Thursday, June 9, 2011

Third Person Thursday: Marty's Race to Freedom

Marty stared at the clock and completely ignored the announcements over the loud speaker. He wondered if the teachers had secretly discovered some way to manipulate the passage of time to slow the half-day and actually make it take longer than a full day. That was how it felt.

He wouldn’t put it past them. It was just the sort of diabolical thing they would spend their time working on to make the last day of school drag out and torture the schoolchildren a while longer. They certainly weren’t putting time into making their lessons any more interesting.

But even as Marty cursed the teachers’ suspected Einstein-esque villainy, he refused to have his spirit broken. No matter how slowly, the hands of the clock were still rotating toward summer vacation. Soon, victory would be his. He would be free from the constraints of higher learning. No longer would his days be full of the torment that was the fourth grade. The icy grip of authority would melt in the sun and leave him free to the brain atrophying pursuits of summer.

Provided he could survive the last five minutes. The longest five minutes ever.

The principal continued to talk about something over the loud speaker that Marty tried his damndest to completely ignore. Despite this, a few words and phrases stormed their way into his consciousness. Blah, blah, blah, achievement, blah, summer safety, blah, blah, vacating school grounds promptly.

Eventually…RRRRRIIINNNNGGGGGGGGGG!!! The big payoff. It was officially over. He was free.

Marty had braced his left foot against the leg of his desk. He used it the way a sprinter does a starting block and launched himself down the aisle between his classmates’ desks and out the door. He was somehow the first to exit the classroom despite sitting in the back row.

He was also pretty certain that this moved knocked his desk over and into his neighbor’s because as he left, he heard a lot of banging and a girl shout, “Ouch!” The voice sounded like Janet McCarthy, whose desk would have been directly in the line of potential casualties, but this was collateral damage that Marty had already accounted for and he didn’t much care for Janet.

Down the hallway Marty raced. He created as much space as possible whenever passing a classroom full of seventh graders. With the eighth graders already out all week due to their graduation, they had become increasingly brazen about being the oldest ones in the school and a few fifth graders had already been forced to lick the bottoms of various seventh grade shoes. Marty wanted nothing but the taste of summer vacation in his mouth today.

While he zipped between his fellow students, Marty imagined that he was going faster and faster. He envisioned himself as a racecar, advancing through the pack and overtaking his competitors. The lockers that lined the hall seemed to blur in his peripheral vision as he approached Millenium Falcon-type warp speed and then burst through the exterior door and out into the play lot.

It wasn’t until he was a block away, any sight of the school obscured by the nearby homes, that Marty slowed to a walk. It was the first time since that propelling push off his desk leg that he could be sure his feet were touching the ground.

With all things school firmly behind him for the next three months, Marty soaked in every item of sensory input. The robins’ song sounded beautiful in direct contrast to how they seemed to taunt him every morning on his way to school. The sun shone warm and comforting upon his skin instead of menacingly through the classroom windows causing the stifling humidity that caused his uniform shirt to cling to his back. The residences along the street all seemed to have perfectly manicured lawns and the smell of their fresh cut grass hung sweetly in the air. Marty took a deep breath of it and sighed contentedly.

The entire length of his mile long walk home was an absolute delight. Marty sometimes had to keep himself from skipping down the sidewalk in fear of a classmate seeing him and calling him a sissy. By the time he arrived at his front porch, he was relaxed and happy. It felt as if he had already been out of school for several weeks.

“Mom, I’m home,” Marty shouted as he walked in the front door. He purposely kicked his school shoes across the living room, hoping his mother would throw them out in frustration and further remove any reminder of the school year from the house. Then he made his way up the stairs to his bedroom, shedding the other pieces of his school uniform as he went, leaving them wherever they happened to fall.

At long last, he collapsed in his bed in his underwear. He put his hands behind his head and stretched out, feeling the air conditioning on every inch of his skin. He took a deep breath, then another, then another.

After a few minutes, he rose from his bed and wandered through the house in search of his mother. Upon finding her in the laundry room, removing clothes from the washing and tossing them into the dryer, he stood in the doorway and waited for her to notice him.

Finally she looked up and said, “Hi, honey. I didn’t hear you come in. Happy summer vacation.”

Marty stared at her blankly, sighed and then said, “I’m so boooooooored.”

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