Abby approached the school with some trepidation. She had never been through the doors before, but had ridden by a hundred times or so to see whatever she could see from the sidewalk. One day she had jumped off the bike and tried to look inside through a lower level window, alas the window had a shade pulled tightly down. She could see nothing. Standing along side her bike she took in the whole of the large ancient building. The recessed stone square of a tanish shade centered in the front of aged and glorious bricks read, "Central School" and so it was. Centrally located within the small city Abby's family now called home.
No brother or sister to walk with on that first day. No friends since she had lived there only a few weeks and had met only one boy who lived very near her house. She thought he lived 3 houses from hers, but couldn't be sure because he always ran between two houses when she saw him go "home". It mattered little because he wasn't someone she wanted to know, really. His name was Zeke, but beyond that, she knew only that he lived with his father on her street and was in 6th grade. She would be starting 5th grade so she probably wouldn't have to deal with him often, if at all. He had not offered to walk to school with her and she was a little bit glad and a little bit sad. Walking into a new school completely alone was not fun. Walking with Zeke would have been slightly better and he could have pointed her in the right direction.
Opening the over-sized door, she took a deep breathe and stepped in. There were a few kids walking around talking, laughing and acting very comfortable. Abby looked up and down the long hallway and spotted the row of lockers to her left. Her locker number was 118 and she started off in search of the first stop in her new school. Almost half-way down the row was her locker, she looked at the combination for reassurance, though she had memorized it a few days ago. It opened when she completed the code and she immediately noticed a sweater and a pair of shoes.
Stunned and a bit scared, she had no idea she would be sharing a locker, she put her own sweater on the remaining hook and closed the door. The first room she was to report to, according to her letter of introduction, was room #55. Where that might be was a mystery to her. She started looking down the other end of the hall and headed in that direction with her letter in her hand.
"Can I help you find your room?" The voice was soft and masculine and completely new to her ears. Nice.
"Please. I have no idea where I am going. Room #55?" She sounded helpless and that was not her norm. She usually was confident and self-assured, but this scary environment was not giving her much to work with and the sweet man who offered his help was leaving her a little shaky. He was so tall and so handsome and so young. He couldn't be a teacher, could he? So young! Her thoughts were clearly inappropriate, but still she was 11 years old and on the cusp of womanhood and this was a delish man.
"It's right down here on the left. Even numbers are on your right and odd on your left in this hall. I'll point you toward your next class when this one is over." There was a pause as he walked toward their destination. "I'm Mr. Browning, by the way, your homeroom teacher. And you are?"
Her homeroom teacher. She would be starting every school day looking at those green eyes and that perfectly messed up brownish hair. This was going to be a very good year.
"Hi, I'm Abby Lincoln. Nice to meet you, sir." She smiled and regained some of her usual confidence.
They entered the homeroom and Mr. Browning pointed to a desk near his desk.
"Why don't you have a seat there for now. I do alphabetical assignments after everyone arrives, but you can see everyone come in from here and you'll be near-by if you need to ask anything, you know, quietly!" He winked and smiled at her with that last addition.
The first day in the new school would be okay, but she was going to have a difficult time with this new fever she was feeling. Spring Fever? Oh, that might explain it, but she had a feeling this fever would last until she graduated and left this building, if not many years beyond.
"Hey, Princess! Where are you?" Zeke was touching her knee and obviously had been talking to her, though she heard nothing.
"I was remembering my very first day at school in Templeton. I have no idea why, I just got lost in the memory, for some reason. It was a good day and a nice memory, but I'm not sure why I went there now."
"That was a great school and I remember the day I met you. You were so beautiful and I felt such an attraction to someone I had never even heard speak! I saw you coming out your front door and jumped on my bike to 'accidently' ride by just as you cleared the gate. I was hooked right then! Ya know, every now and then, I think about the day I asked you to the prom and you said, 'Are you sure you wanna take ME?' Do you remember that?"
"I do," She laughed softly. "I thought Mr. Browning would be asking me, I think." With that they both laughed.
Through the years of Central School Abby learned that nearly every single student, well female ones and a few select males, saw their future with Mr. Browning. He had been single when she first started there, but had married when she was in the 9th grade. His wife, also a teacher at Central, was beautiful and very desired by most of the male and a few of the female students. Somehow, in her own mind though, Abby still thought he had a special feeling for her. She had been right, but not quite right. He adored her as a student and he loved watching her mature with her classmates. He saw in her exactly what he wanted his own daughter, if he ever had one, to become. It was a mutual love with different definitions. They remained close until graduation. She had not seen either Mr. or Mrs. Browning since.
She had married her first sweetheart, Zeke, a year after graduation and had two babies with him.
They had a good marriage, but her Spring Fever returned every year to haunt her memory, but not to disturb her life. She had made good choices and the Spring Fever was just a warm and fuzzy memory that jumped into her head out of absolutely nowhere at some point each and every spring in New England. The Brownings still lived in Templeton some 1500 miles away, but they both lived in her heart and she imagined they thought of her from time to time, as well.