Today as I left work, shuffling alongside the worked-out crowd of commuters, passing the same homeless, toothless men with their plastic bags, the same suited men and women, the same mothers and fathers anxious to get home to their children, today as I pushed the grimy metal turnstile again, I rewound my life exactly eight years.
On this day, eight years ago, at five o’clock. Would I have been home already? Probably not. I was involved in sports or theater or some extra curricular or other which keeps high schoolers out until dinner time. I guess track season is about right. We would have run outside today. Fifteen years old, and just starting to feel those pre-teen reigns slacken a little bit. Fifteen years old, and insanely uncomfortable in my body — incredibly unsure of most things involving myself, but man, how perfectly perfect.
There’s something special about that combination of adolescence and springtime. If I could bottle it up and give it a flavor, I would call it mojito: minty freshness with a squashed lime half at the bottom. I guess it’s all one big metaphor, but it makes me think of running. Makes me think of my first true love. Makes me think about the start of young adulthood and everything there still was to learn. About the method in which I was taught.
If we’re lucky, we are taught gradually. The big picture reveals itself slowly and steadily until we reach that age when we realize we don’t want the big picture anymore. We don’t want to commute with the masses. We want to run around the high school and come home to a warm house full of family. We want that tunnel vision: homework assignments, and finish lines, and butterflies that accompany first kisses.
That is my favorite kind of five o’clock. What’s yours?