Inspirational Prose: Recess
I blink in the sunlight as it sheds its warmth on the asphalt below my feet at elementary school. It is recess again and I am left alone as the kids scatter away from the building to their favorite playtime activity. Looking down at my shoes, I watch my feet step across the rocky asphalt and hear the crunching and popping of tiny rocks slipping out from under my rubber soles. The stiff asphalt supports my weight until I meet a soft spot, where it crumbles around the cracks. Individual pieces break off and scrape beneath my shoes, writing a script of my loneliness as I kick rocks and slide my shoes along the lonely pathway. The sound is comforting, predictable as it greets me each time the bell rings and I dodge my way through the noisy, jumbling kids, out onto the playground into the deafening silence of rejection.
Scouting the area, I wonder if someone just might look in my direction this time and invite me over to join and play. It is a hopeless thought since I know none of the kids and do not understand the unwritten rules of playground schmoozing. I hear them laugh in the distance as they compete at tetherball and race on the monkey bars. They are sharing something special. For whatever reason, I am not privileged to join.
My thoughts are my only friend. A sharp breeze grazes my skin in the cool, fall weather, chilling me as I find my usual spot on the cement stairs to sit and wait, and wonder. I watch the clouds’ metamorphosis grow from a brief cheery hello to an extended ominous cover, threatening rain. Glancing at the kids, I notice which had jackets and hats on. One girl lost her hat as she moved about quickly, playing tag with a group. Another girl picked up the hat and gave it back, a gesture of friendship and comfort that I long for. A few moments later, I witness the beauty of the wind whipping through the trees in a musical dance with the nimble branches, knocking down leaves and carrying them off in a flurry of color and motion.
Feeling an urge from the cold cement siphoning my body heat and an increasing restlessness in my soul, I decide to go swing today. My senses alert me to flying balls and kids running without looking where they are headed, as I make my way over to the swing set. Relief grows when I near the swing set and grab the cold, metal chains. I toss myself into the swing and begin pumping, awakening my muscles to life and sucking my breath as I merge with the wind, flying higher and away.
The snugness of the seat comforts me while I glide through the air in a predictable, rocking rhythm that calms me. I close my eyes and feel the motion penetrate through me. Only after what feels like hours, do I slow the rhythm and stop the swing. In the distance, a bell rings, signaling me to join the others in a scramble for the door. I stand on my feet and say goodbye to my swing. Visualizing my countdown chart, I mark off another recess and smile.