Walking Home

I am in Mr. McFarland’s class at my desk sitting in my plastic chair, waiting for the three o’clock bell to ring. This is everyone else’s favorite bell of the day, and it is my least favorite. This bell signifies the end of the school day and time to go home for the day.
I try watching the clock because I had heard a watched the clock moved slower, the second hands still seem to be going around at the same pace, and I can see the minute hand jerk along.
I do not want to go home, school has always been my salvation, the place where I had friends, a place where meals were served, and dangers I have grown accustomed to within my home did not exist. School was a safe place.
Now it’s over, three o’clock and there goes the bell. I decided to lag behind in the classroom, collecting my things from inside my desk cubby. I can’t just make quick work of it, I have to do everything monumentally slowly. I have to make sure I spend more than ten minutes here, I know I can spend another ten on the way out in the girl’s restroom, and if I walk real slow to the front of the school, I am sure to miss the bus. I have learned if I am at least twenty two minutes late for the bus, it will leave without me. There are others who need to get home, others who want to be home. If I miss the bus I have to walk home, and it is almost two whole miles.
Now I am dropping my things into my beloved bright red backpack. The stapler I swiped from my mom so that I could make paper airplanes with weighted wings during class. I had learned to use the staples to ad weight to make the airplanes fly certain ways. Next, my twin acorn, I had found one day on my way home. The cap to it looked just like a figure eight, like the figure eight in the “School House Rock” video, the video that says eight is a magic number. Based on this logic as a bonafide kid, I decided that acorn and its cap were both magic. I can’t forget my stubby pencil, it was sharpened down near the metal, almost no paint left on it and with almost the whole eraser left too that was the best if you could sharpen a pencil down to the metal and still have the whole eraser left. I also have the famous double tip pencil. You somehow get these often enough by breaking the metal eraser part off a new pencil and sharpening both ends. The advantages to possessing these pencils were many; it afforded more trips to the pencil sharpener during class and served as a nice conversation piece, a point of pride. The last thing I have to put in my backpack is a large gum eraser I use it when I draw during class. The best thing about this eraser is it makes me feel like I am an artist.
The clock says 3:12 I have not taken long enough. The janitor will be making his rounds soon to kick out any kids, not with parents from the classrooms. I have to make a switch to the girls restroom I will be safe in there for a while. I walk to the door, carefully only peeking out into the hall from a distance. Slowly I edge my feet closer to the doorway, leaning back still not quite ready to go through that door. I hear a squeaking cart and footsteps up by the cafeteria, Uh oh its the janitor making his rounds! I peak out and look both ways. The cost is clear and hide to the right away from both the footsteps and cart. After so many escapes, I just knew one day the cart will catch me before that janitor does. Yes! Safety I made it to the girls bathroom. I am safe. Here I can go through the library book I have, and if I get really desperate, I can look at my science book again. I never made it to my science book I had both my side of the mountain and the first boxcar children to read. I started with my side of the mountain, and it kept me entertained more than long enough to miss the bus. When I left the bathroom, the busses were all gone, the cars were almost all gone, and I saw almost no one. This was exactly what I was hoping for.
I could walk across the lawn, but instead, I walk the long way around the sidewalk to the edge of the parking lot then step down on the asphalt. Off we go… most of my walk home is on a dirt path that goes right along with the small-town road. I have memorized many interesting places along the trail, there is one place where it looks like there was once a home and they had planted some very fine flowers, daffodils grow every year, and another place where asparagus grows, this I eat when it grows I pick it raw and snack on my way home. There is a haunted house on the way home, complete with broken windows, and we all know there are ghosts. My favorite place on the way to or from home is the double oak tree. It starts with one trunk but splits into two and each half curves, so in ended up kinda looking like two pieces of elbow macaroni with branches or maybe deer horns. If you walk up to the tree and stand between the two halves looking through, if the light hits the trees just right, if you hold your head just so you can see the landscape change and twist, shimmer, and shine, you can see your hopes and dreams in that tree. I am not the only one who has wished and watched the visions on the other side. To this day, not a single person has walked through to the other side of that tree where their dreams become real. One day someone will just have to do that. One day I know it will be me.

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