The Art and Literary Magazine of The Derryfield School
XXXVI, ISSUE II Spring 2012
To Mrs. Laurel Devino For her devotion to the arts at The Derryfield School
STAFF Chelsea Kimball Managing Editor
Lily Karlin Editor
Jim Larson Art Editor
Lindsay Matheos Publishing Editor
Lucas Romanowsky Business Editor
Megan Dillon, Zoe Morgan Staff
Ms. Assetta Faculty Advisor
Title Page art: AbbeyWilson ‘12 Cover art: Jim Larson ‘13 Back Cover art: Lily Karlin ‘13
Contents Cereal Serious Stephanie Simonoff ‘13………………….……...………………..8 Painting Kate Ridinger ‘12..………………………………..………………………...10 Dictionary Francesca Barradale ‘15………...………….………………...….….11 Self Portrait Nicole Anthony ‘15………………………………………….…………14 Butterfly Lucas Romanowsky ‘13………..………………………..……………...15 Personal Essay: Sailing Through Life Kelsey Cintorino ‘12……………...17 Untitled (Painting) Matt Dinsmore ‘12….……….………………………..…...20 You Have Not Seen Me Yet Michael Collins ‘14……………...…….……...21 Paris (Photograph) Hannah Zinn ‘13……………………………..………….…..23 In Search of My Inner CJ Rachel McCoy ‘12……….....……...……….…....24 For the First Time Andrew Palacios ‘12……….……………………..…………28 Setting Life (Photograph) Matt Dinsmore ‘12…………………...……….….29 The Caterpillar Elizabeth Aliotta ‘12…………………….…………………....…30 Exiled Happiness Regina Salmons ‘14………………..……………..……...….34 Untitled (Photograph) Justice Content ‘13……....……………...…………..35 Hawking and Dillard in Harmony Kelly McDonald ‘13….…..…………..36 Ugly Duckling Lucas Romanowsky ‘13………………………...………………..37 Untitled (Drawing) Brianna Smith ‘14………………….………………….……38 My Sixteenth Year Ellie Lynch ‘12………………………………...…….………..39 Untitled (Photograph) Justice Content ‘13…………………………………….43 A Vanquished Hope Kelly McDonald ‘13…….……...……………..…………44 5
E Self Portrait (Drawing) Brianna Smith ‘14……………...…………….……...53 The Always Summer Leah Holden ‘14…………………………….……...…….54 Untitled (Painting) Emmie Lamp ‘12…….…...………..….…………………...56 The Bliss of Solitude Maxine Joselow ‘12……………………..……………...57 Untitled (Drawing) Matt Dinsmore ‘12…………………..…………………….61 Untitled (3D Cubism) Matt Dinsmore ‘12……………………………………..62 The Nude Generation Allison Halchak-Lord ‘12…………………………...63 Time Remaining Lucas Romanowsky ‘13.……………….…………………….64 Untitled (Painting) Zoe Morgan ‘13………………………………….…………65 Nostalgia Jessa Fogel ‘13…………………………….………………………………..66 Passerby (Photograph) Matt Dinsmore ‘12…………………..………………67
Art Contest Winners 1st place: Jim Larson ‘13 2nd place: Lily Karlin ‘13 3rd place: Jim Larson ‘13 Honorable Mention: Abbey Wilson ‘12
Jim Larson ‘13
E Cereal Serious Stephanie Simonoff ‘13 I stare into my cereal bowl, swirling and twirling my cereal, Sprinkled with strawberries And dripping with spoonfuls of sugar. The flakes are floating peacefully in the milk, And I think about those flakes being nations. There’s the world in my cereal bowl I form Japan with two flakes and make Australia a sliced strawberry. China is a lumpy collection of piled up pieces, And Greece is made out of stray bits. People are moving down there, creating traffic, having conversations, Living life as it ought to be lived, with normalcy. Yet, I can see how insignificant their lives are. It’s so important not to be late, it’s such a tragedy when the coffee spills. My spoon and I hold all the power, and with one scoop, we can create ruins. We are the all mighty ones, the rulers of about…..five and a half inches. I sigh, disappointed in my small kingdom. We’re all very small flakes in a very big bowl of cereal. We’re surrounded by a mixing of oats. Colorful, quirky Fruit Loops and exotic Coco Puffs. Well-to-do Cheerio’s and athletic whole grains. Fortuitous Lucky Charms and obnoxious Rice Krispies. I’m plain old granola compared to this variety. But despite all that, there’s a life you have to live. Life is big, and I’m only five feet and two inches, but my cereal 8
E taught me a thing or two. Never, say could have or would have or even should have, when you can say I will. If you didn’t do it, you can’t, but there’s something to do right now, right this minute. You may have to pick up the dry cleaning or study for that big test. But you also have to say hello to the person you’ve never spoken to before. And dance ‘till your bones feel like breaking and your heart is soaring. And laugh like you have no fears, no worries, no commitments, just lots of living to do. Sometimes, there might be a hole where your heart used to be, But thank god, you finally got some extra space in there! You can fill it up with joy and wisdom and sorrow and dreams. And you know, courage comes in all forms and sizes, But sometimes, all you need is twenty seconds of pure gut, Just twenty seconds of not thinking about what if. Happiness is the sugar in my cereal bowl, the pure, sharp thrill against the tongue. It’s limitless. It just depends on how many spoon-fulls you want.
