remember his face anymore; it was old, tired. I do remember the smell of a pipe on his breath. I do remember the chalk everywhere. All over his hands, pants, tie, and occasionally, his face. I do remember that he was overweight and some days would eat a morning pastry as our class watched, wishing we could have a piece.

I remember that morning very well; it was three years ago today. Although it was almost the first day of spring, the air in New England, as always, was frigid. He looked fatigued, that is, more than usual. And although the heat was on (it was still the middle of winter), he was only wearing a tightly starched shirt, but he shouldn't have been sweating the way he was.

I thought about the ramifications in a millisecond, but regardless of any guilt I may now have, I told several brief jokes, derogatory in nature, and even more immature. I had never taken him seriously until that moment - 7: 46 on that March morning - when he died right in front of me. I guess I look back on those days in a different way. It is no longer the great void in my life, instead it is an experience I will look back on forever with a frown. I guess Peter Pan can grow up. fl




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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