In the beginning of each of the next 12 weeks we publish a story about the week that passed at the LungA School. It written from the inside and can be about anything. That’s all. This is the first chapter:
I dance around with a red drink in my hand. My face is covered in black and white paint and lipstick and I can feel the sweat running down my stomach underneath the silk shirt I am wearing. I look up and see loads of other people dancing, and I see the DJ swaying side to side a few meters above.
We are all inside an erupting volcano, surrounded by flames, lava, rocks, and glow-sticks. A volcano created by the students of the school during this whole Friday. Build for this party, build to celebrate themselves and each other and build for the people of Seyðisfjörður to come and dance the night away.
At 03.30 the party ends. We stand outside Herðubreið and discuss whether to go on or go home. Some begin to trickle in different directions.But the lack of warmth makes my body shiver and I decide to walk home.
I go there with one of the students. We walk in, and see two other students sitting in the kitchen. We sit down with them and start to chat.
Others join us. Someone brings a record player to the table and jazz music start to flow around the kitchen. Another brings a cat, a cucumber and gin and tonic. Drinks are passed around, while the night outside the windows slowly becomes brighter and turns into day.
Still with paint all over my face I look at the unconcerned, smiling and talking faces at the table and think back on this first week at the school.
I think about the Danish actor Christian Gade Bjerrum who facilitated a two-day workshop where he pushed the students towards each other with yoga, acting exercises, and story telling. How he got everyone to tell their life story several times and how each time something new found way into the story. And I think about how he made them run around the public playground, surrounded by school kids, and how some of them were a bit reluctant but soon ran like maniacs on the dark pebbles with big grins on their faces.
I take a sip of my drink and the taste of pepper and spruce starts shooting in my mouth. I lean back into the pillows and think of the two first days of the week. Before Christian’s workshop, before any of the students knew anything about each other. How they were all so quiet and seemed so serious. How they consumed the common meals silently. And how I wanted to say something to shatter moments of silence and wanted them to feel good but was stopped by my own lack of social interaction skills.
I am not sure when it changed, when they started crawling slowly on the skin of one another. But I remember the moment when I registered the first sign of a change coming. It was Tuesday evening after dinner.
We all sat in a circle on the floor in the old theatre. Six lighted candles stood in the middle.
- Whenever you are ready to share your memory, you just talk talking, said someone and then silence spread in the dark.
Some looked down into the floor, some at each other, then at the floor again, silence. A minute passed by.
- Who will be the first to speak, I wondered.
- Her? Or him? No. It has to be her over there.
Another minute passed. Still silence. Someone turned around and laid flat on his stomach.
- Maybe I should go first. Get it over with, I think and decide that when I have counted to ten, I will begin to speak.
- …No. Actually I would rather see who of them goes first.
Another minute passed by. My cheeks blushed in the heat of the room.
- What are they thinking? Are their hearts also beating faster? Do they also have sweaty palms? Maybe they are thinking about how to start telling their memory in a proper way. Or trying to figure out what the proper word for that feeling is in English.
While the thoughts ramble inside my head, somebody to my right suddenly coughs slightly. I look in the directing of the sound and see a male face with a pair of red cheeks. The mouth of the face opens and then he starts to speak.