KU Gothic

You and a friend decide to go out for the night with drinking in mind. Sober, you don the SafeBus and sit in silence. The route should take you to your destination, but it’s taking an awfully long time. You stare out the window, watching the scenery go by. In the darkness, it all looks the same. The bus keeps going. You keep waiting. You never get off.

On the first day of classes for second semester, you lose your way. Eventually, you pull out your phone and use the map to get to the proper classroom, but you’re late. Quietly, you slip into the back of the lecture hall. The projector is on and the room is dark and everyone stares ahead, mesmerized.  On loop is a video of sunflowers bending in the wind. You watch for an hour and fifteen minutes before class is dismissed.

On campus, you pass the same construction site every day. The sign says coming soon. You always hear the noise of saws and hammers, but you can’t see beyond the fence. You’ve never seen a construction worker. This happens every year in the same spot. No one asks about what exactly is coming soon. The sounds of construction come from the site until your graduation day, beyond your graduation day.

There’s a thick cloud of smoke in the distance. Intrigued, you head in that direction and end up on Mass Street. Every building is on fire. Passersby seem unperturbed. Are they seeing this? The heat caresses your skin. Everyone else is also sweating. No one seems to think anything is out of the ordinary.

During finals week, you head to the library and hunker down for the evening. At some point, the words start to blur and you fall asleep. You dream about PowerPoint lectures and an endless pot of coffee. When you awake, you’re sitting in Budig 130. Everyone is handing in their finished ScanTrons, and yours is blank.

On Wescoe Beach, students wait eagerly in line. They chatter excitedly to one another and shift their weight from one foot to the next. When you ask what the line is for, no one is really sure. You take a place anyway.

As you’re trying to leave Anschutz, the alarms at the door goes off. You rifle through your bag, making sure you haven’t accidentally taken a book by mistake with you. Everything there is yours. Embarrassed, you look up only to see the library is empty. The alarm wails continuously.

There’s writing on the sidewalk, encouraging you to vote for a student. Passing Wescoe Beach, someone hands you a flyer asking you to vote for someone else. Later, you hear classmates discussing who they’re voting for. You don’t know what the election is for. You don’t know where to vote.

A strange bird lands on campus one day, in the middle of Jayhawk Boulevard. It has a blue feathered body and red around its face. Its beak is long and yellow. Students in transit quiet down and stare. One by one, they fall to their knees.

The weather is nice and you decide to take a stroll down Massachussetts Street. It’s oddly quiet, and you notice the stores are all closed. Restaurants are empty. You realize it must be a game night and turn to walk in the direction of Allen Fieldhouse. You don’t know what will happen if you don’t watch the game. No one has ever missed one.

After graduation, you somehow land an interview for a firm you’ve wanted to work for since freshman year. You dress your best and walk into an office. The man sitting behind the desk has a wide smile and a University of Kansas cap on his head. “Rock Chalk,” he says. “Rock Chalk,” you reply. This is the extent of your interview and in a week, you receive a notification saying you’ve been hired.