My Dream School

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Dominion Office Building http://www.zaha-hadid.com/architecture/dominion-tower/

My Dream School

I was standing in front of a colossal centrepiece with my guide. It was like the eye of a Jurassic albino fly, towering up several stories high. Sweeping flights of stairs flanked both sides of this bubble wrap that doubled as the roof of the atrium below. Another member of staff (I spotted from the corner of my left eye) was scaling up this uneven, slippery structure, making an enormous crackling noise as he crawled. A crowd looked on.

“Sometimes it could be a waterfall, too,” my guide enlightened me.
Right on cue, silvery water cascaded slowly down like a cellophane Roman blind.

I now found myself alone in an open space with wide stairs, a spacious floor with curvy benches stretching several feet long. All white. All quiet. No other furniture could be seen. This was clearly every minimalist’s paradise.

One androgynous-looking child in his/her immaculate uniform stood still at the second step of a staircase. Like a statue. It’s hard to tell whether s/he was coming down or going up from his/her blank expression. The vision was fixed in an infinite space beyond.

Then, noiselessly, another child belly-slid down one bench, arms spread high in the air, stopping before he fell off the edge. From the other side, another child performed exactly the same stunt.

A teacher perched himself at a mezzanine, monitoring the place below from a chest-high balcony. He appeared to be oblivious of such impetuous acts that I would consider as a brazen infringement of regimental rules. Yet he did nothing. In fact, I noticed as I left the scene, his head was down, scanning the numerous icons that were blinking or sliding around as he moved his finger up and down and across on a glassy tablet the size of a plate warmer.

It was all dreamily surreal….

From a place of sedate anaemia, I emerged into a street of carnival joviality. The wide pavement became the playground of over-sized strapping young lads and slender girls, cheering and trading affectionate insults as they chased each other outside the front gate. Behind it, the shadowy edifice soared into the starless sky like a granite headstone.

The street was alive with juvenile energy. The frolicking groups looked more like late-night revellers to a school uniform themed party. No one was wearing their uniform correctly. No one took any notice of the silent night watcher. I was trapped in a nightmare sanctuary.

I was keen to get out of this mayhem, even though I didn’t know how. Then I spotted a row of bus stops on the opposite side of the narrow street. Fellow adults! I quickened my steps to join them.

“People like you give your school a bad name,” a man scolded the raucous youngsters opposite. He looked and sounded like one of their teachers.

I looked down the street, the uniformed youths stretched as far as eye could see.

I woke up from my dream school to the pitter-patter of another rainy night.

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About W. S. Lien

Tweed Wearer - Country Lover - Teacher Researching Professionalism and Identity@Clare College, Cambridge - Keen Amateur Photographer - Devotee to Poppy my Labrador
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