The Mark

            My high school was new and perfect. The old high school had a bad reputation for being the school all the delinquent kids went to, so they found it necessary to make a new one. My class was placed in a temporary school while the new one was being built, which used to literally be a prison school. It had no windows, just beige bricks and barbed wire, and it was covered in mold and dust. We were there for two years, and then the entire school transferred over to the newly built building.
            Although my high school criticized it as high schoolers tend to do, it really was marvelously made. There were four proud three-story buildings surrounding a quiet, green quad, with modern concrete steps and a circle of noble trees in the center. For the most part, there were glass panes instead of walls—a beautiful juxtaposition from the horrible beige brick that we were imprisoned in the two years before. The school was bright, clean, and equipped with new technology, like touchscreen whiteboards in every room and fume hoods and Bunsen burners in every lab. The cold, white tile shone perfectly off our eyes and reflected off the glass surrounding it. There were even colorful couches in some of the common spaces, for students to sit on while eating lunch. There was white ceramic lining all the tables and counters. The classrooms had brand new desks made with a smooth imitation wood that reflected the white spotted ceiling, and an alluring green carpet that made the old one look like literal dirt.
            I enjoyed it all until my senior year. One of my classmates, a tall boy with long red hair and broad shoulders who had a knack for making everyone uncomfortable with racist statements and constant arguments, jumped off the railing from the stairs onto that spotless white tile.
            He never came back to school, although the word was that he was okay, and he had just broken a bone somewhere. It wasn’t the outcome but the intent that put me off. I was doing well in my senior year—I had put effort into my depression that had lasted ever since I can remember. I had a group of friends. I had a car, I had a job, and I was feeling more self-confident. Then, he jumped. We had to have a lady come feed us lines written down on her clipboard:
            “Everything will be okay.” No.
            “Were you all friends with him?” No.
            “You should never be afraid to ask for help.” No.
The wound resurfaced. The healing reversed. All it taught me was that even the beautiful and new is eventually desecrated.
            He left a mark on the tile. He left a mark on the reflective, crystal clear and smooth white tile. He dented it.
He left a mark on the flawless, polished tile, and I almost wanted to ask if they could build a new school.