At long last, after weeks of finals and papers and registering, both for housing and for Fall classes, the school year is over. With months of one deadline after another behind me, the only thing I have to worry about is showing up to work on time several days a week and figuring out how to best divide my many leisure hours.
In the future, of course, many important issues are coming up. Three years through a five-year college career, I'm still not sure what I want to do when I graduate, and a decision must be made before very long.
"Realistically speaking, you need to decide by Christmas Break at the latest," British Professor, my academic adviser, told me during a meeting last month.
The day when I must choose a path to follow looms seven months away, but that moment falls well outside this four-month summer.
On May 12th, I drove out to Major University and took my last exam.
As I left campus, walking through bright green lawns and between brick buildings laced with flowers, I felt a marvelous sense of freedom come over me.
In addition to being my last day of school, May 12th was also Thomas's fourteenth birthday. This is an important milestone, as now he is a full teenager, no longer a new adolescent. Fourteen is also the age at which most people start high school, as Thomas will this August.
My own first days of high school from the Fall of 2002 still seem so vivid and fresh that I can't quite believe my little brother is about to embark on the journey.
The summer of 2002 was special in many ways, but one of the things that made it much more enjoyable was the erection that year of a pool in our backyard. To a fourteen-year-old, nothing could have been more exciting than the promise of sparkling water to dive into each hot summer's day and the opportunity to host friends at what suddenly became the most popular house in the neighborhood.
This summer, seven years later, the gift of a family pool is being bequeathed onto another fourteen-year-old.
For the last several days, my backyard has been a construction site.
The team came earlier this week, and in a single day of hard labor they'd brought a pool up out of the dirt.
It was late afternoon when the head of the working crew handed my mother a thick green hose, and she steadied herself as the first spouts of water shot from its plastic depths into our new pool.
Having this amenity is a huge relief; the public pool in Mountain Town is crowded, hectic, and probably dirty given all the greasy pre-teen bodies that regularly plunk into it. Now, as with every other house we've ever lived in excepting the one in Wealthy Town, we have our own place.