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The End is Near
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It's the beginning of August and even though I'm sixty-two I have to remind myself not to worry, I don't have to drag myself back to school at the end of the month.

On the June day when the bell rang for the final time and we all went racing out the double doors and down the concrete steps, shouting and laughing (or maybe shedding a few tears after falling down those steps and skinning a knee....) unshackled from our desks, free of homework and the lurking horror of pop quizzes, summer seemed endless. The resumption of classes in three months was nothing more than a shadowy rumor, distant as old age, something so far in the future it might as well never be happening at all.

Oh those happy days of frogs and jaw-breakers, the stink of chalk replaced by the fragrance of grass and dirt. Best of all, the world of June and July was timeless.

Then along came August like some wild-eyed, long bearded prophet waving a sign that said "The End is Near!" Thanks a lot! Now I could count the weeks left until school on the grubby, grass stained fingers of one hand. Suddenly the newspapers were full of back-to-school advertisements, clearly intended ruin the short time left with constant reminders of what was to come. And there was the inevitable, terrible journey to town for my new prison uniform.

So August was never quite as fine as the previous two months. There was that awareness of the horror lurching down the road towards me. Although it's been more than three decades since I've attended any sort of school I still get a sinking feeling in my stomach when August rolls around.

Of course, when, in a few weeks, it's September and I'm not back in school, I feel better. Until I remember I'm sixty-two.

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