Tuesday, September 3, 2013


the night before

I feel like my whole body is focused on the clock, every muscle attuned to the counting-down to morning, to 7:18am when I leave the house to catch my 7:23 bus. My backpack is full, lunch is made, clothes picked and lying out, and now....
I'm just waiting.
My siblings play out front with the neighbours, drawing on the driveway with chalk. Tomorrow they'll start school, too...but at home, just like last year, and the year before, and the year before that. This year things only change for me. I'm the only thing that's different - I'll be up with the sun, out of the house before even Dad leaves for work, and it's good and it's frightening at the same time, because things are changing. This is different.

People keep telling me I'll be fine. How do you know? I want to ask. How could you possibly know? I'm me and I'm not even sure how I'm going to react, how everything's going to play out. But people keep saying this to me, and at times I want to scream. Not at them...but yeah, kind of. Because they don't know. And you know what? It's okay if I'm not fine, if the first few days are tough - and I kind of expect them to be. And that's okay. I don't have to be fine.

So maybe I'm a little bit nervous, too. I don't feel nervous, but I must be. Otherwise, why would it bother me? People are nice. They mean well...but I don't know. I really don't. So I just smile. Smiling's good.

the morning of

 I wake up at 6am, and instantly wonder if I've overslept. Then I remember that I set my alarm, and it hasn't gone off yet...so I lie back down, cold and needing to use the bathroom, but unwilling to move even enough to grab another blanket, let alone get to my feet and walk to the door.
I drift.
Aware and asleep at the same time, that internal clock ticking away inside me....only hours left now.
When the alarm finally goes off, I get up and straighten my hair, terrified that I'll linger too long and miss my bus.
I have a minor freakout just before going out the door before Dad reminds me that the bus is always late, anyways, and please to just chill. So I hug them both and Mom says Mom-things and then I'm out the door into the gray September morning filled with hazy raindrops that aren't sure whether or not to become a drizzle.
The bus is surprisingly empty, but fills up in a matter of stops, crammed full of backpacks and other teens and the odd businessperson. I feel sorry for them, nudged to the side by our school supplies and loud voices.
A few stops later, one of the girls from my soccer team gets on, and we talk until we get to school, and it all feels perfectly normal, like this is just another summer camp I'm attending.


I take the bus home again, a headache pounding behind my eyes from two periods spent in the computer lab...but I'm happy. I knew so many people, and the ones that were unfamiliar were friendly. I had almost no trouble getting my locker open and shut, I made it to all of my classes with time to spare...and the English! Ohhhh, the English. I think I'm in heaven. People gape when they find out I've been homeschooled. Like, all your life?
Except for junior kindergarten, I say, grinning.
And which do you like better?
I wonder how they expect me to know after only two and a half periods. But I nod and reply anyways: I think public school will be my favourite, when I've had time to decide.
When I come through the front door, back home after what feels like only a couple of hours, my siblings come running.
How was your day?
Better than yours, I think, because it didn't feel like school at all. Of course, they don't do much on the first day, and I don't have any homework, so I'm sure that will change...
but for now, it's good. I'm happy.

I wolf down some food, starving...and then get ready to change and get back on the bus, because I work at 5pm...I'll be home by nine, just in time to shower and get to bed so I can do it all over again tomorrow...

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