Where I came from the corridors are often silent and empty (like churches) except during recess, lunch break, and dismissal (like Sundays) when a hundred pairs of feet would line up and shuffle out of reticent doors, dragging bodies towards food, or friends, or home. But even then it seemed the shoes trod the floors with bated breaths, wary of other feet and bodies, the gaze of the prefects of discipline, the disembodied voice from speaker systems on the ceilings, the trash bins every other meter that clanged when hit with heels and shins. There mouths were wont to whisper things, little things, like are my nails too long? My skirt properly ironed, my hair clip not too frivolous?
Where I am, mere whisperings are not heard in corridors, which are never silent and seldom empty. The corridor—it’s like a zoo! my companion shrieks over the ubiquitous din, skirting herds that eat and snort and walk together, and walk always too slow. I know right! I shriek back as a late runner shoves past me (in the corridors yelling constitutes conversation, about a breathing daydream, for instance, who turns up at your back suddenly and seems to have heard nothing). Or, I say, dodging open umbrellas left to dry on the floor, circles of red and yellow, stripes and polka dots, dripping secondhand raindrops, or, I say, like a carnival! The corridors, where naked men run, dongs dangling, where theater majors run, somersaulting, where dissidents brew and lovers screw (with their tongues and mouths, at least), where, some nights, one hears voices soaring in song or chants and the beats of flutes and gongs and drums of the gamelan. Yes, where we are, it’s carnivalesque zoo, we grin.