I put on an oversized light blue sweater and my black vans that have dried mud and holes on them. I run down the stairs and look at the time. It’s close to 11 p.m. and Michael and Shannon are waiting for me by the door. We start out and walk down our steep driveway and take a left.
The bridge to Ludlow on Red Bridge Road was closed down in March of 2015 because it started to deteriorate and it was not safe. Since the town of Wilbraham does not have enough money to fix it, it’s closed indefinitely which means no cars. My neighborhood did not mind at all because it is very peaceful and there aren’t any cars racing by our houses.
My family takes advantage of our quiet road by going on walks late at night during the summer, and we don’t have to worry about drivers. One night in June my siblings and I are walking while the moon is shining bright it’s almost like daytime and there are too many stars out to count. It is a warm night that has breeze in the air which makes me glad I took my sweater with me just in case. Going on a walk with them feels pretty strange because we never spend alone time just the three of us.
My brother is ranting about his current relationship while my sister is lighting a cigarette. She’s leaving in less than four months for AmeriCorps, and she is panicking to be out on her own. I know that this will be good for her since she doesn’t know what to do for her future. Lately we all just try to avoid that conversation with her because she gets nervous and acts like a turtle hiding in its shell. Michael is the complete opposite of her. He’s graduating Framingham State College in less than a year and is starting his new job at Apple. He has everything in his life planned out and will drone on for hours about himself. I'm not paying any attention to their conversation because I am concentrating on trying to find the Big Dipper in all of the crowded tiny stars. I stop for a moment and take my shoes to feel the smooth paved road against my feet and I run to catch up with the two of them.
We get to the barriers with a sign in front of them that says ‘STOP’ and we climb over them and continue onto the bridge. At this point the road has pebbles and potholes everywhere which makes my feet have little sharp pains whenever I take a step and I put my shoes on again. Spray paint is on the right side of the road to have you avoid that part of the damaged bridge. The water is rushing underneath us and is splashing against the cracked cement.
At this very moment on the bridge I'm quiet, because everything feels still at the moment. For a second I feel calm and didn’t have the major anxiety for the last day of school and I start to think about how I am going to regret going to bed at one in the morning. After school tomorrow, I will not be able to see my friends due to all the vacations they are going on, like Illinois and Florida, while I’m stuck at home.
After tomorrow I will become a sophomore which means I am one day closer to my future. In my mind I am already thinking about preparing for tests, MCAS, PSATS, that I will have to take next year. I don't know what I want to do with my life after high school; it terrifies me to no end. Some of my peers speak about how they have the next ten years of their lives planned out while I’m just here trying to make it through the school week. Relatives and my guidance counselor question me about colleges and work while my head is spinning so fast with it’s about to pop off.
Standing on this deteriorating bridge on a calm warm night haves me being content with everything for even a millisecond on this night just made me feel a little hope about my future. Sometimes, you just have to stop and not think about what is coming soon and appreciate the moment you are in right now.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.