There’s something almost magical about the last day of school.
The beginning of the year starts off well as you explore your new classes and try to remember people’s names. You form a habit, always walking up that set of stairs to your class, meeting up with your friends at their lockers during break, those couches that you meet up at for lunch. You sit in the same spot every class, seating plan or no seating plan, and begin talking to a new girl in French class.
Every day starts to circle, each starting and ending practically the same way. It begins to fade into each other, and you don’t remember if that thing that happened was yesterday or today. Your once new and exciting school turns into a grey slab of cement, paint, and wood. Over and over, day after day, always the same.
But suddenly, a red-and-green sun can be noticed on the horizon. All you can see is a little brightness, but soon it starts to turn more vibrant as the days pass, each marking the sun a little higher than the day before. Christmas break.
Your teachers finish off that chapter review, and announce that a test is coming up. Your Science project is suddenly due tomorrow, and you’re not even halfway done. But while you’re finishing up the project at 11pm, there’s something in the back of your mind. It gives you hope that things will soon be better. Someday, the sun will fully rise.
People are soon asking what you want for Christmas, and what you’re doing for the holidays, and who you’re giving to for the Christmas party exchange. The tree is set up in your living room, and lights can be seen all across town at night. Christmas carols start playing on the radio.
But something is not quite right. Everything that surrounds you screams that Christmas is coming, but you aren’t fully into the spirit of it all. Something’s missing.
Then it’s the last day of school. You go through the motions, still meeting up at break and trying to talk to that girl while your class is giving presentations in French. But there’s something different, an atmosphere that changes the entire mood of the school. Besides the lack of actual work in all your classes, there’s a hope hanging in the air. It’s almost over. Just a few more hours.
Finally you have the Christmas assembly and try to concentrate on the band playing Jingle Bells and Santa giving out presents to teachers. They try to make it entertaining, and sure, it is a little, but everyone is just waiting for that clock at the front of the gym to reach 2:47. That’s all you need before relief can completely consume you.
And when that final bell rings, it’s the best feeling in the world. Someone’s handing out candy canes as you head to your locker. You start talking to your friends about your plans, and how some people are going skating this afternoon. You keep glancing outside to see if your bus has arrived, and when it does, you’re already walking down the sidewalk to get on. Even on the bus, there’s a change in the air. A little kid gives the bus driver a Christmas card, and the guys in the back aren’t so annoying, and the sky isn’t even raining.
The biggest change happens when you’re walking from the bus to the front door. A sense of excitement, relief, happiness. You can finally enjoy Christmas without the homework, the friend dynamics, the stress. It’s over. Sure, it’s temporary. You’ll go back to school in January.
But it’s enough time to refuel, sleep in until noon, and enjoy those insane moments with your family.