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Time After Time



There is a crew power washing the stadium across the parking lot and as they work we are all a captive audience to their playlist.  Whoever commandeered the stereo these last few days has delivered the most indulgent string of memories. Classic rock as they blast away years of bleacher wear and tear, Stevie Wonder over the last fire drill of the year, and now Cindy Lauper spins a mystical spell over the motion that is playing out in front of me.  Time after time.


Her voice washes over the scene in a way that is almost too cinematic, too curated for a randomly occurring moment. I step a few more paces out of the shaded back entrance of the school and into the sunlight.  It is a perfect 75 degree almost summer day.


The kids are out in full effect.  Whether it’s Happy Days or Dazed and Confused we all know this scene as familiar - if it was our lived experience or just in the bank of the collective Hollywood consciousness.  It’s high school at the end of the year. 


As the seniors hug each other, thank the teachers, and wave goodbye, the freshman are busy reciting monologues from Romeo and Juliet in the hallway.


Every Hallway. 


 Everywhere.


Because the stories we’ve known forever continue to play out.  Star crossed lovers, yearbooks being signed, future plans, hopes and dreams and stadium seating being polished and prepared for the right of passage that is graduation.  Ceremony and regalia.  Endings and beginnings of journeys.


Now is as good a time as any to tell you I’m new here.  It’s been a few short months and everything has changed.  I’m close enough to have a context for what I am seeing, but removed enough to have the floating vantage point of an outsider, a temporary anthropologist until I am mixed and melted and perhaps become more a part of this whole picture.


I am fine with the distance.  Comfortable even.  Perhaps it is my age.  Perhaps it is the experience warranted in those years.  I get the sense that all of us and none of us really belong here.  It’s a very fisheyed kind of wide angle view.  Like what I’ve heard from astronauts when they talk about looking at earth through the window of their spacecraft.   When they come to the realization that every person they know and will ever know is simultaneously having their best, worst, most mundane days all at the same time.  On a little cloudy green and blue planet just close enough and far enough away from the sun.  That is spinning and surrounded by an ever expanding and silent space.  In all that entropy there is a moment of complete quiet.


Maybe this is the existential anchor leg as I close in on forty.  None of it is what I thought it would be and that is ok.  Because slightly awkward teenagers will be told that they need to recite the words of Shakespeare and they will practice in every available hallway.  They will plead with the imaginary ghosts that haunt their monologues, and take refuge in the silent pauses between words. 


It is the passing of a season.  A culmination of so many things- a future running towards us whether we like it or not.


But for now, it is just a moment.  As I stand on the steps and watch the kids in their current reality the next one comes up over the distant hill.


The stadium speakers call out in a heartache filled and wistful melancholy about how if we fall she will catch us.  I walk to my car and turn the key in the ignition on my way to get an ordinary lunch in the middle of my ordinary day.  No matter how much changes it seems that we just keep coming back to these same stories.


Time after time.


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