A Whole New World

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Issue 8, Volume 112

By Sara Heller 

I knew something was wrong when I woke up and saw stars. Like, literal stars. They burned my eyes until I thought my retinas would explode, fireworks branding themselves into my eyelids, and then a hand on my back pushed me forward into the darkness. At first, I thought I’d gone blind. Like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, I tumbled through utter darkness. I fell asleep after a while, still falling through that pitch-black void. When I opened my eyes again, I was back in my bedroom as if I had never left. That was weird.

Things got really strange when I arrived at Stuyvesant the next morning. I was taking the escalator to the ninth floor for my first class when it hit me: none of the escalators were broken. I thought maybe it was some kind of fluke, like when the trains actually run on time, but then I saw the luxurious, three-fur couches where the benches used to be. Something was definitely up.

It didn’t take me long to work it out: I was in Stuyvesant 2.0. An alien had obviously pushed me through a black hole that led to another dimension. I hurried to my class feeling slightly dizzy like I was walking on clouds. I looked down and saw a thick, red carpet covering the floor. How did I miss that? I walked into the classroom quickly, trying to escape the strangeness of it all, but came to a halt when I saw the chairs had become bean bags. I tentatively sat on one, half expecting it to transform into Santa’s lap or start granting wishes. But my thoughts and surroundings melted away as I was swallowed up by the unnaturally soft cushion. I came back around when I realized that the wifi actually worked, and I nearly lost it right when I glanced out the window and saw dolphins swimming in the Hudson instead of freshmen who dropped their phones in the drink. And at the end of the lesson, the teacher didn’t give us any homework, telling us to “take it easy” and “chillax, smiley face.”

I got halfway through the day, facing only a couple of other oddities. The gym (yes they actually call it gym here) lockers were big enough to fit a teacher (not that I would ever think about doing that) and there was a Junior Bar?! I swear my brain imploded when I went to get lunch from the cafeteria. From the outside, everything appeared normal, but when I swung open those heavy, metal doors, it was as if I’d stepped into Narnia. The room was so big that I couldn’t see the opposite walls, and the mahogany tables had linen tablecloths draped over them. Candles were suspended in mid-air and the ceiling live-streamed the sky outside (which would’ve been more exciting if it wasn’t cloudy out). The hot food that day was pizza—real pizza, in the shape of a triangle and everything.

Oh, and the bathrooms! There were trays of mints on the sink, and the faucet water was the perfect temperature. The writing on the stalls was all in iambic pentameter, the toilet paper was three-ply, and the paper towel dispenser had been replaced by a handsome stack of reusable cotton towels (with a bamboo refuse bin to match). Yes, life was surely different in this reality… not that I’m complaining.