Shorecliffs High School
Sunlight filtered in from the overhead skylights, illuminating the tops everyone’s heads and splashing everything else with a soft, canary haze. Everything about the large, open room was inviting—which was why, I supposed, many of the upperclassmen chose to remain here, in the cafeteria, rather than take advantage of their earned liberties by wandering off campus to eat.
Surrounding the stone fireplace was a den of sorts, decorated with rugs, tables, a L-shaped purple couch, and plenty of comfortable chairs with teens sprawled over them, reading, playing instruments, or just catching up on the last four periods. Many of the students, however, had opted to dine outside on the patio, the norm when the weather was nice. Outside, all along the terrace of the cafeteria, clusters of teenagers convened at large tables beneath umbrellas, or lounged on chaises. Something red and very fast came whizzing high over my head, landing with a tinny sound on the floor behind me. A Frisbee, I saw, and not at all surprised. It was fairly common that a piece of the back wall went completely missing, the floor to ceiling glass doors having been opened and concealed, to better display the panoramic ocean view that lie beyond. Even after nearly a full year and a half of accommodations and views such as this one, I didn’t think I would ever be inured to the extravagance; it was like living in a dream sometimes.
Emily glanced over her shoulder when I fell behind, fixated on the turquoise sky and the tall cliffs lending its name to our school. I still found it difficult to imagine that this room, in its entire grandiose splendor, actually paled in comparison to a few other areas of campus; some, having no reason or purpose to be there, I had yet to see for myself, the theater and track and field areas the first coming to mind.
It seemed no matter where the paths led or ended, there existed not one tiny pocket of Shorecliffs incapable of marveling all my senses. I felt considerably lucky, of course, to spend my weeks and months at a school this beautiful; but often the feeling was overshadowed with pangs of disheartenment and something I could only describe as incomplete. It didn’t seem entirely fair that, while I enjoyed the best and the finest, so many were left to make do with the bare minimum.
© Cara Rosalie Olsen