The Beginning Of The Beginning

Day dawned and he was up earlier than usual, though not at dawn, but early enough, and he put on his new clothes and strode around the kitchen purposefully, packing his bag with things to eat for little lunch and big lunch. Before long he was dressed and the radio was on and mum and dad were up and going through their workday routines. Dad was shaving and mum was making sure the family ate a proper breakfast and it seemed, for the first time, not so exciting any more. The family had got up the way they always did and got dressed the way they always did and were eating and preparing to meet the challenges of the day, the way they always did, but it was different somehow. It was different because it would be different: a different day. At the completion of the morning routines something unprecedented would occur. He would walk up the street with his mum and his sister and mum would say goodbye to both of them and that would be that. The end. The beginning. The end and the beginning. The end of life as it was known and comfortably lived and the beginning of a new life, a less comfortable life with unknown bits and plenty of unpredictable events to be expected on a daily basis. He felt scared. He had no good reason to be, but he was. Scared of the unknown, it was, if he could articulate it, which he couldn’t, because he just didn’t want to go, and why would you, really, if you had a choice?

But he did. Everyone does. Most get through it alright. And some, like this little boy, actually enjoy it and get a lot out of school, and are stimulated for life by the process of learning.

He didn’t know that then though. If it could have been explained to him, the fact would have been no consolation. He merely thought of the songs on the radio which had seemed to so mundane the day before and now seemed so sad. And it seemed a wrench, because it was, like being torn away from the security of all you know and all you love and will ever need – and that’s not accurate either, but you don’t know that life offers other solaces when you are five and the most important thing is eating sausages and eggs for dinner in front of The Goodies or being given a glass of green cordial by your mum on a warm day.

The tears welled, but they didn’t run. They surprised him as he didn’t think he would cry and had been asked if he thought he would cry on his first day at school, and confidently asserted that he would not, that it wasn’t possible, and that he would be fine. And now these tears became fat and filled the dams created by his lower eye lids and his whole eyeballs shone and he couldn’t see so well any more, but he told himself that it wasn’t really crying, as crying meant bawling, and streaming tears staining your shirt, and he wasn’t really sure if they were tears at all, as it had never been like this before, tears that is, but that didn’t mean that this was not crying at all, not really, it could be, but how would he know if it was, and maybe it was tears of fear rather than sadness, and that is what made the difference, but he wasn’t thinking about that either. He was thinking about his mum and how he didn’t want to be separated from her and it seemed so sad and he didn’t want to go.

There were so many other parents and so many other kids on their first day, and he recognised some of them, but there were many more strangers and he couldn’t know what the teachers would be like and what specifically his teacher would be like, as he knew nothing of teachers, and he was frightened and it seemed better to not go, to stay, to remain in the horsehoe of parents who were trying to encourage their children to be brave and walk a few metres into the centre of the playground where the kindergarten kids were assembling. But there was no future in that. He had to go. He knew that. It was just so unfair. He hated it. Perhaps he was a little angry now.

And welling tears became running tears. He started breathing hard and convulsively, and it was real crying now. He was crying. He was the sort of boy who cried, sometimes, but he had been sure it wouldn’t happen today. Not in front of other people. He didn’t want people to see. Didn’t want his mother to know. But he didn’t want to leave her.

And then he heard a familiar voice. “Scotty!” called a tall boy across the playground. It was his best friend from child care. The friend ran towards him and he turned away from his mother’s legs, where he had been burying his face, and began moving in the direction of the boy, and he received a bear hug and they went off together into the throng of littlies in the centre of the playground.

After all the kids had been organised and lined up in groups and led away it was time for the parents to reluctantly leave the scene. The beginning of the beginnig had begun.

Published in: on November 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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