I gazed out at the snow-covered peaks as our bus rumbled along the twists and turns of the bumpy road carved into the Atlas Mountains. We had just reached 7,200 feet and we were now on the descent. With my phone in hand, I opened the camera app and leaned forward, trying to capture just a fraction of the beauty of this sun-illuminated landscape surrounding us in all directions. My ears were popping, and although I was captivated by the views, I was still on high alert. Road signs warned drivers to take caution. There were times I was convinced we were headed straight off the cliff.
As we continued careening down the mountain, not only were all of us students snapping pictures of the breathtaking views, we also formed an impromptu choir. One after another, we sang along to old classics. I knew almost all of the songs. Once someone chimed in with “Sweet Caroline,” I no longer noticed the mountains nor the other people in the bus. All I could think about were when times were easier and life was simpler. A flashback took me to my first and only Major League Baseball game—“Sweet Caroline” was played during the seventh inning stretch. It was in April 2008, and I was in fifth grade. My dad and stepmother were dedicated Red Sox fans, and the game they took me to pitted the Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles. Somewhere I still have pictures we took during that afternoon. In the scene that flooded my mind on the bus in the Atlas Mountains, I am holding a balloon I got during the game. Along with “Sweet Caroline” playing over the loudspeakers, there are digital messages displayed on a board in the outfield. My dad pointed to the board and told me to watch it as it changed from one message to another. It was not long until my name and a he wrote to me flashed brightly on the board. I will always remember that.
To top it off, the Red Sox won.
On the bus, tears began to form in my eyes, but I didn’t cry. At that moment, all I wanted was to be with my dad and stepmother, talk to them, tell them I love them. Although I may never get to see them again, I was comforted by the connection I felt with “Sweet Caroline.” The song brought me back to the one thing I still have—my memories.