Updated: Aug 10, 2022
Time of His Life
Rushing out, Adam slams the mahogany door of his parent’s home with a force that trembles the burnt orange glass paneling. With his back to the rising morning sun, he fumbles the house keys out of his pocket. He tries locking it. “Wrong direction. The other way!” *clack* the door gives it’s goodbye.
Battered New Balances beat west against asphalt, on his way towards the bus stop, with the day and rest of his life in front.
“My permission slip!” uncertainty barges through Adam’s hope, almost clockwork, interrupts this morning's faith.
Ever falling forward, crossing the street, Adam jiggles his once black, now stained, muddled three-ring binder out of his faded blue nylon backpack. Fiddling his thumbs through pages; History notes, Spanish quiz from the fall, Math extra credit assignment completed but never turned in, cluttered together in Order only known to him. As he treads along the path forward with his brown hair tussling in the wind, he secures his concern for the moment. He possesses what he needs for the day, validation of permission.
Never looking where he is going, Adam hears the faint sound of his classmates before seeing them at the corner of the street almost all boarded up on the yellow school bus. Last one on, Adam continues his morning ritual and takes his usual seat, against the window, by the sunlight, three rows from the back. The seat’s aura, or it’s occupant, exudes uncomfortable solitude.
Sensing and combating this, Adam takes out his iPod, headphones and puts on his paylist. Curated to the taste of current pop music with a splash of mainstream counterculture classics, made for a girl he has yet to meet. Drifting off into daydreams of a better place, and time, Adam distracts himself from the communion of gossip and chatter his classmates consume themselves with.
The conversations of who was going to the end of year dance with who and what summer camps his classmates were attending was drowned out by John Mayer’s “Gravity.” Adam began swaying his hands up and down between the lines that divide the road, and before long, with the beat of the song as well. For the first time in a while, things were quite in Adam's life.
Adam zipped open his backpack as the music changed from John Mayer to Konstantine by Something Corporate and grabbed the crinkled flier of the museum exhibit out. Royal purple background with gold text and green spikey leaves on the side read “Go Back In Time: collected paintings of ancient roman gods.”
Scanning more than reading, Adam picked up on and understood what he was on his way to see. Anticipation grew, Adam was brought back to PJs, bed time stories and kisses goodnight, when his Nonna would read stories of Hercules, Achilles, and Apollo. From a young age, Adam was mystified by the mythical.
The bus’ momentum began to shift as it decelerated into a parking lot, Adam looked up as they arrived. Purple signage with matching styling to the pamphlet greeted him at the museum's entrance promoting the exhibit and Adam’s afternoon, “Spend a day with the gods!”.
"Which one are you excited about the most?" spouted Will, the closest thing Adam had to a confidant as they departed the bus. Adam looked back at his tall, lanky, pale, frail friend as he finished the last step off the bus and said, "anything with Venus if were being honest." A light chuckle was all Adam could solicited from Will as the pair entered the museum together. But shortly after the chaperone's speech about educate, lunch, departure instructions and handing out the work sheet, Adam found himself alone, again.
Never one to conflate scholastic achievement to self worth, Adam crumpled up the worksheet as he shoved the piece of paper into his front pants pocket. Adam following his own instinct, rather than blindly adhering to some underpaid teacher’s curated lesson plan, always proved more fruitful. Or at least that is what he told himself.
Rather than following the chill and normal path that had been treaded endless times before, Adam decided to begin his day at the Museum not in the exhibit his supervisors brought him to see, but in a completely different dimension, the Modern Art wing.
Adam’s family had always appreciated and had been trained on renaissance era paintings, portraits and style. Which is why Adam had a fondness for Modern Art. It is a complete departure from this classical mold. The technical skills and environment found in Renaissance Italy will never be created again.
But Adam always concerned himself not with the what was, or the what is, but of the what could and will be. Finding himself in the Modern Art wing might have been seen as detour or distraction from the outside critical observer or his teachers, one in the same, but to Adam, it didn’t feel wrong; it felt right, natural.