I watched them dance in neon colours

Zainab Syed, Pakistan (AC 08-10)

The pen is sharp, almost scratchy and moves slowly along the coarse rhino paper. It’s sharp because the day brushes past in a blur, and the ink leaves a stain of indifference, a black, thin and broken line of denial. And so, I struggle to capture this fleeting moment in a line fractured and apathetic.

I sit next to the window in the library lab, my fingers so graciously adorned by sunlight and my mind dancing to the squeals of my second years on top lawn, waltzing to having completed, in most cases, fourteen years of education.  My eyes dart back and forth between their rejoicing and my computer screen trying to make sense of a theatre journal I’m meant to be typing up. Resigned, I walk out. The sun beckons, it’s a feeble justification.

I watch a red frisbee cut through the sky, crisp air of change and marked endings. Fourteen years left behind with a single dawn but still, there’s a buzz in the air, of people trying to comprehend that they’re standing here, on a sunny day with a water ballon in hand  in an array of colour and radiating faces. And maybe a part of them realises that this day that all of us wait for in earnest blends into the past inconspicuously.  And though my second years dress up, this place sprinkles plain old ordinary with such diversity and novelty that even outrageous colour combinations ornamented with twigs, wings and bananas seems quite normal.

Friday lunch comes around; fish and chips like any other day. Except this time i don’t have to worry about there being no cod left as i stumble out of history, down the spiral staircase, and find myself in the dinning hall. I’ve walked into that hall lined with tables and chairs a whole year now. It’s always been lit up by conversation but also by exhaustion, faces tired of running from one committement to the other. But today, it’s different. I walk in to find second years, in their attempt to do something crazy, dancinig center stage to the music raging from speakers in the background. They forget for a moment that they are marking a departure, but instead focus on the fourteen years of education that have come down to this; smiles stretched wide across their faces, as laughter echoes within the walls and  proves infectious. It tries to cling onto us, those who are staying behind to take center stage, to fill in the roles, but it does so in vain. Because when I turn to find comfort in the faces of my co-years, I realise what this means for us. We let the joy leech onto us, but our emotions are slippery surfaces and the smiles we return are halfheatred. All I can do is stand there and watch them dance in neon colours.

The scratchy feel of the pen I write this with keeps the emotions at bay. I’m trying to capture a moment fleeting you see, and I almost pull it off with indifference but the pen’s nib grates at the paper and breaks the rhythm. The sudden halt in expression allows the emotions to leak out and I try helplessly to cover them up, making a weak attempt to smile, it’s almost pathetic.

My paper’s torn and my nib’s indifferent. I guess I have the right to be grumpy.

– United World College Student Magazine –

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