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Essay: Spring Jacket

The calendar says April so I’m ready to trade in this winter coat for my spring jacket. My mother is not ready.

“It’s only thirty degrees,” she says. “Wait a few weeks until it warms up”

We live in Grand Rapids, not as far north as Traverse City but not Florida either.

I know my mother is right but it’s not about being right. It’s about being cool—and I know it’s not cool to wear my winter coat. So, I lie.

“Everybody else is wearing their spring jackets,” I tell her and she finally gives in. Hanging up the heavy parka, I grab my flimsy windbreaker and dash out the door.

The wind takes my breath away and I pull the zipper up to my chin. My best friend Carol is waiting at the end of the driveway to walk to school together—and I notice she’s wearing her winter coat. I just hope my mother isn’t looking out the window.

“Let’s race,” I say to Carol and we take off running.

When we slow down, Carol says, “My mom won’t let me wear my spring jacket yet.” I shrug, as if it’s no big deal, and wonder if she notices that I’m shivering.

I yearned to be cool but instead, I’m just cold—freezing, in fact, but I will never tell my mother.