I stood before my old high school, looking up at the massive building whilst a mixture of thoughts and feelings raged inside of me. It had only been three years since I’d last gone up the stone steps, through a set of the wooden double doors and down the corridor to my last day here.
The next day, the school had shut down and workmen had built a tall chain link fence around everything. Signs warning of closer, danger and demolishing in progress hung down. My friends and I were not put off by them though. The six of us had returned for one night to have a last wander though the halls and classrooms before they were gone forever.
‘There’s a way in around the back,’ Edison’s voice whispered.
‘Let’s go then,’ Hunter answered back.
We set off quickly and followed the fence all the way around the back to where the gym and sport fields where. There wasn’t anyone around on this warm spring evening, the workmen building the new housing estate across the way, had gone home and since the roads around here had been blocked off, there was no reason to drive around here.
‘There’s the gap,’ Edison pointed out.
We all stopped and looked. I would have missed the small cut in the links if he hadn’t pointed it out. Edison was small and chubby, really geeky looking with large glasses and longish brown hair. He was our guide, having come last week with his older brother.
Edison pulled apart the links quickly, the sound was loud and echoing, then he duck down and wiggled through. He held one side and the rest of us followed him; Hunter, Dusty, Spencer, Marci – the only girl- and me, Corey. We all had rucksacks and since we were all eighteen or over, we hadn’t really had to explain to anyone what we were going to do.
Keeping in the shadows of the building, Edison took us through a broken in fire door and we entered the main building. The familiar smells of wood vanish, lemon cleaning spray, books and sweat hit me and took me straight back to being fifteen again. It was like I was hurrying to my class again and going off to meet my friends for lunch.
It felt different though; the halls and classrooms were empty. The walls looked duller and most of the posters had been taken down. There was an eerie sense of loss to the place, like at a funeral. Our footsteps echoed too loudly as we peered into classrooms, looking for things.
‘Let’s go to the library,’ Marci whispered, though her voice carried.
‘I heard they’d got rid of all the books,’ Spencer muttered back.
‘I want to go and tag some stuff,’ Hunter said, ‘let’s split up.’
I went with Edison and Marci whilst Dusty choice to go with the other two. We heard them a few moments later smashing a door window and shaking cans of paint spray.
‘Hooligans,’ Marci said under her breath.
I had to agree. The whole point of coming here was to say goodbye to the place. Though I doubt anyone would care what we did. On the approached to the library we found torn pages and books scattered around, someone had been here before us.
Marci toed a few of the books, looking very unhappy in the low light. She had always been the bookworm of the group, though we all liked books, expect for Hunter. Marci went to the door and opened it. Edison and I followed and I saw that Spencer had almost been right.
All the bookcases were empty, but there were a few piles of books on the tables and floors. Marci and Edison began pouring over them, taking the ones they wanted. I went the counter and flipped through a dusty history book. Nothing took my fancy so after a few minutes, I got bored and decided to leave.
Walking down the corridors, I entered a few classrooms and saw that only a few had their desks and chairs piled up against the back wall. I guess they must have sold a lot of stuff off. On the blackboards, the people that had broken in before us had written rude things and draw interesting pictures. There was graffiti on the walls too that added to the sense of abandonment.
Opening the door of my old geography classroom, I walked in and saw a globe on the teacher’s desk. I touched the old paper map and give it a spin, there was nothing wrong with it. I looked and saw on the walls old posters of different countries. There was also a bookcase a quarter filled with atlas and guide books to different places. I collected them all, Marci would like them then with a shrug, I picked up the globe and left.
We all meet back some hours later, our rucksacks and arms full of gathered stuff. There was the scent of smoke in the air and I guessed that some of the others had been up to more then just tagging and looting.
‘What you want that old thing for?’ Hunter asked me.
Everyone turned to look. The globe was too big for my rucksack which had a few books, rolled posters and other stuff inside, so I was holding it instead.
‘It’s kinda cool. What are going to do with all those wires?’ I counted back.
‘Sell them,’ he replied.
There was some swapping of items and talking over things. Then we left. The sky was inky black with a handful of stars and the street was quiet. We walked together for awhile then went our different ways home.
Once there, I put the globe on my desk and spun it again. It felt a strange thing to take from an about to be demolished place but I felt oddly drawn to it. Leaving the stuff in my bag till later, I studied the world, mapping my way across it as I had never done in geography lessons.
Tiredness caught up with me and I saw it was nearly midnight. Giving the globe a final spin I went to bed, my head full of memories from my old high school.