Back to School

For the last one week I’ve been an early bird. Wake up at 6 am, get ready for work. Pick up my 6 year old nephew and drop him at school. Go to this class I’m taking. Then commute to work. It’s a break from the usual mornings I have. Not exactly life changing stuff but it does give the thought process a little bit of a workout. A mild jog, if not a run.

As I approach my nephew’s school, the hum from a hundred too-awake-for-7-am kids screaming in the playground hits me. And it’s like it’s the 90s all over again. I’m sitting inside the car, bored and sleepy. I get off and get inside my classroom. Depending on which year I’ve landed in this flashback, I either run about with the other kids playing or sit around talking about everything and nothing outside class. Class starts. I am anxious about forgetting to bring a book.

I was so bloody terrified of not bringing a book that we had class for. The teachers were unusually anal about books and notebooks being brought to class. It was their weird way of injecting us with some discipline and responsibility. I was not scared of the punishment. I just did not want to ‘forget to bring the book’. It scared me and the days I did forget to bring the book I spent the whole time like I was awaiting my own execution till that class was due. The days I brought the stuff I needed, all passed smoothly.

I was not the most popular; neither was I a wall-flower. I had Friends, Best Friends, Acquaintances. There were some who did not like me or were indifferent. I was not the best at everything but I had good balance [school prefect, above average grades, a great friend, no athletic abilities, no hotness whatsoever]. I read a lot and wrote a lot and watched a lot of documentaries and movies and cartoons and this added to stuff I had to say. I hid my insecurities as best as I could amid my extraordinarily confident friends who grew up at an unbelievable pace before my own eyes. I was lucky not to have been bullied or been the subject of mental torture that kids go through sometimes. I was a tomboy and ‘one of the guys’ and I was totally okay with it. I remember school being hot [we did not have air conditioning till we became upperclassmen as seniors] and fast. I remember the anticipation of the last bell, the agitation of being picked up late, the consternation of trying to remember history dates. I met my best friends for life amid the wooden chairs and crowded play-ground. From them I understood I could be so much more, and I already had so much more for them to pick up on. I remember feeling I did not quite belong but also realizing I could not imagine school being anything other than the sum of all the little parts I was experiencing every day.

Suffice to say, I miss school. I miss sitting in class, and backpacks, and notebooks. I would do anything to sit through the horrible chemistry class that I absolutely hated for just one more day. I would love to wait for school to end for just one more day. It would be great to be able to be a kid again for just one more day.

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