The last day of school was the first day of summer.
For him this had always meant freedom. It had meant the escape from classrooms that for weeks now had been too hot and from lectures from teachers who were as weary and exhausted as he was of the long, cold year that had passed. It had meant freedom for mornings to walk the open forests that surrounded the town and for afternoons to wander down the hill to Main Street where the smell of roasting peanuts made the air like a carnival and where old men stood outside the pool hall and smoked and spit and where he could enter the cafe with only change in his pocket and be served burgers and fries and leave with change still in his pocket.
But this was his last year and now the last day of the school he had known for these years. It was the school he had as a child dreamed of going to when he grew to be tall like those older boys in the neighborhood who had worn the uniform and played basketball and football and been the strength of the town. Before now he had never understood the emotions of the girls in his class who became sad when each school year ended; but now he felt it. Now there was nothing else and it came to him what a mine of riches was this school where men and women invested their lives in the lives of others – of the younger. The men and women who had benefited from the sacrifices of their own parents and made their way to colleges and there heard the music of the spheres and then came home again to bring light and love to this little place.
And he wondered about the girl. Whether she knew how he felt. He had never spoken to her of it. The emotion was so new to him he was not sure what it was and he felt no assurance of his standing or that he could offer her anything now that would make his suit responsible. But still her face haunted him in daydreams and even in dreams and now the place and time for communion with her and all else he had known and looked forward to was ending.