Benjamin Acosta '23
There are a lot of different kinds of bricks around the Cathedral Close. There are those large uneven gray bricks on Marriott Hall; there are the reliably rectangular reddish bricks of Woodley Building; there are the elegantly smooth bricks that stare you down from the Cathedral. True Lucas boasts large uneven sandy bricks; Lane Johnston’s door displays debossed bricks; and, throughout the Cathedral, stretching toward the sky, are bricks, bricks, bricks (curved pillar ones, flat wall ones, lumpy spire ones). In the Gregory Court checkered bricks serve as a medieval battlefield, and there between bricks that have snuggled in so as to guide your feet step by step other bricks choose rebellion in the shape of a narrow ramp. Bricks lead up to Pilgrim Road from there; bricks curl themselves around Senior Circle; bricks lead down to George on a horse (on bricks); bricks stack in arcs around the amphitheater’s brick stage. Hearst Hall’s bricks have heard decades of orchestras; if you ask, the bricks supporting the track might tell you about a few baseball games; the ivy-dressed bricks of Bishop’s Garden remember a romantic rendezvous or two; the bricks of the high-up Cathedral chambers certainly have all sorts of interesting tales; if bricks were to come alive perhaps Beauvoir’s bricks would be the most patient. Bricks dwell too around mysterious places: the empty under-construction Cathedral College, the ominous doorway beside/below the big (brick) staircase next to the Cathedral, the locker rooms. There are the bricks that you sit on in Decker Terrace (or are those slabs?), and the bricks that you can sit on by the STA athletic fields (one has a metal bulldog), and the bumpy bricks that you can sit on just in front of the Cathedral if you happen to be standing there while a sudden stroke of third-quarter exhaustion decides to smack you, and if you are ever sitting inside the Cathedral you can’t help but notice how much colder and smoother and firmer and more majestic the bricks in there seem to be. Some of the bricks on the Close conceal birds’ nests, some the roots of trees, some the full glory of roly polys and cockroaches. These bricks remind me of many days of sprinting to class and cramming essays, of cross country practices and blooming springs, days of confusion and fun and stress, and all that while the bricks remained.
One time a year or two ago outside of Sam’s Bar there were some bricks that had been removed for some maintenance reason, and I didn’t feel bad for them. Or maybe I did. They were eventually replaced, anyhow, and probably no one really thought about it after that, or will.
Well, I’m in my last year here now. Once I graduate, perhaps I’ll never see these bricks again. When I leave, will this school forget me? Will I forget the people I knew?
I guess what I’m trying to say is just, don’t forget to notice the bricks. In the beginning, when it’s all new and pretty, the bricks pop out one way or another, but that can fade. And while you’re here, living out high school day to day, the bricks seem permanent, a forgettable backdrop. Silly you. That’s just because you didn’t check for birds and roots and roly polys. And even stone erodes (or gets replaced during maintenance).
I don’t think I’ll forget them, the uneven people here, and the elegant ones, and the mysterious ones and the snuggled ones. Because even if they die or something (or I do), at least one of each of their blood cells found its way into my arteries. You could sort of say they built me, in a sense… In the end, it’s bricks that form the path to the school doors, so next time I’m sprinting to class I’ll try to remember to whisper to them brief thanks for carrying my weight, and maybe blow the roly polys a kiss.