It all started right when the day ended. I left Spanish class and merged into the herd of people rushing to the locker bay. I made it to my locker, put my books away, and grabbed my coat. From the other end of the locker bay I could hear Jon making his usual end-of-the-day bird noises. I couldn't help but chuckle at his idiocy. Sammy opened her locker next to me, grabbed her stuff, and walked away. Katie was at her locker too. I stopped and watched both of them walk away, and I thought about the way things used to be. Hard to believe less than a year ago we were really close friends. I felt depressed thinking that we used to be so close, yet now, I'm little more than an acquaintance.. My friendship with them reduced to a shadow of it's former self today.
I didn't dwell on the thought for long. I put on my coat and headed to Knowledge Bowl practice. Mitch and I were the only people there so we didn't bother practicing. I left and stopped by Schultz's room, but he had already left for the wrestling meet. I stopped by a few other rooms. They were gone too. I decided to head to the Intermediate school to visit some of my old teachers. When I got down there all the doors were locked. I figured they were all at the meet.
As I was taking the long walk back to the high school, I started to think about my past. (It's become a common habit of mine lately, and I'm rather fond of it.) Vivid memories drifted into my mind as I walked. Memories from days ago, a month ago, five months ago, a year ago, three years ago - they all floated out of obscurity. There was no real form to them though. They were just a hazy blur formed of the images and thoughts of seventeen years.
When I reached the high school, I stopped and stared at the cafeteria. I thought of my freshman year and the whole room seemed different. Days spent with Derrek, Bill, Mike, Stan, and C-Berg at our lunch table came roaring back to me. I could almost see them sitting at our old spot. The pride I felt from being welcomed into their group returned with the memories. I thought of those days in study hall spent with C-Berg when he would sit by the window and tell me hilarious stories of his adventures. I stood there, and for a moment I felt like I was back with them.
I started down the hallway towards the classrooms. My footsteps echoed loudly in the absolute silence of the long passage as I walked. My back ached from carrying the heavy backpack on my shoulders for so long, but I didn't really care. My attention was enraptured by my surroundings. I had traveled that hallway thousands of times, but this time it seemed different. Recollections from all three years culminated into one feeling. Memories of walking with Mike, with Jon, with Katie, with Liz, and with Sammy all blended into one. Clips of conversations that I held with people faded in and out in my mind. I looked at the display cases as I passed them and the art that used to reside in them seemed to return before my eyes.
When I made it to the end of the hallway, I looked in Carlson's room, but it was dark. I turned down the short hallway to the other long passage and checked in Voeltz's room - also dark. I had nothing left to do, so I decided to head home. I started walking back down the hall. I stopped at each one of the cases and looked at all of the things on display. Pictures of people I've known for so long adorned the wall behind the protective glass. As I looked at them, more memories floated into my mind. I couldn't help but smile as a familiar warmth filled me.
After looking at the cases for several minutes, I turned and headed out the door. Powder snow was falling heavily as I stepped out into the cold. The keys were jingling in my hand as I crossed the street and headed towards the van. I was halfway across the parking lot when I stopped and looked back at the school. The icy wind was blowing big tufts of snow in my face, but I didn't care. I stared at the high school as realization dawned on me. So many of my classmates and friends view the school as a temporary prison. Standing there in the snow, I began to grasp what I had been feeling for the past half hour. It's a home, a place where I can go and be surrounded by good memories and great people. It's a home where I've laughed, cried, studied, practiced, lived, loved, and mourned. It's a building I know almost as well as my own house. It's a place I've spent almost three years of my life in. It's a place where I've gained new friends, and I've lost old ones. But most of all, it's a home where I know I'll always be welcome.
That's kind of deep...
You're a pretty good writer. If you''re thinking of trying a bigger project, check out NaNoWriMo.org. The contest doesn't start until November, but until then it's still a good online writing community where you'll find helpful people with great ideas.