I used to meet up with my friends behind the freshman building at 7:25 in the morning. It was here that we hugged, laughed and stressed over our upcoming tests. I used to hurdle myself up all three flights of the building’s stairs with tired, droopy eyes just to get to my first class of the day, but at least I enjoyed the fact that I was getting my exercise for the day. Everyone loved when they had a class in the freshman building. I was always thankful for the cool gushing air from the AC that blasted on my face during the hottest of days.
But ever since Feb.14, it’s hard for me to even drive by school, seeing it in full view while on the Sawgrass Expressway. As I walk into school—now having to walk around the entire building due to new security changes—there is an unspoken understanding between my peers and I to look directly forward and not say anything.
The reason why we do this is unclear, but maybe we are trying to focus on the fact that we walk into school to better our lives, not end them. At times, I may see peers purposely trying to stare at the building, into the windows of blood-stained classrooms that will forever be filled with terror and sadness. Immediately, I will feel uncomfortable, but along with the rest of us I keep looking forward. I keep alleviating the horrific thought of classmates running away from blasting bullets. I take a deep breath and a gulp, feeling a sorrow-filled emptiness in my gut.
My feelings about the freshman building are forever changed. The building looms over all of us, as we are constantly reminded of attending a school that is also the site of a crime scene. I will never have the high school experience that most other teens get to boast about, despite how much our administration tries to make our school “normal” again. Instead, by walking past the building every school day, I am forced to relive that day in my mind, like a song that is on repeat. As new generations of students come in year after year, they will be involuntarily obliged to have the same thoughts as I do; with a building that is going to be stationary until who knows how long, these thoughts are inevitable.