March 20, 2020, by Jem

A Farewell Walk Around Campus

On Tuesday, I took my last ever walk around campus. I am home now and, as I recount those farewell footsteps, water gathers on my eyeballs and mirrors my sapphire-blue irises back at themselves, reminding me of my beauty.

I went into campus to steal one last glance at its stunning trees etc., but also because I had nine stamps on my loyalty card for that café in Portland. My mum was planning to pick me up the next morning, so think about it – it was last chance saloon RE redeeming that free drink.

I came into campus from the East, just as a tram rounded the bend and began to climb the Ningbo bridge. I walked the road and saw a scientist sat on the lip of the pavement. His head was buried in his hands. I complimented him on his lab coat; it was snow-white and well-pocketed. I wasn’t sure he heard me, but before I left the road and set foot on the lakeside grass, I looked over my shoulder and he was gone.

I headed for the lake, dodging the work of geese as I crossed their minefield. When I reached the water, I knelt on the bank and gazed at the foggy scene. A low cloud lay its belly upon the shimmying lake-top for a tickle, and got one.

I formed a cone with my hands and howled across the water. I’ll come out with it now, there’s a squid in that lake. The creature answered my summons and I bade it goodbye with a hymn I know of that can please any ear.

All done here, I thought, Time for that coffee. I rose, swivelled on the ball of my heel and made for the Portland building. My strides had a bounce to them, and I played a bright tune in my mind, whistling the parts of it that were too loaded with rhythm to keep inside of the walls of my head.

When I reached the building’s big doors, I booted the threshold of their sensors. They opened and I shone my blue eyes at a maiden selling cupcakes then ran down the corridor that leads to the café – its long grey floor reminds me of a runway. I jumped when I got to the end of it and landed inside of the café’s borders.

I skipped the queue, shoving people aside where needs be, and pulled my maxed-out card from my shirt pocket with a flourish. I flipped it about, spun it, twirled it and twirled my own self also. For the finale, I brought the card across my eyes in a slow ambiguous way, but caught both of them with the card’s edge.

What followed was temporary blindness. I cried out but no-one came to my aid. No ice-pack was brought to my stinging eyes. No story was read to me despite my sobs. You see now why my eyes water as I write, the injury lingers.

In the midst of it, my card was plucked from my hand and replaced with a large hot coffee. I left the building with my vision impaired and walked towards a tall white blur that I took to be the Trent clock-tower. When my eyes regained a little clarity, I found that I had been following a vertical cloud for the past 20 minutes and it had led me off campus. I was in Wollaton Park.

I did not mind much, seeing as I’d never been to Wollaton Park and had always wanted to see the moose there. I watched the shapes of moose skip across my sight and took a sip of coffee. Great pipes, was it hot. It was piping hot.

It was so hot that it burnt my lip which tipped me over the pain threshold and into unconsciousness.

Wollaton mammal

I awoke to the sound of bubbling and made out a lab coat blowing in the wind like a flag. It was the roadside scientist from earlier. He was holding a conical flask to my nostrils, sending reviving bubbles into my biological receptacles and catalysing my eyeball plasmogenators. Slowly but surely, my vision became a little clearer, and all of my consciousness came back.

I thanked him in several languages, and he said:

“What you said about my lab coat… well it lifted my spirits up from the kerb and brought them back to head height. Only a little while later, I heard some sobs jerking through the area, and something told me they were yours and that your eyeballs were stinging. I made a bubbling thing which is mainly Berocca, but heck it works don’t it?? Take this as my thanks.”

I took it as such, bid him goodbye, then trotted back to my flat. Now I am home, really home, and my eyes improve each day. By Sunday, Mother’s day, I hope they will be good again because I have bought my mum a dartboard.

Posted in Jem