Crime robs students of the beauty of campus at night
By Channey Williams–
Have you ever seen the campus at night? I know, it belongs mostly to them, the thieves, the vile. But have you ever really seen it?
I happened to be on campus last week during the night. I was walking out of the School of Music when I noticed it. There was a sound, as if someone was trailing me, first behind me, then to my left and then to my right. I stopped moving. I pulled out my ear buds and turned over my right shoulder, straining to see in the pitch.
I looked around in the campus square and realized I was standing alone; the trailing was the shadow of my own feet. It was in that blackness, with the library shining just ahead, that I saw that I was standing on a kind of stage. The trees had become pillars holding up the velvet curtain of the sky. I walked on toward the school library, which was shining like a beacon. There are no lights on that path; the only lights are the ones inside. With its tall glass windows, this made it appear as if all the library’s innards were floating, and if I called to them, they could not hear me.
I turned a corner, and then another, and I was plunged back into complete darkness. Isn’t it weird? I couldn’t see, but I had walked this path a million times. I saw my present steps with my past senses. I poured into a pool of commotion; the neon lights were everywhere and cars whizzed past me as I stood on the edge of the sidewalk and the road. The light went red and I skipped across the street like a pebble against water. I felt the lights and the smell of the food and the mumble of words and the heat and it was dizzying and sticky like saccharine.
I got to the bus stop. Some people I used to know passed me, and the mix of light and dark threw shadows across their faces and these shadows told me of my past friends and of the phantoms that now took their place.
It occurred to me as I stepped on the bus, as I was bathed in a sterile light, that most people wouldn’t be able to experience this. Which is why I am describing it to you. Campus at night is too dangerous. It’s ironic that the society which we build for our safety is the most dangerous thing for us. That the thing, this “society”, which brings us unity, adds risk so high that we are robbed of our peaceful solidarity.
We can only enjoy the campus safely in its partial beauty, when the sun is shining. We cannot see the floating library, or the feel the multitude of feet in an empty place, or feel the stickiness or hear the whispers of shadows. We are both robbed of a beauty, and in a sense, we are the ones doing the robbing.