The run down, black, metal gate stood broken on its hinges, allowing us only a narrow passage to pass through the premises of the deserted school campus. Right before us was an old marble sculpture, its detailed features were blunted in many places but the kindly visage of the woman was still clear in the stone.
Moving along the old corridor that ran to the left of the sculpture, we reached the very last room. The two windows with the broken fiber glass panes gave us a partial view of a dusty classroom through the metal grills with chipped black paint. Pushing open the wooden doors, we carefully stepped inside.
Old wooden armchairs crowded the place, termite eating at their shaky, squeaky legs. Some chairs lay overturned on the floor and some stood with broken armrests.
Numerous beams of the cheerful sunlight had lit up the depressing room with our entrance. The dust particles we had unsettled were floating about in the brightness. Coughing slightly, we examined the chamber.
The floor was barely visible beneath the thick layer of dirt that had accumulated over the centuries. Intricate cobwebs adorned the silent fans and bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Rotting boards hung askew along two of the walls, the green cloth covering almost entirely eaten by worms.
Along the front wall of the classroom were two wooden cupboards, one of which had a tiny, old lock hanging from its latch. Between the two cupboards hung a majestic green chalkboard, its slate rotting away like the rest of the furniture in the room. On the floor in front of the chalkboard, an old security camera lay with a withered old sock covering its glassy eye.
All around the clothed camera lay dusty, half decayed pieces of paper, all displaying a uniform message, ‘Adieu XII – B!’. All over the room, we found other papers full of doodles made during mindless chatter, silly drawings singing of the abandon of youth and emotionless goodbyes punctuated with a hope to keep in touch.
The room which stank of decay and time was enclosed by walls which were alive with memories.
As I looked around the broken chairs once again, dozens of carefree schoolgirls grinned at me, thrilled that they had been discovered at last.