In which I mourn the loss of my youth

Last night I had a dream. Unlike Martin Luther King jr, however, it was not a dream of a better future, it was a dream of the past; my past; not a specific moment from my history but an exaggerated, dream-twisted past.

I was back at my secondary school, going to lessons like we all would have done, chatting to friends rather than doing work, and taking in the new things that had changed, that my subconscious had created. For instance, there was now an on-site garage to teach kids about cars and mechanics, and yes there was a bit of a grease lightning moment. Weird.

But then time seemed to jump forward and I was wandering around school on my own. I was on the top floor, in the maths and science department; the almost anarchic hustle and bustle of kids in the corridor trying to get out for lunch or to go home was gone, the only people were those walking around in hard hats. Something was obviously being done to the school. I wandered into one of the science labs which used to be my form room and science room. All the displays had gone and the neatly organised tables and chairs were in array. Hearing the sound of running water from the science technician’s room, just off this room, I wandered through and leaned on the doorframe, “Hi Sophie” my old form/science teacher spoke. I said hi back but we didn’t say much more. Going back into the main room I looked out of the window across the empire of the school. What had been playgrounds and tennis courts, and new building extensions was now rubble. Dust.

Faint music could be heard in the background as my teacher and I looked at what had become of our school; knowing that we couldn’t be there for much longer. I asked him what it was, and he replied that it was a song his daughter loved because it was a song for some girl called Sophie. We often joked about how I had the same name as his daughter, especially when he put hearts over the ‘I’ when he wrote my name, just like he did for his daughter in cards. I remember telling him it was a bit weird to dot an I with a heart for me, so I suggested he put a star instead, because they are after all, my favourite shape. Back in the dream we just stared out the window, with a weird, deathly kind of vibe, knowing it was the end of an era.

It was then that I woke up.

Most of the time, I believe that a dream is just a dream, there is no hidden meaning or subliminal desires, it is just the subconscious going a bit wild because the conscious is asleep. But sometimes I think dreams do mean something and I know that this dream is representing what I started to think about at the beginning of the week, the loss of my youth. The school being knocked down in my dream is a metaphor for me not being able to go back there; that I am no longer a student, a child, but an adult; I’m a member of the big leagues now.

You see, I have been thinking about the summer and the sunshine we have been enjoying in Blighty and how I seem to have relaxed a bit more, not putting so much pressure on myself to get a degree-worthy job, when I realised, that is because for the last 23 years of my life, the summer has meant time off. Even though it was last summer, technically, that I was thrust into the real world, I did take time then to relax and do nothing, my reward for getting through uni, so this is my first proper summer where I can’t just sit back and relax; I’m an adult now. My youth has gone, and with it the school in my dreams. It’s funny how when you are a kid, you think adults are stupid for saying that school days are the best days of your life, because you do not realise what exactly is expected of you when you become an adult. I know I am still young at this moment in time, but there is only one way to go and that is in the direction of old. Which sucks. If I am already mourning the loss of my youth, a year into the real world and adulthood, then what will I be like in a few more years?

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