U.S.S Alabama by Em Paquette ’19

U.S.S Alabama

Tufts of dust cluster in the ten corners of the locker room. With time, the granules of dust pack themselves more tightly into the crooks, and the loose molecules fall away to get swept into the air to float, suspended like stars, in the fluorescent light. Bursting through the newly open locker room doors, a cool breeze flutters up from the ice. Forty boys rush through the dust. The tightly compressed air breaks into a million pieces as the players scamper in through the steaming tunnel. An almost still silence penetrates the overwhelming layer of noise. The layers of noise, screaming, tones of excitement and nerves, fill all corners of the locker room. Their screams eviscerate the silence. Players slam into each other, pumping each other up, screaming at the top of their lungs, before a null of silence. The silence adjusts to the clutter and clatter as the speakers start. All of the screams and dreams mix together. Yet, the noise not alone in the mindless disturbance that fills all inches of the locker room.

The locker room bread into an old soul and his aroma pierces the nose with a pungent gagging scent. Smothered in his scent, the boys can’t help but stop their breath as they pull their jerseys over their heads to escape the stretch. Sparse scents of deodorant. A gripping smell lingers smiling with delight at its captives. Fearing the scent will never leave the fabrics of clothing that they once wore into the locker room doors.

Twisting and turning, the tussling wind dwindles through the doors as the clock ticks closer to puck drop. Clutter topples. New tufts of clustering dust form new homes, scattering across the tattered up floor. Its old bright red flooring transforms into now a dark royal ruby rage. Small corners of the floor turned ruby red long ago. The floor broken apart with scars as more and more skates topple over it. Through his warping figure, the heart emerges through the cracks in the vulcanized rubber, beating restlessly at each step. At points, it dips and turns, skate marks cloak the stairs howling as it slowly tears away.

Hairline cracks fall from the ceiling to the floor; the lockers shield even more cracks. The weather, tussling with the wall as it breaks down, even more, creaks colder. Stress cleaves away at some old wooden lockers, weathering cracks into it. His cracks grow slowly, birthing hairline cracks each day as his final days creep closer. His aging walls show wisdom through their greying cracks. Stress starts chipping away at the walls, showing the freezing breath from the exterior facade. The walls covered with pictures of the past leave no space bare for more.

Everything in disarray. Tape balls stick and twist their way around the seams of the floors. Garbage cans spill over, plunging their insides cloaking the floor. The back room looks like a war-torn area with old jerseys, bags, and boxes toppling over, forging a mountain in its midst. His twisting fibers fumbling together, cloaking the old jerseys as their torn apart. Managers ascend the mountainous terrain, battling to find the lost things of what encapsulates Neverland. Smooth and uneven bricks stretch out bombarding them as they scout.

Through the years, these halls have grown fonder for all that enter. As his final days come near, past players come to mourn the final strike of the U.S.S. Alabama. Seeing the bones of his true nature breaking through, many do one last salute. His body now threadbare, his eyes glossy. His years wearing thin, soon to be apart of the lost things of Neverland. Embarking on its last days, as the U.S.S Alabama and its crew set sail for their last strike in early March.