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Only when he looked at his reflection in the dirty windows of the classrooms did the light and noise fade.
And the last, belated: “Have a good day at school!”
People rushed to get their schedules being handed out at the counseling office, him among them. Hurried, sweaty hands gripped the paper as elbows and backpacks loaded with books jostled the fragile piece of paper until it was ripped with warped circles where the fingers had grasped it..
Classes were a frenzy of light and movement. Students and teachers alike were moving: students to their desks, to their friends, the bathroom, walking off nerves, pacing back and forth. Teachers were much the same, knowing how their first day went would set the pace for the rest of the year. Lights flicked across his vision: the murky light of the cloudy day, the bright fluorescent classroom lights, the magenta color of the girl’s hair in front of him, the starched white of the collars in the uniforms that marched across campus. Only when he looked at his reflection in the dirty windows of the classrooms did the light and noise fade.
He had always hated the first day of school.
The first day of school. White uniform shirt, blazer, tie. Socks lurking… under the bed, he thought suddenly. The hands on the clock ticked closer to the second bell, still some minutes away. Hands calmly grabbed schoolbag and sack lunch. The screen door creaked as he strode through it, giving a half-hearted wave over his shoulder.
“Have a good day at school!”
The campus was empty of people and noise and rush when he got his schedule. He sat on a bench and watched as hurried, sweaty hands gripped paper; he was in his class when backpacks loaded with books jostled through the halls. His papers were still neat, razor-sharp edges and smooth, unblemished creamy sheets with black type sat on his desk.
He cut through the crowds, each step told others and himself that he knew where he was going and how fast he intended to get there. Colors and noise faded as his eyes caught and held the plain whiteness of his papers.
The fist day of school wasn’t so bad, he thought.