Smells Like the First Day of School

I was leaving for work this morning. I opened the garage door, and it hit me.

First Day of School.

Maybe it was the smell on the air - fresh like the morning after a good rain when the pavement is still a little wet. Maybe it was the quiet of the hour. Perhaps it was the familiar vision of the world of my childhood neighborhood opening up to me as the garage door raised, raised, raised.

But suddenly I was my old oblivious, awkward kid self with my overstuffed backpack ('cause I could never get the homework done in class), my brown paper sack lunch, and my cumbersome cased violin chasing the school bus with all the effort my scrawny legs could muster.

The nostalgia was a thick and savory soup. Bitter and sweet and delicious.

I think if I were able to travel back in time, and managed to catch that shy girl with the red hair and all those freckles chasing that bus, I'd stop her, give her a huge hug (which would freak her out), and tell her that the world really is as big as she imagines, the possibilities as endless, and she really did have some of the courage she suspected she might carry deep down.

I'd tell her I love her.

And I'd tell her not to worry, because being terrible at math really didn't end up being as big a hang-up in life as her teachers tried to make her believe.

And boys aren't ALWAYS so unbelievably lame.
Some of them actually turn out to be pretty great.

(I don't think I'd tell her she wouldn't meet the greatest of them until she was 26. Wouldn't want her to get too comfortable.)

(But I might tell her to go ahead and take the part opposite that CUTE BOY in Fiddler on the Roof in 9th Grade instead of opting for playing in the orchestra pit.)

And I'd tell her a delicious secret - a thing she NEVER imagined could be possible, but thought about sometimes. I'd tell her "Sunnie, guess what? There will come a day when you will be beautiful. Yes, really. There'll come a day when you look in the mirror and the girl you see there is honest-to-goodness radiant."

She won't believe me, of course, but I know her. It'll make her wonder.

(And just maybe, after she's collected a few more years and had a few kids, she won't wonder so much if she'll ever get that back.)

Then I'd offer her a ride to school. She'd refuse, 'cause even though she's intrigued by me, she's not stupid. I'd offer to carry her books, and she'd politely decline again. Because she's comfortable being alone with her thoughts.

I'd resist the urge to hug her again as she walks away.

Then I'd probably hop a flight to Washington to find a certain curly haired, blue eyed boy and ask him a thing or two. Play pirate swords for a while.

Then high tail it back to this morning with the garage door opening and the smell of the first day of school - where I have to go to work, but LATER, I get to come home to a husband who adores me and is a TERRIFIC kisser, and two kids with extremely contagious laughs wound very tightly around my little fingers.


That Girl said...

I would totally be friends with that girl.