Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Bill Will Never Go Back" [originally published September 7, 2007]

Labor Day is over.  Summer is over.  All the kids have gone back to school.

I haven't gone to school in years, but I still feel sorry for the children who have to go back.  Sometimes I'll be out driving in the last few weeks of August, and I'll see a twelve-year-old boy walking on the sidewalk, and I'll know exactly what he feels.  The realization has sunk in that summer vacation won't last forever, and he's desperately looking for some way to dig his nails into August and keep himself from sliding into September, but he knows that there's nothing that he can do.

In the first few years after I graduated from college, I had a hard time finding a permanent job.  The work that I could find was mostly sporadic and temporary.  It gave me a lot of time to walk around.  Sometimes, I would be walking to nowhere in particular on an early fall afternoon, and the sunlight would slant in at just the right angle . . . and I could feel myself standing on the edge of a soccer field, wearing a red sweatshirt with "St. Stephens" emblazoned on the front, and waiting for the last hour of the school day to end so that I could go home.  And for just half of a second, I would think, "It's getting time to be heading back to school."

Then I would walk a few more steps, and that world would be gone, back to the place where it forever hides.

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