Yesterday’s Footprints

By Chris Smith

In middle school after my daily basketball practices I would find myself roaming the empty halls, waiting for my ride to pick me up. While strolling by the cafeteria I could still taste the crisp and cheesy pepperoni pizza the lunch lady served every Tuesday and Thursday, with a side of fries and an icee. Then I would recall the many conversations and confrontations my crew and I witnessed in the lunch room, from the girls revealing their crushes on my best friend and me to the time I almost fought this older kid Zach over a seat. When I walked past my locker I could hear the echoes of my classmates and friends that I followed around school — either Paul the pretty boy jock, Tom the soccer-playing rapper, or Willie the short-tempered gang member. All of these thoughts would run through my head as I walked through the school, but after I walked out the front doors, it would all disappear. That is when I learned that even when all of my friends are gone with our memories, life will still go on. I learned to lead instead of follow.

My middle school was located in the interior of Alaska — Fairbanks, Alaska. Covered with faded velvet red brick and a name sign at the entrance like any other middle school in America it seemed no different, but it was the outside environment that caused me to become just another rock broken by peer pressure instead of the great boulder we all can be.

The majority of the school year is during the autumn and winter. Personally I am okay with this situation, because having summer free is better than having winter free, but winter in Alaska is a totally different world. When the wintertime hits the interior, there is only three to five hours of sunlight each day. The long treks to school, staggering through the wet, knee-deep snow prints of yesterday’s hike, would be strenuous on my legs. The travels accompanied with the dark of the cold day lit by the few street lights around me barely peaking through the darkness.

Sometimes I could not find yesterday’s footprints and would have to sink my snow boots into the inches of snow that would find their way into my already soaked socks, as if invited by their friends who already inhabited my footwear. It felt like they were having a party down there, nearly nipping my toes to the point of frost bite; just not quite. I would imagine that they were laughing at me in my own boots.

The darkness and the twenty-five pounds of snow suit and backpack caused me to naturally want to gather with other people, even to the point of following. It wasn’t their fault and I never blame them for that time in my life. I would only do what they wanted, go where they wanted, and share their interests. I am just content that I recognized my situation before later on in my life. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here or alive for that matter. Middle school was my winter time, but after my last day of class and the outside help of insight from a friend, I made the rest of my life my summertime.


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2 Responses to “Yesterday’s Footprints”

  1. Ashley Says:

    i really enjoyed this!=) ur are very strong i could not imagine liking in Alaska i can barely stand the fall in America. So during the Sumeer in Alaska is it still snowy?

  2. nova Says:

    nope. during the summer it actually hit a gud 80 degrees once when i wuz stationed up dere n thanx ash

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