The Last Day of School
Carolyn J. Rose
The last day of high school.
The seniors have already graduated and gone and many of the others took their finals in advance and headed off to summer jobs and family vacations or long days of just hanging out.
The halls aren’t crammed between classes.
The classrooms echo with farewells and promises.
Even the sunlight through the trees seems to have a different shade and slant.
Walking to the office to turn in my substitute keys, I cast my mind back to the June days of my teen years when I would count down the hours, the minutes, and even the seconds.
My thoughts then would be on the rising level of the water in the pool we scrubbed and whitewashed on Memorial Day. Fed by a spring now dry, it seemed to take forever to fill. And it was cold—muscle-numbing, breath-catching, toe-curling cold. But it represented summer—afternoons of sunbathing, listening to the static-ridden signal of WMGM from New York City for the hits of the season, and wondering who might come down the road and dive in.
As school days dwindled down to the final one, moods shifted. Those we now refer to as slackers did less and became more disdainful of the educational process. Those hoping for college scholarships hunched over their notebooks and drilled with their vocabulary cards. Those with confidence joked. Those freaked out about finals joked more. Everyone talked about summer plans and speculated about what teachers would do after the final bell.
Everyone was aware that all that was familiar and mundane would be behind us in a few days. When we returned in the fall, there would be a sense of strangeness. There would be harder subjects to tackle and perhaps a few new teachers or new classmates. We would find seats in classrooms we may never have entered before, or get involved in new activities with new friends.
And, until tedium set in again, we would be energized and somehow renewed.