This is where we tortured Mrs Jones.
“These are the castles of your generation. Shells of buildings ravaged by cutbacks, they should be managed by English Heritage.”
I’m listening, sort of. But it was easy being distracted by memories. The old place had been left to street kids years ago. A desk was still visible, and pieces of broken blackboard were scattered here and there but otherwise you’d be hard pressed to know this had been a school at all.
God, what a waste.
I should say something to him. After all these years and here in this place again, I should say something.
Elongated fish people with spliffed-out faces look on from broken walls, sunlight illuminating faces waiting to learn
“Mr Jones, I have something to tell you.”
“It’s about her, isn’t it? About Edith?”
All these years and I never knew her first name.
“Don’t look back, my boy. I know what she was like. I knew what you all thought of her. Water under the bridge and all that. Wondered how long it would take you to mention her.”
“But her life, we made it a misery.”
“She understood. Fighting with teenagers was just a part of the job. You never really won, you know. You just tore chunks out of your own futures. But students like you made it worthwhile. She thought highly of you. She saw what you were capable of.”
“I was no better. I joined in. I laughed when she cried after all the tricks and went along with burning her books at the end of the year.”
“And now you’re here, pushing your old headmaster around abandoned schools when you could have parked me in front of a TV somewhere. You care. If she taught you nothing else then that would be enough.”
I want to say more. I want to make up for the years. For being a child. Instead I look at my watch. It’s 3:30. Time to go home.
photo courtesy and copyright of Jay Sharples – mcrstreetart.blogspot.com