Opportunities

By XAVIER D, age 16

Xavier D
00:00 / 03:02

You never think about how quickly opportunities can fly away

until they’re gone, 

taken off. You couldn’t hold on.

 

We know now how quickly they can move and when all you can do 

is stay inside and wait 

they seem to move faster.

 

See, I had this year planned out. Final year of school, 

take every opportunity you can get my teachers said 

not knowing I’d be reaching out for those opportunities

through a screen, late at night.

 

My sleep schedule abandoned me.

Silent streets in the evenings, free and empty,

weren’t right. I stayed awake.

 

Our school production, cancelled in an instant. 

Weeks of rehearsal down the drain, set off to sail through the sea, 

never to be seen again.

 

Choir, gone. 

[we tried rehearsing on Zoom, but that slight delay, 

that you never thought about before this, did you? 

it grew into a barrier of inaccurate time signatures

and off-beat quavers.] 

 

I wavered on what this year was going to be, 

if I’d never cross that stage, never receive 

the handshake from the principal, 

the goodbye, create your own opportunities, you’ve got this.

It had slipped away.

 

School returned in a flash of blue light

in drowsy eyes, woken five minutes before an assignment due. 

I know you all slept in too. 

That comradery we shared guaranteed we could work through 

what was thrown at us, organise 

new opportunities.

 

After school, I spent afternoons playing DnD and Minecraft, 

don’t laugh. 

We all needed some form of escapism. 

 

But I laughed, I talked to friends, 

I connected more than I ever had before over a universally shared experience 

even though we were stuck in different bubbles, unable to breathe

in and out, in and out and in and out and inside our bubbles

we had connections too with family, and pets. 

My cat discovered how warm my bed is. She hasn’t left it yet. 

 

The point is, we lost the opportunities that we had planned,

it’s true, your experience might be a bit different.

 

But for me, each of those opportunities, 

those carefully planned eventualities 

the yeses, the noes, the maybes,

they hadn’t slipped away. 

They’d just moved. 

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