Alarm


clock

On the first day of school there is a long walk under skinny brown trees, burnt by summer, dirty air, no water. Into the chain link playground, hot hot pavement, blistering metal jungle gym.

Through the pale green double doors, clack-clack, down the long hall, shiny with paste wax, crawling with kids, makes you think of pesticide, stomping your feet to chase them away, swinging a broom out ahead.

Into the new room, the new old room, moral lessons posted at three feet intervals. Sit at a small round table on a red plastic chair. The bell rings, rings, rings.

You are asleep. The alarm is ringing. Snooze button. Snooze button. Snooze button.

Up eventually, first day of school. Past brown trees, barking dogs, across hot soft pavement.

You are pretty sure this is hell, or purgatory at least. Here is your lack of sympathy for your mom and all her years of teaching transformed as if by magic into repetitive mewling self-pity. “Ma, you don’t like it, get out. Get out.” Ringing ringing ringing in your ears but dammit it’s the alarm again and you are alarmed, we are alarmed, you and I, every time, like this has never happened before.

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