Woke up bright and early like it was another school day,

It’s anything but, come afternoon it’ll be time to graduate,

The magnitude hasn’t registered, all’s well on the plains, gotta enjoy summer break before knuckling down for seventh grade,

Had breakfast with the fam bam then ducked into the showers,

Changed into school uniform, yellow shirt and grey shorts, December weather ain’t suitable for trousers,

The opening salvo in a day of lasts fired, many little habits memorised to be performed a final time,

Morning drop-off completed, kissed Mom ‘see you later’, entered the school grounds to join fellow grade-sixers,

Seems we’re united in our indifference, the significance of it all remains elusive,

As a collective it’s all dry eyes, no internal drafting of good-byes,

Could change as the big show edges closer, guaranteed the dam will break once it’s over,

Final morning assembly failed to activate the feelings,

Though I’d be lying by claiming I didn’t feel stirrings during Principal’s morning message,

Then it was off to the classroom, no more lessons to be covered.

Time spent reminiscing with the teacher, pep talks galore about what lies in our near future,

The past seven years lead to this, 91 to 97, from kindergarten to grade six,

I was a year late to the party but these classmates kinda grew on me,

Not that I’d call ‘em bossom buddies, miss me with being weepy after the ceremony,

Got through recess in a reflective mood, blocking out the usual banter from the dudes, contemplating over my food,

Lunchtime was similar, chopped it up with young’uns while the homies played soccer,

Ones who looked up to me as a big brother, oblivious that I’ll soon be a goner,

The school bell chimed, the final meal break was over, back to class to prepare, a final request from the teacher,

Handed us pieces of paper, asked us to write our secret wishes, no need for a big reveal, write ‘em then fold ‘em before dropping ‘em in a bucket,

Before they’re stuffed inside helium balloons, their purpose will be revealed soon,

For now just sit back and relax, spend some quality time as one big group,

At another time multiple selfie-sessions would have been in order, pics and vids uploaded on the ‘Gram,

‘End of an era’, ‘moving on’, ‘the next chapter’, how are those for hashtags?

Soon it was time, bade one another farewell, expressed gratitude to teacher,

For her guidance and patience, for putting up with us, fulfilled her role with flying colours,

Looked around home base, desks tidy and chairs atop tables, ready to be cleaned,

Walls that had played host to charts, rules and students’ art works now a bare and austere shade of cream,

No cap and gown for us, just plain old school uniforms, took some shine off of the occasion, not that it really matters,

Lined up for the final time, marched like troopers towards the assembly area,

Students from grades below us and their teachers, school staff and our parents, patiently waiting as we were seated up front and centre,

Principal kicked off proceedings, tired old clichés she was regurgitating,

Stuff about personal growth and the next chapter, as we transition from children to teenagers,

School captains addressed their peers, handled it like professionals,

Even in the face of their friends’ subtle trolling while others’ eyes were wandering,

Even the parish priest had his say, this was Catholic school after all,

Then once the VIPs had rocked the mic it was on for the cringiest part of all,

Graduates turned to face their support crew to serenade them in song,

Call it our teachers’ retribution for the times we’d driven ‘em up the wall,

Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion, the theme from that movie Up Close And Personal,

An impromptu karaoke session, writers on Glee would have found this unusual,

To us it was cheese, new levels of cringy, worse than what Gal Gadot and her cronies mustered up during 2020.

Then it was onto the main event, certificates to be received, yours truly called up first, they just HAD to do this alphabetically,

Then joined by the kindergarten buddies assigned to us at year’s beginning, whom throughout the year we’d been mentoring,

Collected a helium balloon each, the ones that stored our secret wishes,

Never mind if we got ours specifically, either way they’re about to go flying,

Assembled at the dirt area, balloons in one hand and that of our buddies in the other, released the balloons skywards to rapturous applause, upon our teachers’ final orders,

Thus concluded the ceremony, in addition to our time in elementary,

Classmates now alumni, the term teachers now prefixed with ‘former,’ our roles as mentors for those kindergarteners well and truly over,

The day’s significance finally hit us as we said our goodbyes to one another,

Gotta laugh at the tears between friends who’ll be spending summer break together,

The occasion must’ve got to them, I suppose that’s understandable, most are heading to the same high school together, again it becomes laughable,

Half-promised to keep in touch with the homies, to hang out like old times, did we live up to ‘em? You’ll find out in a little while,

Finally split from the herd unnoticed, looking forward to hopefully greener pastures,

Re-joined my immediate family, who were chatting with the Principal, she wished me well for the future, then I gave Pops the signal,

It’s time to go, the summer break beckons, headed towards the gate, taking those final steps triumphant,

Only at this time did I feel that gut punch, finally,

That elementary’s now behind me and so is a life carefree, melancholy hitting me low-key,

Took a final look at the school grounds, surveyed the land before leaving,

Class was dismissed for the summer, other students had joined their parents,

Fellow graduates ain’t in a hurry, some of ‘em ran to the jungle gym excitedly,

Climbing and swinging like they did in kindergarten, one last grasp at childhood before high school comes calling,

School buses done arrived, time to close school for the season,

Grade seven awaits after the break, bring on teen years let’s see how I handle it.


No, your boy ain’t kept in touch with the homies, it wasn’t meant to be,

That’s just how fate scripted it, our ships sailed through different directions,

Most of ‘em now married with children, as are most of my former peers,

Some even became teachers, though not at our old stomping ground of seven years,

Most of ‘em ain’t changed, facially, can see traces of ‘em in their kiddies,

No telling what became of our kindy buddies, by now they’d reached early thirties,

With families and careers of their own, time sure has flown,

Seemed to last forever living it, in hindsight shouldn’t have taken it for granted,

The school I’d attended still standing, still in operation and thriving,

Uniforms largely remained unchanged, new buildings done upgraded the landscape,

No telling if younger teachers in the day are still plying their trade, though one older gent’s still doing his thing, still smoking despite surpassing retirement age,

Now to address the elephant in the room, as if you didn’t know,

That little note that ascended upwards, the little wish that I’d wrote,

Ain’t nothing ambitious or noble, some would say it’s shallow,

Gotta bear in mind, I was a chubby child, picked on by the others, their jabs were most unkind,

So prior to the proceedings, took out a pen and scrawled that I wished for a better body, to turn this softness into brawn,

Maybe wishes come true, achievement unlocked years later,

No drugs, supplements or gym, just hard work and dedication, choke on that one, hecklers!

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