Reign in the rain

Maria Kalaitzandonakes

Photo by Muhammad Al-Rawi

If Columbia is my kingdom, Memorial Union is my castle.
Before it achieved its royal status, though, it was my bus stop; A place of waiting – morning after morning, week after week. Quiet chatter coming from the other rain-coat clad children, surrounded me. And a soft light crept rhythmically over the rainy rooftops.
In this half asleep stupor, my dreams seemed to fill the gaps that my ever closing eyes created. The school bus became my pumpkin coach. The spastic children transformed into scurrying mice.
In these wee hours of the morning, I put my bossy-girl mind to good use- controlling my rolling concrete lands. The tall gray building stretched its spires into the Columbia skyline, making flare like patterns with the sidewalk’s shadows.
In my right hand a majestic, graphite ended septor, pointed to lay down my laws. My Mary Janes were glass slippers, fitted only for me. Each time I walked they made a soft clicking noise. After a few click, click, click, clicks up the grimy bus steps my eyes would cloud over, and my morning hours would wane, striking imagination’s midnight. The fairytale would be done for the day.
Even when I sat placidly at my window seat my eyes never left the back window. All day I thought of Memorial Union’s round face clock, its hands circling endlessly, counting down my hours left in class. School was just my day job, every morning, I ruled a nation.
Memorial Union, too, has a day job. It serves as an oh-so-functional student union. But it has a mysterious side, a little known side. For in the cold morning rains, standing alongside drowsy children, it becomes a castle. The story unfolds before my sleep filled eyes, and another Columbia lore becomes fixed in my memory.
by: Maria Kalaitzandonakes