School became an escape. The streets had been pumped full of propaganda and floods of anxious whispers and corrupt conspiracies:
“Where do you think they’ll strike next?”
“I don’t know. Are we safe?”
“We should be proud of this country. We’re willing to fight them unlike all the other cowards out there.”
“Have any of your family members been drafted yet?”
“Oh hell no, I donated money to Congressman Lake’s campaign; there’s no way either of my sons will be sent of the battlefield.”
My home was much the same– hushed conversations, endless calculations, and nights of secret crying. My mother’s eyes slowly became red like tomatoes as the kitchen table transformed into a sea of papers. ‘Canada’ became the most used word and the catalyst for countless fights.
Behind my desk, in the classrooms, however, there was nothing about the impending doom we were all facing. The establishment became a war-free zone where everyone shared the same desire to escape.
We talked about TV shows and pop stars and who’s going out with whom and all that important junk. We laughed and joked; tensions and worries left abandoned at the gates.
Or so I wished.
Some people really were carefree. Some people laughed and joked.
But they were tense, forced laughs to jokes without punchlines. The classroom camaraderie disappeared behind the endless hawks vs. doves debates and which of us might secretly be terrorists.
America, the melting pot, had truly begun to melt.