Into this world I passed through the birth canal.
The doctor passed me to the nurse who passed me to my mother.
At home, the grandmas passed me around as I passed gas
then learned how to pass the milk, the potatoes, and the time away.
Later, I passed kindergarten, then all twelve grades, college, and graduate school.
I began to pass blood when I was 13 while older girls passed along their advice as I passed into my womanhood, strolling through the tampon aisle for 35 more years.
I got passed up for positions: crossing guard, 1st place in anything, a job at McDonald’s, the cheerleading squad, the school plays. I failed my 1st driver’s test, but, thank God, passed the second time, learned how to pass others safely but preferred to stay behind the slowpokes because it was safer. In high school, joints and booze were passed around, and I only passed out once as I passed through those rites of passage. Men didn’t make passes at lasses with glasses, so I graduated to contacts and pretty soon I was passing for pretty and the phone began ringing. My grandpa passed away when I was 17, and once that was past, I passed my high school exams, all the while passing daily notes to my best friend in the hallways between classes. Soon I was in college passing new boys on the sidewalk who passed in and out of my life. Always, I tried to pass for 19, the drinking age at the time. Not wanting life to pass me by, I passed on a job in Minnesota and flew to New York, passing into my next phase, which started as a nanny at the yacht club watching all those preppies pass by the pool wearing pearl earrings - talking not of Michelangelo but of Bloomingdales and Lord and Taylor and wallpaper samples. Thus, I passed up the chance to become a Wall Street Banker’s housewife. Still, I passed up no chances to be an idiot and make a fool of myself over and over in the back seats of cars in Connecticut country club parking lots. Could a girl from Coon Rapids, Minnesota pass for a Yale graduate? Sometimes.
I finally fell in love and passed through the neighborhoods of Manhattan, gobbling up dinners and cocktails at 5-star restaurants, strolling through South Street Seaport, and passing the weekends at the Met, in the Village, Soho, Chelsea. The time passed so quickly and soon the proposal came. It was time to become an adult. I couldn’t pass it up. I passed muster with the in-laws, the required courses without reading Remembrance of Things Past, (passing over poor old Proust) and became a certified professional educator. I wrote hall passes, passed students when they succeeded, passed my weekends grading papers, until one day, my husband suddenly passed away, and all my joy got stuck in the past, at least for a while. But once time passed, the sun came out and I passed Go, collecting more than $200. I got past it, at least for now, and someday strangers will wander past my grave without giving me a passing thought.
Heather Candels is a former English teacher now living in Northfield Minnesota. Her works have been published in The Lowdown, Third Wednesday, Dash, Inkwell, and The Widows Handbook, among others.