Monday, February 25, 2013

The Hurdles

Lessons learned in elementary school extend way beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic...

The Hurdles
By Desiree Glass

Peering out the window, breeze blowing in
Hair flying
Chatting friends by my side, bouncing up and down on the bumpy bus ride
The pleasant ride that screeched to a halt
When what I spied made me jolt
Dotting the school yard like blemishes on a supermodel—
The Hurdles!

Dread threw itself on me and fear grabbed me by the neck
Squeezing tighter than my red uniform tie
Choking out silent screams,
Oh, no! I can’t!  I’m not fast! 
They’ll laugh at me! I’ll trip over—
The Hurdles!

But I had no choice
No one could escape the trials
Or Sister
Towering over us, her black habit blowing like a thunderstorm coming off the coast
Green baton in one hand and stopwatch in the other
Ticking down the seconds till my turn to face—
The Hurdles!

Terror seized my stomach and twisted it
To kingdom come
Breakfast churned and my soul yearned
To slip from my skin and disappear in the dirt like a spring sprinkle
To escape—
The Hurdles!

Get on your mark!
Get set!
Monique took off faster than BB the bird dog let loose from the chain
Her head bobbing, eyes focused
Fuzzy braids flying, and her feet n’er touching the ground, let alone—
The Hurdles!

A new record and a smile
On Sister’s face, framed with a white un-halo
O Lord, help me—I’m next!  Send out the seraphim!
Save this girl, slow as a terrapin!
Help me get over—
The Hurdles!

Get on your mark!
Get set!
I took off as fast as my chubby legs would go
Hair flying, eyes on the hay bales
Legs up and over and over and over and over and I made it over—
The Hurdles!