Separate entrances and corridors, spaced benches. The school that the boys liked was over

The crowd at the entrance and the anxiety of being identified quickly in the midst of a horizon of backs. The hands that touch each other in the corridor during the always too short interval, the invitation for Saturday evening, which must be done verbally and if it doesn’t, or if it does, then goodbye concentration until the last hour with that liberating sound of bell. And meanwhile the whispered confidences to the classmate while “that of Greek” explains and disturbs us when instead we need to tell; the notes passed from hand to hand, accomplices the stuck chairs that lean back and forth as needed. The sip of coffee to which you lean together between lessons. But also the fist fights in the courtyard, the pushes, the rivalries and the jealousies. The small groups, the groups of the hateful, the snack exchanged, the cigarette passed, the lipsticks tried in three and the t-shirts exchanged at the gym hour. Three heads bent over the same book to read without a voice but with their lips, or outside, to force themselves together in the dust of the garden and to get dirty with bullying. And then the overflowing corridors, the occupied bathrooms, the stairways: all those non-decompression places to feel alive and understand that you are living. To evacuate too cluttered minds. End. All finished.

In September, for the return to school, the new anti-Covid rules will place a gravestone on the “boys” school. The official and institutional one will remain, but the other, theirs, will disappear. Only lessons on spaced desks, entrances divided by doors and times, paths in the corridors made especially to meet as little as possible or not to meet at all. Hand disinfectant, mask, thermo scanner at the entrance, contingent classes and pre-established and obligatory routes. Of course, the text of the decree on the matter will be perfected, even with the requests that will come from the world of school, and will be examined by the Scientific Technical Committee. But for now it is assumed so.

You will arrive in handfuls every fifteen minutes: you will enter school as the regattas start. First one group, then another, then another …

We need to do this and we will do it, for heaven’s sake. But poor people … Nobody would like to be contemporary with this end of the world. In September the kids will go back to school and there will be nothing left, just a smooth furrow made of habits along the cracked walls. Aseptic and disinfected, empty and silent. Neon and empty corridors, removed a pot of milk forgotten on the fire, few things in the world are so sad. After months of solitude for the quarantine, in September they will also be alone among the others. At a safe distance, which is very far away for the kids. By stopping becoming familiar with others and therefore with themselves. Floating in a kind of permanent freeze frame. Goodbye to nights before exams around the world. On that Christmas Eve of life that school has always been: a microcosm for the general rehearsals of what then happens outside. When grown up, when everything is worse.