To the Editor:
I walk down the hallways. A certain eeriness is present. The eeriness that was present when, in seventh grade, I walked the streets of Paris after Charlie Hebdo. It was quiet. The usual sounds were not there. No teachers laughing together over coffee, no students causally watching Netflix on their laptops during free period. Nobody was complaining about homework. No groups of friends were eating microwaved popcorn whilst they did language homework. Everyone was dead silent. Even the lunch ladies, who always encouraged me to smile just a bit brighter, didn’t mention smiling or anything happy. They just rang up my purchase as I left, not smiling. Nobody noticed.
I walked down the hallways. Some seniors were chatting with their usual senior tones, pompous and bright, but of course, they were joking about it. Nobody ever thought that it could happen.
I walked down the hallway to English Class, which has always been my favorite. There was always a vibe of energy, positivity and comfort. I walked over to the room. Some of the usual energy was present, but everyone’s face was drained of emotion. Everyone in the room was frozen. Nobody felt safe. Everyone was talking about it. How to move to Canada. Everyone was stress eating snacks.
The class began. The room was silent. My teacher was trying to keep class positive. She told us that we needed to stand up for what we needed to believe in during these next four years that would not be all rosy. She then told us that all she wanted to do was to have a normal book discussion, and so that’s what we had.
Then, things stayed benign. Still sad, with that same exact vibe. Until advisory time.
Wednesday advisory was the best. We would always eat snacks and drink juice. Just like the good old days. As we all were eating gourmet donut holes and watching inspiring videos, all of our phones beeped.
All ninth graders were to report to the theater.
First, our counselor asked us how we felt. Many people felt scared just like me. The LGBTQ people in our grade talked about how they felt that their rights were deprecating. Other people talked about how their parents had told them that they hold the future. Then, we had a speech from a history teacher about the Electoral College and how everything was going to be OK. Still, nobody was convinced.
Next, I walked into History. We had an extended class period, as we always do on Wednesday. It was quiet. We continued to talk about the win of Trump. We felt devastated. We discussed policy. That is, the people that had not cut school talked about these events. In the hallway after, I heard people talking about fear of deportation of family members.
Where am I living? When?