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It is seventh period, almost the end of the day. Just calculus and French left before I can head home and temporarily forget about my troubles. The room is cold as usual, but strangely inviting. The windows reveal a beautiful scene half-shrouded by the glare of the afternoon sun. The playground of the school adjacent to Prospect, often filled with little children enjoying themselves without a care in the world. The roof of the school hallways, often sprinkled with puddles from a recent rain, steals my attention momentarily. Further on, students in gym uniforms can be seen on the school’s football field, suffering in the sun and walking slowly while outside their teacher’s line of sight. Sometimes a bird or plane catches my eye, just long enough to miss an important detail about our notes. Underneath the windows is the familiar blueish counter, always littered with the bodies of flies, even though none are ever present during class. Rows of enormous textbooks of every subject and condition put a strain on the shelves below the counter, visibly bending them. In the front of the room, the clock slowly drags itself forward, at perhaps a tenth of the speed it should be going. Directly below that is the teacher’s desk, tidy and clean except for a few belongings and the suitcase he always brings with him. Behind that, the interlinked chalkboards stretch across the majority of the wall, the faint traces of last period’s notes still evident around the edges. Just to the right, the hand-made sign with “WILL POWER” written in glitter on it sits staring down at me, almost mocking. Above it lay the slightly cracked ceiling, the one that always had me wondering whether any insects had a nearby nest. All of this encircled the most important detail, the students themselves. The ones who so effortlessly succeeded, the ones who lightheartedly walked in and carelessly walked out. The ones who managed to write down their notes while messaging their friends, the ones who finished their homework two periods ago with a flawless understanding of the unit. Each student faced the podium in front, from where the smiling teacher collects tests and gives lectures. The irony of how unfitting a sense of dread was to such a warm atmosphere still disturbs me to this day.

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