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Home: The Toast

schoolGood morning! Wake up! You’re going to be late for school!

What’s that? It’s me, silly. Your mother! It’s August 26th, the first day of school, and you’re going to be late if you don’t get a move on.

Sorry, what did you just say? Oh, don’t be ridiculous, kiddo. You know what year it is. You’re twelve years old, and you’re starting the seventh grade today, and it’s just after six am. Your alarm went off, but I guess you didn’t hear it. Classes start at seven-fifteen and your bus leaves in half an hour.

Thirty-one years old and living in a far-off city? Haven’t been to school in nine years? Don’t have to be at work until nine-thirty and you usually take public transit? No, you haven’t done anything like that. Your curfew is nine o’clock sharp and you’ve got a lot of summer reading to fit into your rolling backpack today.

Honey, I don’t know what’s gotten into you this morning, but you’re just not making sense. You can’t just “drive yourself in late.” You won’t even be able to take driver’s ed for another three years, you’re only allowed to ride your bike while it’s light out, and you’re only allowed two tardies every semester. You’re not an adult who gets to grab breakfast at a coffee shop on your way to work. I don’t even let you drink coffee yet. You’re twelve years old, about to start junior high, which is going to last two more years after today. You have eight periods to get through today, each of which lasts fifty minutes, and you have two minutes between each bell to get from class to class. Don’t you remember? You have a few minutes to find your locker, then you have gym class first, then biology, then composition, then lunch, then Spanish I, then computer lab, then American history,and finally Algebra I. You go to all of those classes every day, all in a row, one right after the other. Then you do it again the next day, one two three four five days a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays you have ninth-period band, so you come home on the late bus, just as the sun is setting, so you get home after dark, so you spend your whole day inside while the sun is shining, so you miss all the sunshine, and then afterwards it’s dark, and then you have homework, and then you go to bed.

What’s that? You want to call Rebecca and get this all straightened out? Don’t be silly, sweetheart, you’re not allowed to use the house phone while your father’s using the family computer, which we keep in the living room, and only have one of. Also, remember that Diane and Briana are both mad at you, so their moms won’t be picking you up for their carpool anymore, and you’ll have to navigate that emotionally today as well. Use your cell phone? Honey, you know you don’t have one of those.

You must have had some pretty wild dreams last night, kiddo. Make your bed and be downstairs in twenty minutes, okay? And tell your sister to let you use the bathroom when she’s finished.

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