Back In The Day
Alice Jeffcott, Grade 9, Perth Modern School
The feeling of warm, rough bitumen under my feet brought a smile to my face. 25 years. 25 years and I’m back to where I started. This school was the foundation of so many happy memories. The rustic red brick buildings in the shape of a ‘u’ stood sturdy as they have been for the past 100 years but on closer inspection everything was so tired and weather beaten that I began to question the accuracy of my memories. The concrete floors of the verandas had been worn right down and cracks began to emerge. The paint was flaking off the grey-green railings which followed my every step. To my right, I saw my hook. The hook where my backpack used to hang, right next to the “hello :)” someone had scratched into the wood. All that was there now was a hook, so bent that it had turned into a loop. I lightly grazed my fingertips on it and felt the cool metal against my skin. It sent quivers of joy through my body and tensed my chest slightly. I stepped off the shaded verandas and back into the bright, sunny quadrangle. I stood there, motionless. I closed my eyes and listened intently to the wind. I listened as it made the old gum trees sway and drop dead leaves to the floor. I listened as it made the playground creak and squeak in places that desperately needed oil. It felt like home.
Children with backpacks bigger than their bodies and wide brimmed hats hiding their eyes began to file into the school. I walked toward my new classroom with the same feeling I had had on my first day of school; anxiety, excitement and fear. With a turn of my key, I unlocked the green number 2 door. The rolling door was very heavy and growled when I pulled it open. It was like stepping into another classroom, one I had not at all expected. My first step in was met with the smell of plastic and chalk. The room was messy, but in a homely sort of way. It certainly wasn’t like this when I left. Artwork covered the walls in a disorderly fashion. The knee high desks had the remains of glitter and glue on them. Reading books were littered across the floor along with cushions and beanbags. The room I remembered had endless maths posters on the wall, school books sacked neatly in the back corner and desks in a perfectly parallel formation as if someone had aligned them with a ruler the night before.
I sat down at my new desk and stared apprehensively at the empty rows. It felt wrong, as if I was about to get told off for sitting in the teachers chair. I was sure I would feel more comfortable sitting in a little plastic chair with a little plastic desk and a little plastic tray; just like I used to, back in the day.