I woke up at the crack of dark grumbling to myself that it’s just wrong to be up before the sun. Having showered the previous night and hitting snooze one too many times, I did my hurried version of getting ready. A quick brush of the teeth and hair (now getting long enough to be in my eyes), some deodorant, and a splash of cologne and I was about ready. I threw on my workout clothes, grabbed my bag for changing later, and a pop tart. Not wanting to wake the rest of the house, I gently closed the front door and slowly turned the key in the lock to re-seal the fortress. The cutlass revved up better than normal this morning probably because it was warmer out than previous days. Before I had truly woken up, coach had us divided into running groups and we were on our 3rd mile of 9. Cross country training is intense no matter where you go. But under coach T at Marcus High School it is 10 times more difficult than the normal program. Maybe that is why we sweep District every year and travel to Region and State. I personally hate running but I am good at it. Coach recruited me from the soccer team my Junior year and this allows me to engage in two sports since their seasons do not overlap.
Five miles later I could see the school in the distance and tried not to think about the afternoon workout ahead. Two-a-days is what they are called. I call it pure torture and a waste of an 18 year olds precious after-school time. What really sucks is mom makes me hit the books the moment I enter the door. So I essentially wake up, go run, go to six classes in a half asleep state, run again, then join my family around 7 or 7:30PM only to be forced to immediately do homework. Hardly seems fair and this leads me and mom to do some major arguing. “ I am a good student for goodness sake.” I would say God instead of goodness but mom would likely slap the back of my head. “I get my work done, so let me wind down a bit when I first get home. And if I do slip in a class that is my decision and consequence for laziness.” This logic falls on deaf ears most times and so I close my door and go through my own little ritual. A little TV with the head phones on, a call to my new girlfriend, maybe a small nap…and then the backpack opens up and the bare minimum gets done. I am lucky to re-emerge from my room with any time to sit on the couch with my folks and watch the end of Cheers and catch some Carson.
Oh well…off to bed, or at least that is what I’ll make them think. More TV with the headphones on is an order. Sure I will be dog tired and have to repeat this whole routine tomorrow but I’ll worry about that then.
Once again I wake up before the sun. I sit at the edge of my bed with a confused disposition. Something is different. I am in a different room than normal for one but I feel really out of place. I grumble to myself at how sore I am and then I hear it. A voice from the other side of my bed.
“Of course you're sore honey, you and Kurt did some pretty intense routes yesterday.”
“Huh…what are you talking about?”
“Well you said they were hard anyway. What do I know about cycling?”
Somehow I know this person and my confused nature is put on hold while I do more investigating. There is that noise again…the same one that woke me up. Before I realize what I am doing, I am down the hall and in a nursery of sorts with TWO cribs. I find the irritated one and have her in my arms gently rocking back and forth whispering “Shhhh, it’s ok” into her ear. Closing the door behind me to allow my son to continue sleeping, I take my daughter into my room and lay her next to me for a ten minute nap.
I wonder to myself if this family of mine knows that just yesterday I was in high school.
I wonder if they realize that I am still a kid myself. If they find out are they going to be as scared about it as me?
The only reason I do not completely freak out about all of this is that someone managed to insert all of the memories from yesterday to today that cause all of this to make some sense . But it was just yesterday that I was fighting with mom and stealing some TV time well passed bedtime. Wasn't it?
I guess I will keep it a secret. What good would it do to admit my immaturity, my inadequacies, or my fears? I have to keep this family protected, sheltered, fed, and so much more.
Does the teenager at the shopping mall not realize that I was in their shoes a few minutes ago? They sure look at me like I’m “out of touch”. Half the time the grocery checker doesn’t even check my I.D. for that bottle of red wine. Then again, I hate having to dig it out of my wallet.
What’s happened? Who orchestrated this elaborate joke? Am I supposed to keep smiling and pretending that this didn't occur?
All I know is that time slipped away and I must have passed through a hole of some sort. At the rate I am experiencing things…I have days to live.
Better make the best of them.