The Last Day of School
The last day of school. The first time the meaning of those words
hits me is when I've just finished third grade. There is a wordless,
excited buzzing that sings in my head and makes me giddy. I can see
the summer extending before me - An eternity of Popsicles and
fireflies, of lying in grassy fields and feeling the earth rising up
to hold me. I am riding my bicycle, my Huffy two-speed with the
turquoise sparkle paint and the cushy banana seat with the
psychedelic daisies, around and around and around the block. First
I'm riding with a pack of friends, and we're all yelling
raucously "No more homework, No more books, No more teachers, dirty
looks!!" and feeling like rebels.
Slowly the pack has dwindled and I am left alone in the twilight of a
warm June night. The air is just a little cool, and smells green.
The light is that golden light that only happens early in the morning
and just before the sun goes down. Painter's light, but I don't know
that yet. There are so many things I don't know yet. But, I do how
it feels to be eight years old and completely free. To feel like I'm
riding a hundred miles an hour, the wind in my face, whipping my
hair. To feel like I can do just about anything. I take my hands
off the handlebars, and ride no -hands for just a second, practically
dizzy with my daring and I let out a whoop of pure joy.
Now that I'm grown, I don't often get the chance to experience that
unfettered elation that I felt so many last-days-of-school ago. But
every once in a while, every once in a great while, and only in the
evening, and only in the early summer, when the light is golden and
the night smells green, I might see a kid on a bicycle and it will
happen again. I'll suddenly remember out-of the blue, what it feels
like to be eight years old on the last day of school. And in a
instant I'll be perched on the daisy-strewn banana seat of a
glittering turquoise bicycle with the wind in my face riding no-hands
into the sunset of my memory, secure in the knowledge that tomorrow
is the first day of the rest of my summer. The first day of the rest
of my life.
And you know, it doesn't get much better than that.
[ Karen Driscoll, Copyright © 2002 (email@example.com) -- from '2THEHEART' ]
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