Alyson

I like high school, because it feels like I am in a movie. For years, day after day, I am invited to this orchestrated ritual. Slick faces glide through buildings inside the perimeter of the school. Some of them are like me: They see the ritual as an opportunity for things to happen outside of what is scheduled. The others: They can’t tune out the chanting and all of their energies are spent pushing back against it rather than noticing the glances sneakily given, the flying words, the abrupt crackle of the fire that has commenced in the middle of the group.

Since they can’t see these things, it makes sense that the ritual is so bare for them. In my movie, someone else is making the fire, gathering the sage, herding others like me to participate. There is a trade, of course: In return for their preparing this ceremony, I must learn, listen to their hymn. I would say I have the better half of the deal. I can tilt my head back, my hair tickling the ground, and let the heat of the flame, which they created for us, crawl up my face. When tradition has ended, we can leave these meeting grounds and go make our own. But for now, I feel a comfort sharing this one. ♦