by Ann Marie Swindle
The metal doors stood open. She slowed down her pace as she approached the doors. The memories began to flash in her mind. The endless days that she had gone through the doors so many years ago came to mind. She could not remember everyday. Who could? But there were details that she could remember.
The building was empty. She walked to the glass case to her left to look at the awards, pictures, and memorabilia. To her right were the rooms of justice and the hub. The rooms were either terrifying or grand, depending on why you were in the rooms.
The main foyer was the heart of the building. The high ceilings carried the sounds down each hall. The echo of the beating hearts. The staircases lead either up or down to different floors. The painted cement steps and the painted metal hand rails had stood the test of time. How many hands had been guided to their futures by unnoticed element such as hand rails?
She took the double staircase up to the top floor. Each room was open for anyone to step in and remember. She knew each room. She ran her fingers along the lockers, stopping at ones that she remembered. They were cold but every memory made them warm and enduring.
The middle stairs lead to the bottom floor. She traced the hand rails as she peered into the dim light of the bottom floor.
The bottom floor was much longer than the top floor. The rooms dim glow of the mid day sun brought back the memories. The halls wrapped around the staircase. She smiled and almost laughed as she walked the halls. The halls echoing the memories as she walked by. She could see the faces and hear the voices in her mind.
The popular ones that hovered around the end locker. They were all so perfect and beautiful. They carried the teen magazines and wore the yellow gold pinky ring. They laughed and smiled unaware. They knew the trend and the style.
Walking by them were the boys that dreamed of stadium stardom. Their dreams built on lucky moments and cheers under the Friday night lights. Their skill trained to know every move. They were the strength, the ability and the fame of the building.
The smart kids that could quote the poets of literature, that solved the equations of x and y stood by the room at the end of the hall. They were the future doctors, nurses, attorneys, mayors, congressman and police chiefs.
The outsiders that seemed chained to the exit doors. The ones that hide in the crowd. The ones that did not fit in. They were forgettable in the eyes of others. They stood back and watched the others live lives that they could only dream of. What would it be like on the other side of their reflection? What would it hurt to dream?
Her mind drifted to the heated touches of stolen moments in the halls. The tears that the walls had seen from first heartbreaks and betrayals. The secret glances between first loves floated overhead. The excitement of a new school year or the promise of the coming summer echoed through the years.
She retreated to the foyer. She crossed to the blue double doors which stood open. She peered from the platform at the hardwood floors that shined like there was a sheet of ice that covered them. She walked lightly onto the floor. Her memory heard the cheers and yells. The dedication, drive and the skill that was required for greatness was born on that floor. The unity of a team lived on the walls with dates of greatness.
She walked to the open doors of the next room. The room was hollow and open. The painted music notes along the upper walls. The room of art and discipline. The sounds of instruments coming to life were everywhere. The young dreamers that walked the lines of the sheet music on a field of grass were known. They controlled the crowd in the highs and lows. The music full of pride and promise. Victory or defeat? It did not matter to the music, it remained the same.
She walked back to the foyer. She stood there alone.
She felt the sting of tears fill her eyes. The names from the headstones of the souls gone to soon crossed her mind. The lost ones that were taken at random over the years since the halls had echoed their laughter. Her tears ran slowly down her face. She could see their beautiful and handsome faces. How could they have known the tragedy of their lives? They were not forgotten and deeply missed. Her heart pleaded for the answer of the questions of “Why?” and “If?”. A answer not found for rhyme or reason, just God’s will.
She walked slowly out the doors. She silently looked back at the building. They had lived a lifetime in the walls of the building. They had become the foundation of who they were to become. They had made mistakes that were long forgotten and memories that were unforgettable.
The four years from two decades ago had been the opening credits of their lives. Each one was the writer and director of their life story. Every story played to destiny’s design.