Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

Finally, the day had arrived for which I had been conjuring up my strength for so many days. Usually, when I get up for school, I am all vibrant, energetic and eager, but it was nothing like that today. There was a strangeness in the atmosphere, something queer today. It was officially the final day of my school and the thought of it made knots in my belly.

As I sat in the car and looked out of the window, I could feel how much I would be missing going to school through this route. It was a 20-minute drive and for the past 13 years, every morning Mum had been my travel companion. I had become so familiar with this every day journey that I could elucidate it with my eyes shut.

It seemed only a few minutes had when I was jolted from my thoughts and was taken aback by my mum’s voice, “Enjoy your day and have fun dear,” as she shifted from behind the wheel to peck me on the cheek.

I half nodded and smiled weakly at her. Looking at the school building, I was reminiscing the day when, holding onto my parents’ hands firmly, I had entered this premises for the first time. Time flies, doesn’t it?

I simply cannot believe that I have completed my O Level and the time to bid goodbye to school life had finally arrived. I adored my school and loved everything about it — its aura, the faculty, my friends, the academic and extracurricular activities. Simply all of it!

As I trudged my way inside the school gate, the sad and happy memories twirled in my mind covering me in nostalgia. Every nook and corner of my school seemed to unwind a memorable time I had spent there together with my peers and teachers — be it an eleventh-hour exam mugging, practicing for a sports event, rehearsing for a school play, or celebrating a jubilant victory. The classrooms, corridors, library, labs and playground, all seemed to be reverberating the friendships we had developed, the bonds we had made and the times good we had shared. All of it had given our experiences to cherish for a lifetime, thereby shaping our personalities in this journey of O Level.

As the bell rang, I paced up towards 11-C, my classroom. Smiling in between tears as I perched on my designated seat, I cast a look at my classroom walls embellished with chart papers, infographics and portraits made by me and my classmates.

“I am surely going to miss all of this,” I murmured under my breath with a sigh. Since it was the last day of school, there were no lessons to be taught by our teachers. So throughout the day, we endlessly chatted, chanted our favourite songs, laughed heartily at the silly jokes, took pictures with our teachers and exchanged cards with each other.

To mark this historic day, my friends and I chipped in money during recess and gave a treat to all of our classmates. As we relished and devoured in the savouries, I could make out that every passing moment was turning into a lasting memory to be cherished in our hearts forever.

After the break, it was time for a class photo; something I had been impatiently anticipating the whole day. For me, this snapshot was not merely a picture; in fact, it was like a constellation, where each one of us was like a star possessing a unique set of talents and achievements.

We all had to assemble in the playground for the photograph. Quickly, all the graduating students formed into neat rows. Afterwards, the photographer helped us form a 2024 for another memorable photograph.

Eyeing for a perfect spot, I quickly huddled with my besties and upon the flash of the camera, gave in my widest grin.

“Spectacular,” commented our head mistress, bursting with pride, as she admired each one of us and bid us farewell.

How could the day have been over without the key event — the signing of the shirts? Clutching paints and markers in our hands, we made our hand impressions, penned down our well-wishes and signed off shirts for each other. Each alphabet that we scribbled for each other revealed a story of friendship, empathy and togetherness that we had formed in these years.

Amidst all the fun and laughter, I was amazed to see how quickly the day had drawn to an end. The ringing of the final bell gave me goosebumps, signalling it was time to bid farewell. A myriad of emotions engulfed me, making me both gloomy and enthusiastic at the same time. With heartfelt wishes on our lips and vows to stay connected, we embraced each other and shook hands, I could discern the beginning of a new era.

Farewells are never easy, yet the journey must continue. I knew the friendships we made, the experiences we gained and the memories we created were the souvenirs that would help me forge ahead in my life and discover new horizons.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 25th, 2024

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