Salida

 

Salida.
 
I have entered the last day: a new dawning; first sight of the great, green breast of a new world. Over the curvature of the Earth, my Golden Time is rolling into sight.

The end of the school year: shall I learn how to oil paint? Perhaps I should begin that great novel that Christopher Hitchens knew was in me. Perhaps I shall loaf.

The final lessons fall through my fingers. We write, we read, we play: we play a little more than the writing and the reading – and the writing is a little hasty, with half an eye (both them and me) on the great shelf of blissed nothing that lies ahead of us all.

My childhood summer holidays were wasted in the disused quarry across the High Street from our bungalow. In this quarry, I used to fashion small, clay houses for salamanders and newts from the muddy banks of a stagnant lake.

I thought they were houses; they didn’t have windows or doors. They were mausoleums.

I teach Year 6 and, as such, these children will leave me for good in the next few hours. I will see most of them again, no doubt, but I can’t be sure of that. Some may soon become nothing more than memories to me. Some perhaps even less than memories.

I scan the class, watch them chat amongst themselves, sometimes looking up at me (perhaps they are saying something that shouldn’t be said). Which of them will remain a part of my life, and which of them will fade from me? I hope to remember them all and know that I will fail to do so – until perhaps they drop to me, like madeleines, in my dotage.

Memory: triggers, both kind and cruel.

I look to the door. This room (like all rooms not in Hell) has a door. And I look to the children.

Soon, we will be leaving. Not entering. 

Leaving.

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