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The Funny Thing About Summer
Sunlight streams in through the classroom window. I feel it burning my sweaty legs that stick to the hot chair. It’s a scorching 94 degrees outside, and I can only imagine how much hotter it is inside my school that consists of five thousand students.
Everyone is stirring restlessly in their seats, counting the seconds until school gets out. I used to be like them. Waiting anxiously on the last day of school, wondering what sort of adventurous summer awaited me. I’d be trapping my finger, my foot, and bite my nails. In my mind, summer used to mean friends, long summer nights, and parties. But mostly freedom. Freedom from the stress of school and deadlines, tests that I was unprepared for, and the cliques of nasty girls. But one summer, that illusion was broken.
The school bell rings and every teenager rushes out of the classroom ignoring the teachers who say not to run. I’m the only person left behind, slowly gathering my things and swinging my backpack over my shoulder. I’m in no hurry. I don’t want it to be summer. Because now summer means staying home, trapped, and fear. So much fear.
That is because two summers ago was the time my dad hit me.
I know it really shouldn’t be a big deal. It was once. He’s never done it since. He’s a good man, I know. But because of that one time, now I can never trust him. Any sense of security I had… is gone. I don’t feel safe in my own home. The day it happened was July 28. I was in a sour mood that day, and didn’t have the best attitude. But, God, it was so stupid how it happened. My dad and I had been outside, sitting down, sipping some cold drinks to cool us off. I had a glass of water so I poured it down my back, to cool me off more. My dad, who I suppose was still upset about my bad attitude commented, “You sweat a lot.” I knew it was only water dribbling down my body. But my dad also knew how sensitive I was about that. So I sat for a while, got an idea in my head, (a stupid, stupid idea I wish I had never done,) and went inside to refill my glass of water. I knew my dad would have a reaction, (I thought my decision through,) but I didn’t think it would be that bad.
I walked back outside, with a cold glass of water in my hand, and said, “Hey, dad you like you’re kinda sweaty too,” and I dumped the water over my dad. I suppose he thought I did it because I was mad and wanted to take revenge. He stood up angrily and raised his hand. That’s when it happened. I was so shocked. I ran. But I came back not too long after because where did I have to go? I couldn’t leave home. I was trapped there. Summer didn’t mean freedom at all. I was so angry but especially at myself for running away. It meant I was weak; a coward. But most of all, it meant I was scared my dad would do it again. I hate myself for thinking that he would hurt me again, whether or not it’s true.
But the funny thing is the reason why I did poured the water on my dad. I wasn’t mad. I didn’t do it for revenge or a good mean laugh. I did it for memories. It’s foolish but true. My dad and I weren’t very close and we needed some of those good memories. I thought it would one of those stories that you’d start to tell by, “Hey, remember when I was a kid…” The funny thing is, is that it did turn out to be a memory. A horrible, heart wrenching memory that I will never forget. It was a day I wish had never happened.
“Liz,” my teacher, Mrs. Beck, begins. “Why are you still here? Don’t you take the bus?”
“Yeah, I know.” I say, tiredly. How can she understand that I don’t want to go home? Things will never be the same there. I feel like I will never be happy again. But suddenly I get an idea in my head. “Mrs. Beck, do you happen to offer any summer classes?”
“Well, yes. Just classes for student that are going to be seniors who want to graduate early. Are you interested, Liz?”
“Yes, I am. Can I still sign up?”
“Well, sure, dear. But don’t you want to enjoy your summer?”
I pause, looking meaningfully into Mrs. Beck’s eyes. “I think I’d enjoy it more, away from home. Besides, maybe graduating early and heading off alone to college will finally mean freedom.” I try and believe that with all my heart as Mrs. Beck hands me a sheet to sign up for summer school.