The familiar, aching sensation on the left-hand side of my brain has returned and is slowing my creative process. My mouth is dry, voice hoarse and stomach empty. I am run down; much like the room.

The room is lined with rows of empty chairs. We are scattered like deserted chess pieces in the middle of the game – the frustrated players have packed up, yet here we sit, ready to be picked up again.

Rectangular windows plant the sidewall, the yellow windowpanes clashing with the peeling blue walls. I have sacrificed nutrients and sleep in order to be here. Knowledge is its own form of sustenance, I remind myself.

The boy yawns mindlessly; a girl insistently rubs sleep out of her eye. It has taken a great deal for some to rise from our slumber, but here we are.

I rest my eyes on the whiteboard that is now gray. The word ‘focus’ has been scrawled from a previous class.

Funny, I think. The walls really do speak.