Sep 26, 2012
On my way to school
The fog surrounds me, muffling the sound of the cars driving by on a nearby busy street, the only sign they are there at all. All around me, cold fog, like a steamed up bathroom mirror, softens the black shapes that could be trees across the street. The fog smells like wet asphalt and soil and sky.
My eyes focus on the sidewalk before me. Each larger square divided into 4 equal parts, my right foot in the right square, my left foot avoids the lines and takes a big step into the diagonal left square. I shorten my steps and begin stepping in every square, still avoiding the lines. I look up again and am met by a blanket of gray mist.
The moisture clings to my eyelashes and the edges of my hair that stick out around my hood. I stop for a moment and listen. No bird sings, no bug chirps, all sounds are distant and covered. I hear the sounds of water dripping off of tree branches onto the leaves below. I imagine I am alone in the world, covered by a wooly blanket of moisture.
As I approach an intersection, I see cars, with lights like eyes, peering out at me, squinting through the fog. The silence is so complete I can hear the sound the red hand makes as it flashes. Click-Click Click-Click Click-Click. I wait patiently for the light to change to cross.
For a moment, my 9 year old brain remembers to be careful as I cross the road, and now I am squinting right and left and right again, looking for lights flying toward me. I listen. I don't hear tires on asphalt, I cross when the little green man pops on.
Safely on the other side, suddenly the school looms up before me. The metal fence criss-crossing, small beads of moisture hanging and reflecting the gray. It's like a mysterious building looming in the mist. When my parents can't give me a ride, I catch the bus an hour before school starts to go to a different school across town, so there are no crossing guards, no children, no parents, just a silent bench waits for me in the fog.
As I reach the bench and consider whether I risk sitting on the cold and more than likely wet bench, the hiss of school bus brakes draws my attention to my ride. The large yellow bus seems to glow in the fog, a warm and dry respite for this weary traveler.
I climb on, my tennis shoes squeaking on the rubber steps and greet the bus driver, I am the second stop on the route, so there is only one other child on the bus. I smile shyly and sink into a faux leather seat that smells sharply of sweat and dirty hands, and turn to look out the window at the fog swirling away from the bus.
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