POV: You’re a pen left in Images Theatre since March 2020

A tragic recounting of messiness, missing lectures, and mourning Mamma Mia

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ILLUSTRATION: Shaheen Virk / The Peak

By: Kyla Dowling, Staff Writer

DAY 1 – March 17, 2020 

It’s nearly 8:30 a.m., which means it’s time for class. I’ve been laying on the ground of Images Theatre since 7:21 p.m. yesterday, when Annie had a meltdown upon finding out about a paper she had due and carelessly dropped me on the floor. No one’s been in here since, but I’m sure no student in their right mind would leave me on the ground. I’m a retractable pen with a gel grip, for God’s sake. I’m purple. There’s no way a student wouldn’t snatch me off the ground, precariously balancing their Starbucks cup (even though Renaissance is right there), their iPad, and the notebook they barely use because of said iPad — no, that iPad doesn’t make me self-conscious and feel kind of obsolete. Shut up. 

Half of these kids have been surviving using a single mechanical pencil for in-class essays all semester. And even if no one puts me to good use, I’m sure Annie will come back for me. I’ve been with her since high school. I helped write bad poetry, goddammit.

So I wait. And wait. And wait. And yet, somehow, no students enter. Maybe class was cancelled, I think, but no one comes in for the whole day. 

DAY 2 

Images Theatre is still as empty as the heads of every SFU student.

DAY 3 

Hey, maybe SFU implemented another reading week so students can relax for once!

. . . Wait, that implies that SFU cares about students’ mental health. Never mind.

DAY 5 

It’s Saturday. It’s Saturday, and yet not a single student has snuck into Images Theatre with popcorn and a bottle of wine to watch Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!. Something has to be wrong. Who in their right mind would deny the serotonin that ABBA brings? And on a big screen, no less? 

DAY 53

At least this means I don’t have to listen to that one World War II-obsessed white guy play devil’s advocate. 

DAY 98

I fear I will never hear Pierce Brosnan’s horrible singing voice as Dad #3 in Mamma Mia again. 

DAY 140

One of the rats came up from downtown RCB. He was chattering on about “Tick Tock” and “representation” and being the rat of everyone’s dreams. “Viva the ratvolution,” I said, just in case the rats had overthrown the humans and needed use for a pen.

DAY 176

People used to chew on the end of me. They’d pretend it was because they were focusing, but really they just had an oral fixation.

I miss Freud lectures.

DAY 298

I don’t know who I am anymore. I think I might be a human writing a narrative about a pen. 

DAY 369

The door opened. 

A faint amount of light from the hallway came streaming in, illuminating the dust that had settled on top of me. Finally. After all this time, I would be saved. The humans had survived the ratvolution and were coming back to classes. I didn’t know what I was excited for more: to take mediocre notes on sex scenes in cinema (what the fuck is Communication) or to be neatly put away in a pencil holder in someone’s concrete dorm room. For the first time in a long time, I felt hope. 

I was greeted not by someone, but something. It somehow had even darker eyebags than the students at this school, but with the added touch of fur. Scuttling toward me, it picked me up in its little gremlin hands. The feeling of being touched for the first time in a year was astonishing. I was equally repulsed and horny. 

The being gripped my gel handle tight and raised me from perdition, bringing me into the hallway of RCB and into a humanless world.