Thursday, February 11, 2010

Invict Us

Six more minutes until the bell rings.

“Out of the night that covers me….” Ok, I will memorize this thing tonight. The last half of class was designated as study time to give us a jump on the homework assignment but my concentration was on the clock above the caulk board. Invictus. Sounds a little bit sinister. My favorite lines “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”, held little support for my more pending anxiety. Four more minutes until the bell rings.

She was late getting to school. She did not ride my bus. Actually we weren’t in the same grade level. Two more minutes. Changing class at the end of a subject period was a major social event. A short event but at times could be very intense due to the brevity. Surly she had made it to school before the first class was over. Today I will speak to her. I am pretty sure she will talk to me. Just last week as we passed in the hall a small smile gave me confidence. I think she was smiling at me. One more minute until the bell rings. We have five minutes between classes. Maybe we can talk about the football game Thursday night. I think there might be a reception after the game. The high school always has one.

The snap of books shutting coincided perfectly with the rolling clang of the class bell. Chairs clanging against desk fortified the signal of the bell. The rush to the halls was in full gait. I only have five minutes. I can’t be late for science again.

“Excuse me. Opps, sorry.”

Pushing and shoving to get to the hall. Finally the room emptied into the hall. Frosted blonde. Ok, nope that’s not her. An instant case of “cotton mouth”, as I recognized the "letter sweater" turning from the midway stairway landing and descend the last half of the staircase at the other end of the building. I would never live it down it I threw up right here in the hall, not even counting the fact no telling who all would be splattered in the ordeal. Ok, now that thought made me feel better. If I take normal strides, we should meet just past the intersection of the other hallway. Oh goodness, six more steps.

“Hi.” The high pitch of my voice shocked me back into reality. Where did that come from?

“Hello.” A brief hesitation and a smile as if she had not finished her sentence.

“Come on, move it!” The crowd following either of us was not interested in our conversation.

Man oh man, if I just had a couple of minutes, I would have had it made. Maybe I didn’t win that battle.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.
(William Ernest Henley)

That was a smile, wasn’t it? She said hello. YESSSS!

"Ok class, let's get started."

Only Fifty-five more minutes until the bell rings.


  1. First crush, loves first blush. I felt the tremble and trepidation, hightened by anticipation. Great story. Was it you Glenn? How many minutes til you spin your next yarn? I love them!

  2. I remember these feelings in High School, loved reading about it here, thought I was the only one.......:-) Hugs

  3. Courage, ah how sweet are life's triumphs- big and small. (I had to Google this poem 'cause you made me want to read the whole thing.) Thanks!

  4. Gosh, I remember those days, in all their awkwardness and bliss...

  5. Oh my. Ninth grade...I was a hall monitor on the south wing stairs. After sixth period he would walk by. He always smiled and said "Hi." Sigh. Thanks for the memories Glen.

  6. "Changing class at the end of a subject period was a major social event." What a great line, Glenn. And it's still true today (though we have seven-minute passing periods at Upland High School). Hearts can be broken or mended, victories won, phone numbers exchanged (for the purpose of texting surrepticiously during class time). You have such a gift for painting, in a few words, a vivid water color of life. Bravo.

  7. And you know that the girl was going thru the same anticipation! (You've said you married in jr. high...was this the beginning of your love story?)

  8. I can feel that young emotion here. Wonderfully vivid portrait of the angst of young love.

  9. Invincible? Not really. That does sound sinister. But in the heat of youth...and in the wait, there at least lies hope. Oh yes, and anticipation.

    Hey, wait a minute. It still holds this side of 17. Great write, Glenn!


  10. Glad to know I wasn't the only one who was TERRIFIED of girls in school..."cottonmouth" (check)..."squeaky voice" (check)...Yeah, I remember all that and more....well said my friend~!