Walking With Ghosts

Like parenthood, I greatly underestimated the commitment needed to do student teaching.  I was at school fulltime, slowly taking over the teacher’s job, doing everything required of a teacher, plus doing everything required of a student.  So the blog had to be put on the back burner.  Again.

It was so weird working at my old high school.  Every corner held a memory rising up to meet me.

That’s the parking spot J, Speedo, and I always fought over.  I won most of the time because I more dedicated to winning than 5 minutes of extra sleep.

That’s the place I would wait for my mom to pick me up before I was hold enough to drive.  It was there Speedo convinced me to be in the first play he had written.  It was there we realized a New Jersey accent was the only one I couldn’t copy.

There’s the vice principal’s office where I was called because I had “ditched school and was found on our rival’s school property.”  “What?  Did someone check ‘my’ ID?”  “Um, no.”  “Did someone check the school records to see if I was here?”  “Um, one second. (pause).  You weren’t marked absent.”  “Then I suggest you tell their security guards to check IDs next time.”  Idiots.

That was the counselor’s office.  That was were I told my first grown up that I was suicidal as I held my best friend’s hand.

That was the wall they put our class hearts for Valentine’s Day.  Each student had a heart.  Each year I stole my best friend’s heart, so she thought she had a secret admirer.  She was all so excited.

That was my chemistry teacher/swim coach’s room.  I could almost see my self standing in there with him asking him some off the wall science question.  How does Advil work?  Why do we have eyebrows?  Could you help me with number 4?  So if someone were to swallow this… what do you mean ‘don’t ask?’  Um, would you, um, if you want, if you have time, would you, um, writemycollegereferenceletter?

That’s were the potheads hung out.

Senior year, after 5th period, that’s were I passed Speedo on the stairs every day.

That’s the classroom where I got my only B in English.  Jerk.

That’s the classroom where my junior honors English teacher asked me to join the poetry club.

I always had my locker in the 300 building.

Outside that door, I helped my friend stuff his bra with tennis balls, helped him put on and adjust his bra, and straighten his wig.  “You make a lovely Lady Capulet.”  “Thanks, Fae.”  “You know, you could’ve just changed the character into a boy.”  “Where’s the fun in that?”  Ah, drama boys.

I remembered the year they took off the doors to the bathrooms.

I remembered sitting outside waiting for the bomb-sniffing dogs to finish, knowing all along it was all a prank.

There is where we sat for lunch my senior year.  7 of us.  Then 6 when I couldn’t handle the trash talk of two of the girls.  Then 5 when I was asked back after the group made the two girls leave.

That was the spot I gave up chase and let AK run across the quad fearing that I would catch him and do something horrible to him.  He apparently forgotten my reputation when he suggested I go out to his car, so he could pop my cherry.  I rose slowly from my seat.  My best friend whispered, “She’s going to kill him.”  “If I catch you AK, I will make sure you can’t use your dick for a week.  If I can’t and I see you gain, I will rip it off,” I whispered.  He took off running, and I followed.  I never saw him again.

During an assembly, I scanned the faces imagining seeing my high school friends and I acting like high schoolers.

As I followed my class out to their spot to wait out the fire drill, I looked over to the softball field where a younger version of myself stood talking with my friend, nearly ignoring the softball game from the outfield.  There was a good solid crack of the bat.  Paying half attention to the batter, I turned to my friend, “Excuse me for a moment.”  I looked up and took a step forward with my mitt and hand in the air.  Rejudging the distance, I took three steps back and caught the fly.  With a jump step, I launched the ball straight for home plate where the other team’s runner thought he could steal home because the outfield held all the lousy players.  The ball went straight and hard without a bounce.  The catcher caught it and tagged the runner out.  The P.E. teacher, standing on the pitcher’s mound, gawked at me.  We hustled in to take our places in the line up.  “R——, where’d you learn that?” called the P.E. teacher as I jogged by.  I smirked.  “Ten seasons of fast-pitch softball.”

One windy afternoon, I walked out to my car later than usual.  The parking lot was empty.  I looked over and saw where a friend and I stood on a cement parking bumper.  We held our hands above our heads, pretending to be on a roller coaster.  Ah drama girls.

I’m just glad I never had to go into The Little Theater, where I’m sure the shadows and ghosts would be the thickest.

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