I remember as a young girl, as I’m sure everyone who sat through an unwanted lesson does, wanting to take down the walls of the classroom just as it has now fallen in from years of neglect. I couldn’t have imagined then that this would ever be the case. This building, this institution for the education of young women, that breathed dignity and whose walls seemed to simply have always been–
I have lived a long and full life away from here. Slowly the years collected to match and exceed my time spent passing in these rooms and down these halls that now seem so much smaller than I expected to find. I remembered my time spent here sometimes with a bitter fondness and then simply fondness, but I remembered less and less often as time took me farther from this place. I didn’t think of how the place itself was passing that time.
It is gone. The school is gone. The building trying to follow. The dorms long since taken by the trees that sat far back neatly guarding the central grounds when I was here. In my mind, when I thought of this place, I assumed it was still here, that the walls were still strong and bright, voices reciting poetry or arguing history still heard behind classroom doors or across the field through open windows, young girls in uniform laughing or running or commiserating together here as I had.
There was a window there where there is now a gaping hole. I sat two seats from it in my third year and wondered how many of us it would take to break away that whole section of the room. How long would it take to create our own means of escape? Would they punish us if we ran out through the hole we’d made, across the field and into the trees? Could they punish us if they couldn’t catch us?
It’s surreal to see the same field through this hole as I’d so often imagined it in my day dreaming. I feel old because of it. I suddenly feel as though the girl who sat here dreaming of this scene in this very room were an entirely different person from myself now. It’s as though life has taken me very far away from me then so that I stretched into two separate people. Maybe there is another version of myself born from that girl then who goes on not knowing about the school, still believing as I did before coming now that it is still here.