I’ll be blunt: I was sorely tempted to use this story to rant about Country Day’s shortcomings. But with the current state of the world, I figured we’re all sad enough as it is.
Instead, here are five reasons the cancellation of in-person classes has been hitting me so hard:
After English ends, I head to the library, where Chris, Ted, Becca and Garrett are bent over their economics problem set.
Grind Time it is, then: No goofing off for 50 minutes. I pull out my physics homework and get to work.
“Chris?” I ask.
“Yeah? What’s up?” he says, looking up from his problem set.
“Can you help me with number 57?”
“Yeah, for sure.”
I slide my book over to him and wait for him to read the problem. He’s two homeworks behind me, but we both know who’s the physics tutor here.
Meanwhile, I ask Ted when that problem set is due.
“Next period,” Garrett answers for him.
I glance at Ted’s paper. He’s only one-fifth done.
Chris lets out an “Aha!” that tells me he’s ready, and I turn back toward him.
“Hey, buddy,” Anna greets me, Anu by her side. “Wanna eat on the backfield?”
“Yeah!” I grab my lunch from my locker. “Kaitlyn and I gotta microwave, though, so I’ll meet you. Did you text the others?”
“No, I’ll do that.”
After our food is heated, Kaitlyn and I walk to the back field.
“Oh, I see them,” Kaitlyn says.
I see them, too: a small group on the grass by the fence. It looks like Yumi ended up making it, too. I say as much as Kaitlyn and I join them.
I sit on the shady side, while Yumi and Anna sit in the sun, directly across where the tree’s shadow stops.
“I think today is the first day all week — no, all month — that we’ve all eaten together!” Jewel announces.
I recline into the wooden library chair. Last period of the day, and it’s Vibe Time, or 50 minutes of relaxing.
“Since we have free period last, I might actually be on time for ‘tracktice’ today,” I tell Chris, grinning.
Track practice — or tracktice — started last week, and every day, I’ve been late.
“Wait,” Jackson says. “We have paste-up today, so are you skipping?”
“No I’m going straight after.”
Chris tips his chair back and holds his phone at an obnoxiously high angle. His phone clicks loudly, and he cackles, revealing his terrible Snapchat selfie.
“Oh yeah!” I jump up. “I still need to do my streaks!”
I rest my phone against a backpack, set the timer, run out of the library and jump up facing the window. I rush back inside to check the result. Fail.
“What,” Jackson says slowly, “was that?”
“Her streaks, dude,” Chris replies.
“Can you change the song?” Jewel asks as she merges onto the freeway. She cranks up the volume as we shout the lyrics to “679” by Fetty Wap. By the time we arrive at Cordova High School for tracktice, we’re late (dang it!) and breathless from laughter.
“That boy, Arijit!” Coach Rick exclaims upon seeing me. “Do you know where he put your pole? He threw it over the fence! And now I can’t get it out because I don’t have the key, so you go over there with him and get it somehow.”
He’s trying to be stern, but halfway through, I burst out laughing at Arijit’s ridiculousness, and he can’t help but crack a smile, too.
I catch Arijit halfway across the field, and he leads me to the pole, explaining that the shed where the pole is usually stored was locked yesterday and that he can just climb back over the fence.
While he climbs, I update him on the status of my new pole — orange, as I requested. Soon we won’t have to share poles anymore.
After practice, I stumble to paste-up and am greeted with “Hey!” and “You’re back!” as I enter the Cave.
A few hours later, I catch a glimpse of the sun setting through the window. “Everyone!” I yell. “Look at that sunset! It’s beautiful! I’m going to take pictures, come on!”
To my surprise, everyone actually follows me out to the back field. The sophomores play on the playground while we seniors stay back and watch, like exhausted parents.
Another few hours later, Anna asks if anyone wants to brave the darkness for a bathroom break.
We make it to the teachers’ lounge in one piece and start to head back. “Wait, we forgot Arijit … ”
“AHH!” Arijit jumps out of the trash can yelling, triggering a cacophony of screams, curses and laughter.
Larkin and I vow revenge.
This is just some of what I looked forward to every school day.
Now, Vibe Time is virtual and Grind Time is solitary; I eat lunch alone in my kitchen; I never ended up using my new pole — much less going to a track meet; my final paste-up will be spent sans life-threatening bathroom breaks.
But I don’t want to end this on a sad note: I want to acknowledge all the good things I had to look forward to. I want to say thank you to everyone I mentioned and everyone I didn’t.
Thank you all for giving me reasons to miss school.
Thank you for making it so hard to say goodbye.
— By Emma Boersma
Originally published in the May 26 edition of the Octagon.