The birds woke me. I
lay in bed wondering what was significant about the day. Something was happening today…What was it?
Then I remembered: It was my eldest’s last day of high
I stumbled out of bed and headed down the hallway, pausing
at each of the kids’ bedroom doors, time
to get up-ing them before going downstairs
to put on a pot of coffee. I tried not
to get depressed.
As the coffee brewed, I thought about all of the Septembers—all
of the first days of school, preserved in photographs neatly arranged in scrapbooks:
Preschool—dressed entirely in pink, a stuffed tiger tucked beneath her arm. Kindergarten—a yellow bus tag safety pinned
to the shirt I’d sewn over the summer. First
grade—a uniform: a blue and black jumper with the school emblem neatly sewn
on. White button-up shirt. Her shoes were polished and her socks were
pulled up neatly. She wore a new pink and
purple backpack and carried a blue lunchbox.
I have pictures of her first day of school in Canada. Her first day of school after we moved back to
the United States. Her first day of high
school. Her first day of a summer
But today is a last.
She comes downstairs and stands before me, now nearly as
tall as I. She wears a confident
smile. But her white shirt is faded to
gray. The school emblem barely clings to
the snagged blue uniform that she’s worn for the past four years. Her socks have holes in them. They slip down her leg. Her shoes are desperate for a polish and the
left one is missing its lace. She gave
up backpacks and lunchboxes years ago.
I pour a cup of coffee.
Watch her rummaging through the cabinets for some breakfast.
“Last day,” I say.
“Yep.” She’s happy
and sad. Mismashed emotions.
“Want me to take a picture?”
I need to document this day.
“Sure,” she says. She
hands me her I-Phone and leans against the wall.
“Smile,” I say. And
I snap the picture and hand her the phone. She heads out to catch the school bus for the
last time ever.
I take a sip of my coffee and watch out the window as the bus
slows then stops. I tell myself that her
last day of high school isn’t really a last.
It’s a new series of firsts.
Labels: Creative non-fiction