Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The First Last 

Hayden House, known affectionately by the boys as Motel H

Last dorm duty tonight.

The kids and the house faculty, God bless 'em, threw a cake and ice cream party at check in, listened to my almost-teary speech, gave me a book full of photos and personal messages -- my own personal yearbook -- a balloon and a book of inspirational quotes. I managed to keep from tearing up until I got 'em all in their rooms and headed out to the car, but it was close.

Seven years doing once-a-week 7-11 service for a dorm full of adolescent boys. One weekend a month, too, both Friday and Saturday night. The hallways I've stalked and walked, the kids I've caught in wrestling matches and late-night illicit booze sessions and academic despair, the adult peers and confidants I've seen come and go, the ping pong table, the solarium: I've been there longer than any of the folks at the party tonight, spent the first five of those seven in that second floor apartment right there.

No more.

Tomorrow is my last full day here at NMH. When we come back from break, I'll be on afternoon-only paternity leave until graduation.

My pitch gets wobbly when I sing the school song at assemblies.

A few Fridays ago a friend who used to teach Religion here, and is now 9th grade Dean at Cambridge School of Weston, stopped by for a visit. When I asked him how his new life was he said fine. And then an afterthought: but NMH will always haunt me.

Tonight, standing out in the stillfalling snow, crying until the dorm turned blurry, I began to know what he meant.

Even if I weren't still jobless. Even if we weren't expecting our second child in April. Even if I wasn't spending down my political capital in a vain attempt to leave this Godforsaken place better than I found it, for the children's sake.

It's going to be a long, long couple of months.

There's so many lasts to come.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:43 PM |

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