Silence was particularly not golden last Tuesday at P.S. 53 in Manhattan when sophomore Irene Cordova was absent. Known by peers and teachers as that one student who always participates in class, Cordova left a gaping hole in discussions when she stayed home with a stomach virus.
“It wasn’t that noticeable in Geometry because we just take notes and nod like we understand what’s happening,” sophomore Kennedy Lowell explained. “But during Honors English? Things fell apart.”
Although students refused to corroborate this information, English teacher Fern Avery tasked students with reading two chapters from Lord of the Flies the night before. She began class as she always did: asking for volunteers to discuss main ideas from the reading.
The last words spoken in Room 106 that period were “Who can describe why Piggy is the story’s unsung hero despite his peers’ general dismissal?”
After 15 seconds of waiting, Avery realized something was up. Students squirmed and cast meaningful glances toward Cordova’s empty desk.
“It’s hard to explain, but time became this weird blob,” Cordova’s friend Zoe Sitko reported. “I considered texting Irene for the answer, but Ms. Avery was, like, staring us down.”
Avery affirmed that staring at students usually makes them uncomfortable enough to participate, but even she grew weary of the silence that had enveloped the class. “After five minutes, I wasn’t staring anymore — I was zoning out completely,” Avery admitted.
Forty-seven minutes later, the school bell’s ding…ding…ding broke the trancelike silence in 106. Students stumbled out of the room blearily.
Avery returned to her desk, slumped into her chair, and sipped the lukewarm dregs of her coffee while contemplating if that had all just happened or if it was just a disappointing lucid dream.