ANOTHER SECOND LOST
Vapid. The hallway was filled with students of varying stations in life with every veritable food group represented in rare form, and the smells careening about the hallways whisked a putrid concoction of teen spirit and cafeteria food into a heavy invisible mist welcoming all who would enter the halls of the school. Vapid was the only thing Sophia felt when she stood amongst the mass of sensations. As Sophia took her first steps over the threshold of the doorway, she paid attention to the eroding linoleum tile bracing her left footfall as she left the concrete steps behind her. The hall felt empty, a luminous chasm with fake tile floors meant to maintain the illusion that the cold, dense concrete world of real life was somehow outside the world of education. It was empty, save the mass of students passively floating the invisible currents tirelessly floated by generations before them. Some seemed aware that they were floating, while others struggled to control variations on the theme. They would speed up, or slow down, some with books, some without, but all walking like zombies toward their goal, to get brains. Sophia laughed, as she walked past the bodies of her classmates. She kept her eyes fixed on the tile. Though it hid the truth from the student body, the lines drew her toward her destination. She kept her strides timed to the rhythm of her heart, skipping a tile with every step.
The predetermined path, complete with grooves worn into the tile floor led Sophia to a glass office doorway. Sophia mused to herself about the ladies sitting behind the three desks. The triad were dressed in variations of the same ideal. For an office so open to the world, what was inside was so closed. She took a breath and steped into the office.
“Hello dear.” said one of the three. The other two ladies perked to attention.
“Hey,” Sophia slipped a half greeting to the middle-aged woman.
“Oh, you must be Sophia? Isn’t that perfect? If you just take a seat over there, your counselor will be right out… mmkay? Thanks hon.”
“Whatever, thanks.” Sophia took a seat on the red and black bench up against the wall. The bench was a wood synthetic straight out of an ikea catalogue. The suede moaned as she sat into it and Sophia laughed to herself as the women looked at her in mistaken disgust of the sound. Like everything else in the school, the theme of the day seemed to be fakeness.
It wasn’t the first time that Kennedy had walked the main hall of Mount Terra High with a cursory glance to her surroundings. She had made an art of passing people, like a messenger bicyclist on a deadline. Straining through the crowd of people with precision, she allowed her eyes the narrowest freedom. They scanned the way ahead of her just enough to see the obstacles, giving her brain a steady stream of clear contrasting imagery to avoid. Rather than seeing faces, connected to massive strands of information, the dramas and traumas and details of relationships and repoirs seemed much to inconvenient when weighed against the need to get from one hall to the next. Kennedy brushed against a boy; a boy she once had a crush on, named… he had no name. Kennedy brushed against an object as she moved toward her goal. As she arrived in the office, the nile blue accents pushed against the inertia of her tenacity. She had made it from point A to point B in record time, she could feel it. The clock on the wall confirmed her hunch. Kennedy had effortlessly managed to float the halls of Mount Terra without any real effort, and she had done it in record time. She paid another cursory glance about her surroundings and found an awkward girl sitting on the unnecessarily vibrant red bench. In other circumstances the girl may have been extraordinary, but Kennedy didn’t have the energy to waste any unnessecary resources on another freshman. This girl was the fifth lame freshman Kennedy had lead to classes in her two year tenure at Mount Terra. Kennedy’s energy was rationed perfectly for these circumstances. This ration included a quick thirty second respite of activity for assessment and recognition of the frosh, and two seconds for a non-verbal motion to follow her. Introductions would be made in the hallway, along with a tour guide esque description of the schools idio-syncrisies.
“You don’t look like your captain of the debate team.” flipped Sophia.
Kennedy looked at the clock, another second lost.