Last Day of a Old School
(You can listen to this piece in season episode 33 of the podcast)
The girls’ bathroom on the 1st floor is flooded for the seventh time this school year making the line for the 2nd floor girls’ bathroom wrap around the corner after lunchtime. There is a ceiling leak in the front office from the weekend rain that drips into a metal trash can. Loudly. They removed the asbestos decades ago, but they should have replaced it with some sort of insulation because the classrooms bake in the Floridian spring heat and freeze in winter months. Everyone complains. Custodians set up illegal space heaters every December that teachers squirrel away when “the district” comes. Kids bring hand-held fans with mist sprays in the last days before summer.
In short, the school is old. And on my last day at this dilapidated pile of bricks I thought I would have been happy to be done with its rusty lockers. I thought I would have loved to walk away from the cracked black top basketball court or the crabgrass growing in-between the shower stalls in the locker rooms. I assumed I would have relished leaving behind a school whose sign reads “Peabod High School” because the “y” in “Peabody” fell off midway through the school year. But I’m none of these things. I’m eighteen and I’m graduating, and I now read newspaper articles and world news reports. I pay attention to political debates, and famine crisis, and local crime rates. And on this last day at Peabody High it has hit me that the problems of this old school, the butt of many of my teenage jokes, are but a preamble to the true brokenness of the adult life I am on the precipice of entering.