dear ps 158

Lily Zufall

May 21st, 2018

Dear PS 158,

 

It’s been almost a year since I graduated, and I am only just putting my feelings into words.

 

Every time I walk past you during dismissal, full of happy little kids and parents and babysitters, seemingly bursting with light and color, my soul gets a little pang. Every time I walk by during that happiness-filled dismissal, and don’t stop, don’t go in and run my hand along every brick in that building, don’t see all the teachers who made the school so special for me, and don’t express how much I love the school that was practically my home for 6 years, it’s as if a little tear is made in my heart. I feel so guilty, and I think other people do too.

 

But I keep doing it. We all keep doing it.

 

There was a little while where I wished, more than anything in the world, that I could stay. I remember one day where tears fell fast into my lap and down the front of my shirt because I would never have another class in that building where I learned so much, about the world, about reading and math, and most importantly, about how to be a better person. The following I am admittedly borrowing from my friend, Shannon, who was able to perfectly describe the PS 158 community but I am quoting it and crediting her so it’s ok): “If we had more people in the world like we do at PS 158, I wouldn’t know how to make Earth any better.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

 

But now it’s different. Now I know that, while PS 158 is always there in my heart, it’s for everyone’s sake that we graduated last year in 5th grade. There’s no way 6th grade emotions and craziness could’ve survived with people we’d been rubbing shoulders with since Kindergarten. There would be too much drama (like there isn’t already) and we are all too old to still be there. We need the liberty of middle school.

 

I think what we all fear now is that if we don’t go back, feel wistful and keep that sadness and missing of 158, by next year we will be so far removed, so grown up, such middle schoolers that we won’t care. We are - or at least I am - afraid that if we don’t build the stepping stones of visits, we won’t be able to start fresh next year and visit after a year of radio silence. So we all say we’ll visit, all say we’ll go back.

 

But we don’t. We say we’ll do it next week, but something always comes up. We say we’ll do it with a friend, but you aren’t free the same days. We make excuses over and over again, until finally we are forced to confess that maybe, possibly we don’t care quite as much as we pretend we do. I am making my confession right here, in this letter.

 

I know that I will never ever entirely sever ties with you, 158. I have too many memories with you, from learning the 100-days song and making shirts to being absolutely terrified and taking the State Tests for the first time in room 318 to holding all my friends tightly, knowing that this was my last day in school with 50 percent of them.

 

In all, I love you, PS 158, and I promise that, come what may, I will be back for you again someday. (But I’ve outgrown you enough that returning to 158 classes just wouldn’t suffice after the experiences I’ve had in these few months at Wagner.)

 

So much love,

 

Lily Zufall

Class of 2017

©2017 by The Highly Indy Project

highlyindy@gmail.com, New York City

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