I miss sitting in the early morning hours, 6 or 7 AM, crunching a bowl of cereal, my brother and I maybe still hopeful and defiant in our pajamas or else in school clothes but with our heavy coats still hung by the door, listening to the radio for the moments in between songs when the dj would list the names of the schools whose students wouldn’t have to wait for the bus that day. We would play a little game, untitled (though it could have been called ‘If we’re off today, then…’), and we would hesitantly plan out snow-angels and -forts and -fights and -tunnels and hot soup for lunch and maybe grilled cheese or else maybe pancakes and then our signature Peanut Butter Surprise for dessert(1), carbing up to don the snowsuits again and get back to it, cold but sweaty, exhausted but exhilarated. Or else maybe we’d plan a board-game day in which we’d play one round of as many board games as we could before our parents came home around four, or we’d think about setting up dominoes – the BIGGEST, BESTEST, MOST DARING domino race you’ve ever seen that would go all the way from the faded linoleum by the backdoor through the utility room and dining room, careening into the living room, down the hall, past the bathroom to terminate in our bedroom with the usual end-gag of the ball-bearing catapult. Maybe we’d sit and listen to dad’s records all day, or half the day and then watch Star Wars or cartoons all afternoon. All of that would hinge on the dj saying the right words, the right combination of schools, and we’d make our plans in a whisper so as to not break any kind of spell or mojo because when you’re a kid you understand that to say what you want too loudly is to let the air take it from you and no one’s going to take form you what you haven’t had yet. That’s what I miss: believing that you have to whisper when it’s special.
- The surprise was that it was never the same thing twice.