A Story

You go back to your old high school. You pull up in your car. The way the sun glints off your car window reminds you of so many spring mornings past, filled with the innocent, carefree feelings of youth. You get out of the car, close the door, and stretch. You walk up towards the front door. You feel the warmth of the sun on your back.

When you’re close, you slow down. You smile, and leisurely walk the last few steps to the front door. You press your face against it. It’s warm, soft like you remembered it. You rub your hand up and down the long, fluffy fur.

“How are you, boy?” you say. No response.

You notice a stick on the ground. Picking it up, you pause for a second and look back at your high school. Its square, long frame stretches out to the left and right, and up one story. You can see that the windows on the second floor look at least a little bit enthusiastic. At least you think so. You throw the stick.

No response.

“Go get it, boy!” you yell.

Still nothing.

“What’s going on with you?” you demand. “I go away to college and all of a sudden you forget me?”

A bird comes and lands on the roof.

“What is it? I’m still the same old me! Sure, I might be wearing a new shirt from some of the cool concerts I went to. And I’ve had sex now. Do I smell different because I had sex? In college. College sex. I’m a returning college student! Don’t you remember me, boy?” You flash back to countless past days, seeing its big tongue wagging from the open front door, its big brick paws bounding forward.

The door opens up, stinky breath wafting out. Out comes your old principal, Mrs. Grudy. Mrs. Grudy never liked you very much.

“I’m sorry, but if you want to come in you’ll need to get a visitor’s pass. If you don’t have any reason to be on school grounds, you need to leave,” says Grudy.

You look at her, dumbfounded.

“But-”

“No ‘buts,’” she says. “If you don’t have a visitor’s pass, you can’t stay here. I’m sorry, it’s a new school policy.”

You squint at her. It’s hopeless. You shake your head and turn around. You walk back towards your car. As you get in, you look back at your high school. Just as you remember it: two stories tall, covered in fur, with a big tail wagging in the back. Mrs. Grudy is still standing outside of the school doors, her pinched face scowling and her arms crossed. The shaggy door swings open and the tongue curls around her, pulling her back in.

“I guess sometimes you really can’t go back,” you say, as you get into your car and drive away for the last time. As you pull out of the parking lot, you hear something in the background. Perhaps a bark? Or maybe it was just the wind.

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