10 May 2012

Summer Calling

The winter went by, windy and dry, and all we talked about for months was how we needed rain.

The rain came with May, and we've spent the whole month avoiding the puddles that curl around the edges of the school fence. So easy for us to forget rain and talk about how we need some sun instead.

And now it is 80° outside. I remember thinking to myself, "Hm, I wonder if it'll be warm today" yesterday as I stood in front of the wardrobe before picking out a long-sleeve-and-scarf combo. I biked to the post office to pay a bill during my off-hour and spent the last ten minutes prepping for Romeo and Juliet by sponging the sweat off my neck. More than one tank-topped Spaniard gave me a questioning glance as I biked back to school, red-faced and dripping. Which reminds me: must look up translation for "sweat beast."

All the windows are open here on the third floor to prevent suffocation. The kids are getting itchy and tired; they can't stay awake in class anymore. They just can't remember things, like how to capitalize a sentence or the difference between "he" and "him." They're starting to grate on each others' nerves: things that elicited laughs at Christmas have now faded into sighs. They're done with summer, they're ready for homework, they need a break from each other, and they don't want the break to come quite yet. We're all pushing against each other right when we really need to be holding each other close.

But it's going to be too hot and sweaty for that in just a few days.

Outside, the high school kids are sorting through toys and clothes for Rastrillo (the school's gigantic rummage sale/carnival)--donations from all the families who've been scraping through, weeding out their stuff in preparation for downsizing or moves to new countries--and the smell of popcorn is sifting out from the kitchen, and I can hear whistles blowing from the basketball court outside my window, and my contacts are scratchy in my eyes. The Beatles are singing, "Here comes the sun," and I am thinking, "Here comes a nap." Still, I can't nap--gotta talk to the yearbook printer after school, then Lark Rise to Candleford with a group of friends, then crashing face-first into bed.

Everything is ending, and it's exhausting, but it's really more like beginning than anything. In three weeks, we'll be done sorting and selling and grading. All the life we've poured into making this last year a good one will be relegated to the pages of the yearbook for safekeeping. The past. Kinda like when we flip our calendars to January and talk about "last year," though it was only a day away.

I'm trying to keep the kids, and myself, from skipping too far ahead, even though we're all straining to get to this summer, to next year. And when we get there, we remember what it really means. New students. New teachers. Families leaving for three months. Families leaving forever. It's not quite so comforting then, but we can't help ourselves. The popcorn is swirling through the air. The pile of toys is ever-widening under the Rastrillo tent. The heat is tugging my eyelids down, but the tiniest breeze is peeking around the corners of my classroom and poking me alive.

Metamorphosis. All the cozy caterpillars are breaking out of the chrysalis and tasting summer, sticky and sweet.

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