Barnaby And The Bell
Barnaby pierced the classroom and felt curious, investigative eyes examine his being. Barnaby wished he could disappear. He noticed a free desk at one end of the room and moved quickly and without fuss towards it. He placed his heavy bag of books on the the formica table and hid behind it with his back to the wall. He kept his coat on. The children's jackets and blazers were hanging on the back of their chairs. They leaned casually back and chatted together, sometimes conspiratorially and occasionally loud and with confrontation. Inquisitive beads darted towards Barnaby. He clasped either side of his bag and held onto it for security. Barnaby waited for the bell.
Symmetry screamed at Barnaby. Four yellow sterile walls constructed from precise concrete breeze blocks framed twenty five square identical desks, five across, five down. The contrasting unruly occupant at each table with their flailing limbs, checks and stripes and gregarious reverie withdrew Barnaby inward. Barnaby waited, would the bell sound?
Barnaby's thumbs rhythmically rubbed the rough material at either side of his bag. He concentrated on the soothing sensation and resisted the urge to rock back and forth. He wanted to restore the order to this geometrically accurate room that the students had so selfishly taken from it with their boisterous deportment. The open door allowed more chaos to breeze into the classroom. Lockers slammed shut, keys turned, screeching youths were silenced by bellowing teachers and somebody close by dropped an armful of metal trays onto the tiled floor of the canteen. Barnaby placed his forehead onto his barricading bag and was once again placated by the coarse fabric as he allowed the friction of material on skin to embrace him. Barnaby yearned for the bell to ring.
Barnaby allowed his gaze to widen and noted the classroom floor was tiled with cheap linoleum. It irritated him that, although each tile held roughly the same dimensions as the desks, none of the desks were positioned within the four sides of a tile. Barnaby had hated disorder for as long as he could remember. Here was a symmetrical room with so much potentially precise geometrical perfection, and he was powerless to influence it and possibly enjoy it. Or was he? The bell rang.
Barnaby's white knuckles reddened as he released his bag from his nervous grip. He stood, glared to the fore and the chaos immediately subsided. Each yearning and desperate linoleum square became blessed with an occupant within its periphery that ceased its flailing and flapping and wailing and clapping and the room became like a desolate chess board. The bell stopped ringing. Mr Barnaby had secured his position.