I was finally back. After approximately 2 years and 8 months, I was back at my old school in Bellevue, Nebraska. I had moved (about 2 ⅔ years ago) to Easton, Connecticut because my dad had found a new job in Westport. Bellevue is near Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska, though not the capital. That day had been nice and bright, with no clouds in the sky, and it was nice and crisp, which was a pleasant surprise, since it was towards the middle of August, and usually whenever we visited it was north of 90°F the whole trip. I looked out on the playground, remembering the time that I had spent with my friends playing on it, “Sacrificing” people down the slide in Sandman, running around playing tag, and some of the other games that made up our recess time and some of the happiest times of my childhood. As my family and I stepped inside of the gate, I remembered all of the mornings that my family had done this, since my mom had used to work there, letting us park just like we had a couple of minutes ago.
We had timed the visit so that we were there during our old classmates’s recesses, and since the 7th and 8th graders were out, I got to stay out to meet them. After a minute of looking around, I spied one of my friends playing football, (which was a nice reminder that not all things change) and got to watch the surprise on his face as he turned around and saw me. After saying hello, I went to find some of my other friends. I spotted a large group of them near the swings and went over to them. After taking a couple of seconds to figure out who I was (remember, it had been over 2 ½ years since I had last seen them), I got the same surprise and happiness as before, and I said hi to them too. After a quick laughter-filled game of Keep-Away with someone’s hat, we went over and squeezed onto the monkey bars like we used to. We talked about both the old and the new, remembering old times and learning new things. Some of the topics and people I knew pretty well about since we had chatted on Google Hangouts, but other topics and people completely surprised me with how much they had changed and grown. Some things made it feel like nothing had changed. Like I hadn’t been gone for 2 ⅔ years. Like I had been sick one day and back the next. But so much had changed. People had grown, we barely fit in our old monkey bar positions, and there were so many new faces and not anywhere near enough old. (Quite a few families at my school were military ones because there was a large airbase nearby, which meant that people moved fairly frequently.) It was one of those times that you just want to go on forever. Sadly, all things must come to an end, and the end of recess came all too soon.
The 8th graders had lunch then, so I ran over to where the rest of my family was, at my mom’s old office, grabbed my Jimmy John’s sandwich (Like Subway but better) and headed to the lunchroom. Once there, I found my friends (though for some reason boys and girls were separated, which made me a little sad because that meant that I couldn’t sit with all of them like I had wanted to), and sat down with them. I met a couple of people that I remembered, and met one or two of the new ones. It was nice, sitting back in the lunchroom with my friends, once again, like nothing had happened. Then, something a little different then what I remembered happened. One of my friends pulled out a huge bag with Oreos and offered some to us. How could I refuse? They were delicious. (We also dunked them in chocolate milk. They were some of the best Oreos I’ve had) As lunch came to a close, I felt sad, since it had been about 1,000 days since I had last seen them, and who knew how long until the next?
As I was walking with them to their next class, (Might as well milk my time with them for all it’s worth) I learned that they had Study Hall next, and since I wasn’t leaving quite yet since my sisters had either recess or lunch with their friends, I decided to see if I could stay with them for study hall. After asking one of the lead teachers (the principal wasn’t in the building) I was allowed to stay with them. During it we quietly had some fun, from discovering that their history textbook had “Communist Party, United States of America” in the index (sadly didn’t pan out, but that could have been funny), to participating in a drawing contest, which I easily lost. (It was kind of funny how bad mine were compared to theirs.) When Study Hall was done, I reluctantly parted with my friends, sad to go after having such a great time with them. I think we’re going back this August. Maybe I’ll see them, maybe I won’t, but it will be nice either way, no matter how much has changed.