Today was supposed to be senior skip day, the day where all the seniors pack up their things and head to the beach. I don’t know what the big deal is over it, but some schools in the city have made severe punishments to keep kids from participating in it. My school took a different approach. They called off the afternoon and made a baseball game between the teachers and the seniors.
My friends and I, Anne, Jacinda, Esther, Jericho, and a few others who came and went, sat in the rickety old bleachers and cheered. Jacinda, Anne and I are the sort of people who cheer for everything and everyone, singing to the songs and fist pumping. Esther is the one who says, “Who are these people? Do you know these people? I don’t know these people,” and shakes her head. She’s tiny and bony, less than half my weight, and walks with dancers poise, like she may take flight at any moment. Anne is loud and the most immature fifteen year old I have ever met. She had a baby face and it’s often red from laughter as she tries to make Esther punch herself (stop punching yourself, why are you punching yourself?). Jacinda is a year older than us, but she’s from the Philippines where kids go to school a year after Canadians. She’s sweet and she loves books and movies. She’s also one of those girls who isn’t afraid to talk to people or be close to them. She screams for absolutely no reason much of the time, which generates many perplexed glances toward our general area. Jericho is smart, very smart. He’s also shy. But he’s very nice.
I spent the baseball game with them. Before the game Jacinda drove us back in her mom’s van because she has a learners permit. It was strange. I’ve never been in a car with a driver who’s younger than 30. In a year I’ll be doing the exact same thing.
There was a hot dog eating contest between two homeroom teachers because they were tied for points. It was a bit sickening to watch, seeing as I’ve been vegetarian my whole life, but there were sardines on one of them so I wanted to see the reaction of the person who had to eat it. The crowd was so big that I could only see one person stuffing their face, but I’m sure it would have been priceless.
The game ended half an hour before the end of the school day. Jacinda left and Anne, Jericho, Esther and I made our separate ways home. Anne lives five minutes away in the condos parallel to the school, Esther goes to a bus stop outside of an old folks home, and Jeri bikes. I have to walk to my sisters middle school and take the bus with her from there, then it’s a twenty minute ride from the suburbs to downtown and a ten minute walk home.
We live in an okay area, not too bad, but not too good. There are people who walk around in high end, fashionable clothing, and there are those few who look dirty and walk funny. But my neighborhood is green, that’s what I like about it. And the smell of old trees, moist soil, and gardens in a windy city like mine is always sweet. The bleeding hearts are blooming and the perennials are emerging. The trees arc over the street and leaves splay over parked cars. It’s starting to feel like summer.