Yesterday’s Strange is Tomorrow’s Normal

Photo by Pawel Kryj

Photo by Pawel Kryj

Everyone was busy looking back on a year she’d rather forget.  From the sounds of it, there wasn’t a whole lot of wonderful for the rest of the world to look back on either.

And yet they believed in a “better” year to come.  Wouldn’t take much to make it that way, sounded like.

If only it were as easy to start life new as it was to start a year new. Turn a page and there it was: fresh, clean, not marked, marred or smudged. But here she was, sitting in a history class with a coach who would rather discuss plays than teach anything that they were supposed to learn how to handle the future from.  Her mother was at her second of three jobs by now, but at least she had work.  Her current step father was probably on the couch in his wife-beater and boxers watching court TV and “working” on his next invention.

Invention.  There’s a book she would read: How to Invent a New Life. She already knew the mantras: Act, don’t react.  Pursue your dreams. Be the change you want to see…

She wanted to see the lazy man out of the house.  She wanted to see her mother on ocassion when she wasn’t too tired to do anything other than get high.

Maybe it was time for her to leave.  How long before they’d miss her?  How long before they got the courage to call the police to report her missing? Exactly as long as it took to need her to cook, and then to move their “goods” out of the trailer. They’d have to be sober to do any of that.

She could turn them in.  Truly she should.  But the stories she heard about state care.  Oh my goodness.  This was bad, but she knew this bad.

No one should feel this hopeless, not on the second day of a brand new year.

photo by ginny warner

photo by ginny warner

She closed her eyes for awhile, but not long enough for her teacher to think she was sleeping in class.  When she opened them again she started looking at the way the light shimmered on the glass pencil holder on the teacher’s desk, at the way sunbeam lit up the dust mote glitter, making it look like tiny confetti falling by the window.  The girl in front of her must have had corn dogs for lunch.  The smell reminded her of ferris wheels and warm funnel cakes.  Her jacket felt soft against her arms and she was warm, and full. In another ten minutes, she would know the material her math teacher would demonstrate.  Yesterday, not so much.  But she studied it last night and worked problem after problem after problem till she had it.

Yesterday’s strange was today’s familiar.

Tomorrow could be different.  With a little more study.


“Self education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” ~ Isaac Azimov, born January 2, 1920


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