Parking lots

8:58 AM

I pulled into the parking lot in my green, 1994 Altima with the broken speedometer. I turned the car off but didn't take the key out of the ignition. The sun was bright and behind my brand new sunglasses I looked at Davis High School. The old brick of the auditorium was about twenty feet in front of me and I had the strangest desire to run out and touch it, to run my hands over the brick. I was parked in the second stall, nobody was next to me on the right and an empty forest green car was on my right.

I just sat behind the safety of my sunglasses and started at the auditorium and open courtyard of Davis High. The north-end door was pulled open and shut but I didn't see the people going inside. Out the back of my dirty rearview mirror I saw people pull in to the parking lot, but I never saw them get out. I looked forward again to see a bus pull up and a swarm of people rush into the school all at once. It was the last time I would see that. My car was warm and a part of me wanted to fall asleep behind the dark lenses of my glasses. I didn't need to keep looking. Keep seeing my past walk right in front of me and eventually, continue on without me. It felt like being in a pond for a long time, knowing how the water felt, knowing when the seasons would change, getting a stuck in a snag sometimes but never letting it hold me. But now I was being plucked out of the pond. And the pond would keep on going just fine without me. But I was being tossed into the ocean now. It was different, it was bigger, it was scary.

I felt myself get teary behind the sunglasses. I know I shouldn't be, I was excited to be moving on. I knew I couldn't come back next year and I really didn't want to. So why was this flood of emotion hitting me right now? I thought back to being dropped off in this very parking lot as a sophomore before I could drive. I thought of the late nights when I drove out of this parking lot exhausted. I thought of the early mornings I pulled into this parking lot, also exhausted. I thought of the hundreds of days that had started out with this very parking lot.

And then a car pulled up next to me. A red one. The music was loud and the girl was jamming in her sunglasses. I smiled. She was a junior that I knew. She got out of the car and slammed the door. I couldn't help but smile as I took of my dark sunglasses. It wasn't so painful to look. Nostalgic maybe, but not painful. The tears were happy-tears. Tears of joy and excitement and wonder. So I picked up my nearly empty back-pack. Opened the car door to the summer morning, and walked inside Davis High School for the very last time.

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