Ghost Town
The Paramount Theatre, which would have been bustling during South by Southwest, sits on a quiet Congress Avenue on March 17. CREDIT JORGE SANHUEZA-LYON / KUT

Ghost Town

I fell asleep to the sound of cars whizzing by my open window.

With each breath, the comforting smell of fume exhaust fills my lungs.

But soon morning comes with a feeling of unease.

Outside of my window the world is empty.

No cars are sitting in Friday morning traffic,

The sound of dogs barking is swept up into the silence.

Doors are locked and blinds are shut.

The world has become a ghost town

—An abandoned lot where any trace of human existence has long been shut out.

 

The world has been boarded up with fear.

No one wants to open their doors because no one knows what lies beyond them.

Each day as I walk, the streets become more and more empty.

The world is in crisis!, news articles scream.

Trump is a racist!, is plastered on memes.

These are God’s plagues!, the Christians beam.

 

I do not see the chaos.

I can not see anything.

I continue walking each day because I can not accept my world is over.

Once I stop, the fear will settle over me.

But if I never stop, it can not reach me.

 

As I walk, the rain comes.

The Venice canal is blue, reads Instagram posts.

This is reviving the world, says talk show hosts.

We are almost there, say the people praying the most.

 

I do not see a new life.

I cannot see anything.

My precious world is gone.

 

I do not want to cope with or alter my way of life.

I want to knock down the cold shell of a neighborhood that surrounds me.

 

You are living a history lesson, says my teacher.

God will save us all!, yell the preachers.

Use this time as a lesson, write the magazine features.

 

I do not see the silver lining.

I cannot see anything.

I am told to write about what my life is like.

To write so children hundreds of years later can study my words.

How has this changed me?

How have I grown?

What new thing will make itself known?

 

I do not want to donate lies to the mouths of children who one day must live in planes because our world is not safe enough to walk in.

I do not want to use this as a learning experience.

I want my world back.

I am told to be grateful for what I have.

But when I walk outside and I can not recognize where I am,

The streets, trees, and sidewalks are not comforting anyone.

 

I am scared to be near people.

Six feet apart, my mother cries.

The news only reports how people die.

This will end soon, the president lies.

I could tell the children our world is in crisis, but there is not much of a world left to be in crisis.

 

I walk past the grass which has grown over all the trails we once forged and the wind which has knocked down the forts we once built.

I walk because I have nothing left to move towards,

But soon my legs become weary and I am too tired to continue.

So I stop and open my eyes to the world.

I do not see the chaos.

I do not see a new life.

I do not see the silver lining.

All I see is a ghost town.

 

Sophie Buechler is a sophomore at St Andrews who loves acting, writing and activism.

She is involved in theatre at her school, ZACH ConservatoryChanging Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble, Hideout Theatre and Interlochen Arts Camp. Sophie is also a passionate student ambassador with the non-profit PACT. She hopes to showcase conflict within her literary and performance pieces that evoke conversation to create change in her community.