I spent part of my morning in my old middle school. When I went to school there in the mid-80’s, it was not in very good shape. (Honestly, that’s an understatement…seriously!) The district decided to build a new school instead of refurbishing the old building. But, the building was eventually redone and made into a performing arts center/office building. It houses a hospital lab, so I went there this morning to get my blood drawn for some testing.
As I walked through the halls, I caught glimpses of the girl that attended school there 6th-8th grade. As I sat in the waiting room, I heard whispers from the wall of a preteen girl who became a teenager within these walls. The paint is different, the rooms have changed, although the odd, old smells still linger…where is that girl? What would that girl think of the woman that sat in that building 30 years later? Would she be proud? Disappointed?
I remember as a twelve year old girl, that big brick building seemed so intimidating. That transition from elementary school to middle school was frightening. Who was I at 12? Where did I fit in the social hierarchy of middle school? It was within these walls that I came of age—my first kiss, my first dance with a boy, my first heartbreak, the death of my beloved grandfather. All of these monumental occasions happened while I was here. All of these things that made me who I am today.
So, what would that girl think of this woman sitting in the waiting room? I think she would be surprised…surprised that I was still living in small town, Pennsylvania. That young girl was full of big dreams and faraway places. That girl dreamed of coffee along the Seine and walks along the Thames. Actually, I’ve done those things, so she might be proud of that! I think she would be surprised that I have 2 children. Children were definitely NOT on the agenda for her. She wanted a high class, fast lifestyle. That girl knew she was far too selfish for kids.
What would that girl think of this woman I’ve become?
I am haunted by the whispers from the walls
of long-ago promises and dreams.
I am shadowed by the figures of whom I thought I’d be
and feel small in comparison.
I am overwhelmed with regret of things left undone
and roads not taken.
I am mourning the death of youth, of naivety
paying respects to the dreams entombed within.
I am missing the vibrancy of the spring
while dreading the coming winter.