By XAVIER D, age 16
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.
[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
After school, I spent afternoons playing DnD and Minecraft,
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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