The wind softly whistles in my hair as I cruise down the streets of Neosho. Sticky sweat hugs my skin as I jam out to the music playing through my headphones. I make a quick turn with my green bike down another small road. The Endurance is her name, and it is rightfully earned. My bike has never failed me during the hundreds of battles that I have fought against the countless hills of this small town.
As I ride my bike, the lyrics of Snoopy and the Red Baron softens in my ears, as random thoughts run rampant in my mind.
I’m a Senior. Just the thought fills my mouth with a bitter-sweet taste. I can taste the sweetness of honey that I’m almost out of school, and soon will be away from Algebra forever! But I also taste the sourness of vinegar of the thought of how many friends will be moving away from here. I know I can’t keep them forever. They’re growing up, just as I am, but I’m a selfish person. I have not spent enough time with them. Freshmen year feels like it happened centuries ago, but it feels like I have only spent a couple of moments with my friends. I have memories of corn mazes and dances and plays and debate tournaments, but these images flash in my mind like a high-speed film. I having nothing concrete.
I have seen how cruel life can be within the walls of Neosho High, when my best friend was ripped away from me, but I have experienced more joy than pain. I’ve seen my friends smile on stage as they held a new trophy in their hands. I’ve seen them charm a violin into making a soothing song. And I’ve seen them march across a football field with brass instruments on a cold night just to entertain a crowd.
My thoughts are interrupted as a car passes on my left. I ride down another hill with a fresh breeze tangling my hair and take a left turn.
I’m a Senior, it sounds so foreign. How did the years from Freshmen year to now fly by? I thought I would be ready to graduate and blaze a new trail in the world, but now that it’s here, I’m not so sure.
I am not yet ready to leave the amazing people who I have met within those walls, teachers and friends alike. I am not yet ready to leave the walls of my first kiss, the walls that I’ve bled in [blood drive]. I hate change, I abhor it. Why can’t things stay the same? Let it be spring all year with the nice, mild weather that can be enjoyed outside. Let everyone keep their friends that they cherish. Let everyone keep their innocence, their smiles, their hope. . . . But life does change. Spring becomes summer. Summer becomes fall. Friends come and go, the gift of innocence snatched away with pervertiness, smiles become frowns, and hope fades away into disdain.
A squirrel dashes up a tree as a robin flies over my head. They don’t have a care in the world. A simple life. Find food. Eat it. Sleep. Find food. Defecate. Sleep. Food. Sleep. Food.
Nothing changes, but perhaps that’s why life changes for us. A simple life has no meaning, no significance. If everything’s the same, then there’s nothing special. Life will be as dull as the gray skies of Communist Russia. I hate to admit it, but life needs change.
I can’t keep my friends forever. I can’t be selfish.
Life will change. I am not yet ready, but graduation is not yet here. I still have time to spend with those who I cherish, and time to mold my mind to be ready, to learn to let them go into the world and be who they want to be.
I take out my headphones as I chain my bike to a light pole. With the books in my backpack, I walk on the asphalt towards the library.
I open those doors, and with a heavy breath, I walk into a gallery filled with new worlds waiting to be cracked open.