My son, like me thirty-one years before,
is the new kid in a new school.
Driving to school, we talk about nerves.
I tell about my experience. The hardest thing I ever had faced.
Then, I hear the advice coming from my mouth – as if from some seasoned elder.
“You can’t rush things.”
“You have to give it time.”
“There will be a few bumpy days, but hang in there.”
“Just be yourself.”
“Once people get to know you, they’ll like you, even love you, for who you are.”
Arriving at school, grey clouds are full.
Rain is falling.
We pull up to the door; he gets out of the car.
“I love you.”
Through rain-splattered windows, I watch him
walk into the building,
into a swarm of unknown people and challenges.
Suddenly, it is thirty-one years ago.
I am the new kid,
arriving at school,
wading into a sea of strange faces.
Both invisible and conspicuous.
Watching my son walk in, I see myself walking in.
I sit for an eternity in five seconds.
The light turns green, and I pull away,
leaving both my son and myself.