A legacy or a loss?


Every day I walk out of school through the doors right by Mr. George’s room. Because of TCT duties and an admitted love for FHC after hours, I usually leave long after the 2:45 end of the school day, leaving the outskirts and parking lot of FHC uninvaded by hundreds of students eager to leave the school, yelling giddily and honking their horns.

The emptiness affords me an interesting spiral of thoughts as I trudge along the long path leading from the doors to the parking lot.

Every day I think about the day when I’ll make that walk for the last time. When I’ll walk out those doors and never come back. The finality of it. The triumph of it. The grief of it.

I think about the impending last day of school and what that’ll feel like– the culmination of four years of stress and tears and laughs and joy and life. But, of course, I’ll return. My attachments to this school- and its teachers- run far too deep. I’ll come to visit; that last day won’t mark the last walk.

But there will be a last walk. There will be a last visit. And I know that walk will be through those doors by Mr. George’s classroom on that same path; I know that that’s where I’ll be visiting long after May of 2019.

So that’s what I think about every day, as I pass Mr. George’s outdoor classroom and the windows of the freshman hallway’s classrooms and come upon a usually deserted parking long at the end of that path.

Sometimes I look back as I make my way to my car. Sometimes I look back at the building that I have spent so, so many hours at for the past four years, and I wonder how the setting of such growth and maturing can so easily leave my life in just a few months.

I have poured my heart into so many things and people within this building; does all that have the same expiration as my approaching graduation? Does my reach walk out those doors alongside with me? Or will I leave pieces of me here as my life moves on from FHC?

There are the tangible things. My handprint in Mr. Labenz’s room recognizing my performance on the APUSH exam and my name on the bricks in Mr. George’s room recognizing the past two years I’ve spent as Editor in Chief– my name permanently bound to the walls as long as Mr. Labenz and Mr. George don’t take their own last walk out of here.

There are the smaller, less permanent things. My pictures on the walls in the hallways, past projects in teachers’ classrooms, the Arthur pipette I made in AP Chem tacked to Mr. VonEhr’s bulletin board. More tangible scraps of my time here that are in turn more fragile, replaceable.

There are the bigger but maybe more subtle things, mostly in the form of Room 140. The TCT room is beloved for its comfortable, welcoming atmosphere, characterized by the blue walls and eclectic furniture I helped paint, pick, and lug in. My name isn’t plastered onto the chairs and couches, but I feel an attachment to the room all the same. It’s unseen but forcefully compelling.

Then there are the hardest things to leave behind. All the relationships I forged in this building– relationships that have a termination– with people who were only ever meant to be a pitstop along the way. Meaningful bonds whose fleeting nature leaves them eternalized within this school, alive but left behind. I will leave the biggest parts of myself in the people, not the things, that I am to walk away from.

So what will that last walk then feel like? What will it feel like to walk away from the place that has taken me apart and put me together and everything else in between?

Will I be cementing a legacy, however lasting, or will I be mourning the loss of the pieces of myself I will be relinquishing?