The haunting comfort of Nick’s smooth contralto winds its way through Rhiannon as accompanying musicians and vocalists weave their contributions around the lead. I’m taken immediately back to cold, rainy late winter mornings getting ready for high school, as songs take their turn on the radio.
The cereal’s cold, and I don’t make it out the door before the bus roars on by. No matter. It’s only a mile to school.
I begin the hike up the steep first hill, pushing past the chill by the time I turn left towards school at the top. I adjust the book strap, tightening it before breaking into an easy run to the main intersection where I catch my breath. As the light changes, I see buses leaving the school parking lot half a mile ahead, some turning left, some right, all headed to pick up middle schoolers for their turn before the teachers.
The musty smell of a building’s warm winter interior reaches me as I bound up the steps, first to my locker then on to class, where I slide into my seat.
I doodle as sweat dries, wondering about nothing, focused on creating an extra dimension on flat paper lined with fine blue lines. The teacher drones on, my brain at idle and on autopilot, listening for key words I learned long ago for avoiding scholastic trouble.
Fourth period comes to a close as I continue with doodling, this time in trig, making swirls and whirls in my mind while playing with the equations the teacher dumps on the board in flurries of white dust.
Bland, square pizza becomes lunch as I choke down bland lettuce and a cherry tomato masquerading as a salad. My only friends of the day laugh through half an hour before we return to afternoon classes.
After school I walk the track, trying to decide if I want to run my way into summer or pursue something along more scholarly lines. I stand drenched in cold humidity as the sun punches through it’s answer, hitting my face with bright answer.
Summer came and went. It was not the best, nor the last.
Seven long years of success and failure, then one day of long overdue success. Then another, and a third. A fourth. And a fifth.
You were born. My life changed. You left. You returned. Then left again. My life was complete.
Standing here again as the temperatures reach freezing. There’s no answer from the sun this time. I search the dark skies anyway. Two in the morning only returns blank stares from heaven lit by a dim city glow.
I still love the summers, but don’t know why. Perhaps you were there.