Aug 04

Walk on by...

I am in high school. My stomach has been tied in a knot all morning and as I turn to head down the main hall I see that already there is a small crowd around the board and I feel my heart speed up, almost like it wants to climb up my throat and go screaming out the window because I know what they're looking at.
I saunter. I walk slow and disinterested like.
I know I'm not kidding anyone by walking this way, but somehow it makes me feel better. I stay in the middle of the corridor. Maybe I won't even glance at the board, I'll just walk on by, like I know, like I really know that this time my name will be on the list.
I stay casual. My heart is so loud I can't even hear. My stomach feels like it's going to wrestle me to the cold, stone tile floor and I can just see myself writhing in pain as all the others stand around and point and laugh. Loser. Loser.
Would they really do that? Is this how it happens at this school?
GEVALT!
I am jolted. It's Jim. I've been playing hockey with him since fifth grade.
GEVALT! WE MADE IT!
And just like that, I look over to the board and like it's a movie close up, I can see my name, out of all of them, from all that distance and I just feel this warmth climb up my back and over the top of my head and I turn and go to the board and I read the names, all 15 of them, alphabetical, until I get to mine, all formal like, and there it is. All those dawn runs, two-a-days, crazy Mr. Torrey whapping our shin guards with a stick in jump-over drills, shoveling the rink and more sprints. But there it was. Me. On varsity.