I’m going to High School! (again)


Forgive me, my child, for embarrassing you. 

I can’t help myself.  I mean, I’ve worked sixty hours this week, driven on the freeway about eight, cooked and cleaned and shopped and paid bills and fed four animals ninety times.  That was before last night.  Last night I went to high school.  My life has changed.

Wheeeeee!  OMG!  I get it!  I’m, like, totally, totally…whatever.  I REMEMBER!!!

Here’s the scene.  A football game.  A football field aglow, in front of a fringe of dark mountains. 

Ordered chaos: helmeted players running on the field to the cheers of the shouting, chatting, laughing, munching, hollering, moving, happyhappy bleachers of spectators. 

Music thumping, armies of cheerleaders (now called “dance teams”? huh.) that are really acrobats, as energetic as ants flipping joyfully all over a picnic lunch.

Good looking, glowing, fit (and unfit), radiant or pouty young people are standing in self-important huddles, or busybusybusy selling things, playfully shoving one another, casually arm-in-arm, or holding hands with the first flush of love.

Parents, smiling, overweight or weathered and / or older clones of the bright young things nearby, are proud to be here, glad to be included, committed to their lifelong commitments.

Then there’s the band.  Oh yes, the band.  Uniformed, trumpeting and fluting and thump-thumping on instruments.  And the Color Guard (“Flag Corp,” we called it “back in the day”), dripping and tossing their liquid color onto this lighted field in a dimming night. 

Most of all, picture the school.  Yes: school, which I used to think I hated and now know I loved.  The lovely hive of a High School, with its promise of future, just like this balmy night promises the fall and winter and then spring again…

I love it.  I remember.

Okay, it WAS different back then (“in my time?”).  No mountains on Long Island.  More mosquitos of course, even in September.  Smells of dying leaves, of the seasons changing.  The girls didn’t dress so cutesy (or sexy) at my school, so most of us were wearing Levis and T-shirts.  The Cheerleaders were a much smaller group, impressive but not quite acrobats.  The Flag Corp did more of a military march.  The soft pretzels were the same (we won’t talk about the pizza).  The sodas too.  Maybe the parents were the same too (who noticed?).  Much more importantly, the feel of the place was like this.  And the noise.  And…and…the promise of it.

A crossroads.  Here is the crucible of childhood and adulthood.  Here is the moment, the fanfare, THE FUN.

We can all sense the awe and weight of decisions approaching, of relationship, of achievement.  Oh, and of sexuality (Don’t think about that, not quite ready for that.).

Most importantly, I am not simply remembering this.  That’s my point, the point of today’s blog.  I am experiencing it in the here-and-now.  Night dream bring us that too, of course; they lift the actual person or event or trauma or joy out of the past into our senses, which is so much more powerful an experience than boring old remembering. 

I’m not asleep here.   And I feel it. 

I have to decide, college or no?  Where is Don?  Oh yes, number 66.  God, he is gorgeous.  I love him.  He loves me.  I am filled with this excitement I can barely contain much less define.  Possibilities galore.  Not that I’m thinking about possibilities, not really.  I sense them watching, waiting, lecturing.  But I am in bliss and young and flowering and it’s SO MUCH FUN.

“Mom,” my fourteen-year-old son says. “Sorry to break it to you, but you’re not going to high school.”

What does he know?  He’s just a kid.  I have four years of this stuff to take in and savor. 

Luckylucky me.  And after High School, I get to go to college.

How cool is that? 

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