The Concrete Hill

by Hannah Melton

 I stood at the base of a massive concrete hill. I’m not talking metaphorically; the hill is made of concrete. For some I guess it could be considered a ramp, but ramps don’t seem as steep. Every step felt strange, not the kind of strange from exhaustion or pain in my legs, no, it was strange that I was even making this climb at all. The bright blue sky and the trees felt like an illusion. All the noises from the honking cars on the street behind me were drowned out by my worry. I took another step. I looked behind me, seeing other people following me. Ahead, many people were coming down the hill. No one looked happy to be making this climb, and no one looked any happier coming down. Two walls of concrete begin rising with the hill, as if they were closing in on me as I kept walking up the “incline of sadness.” I saw my destination ahead of me. I could see it from the base of the hill. Maybe that is why the climb seemed to take forever: I really didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to be making this climb.
           The building on top of the hill, my destination, is gray. The color fit the mood of this place. It isn’t a happy place. How could it be? This was a place that held people captive. No one wanted to be here. I opened the thick glass doors, receiving a rush of icy air on my face. It was fitting for the mood of the room that I walked into. Like I said, this wasn’t a happy place – there was very little warmth in this building.
The room was quiet; you could hear the hiss of the florescent lights. I could hear the click of   my shoes against the tile floor as I walked to the check-in counter. The clicking seemed to get the attention of the woman behind the counter. She looked up at me and she didn’t look happy to see me. She probably wasn’t really happy to see anyone who came in here. I gave her my name and who I was here to see. I felt a twinge of disgust when I said the name. I never thought that he would be in here.
           The benches they had us wait on were hard and uncomfortable. I stared at the clock behind the counter, thinking how stupid it was that they made us arrive forty five minutes before our scheduled visit. Other people filed into the room, all with the same expression as mine. As I sat, I started to wonder what their stories were. Whom did they come to see? When it was finally time, we filed into a smaller room for roll call. I walked through the detector, not worried about it going off, however the next person who went through made it go off. A forgotten cell phone. Ten minutes later we headed down into a small cave-like room lined with stools. The only windows were the ones across from where we all sat. I held my breath as my brother came in and sat on the other side of the window, smiling.