The One Who Waits
by Nathan, seventh grade writer
The old Chicago elementary school. Once priceless to all who passed through its doors, though now treated as worthless. Desperately longing for someone to open its doors once again. To stay for just a while, and take their time to wander its empty halls. Now retired to the dusty abandoned streets of downtown Chicago, it hears the cars pass by every so often. It longs like a homeless man's pocket, waiting for it to be filled once again, butthe hope is always in vain.
Something so big, yet is treated as so small that nobody seems to notice it. The walls of the abandoned school ache like the stomachs of starving children in Africa. The school's long hallways are like a mother's outstretched arms, waiting for her missing child to fillthem again. Just one more time.
The old school's windows are an old man's lungs yearning for his oxygen. The hallway floors still marked with handprints, hope for the hurried footsteps of the happy children to massage it once again. Quietly it wishes for the children's laughter to tickle its crevices with wads of chewed gum and silly notes written on little pieces of paper. The old school sighs and creaks, cries with the rain, and sleeps in the sun, and waits, just in case.
by Erin, seventh grade writer
As each kid gets older, it's passed down. Passed down like a family heirloom, but not like an antique, not safe and not kept. The size 4 soccer ball has been on many feet, been on many fields, been to many places. It rolls on the grass. It sits in the garage. It has its owner. And as soon as it gets used to its owner, it is passed down yet again.
How many times has it seen the back of the net? Felt the nylon rope on its back? Hear the crowd go wild in joy? Back and forth across the field. Up and down. Side to side. Net to net. Passed down from brother to sister, and now from sister to sister. The soccer ball is trustworthy. It's a life-long companion, so why must it be passed down?
As children get older, its mind gets colder. It begins to feel good on the children's feet, like an old pair of tennis shoes. And like the tennis shoes, it's passed down. To another pair of feet. And another team to beat. They claim that they must use a size 5 at the age of thirteen. A ball that's bigger, stronger, more powerful Then, slowly, shyly, shamelessly, the size 4 moves on. Moves on to another set of feet. Moves on to different fields. Moves on to different owners. And when the cycle is complete, when it has gotten used to the new owner, and the new fields, the soccer ball is passed down once more.
(Click here to view/print Nathan and Erin and two of their classmates' vignettes.)