Rushing. I’m late. Feeling sick with nerves and hunger I can’t remember for the life of me the room number I am supposed to be going to. I roam the halls of the oldest building on campus. The deadly silence of the building hung like a cloud over my head. Finally the room! I was on the wrong floor. Upon entering the room I am greeted by two strange things, the tables and chairs were in a completely different order to when I had first ventured to that room, and the teacher was not the one I was expecting.
“I’m a post-gradute drafted in this morning to teach you.” He announced.
When I say announced, I mean ‘He said very quietly and timidly.’ Great, I remember thinking. The people in the class are shy enough, all we need is the tutor being shy. He made us sit in silence for fifteen minutes whilst reading through a rather lenghty handout. *Sniff*….*Sniff*. Need to blow my nose. Mustn’t break the silence. *Sniff*. Oh god I really need to blow my nose. Screw it I had to ask. Permission granted. Nose blowing a-go-go. I left the room as quietly as I could but I could feel everyones piercing stares tearing the back of my t-shirt to shreds.
Finally out of the room. I can breathe again. I start my slow search for the toilets. Wrong corridor. Wrong corridor. Another wrong corridor this time with an alarm going off at the other end. The alarm shrieking through the silence, battling it into the submission. Down two flights of stairs to the ground floor and I can see in the distance the sign for the male toilets. Upon entering the toilets I hear the sound of running water, the tap which is an ‘automatic off’ tap is still running but I hadn’t seen anyone enter or leave the toilet when I was at the other end of the corridor. Spooky. I tried to turn it off but to no avail, eventually after about five minutes it gave up its watery chorus and the silence that clung to every recess of the rest of the building rushed into the bathroom to fill this space too. Upstairs you could hear the alarm battling the silence. Ringing out through the building. It couldn’t be a fire alarm due to it not going off in the rest of the building.
Making my way back to the lift to go back upstairs, and not wanting to walk up them due to my chest infection, I nearly walk into someone and I say sorry but she is silent like the rest of this forsaken building. Not even a “it’s okay.” She stops and gets in the lift too, the silence (this time awkward) feels like it is trying to wrap round me and choke me.
I leave the lift and the fluorescents are brighter up here than downstairs or in the lift. Back into the room I go. And there it is again. Silence. Sitting back into my seat we are arranged into groups. The other two groups are talking instantly but our group takes a while to mobilize. Silence, maybe the silence is clinging to me. I am silence. I am its morbid creator. Silence leads to thinking and thinking can more often than not lead to depression.
“Can I talk to you outside.” I asked of the teacher.
“Look I can’t be here, I lost someone recently and I just need to get out.”
“I had something the same recently it’s fine, get your stuff and go.”
“Thanks alot.” I finished with a smile.
Back into the room and I was naked again, their glares shredding me to pieces. I pack up my bag totally aware of everyone watching and wondering. Rushing. I need to feel the air.
Outside. I can finally breath again.
And the silence? Gone. Drowned in the waves of traffic and people moving about.
Drowning me and my thoughts.