I was seventeen, in my last few months as a senior in high school, feeling very old and ready to move on to the next stage of my adult life.
One of my classes was released-time so I could go to the elementary school (for students ages six to twelve) and do reading recovery with a young boy who had recently been adopted from Russia. It was a great program that my mom had established in schools across Utah County, and thanks to her they had all the books and supplies needed to give struggling readers personalized, focused attention and help get them up to grade level. I was happy to be a small part of it.
The day was in April, but bright, clear, and bitterly cold in that cruel way spring in Utah tends tends to throw at you. The wind, ever present in my hometown, had teeth that day, and even walking from the parking lot to the entrance of the school had me shivering. So it was with relief that I made my way down the empty main hall toward the library, thinking about what I would do with my reading buddy that day. Also maybe thinking about boys. Because that's what seventeen-year-old Kiersten did.
I didn't even notice the man standing in the middle of the hall until he put his arm out to block my way.
"You need to go outside for recess," he said.
Needless to say, Very Nearly Adult Me was mortified. And I did not go outside for recess.