I picture the last time I walked out of my high school like a slow motion scene from a movie, like those flashbacks in opening scenes. I’m walking down the outdoor steps, laughing with the two friends I’d just had ninth period class with. As I laugh, the camera zooms in on my face, capturing the casual glance over my shoulder, back towards the high school, before my eyes return to my friends and I descend down the steps toward the parking lot. Little do I know, that will be my last glance, my last day of high school. Dramatic sounding? Maybe. But accurate and cinematically artistic nonetheless. It’s not everyday that an event in your life amounts to movie material without you realizing its significance in the moment. That’s how it was—for me and I’m sure many other high school seniors. One day there and the next day, well, not. High school over. The turn around is a lot to process, which is probably why the slow-mo scene replays in my head, each time my brain putting its best foot forward at understanding.
When you’re watching a movie, you can’t keep rewinding and replaying a scene for eternity because you’ll never finish the movie. No matter how much you may love the scene, or no matter how much you need to see it again to help you put together the details. So, despite the urge to review again and again the last day of high school in my mind, I gotta hit play and carry on through my days in quarantine. I Zoom with friends, walk my dog, run in the basement, do some puzzles, eat lots of foods, bake. Nothing extraordinary or too inspiring. But I get through it, I fill the days. Keep pressing play. When my mind wanders to the future and I think about the tentativeness of events that seem essential to a healthy closure from high school and childhood—prom, graduation, a last summer at home, even starting college on time—I remind myself that movies never leave things untied. They never cut off during the rising action, leaving questions unanswered. And anyways, why would I want to fast-forward to the end, no matter how much I’m dying to get there? Without all the scenes in between, you can’t appreciate that last one, it wouldn’t even make sense. As anxious as I am to see it, I don’t think I can ever predict the final scene of the movie that began on that day I walked out of high school. I guess that makes this a pretty good movie. I’ll be here, watching.