The air whipped up in front of him, almost as if it had anticipated the crush of people now streaming out onto the commons. Luckily, March weather was far kinder to the body than January’s brutality. Zipping up the jacket a little higher, he followed everyone else out the door. Standing towards the back, he hoisted up his hand-painted sign. Lightly tapping the cardboard with his fingers helped satisfy whether the paint had enough time to dry in the garage last night. A makeshift stand consisting of what looked like two wooden pallets stacked next to each other helped designate the talking platform. They had asked him a few days ago if he wanted to say a few words but he declined. Public speaking was something he hadn’t ever enjoyed. It wasn’t so much the getting up in front of people that was the problem. He just could never get the words that formed in his head out his mouth, as if the faucet had been installed backwards.
Shay Franklin stood upon the platform now, waiting for the few remaining stragglers to come outside. She was student body president, ringleader and provocateur all-in-one today. He didn’t know her that well but maybe that was just as well. She always carried herself in such a manner that she appeared just the ever bit above the fray. But he supposed that was the only way to carry yourself when you wanted to spend a lifetime deciding the rules that may yet force the world to look at itself again.
As she began to speak, he could hear the hush that spoke with sound as the crowd caught itself upon her words. He allowed himself to be swept up, carried into the air with the rhetoric they prayed would reach their intended targets. They weren’t often given the opportunity to have their voices rise above the level of servitude towards the masters. So for now, he held his sign and found himself clapping along to the speeches, first Shay’s and then Bobby Tarik. Bobby had first-hand experience with what they were up against, the violence that constantly threatened to rip apart the seam that held back the slime of inhumanity. It was too bad there were so many others who’d bandaged their souls to protect themselves against the cruel lie that there’s no longer hope to the noble experiment America was founded on. He knew it wasn’t their fault entirely. This rally had been all about confronting what seemed like an ever-starving monster. It was easy enough to feel the task was all but impossible.
As the speeches finished, the student body’s roar reverberated amongst the four walls that framed the open-air commons. It was the loudest thing he had ever heard. He waved his sign in the air as fast as he could, hoping that he could lift the message ever higher. And then, that was that. They walked single-file as they filtered back into the building. Nothing was likely to change in the near future. Most likely the first thing they’ll face is the repercussions for not authorizing today with the powers-that-be. But he couldn’t help but smile. The founders had to face destruction amongst themselves. At worst today he had a one day detention. It was such a small price to pay for the opportunity to move the boulder a few more inches to the precipice.