Time, and reflections found in a river.

Written by Brytahni

Silently I sit in the back of a dimly lit classroom, with an odd musky stench. This scent overpowered the class, making you quiver, making your spine shiver as you wait for the teacher to arrive. At 7:15 the bell rings, and he slowly walks towards his desk. Behind his desk there is a grey wall and in the middle lays a chalk board, written, “Mr. Goin”.

His classroom is silent, and all of a sudden “WAM”, he slams a ruler on the desk, and says “alright class, time to begin”, I stare at him while he talks and expects everyone to participate, while all the other students are participating blurting out answers, being rowdy. I sit there, mindless. I don’t want to hear him, I don’t want to be here, and I don’t care. I don’t care at all. Everyone’s voices around me sound like annoying buzzes in my ear, but at that exact moment I realize that the “everyone’s” voice, is just Mr. Goin. My hearing slowly fades back in and the annoying buzz sounds like a lion’s roar.


I was furious, because I had no idea what I had done wrong. My heart dropped. I knew I was in trouble.

I proudly stood up, I gracefully pushed in my chair, and I happily walked out that door. At a slow pace I stride towards the principal’s office.

In a short period of time I ended up in Ed Johns office. Ed was the principal, who traveled around lazily in a wheel chair. Ed was in charge of discipline. Ed knew me very personally; I was always in and out of his office.

As soon as I walk in he smiles “so what are you in here for this time?”

I smile shyly, and find my way to a seat.
I say “I can’t focus, my teachers don’t get me, and I don’t want to be here.”

As soon as Ed hears that, I slouch in my chair as I wait for a lecture, but instead he says:  “you don’t have to be here, you could be out ruining your life, ditching school, not paying attention in class. I’m not your Dad,  I don’t make you do anything you do what you want, I don’t care anymore. I won’t stop you. “
I sat pokerfaced as he turned around and proceeded working on his computer, I slide my way out the principal’s door, pushed my way through the crowded halls, and slipped unnoticed out of the school front door. I am running.

I am running passed beautiful houses, passed traffic, into a woodsy area. I run to my happy place. I run to freedom. I run to myself.

I ran to a river, the beautifully disgustingly polluted Willamette River. The river seemed to flow at a quick pace, and as the river worked its way down the stream, and the wind followed, I looked down and found myself looking right into the eyes of my problem; I was staring into the eyes of the beast. I was looking at myself in the reflection of the water.  For a second the water was calm, and the wind was still. Time seemed to slip away.   Was it minutes? Hours? Seconds?

Whatever it was, time seemed to smack sense into me, and I asked myself “is this where you want to be? So you want to struggle? Do you want fail?”

At this moment, surrounded by peace, cool rushing water, and my thoughts, I realized that my teacher. Ed John, was right.

I found myself running.

Running, running.

Running back to school!

Notation:  Brytahni stood before the leadership of the Oregon National Guard and invited guests and shared her story.