Kate Ridinger â€˜12
E Dictionary Francesca Barradale ‘15 Has it ever dawned on you what the responsibilities of a dictionary entail? I doubt it. For most of my life, torture waits just around every corner. I’m battered and bruised and receive no recognition for what I go through. Nor do I receive a reward, coffee break, or vacation. Even I wish I were someone else. I believe it’s correct to refer to my daily mistreatment as abuse, because if a human were to experience what I go through, it would be illegal. I anxiously wait for those cold hands to snatch me from the safety of the bookshelf. When it happens, I lie in their hands or am forcibly thrust against a table. My pages are flipped violently back and forth as the beast tries to locate its word. Sometimes they’re ripped painfully, only to be patched up with itchy, glossy tape. Or those sweaty, meaty mitts of theirs cake my delicate pages in oil, which deforms them and makes them stiff and crinkly. In some cases, my spine is bent as the humans attempt to hold down my uncooperative pages by pressing into my glue. I shudder at the memories. My only defense is giving the humans paper cuts. After my attack, they usually swear obscenities and retreat. I can only count the hours until I am assaulted once more. I’m not quite sure why I’m the target for such abuse. Being a dictionary, I know my knowledge is far superior to say, a thesaurus. I supply definitions. He supplies synonyms, which is fine, sure, but not nearly as important. What I do, is educate people. Not only do my users learn the definition of a word, but also the parts of speech, language of origin, number of syllables, pronunciation, and other forms of the word. Leonard, as he likes to be called, can only show you synonyms and antonyms of the chosen word. That doesn’t do much good, though, if you don’t know what the better word means. For example, one poor soul used him to find a synonym to the word “large” for describing someone’s feet and came cross the word, “obese” under the related words section. 11
E I can assure you that it didn’t end very well for the speaker. Clearly, my in-depth knowledge of words can serve a far better purpose when compared to what a mere thesaurus can do. Not only is Lenny – I call him “Lenny” because it embarrasses him – my reference rival, he’s also my romantic rival. I hate to admit it, but he has a gift with women. Since he’s a thesaurus, Lenny fluently speaks the flowery, emotional language we call love. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty blunt when talking to others, which puts me at a disadvantage in this area. I didn’t mind Lenny when I first met him, but then he stole my girlfriend. She’s a Latin dictionary and I loved her. But when she dumped me, I just lost it. Rage and deep longing for revenge has been harboring inside me since then. Now Lenny is my nemesis. Since the day my darling Julia (the Latin dictionary) was stolen from me, I have spent countless hours plotting my revenge. As a part of my master plan I now have a newer, friendlier, more loyal, FRENCH lady dictionary in her place. Lenny can’t stand seeing me with a French girl. Her name is Linda, she’s blue in color, pocket -sized and absolutely lovely. When we’re together, Julia glowers at us. Julia is shocked that I replaced her. It makes me sad to see her in such pain. She was just my type – intelligent, strong-willed, honest, direct – and I can only hope that by making her jealous enough, she’ll come back to me. It pains me when others are harmed such as I am on the rare occasion. The young human’s science textbook deserves the most sympathy. It was purchased only two years ago and it’s falling to pieces. The pages are torn, written on, and reek of chemicals no doubt used during labs. Once its owner even dropped it on its spine, severing the pages from the cover. The human tried to repair it with glue dots, but everyone knows that textbooks hate them. Now, that poor book just sits there, torn, violated, pretty much destroyed, and at the mercy of the human child. It’s a good thing the child had no siblings, or the textbook would suffer even more abuse. If you ask most books, they’ll say I’m a kind person. I’m caring, trustworthy, and reliable – why must I suffer at the hands of humans? Books deserve a nice, gentle human who takes care of them. Having a rude, careless slob as a caretaker might tick some 12
E books off a bit. Take this to heart. Be kind to books. We have hopes, dreams, emotions, and social lives. Weâ€™re not just cluster of pages on a shelf. If you see a book, thank it for putting up with you. Thereâ€™s only one world, but billions of humans and books. Share it kindly.
Nicole Anthony â€˜15
E Butterfly Lucas Romanowsky ‘13 He had always dreamt of being a butterfly. She thought he was childish, “There is no way you could fly.” But she didn’t hate his poeticalness. She called it a kind of romance. As long as they still loved each other, Nothing needed to be criticized. She asked him for everything she wanted, Beautiful, colorful, and exclusive. He offered her all he could have acquired, Thoughtful, careful, and addictive. She wanted a trip. He drove her around. She wanted a dinner. He cooked the delicacies. One day he felt lonely, “This is not the dream, Something I wanted deeply.” He looked at the ice cream, On the cake he bought her. He left a note on the top Of the counter, And went to wait on the rooftop Of the skyscraper he worked at. She saw the note and panicked, Rushing to the rooftop where 15
E He was walking by the edge. “I am glad you came, while It’s too late.” On his face emerged a gentle smile -The one she could see every night. He jumped, disregarding her scream, This was what came in exchange for that melted cream, She burst into tears and ran to the fence. On his back, ‘Twas the first time she saw the wings of a butterfly.
E Personal Essay: Sailing Through Life Kelsey Cintorino ‘12 Eerie dark skies hang over the open water as an army of intimidating clouds march in from the West. Wind whips the leaves off tress and thrashes the sailboats on the river like children’s bath toys. The white noise of raindrops drowns out all voices on the dock. “You’re crazy,” a good friend says, watching me rig my sailboat. “Wanna come with?” I ask, undeterred. “Uh, I guess so?” he replies, a smile stretching across his faces as he follows me into the stormy water. I love the power that I feel when I sail a Laser. Only 13 feet long, this boat grants me more control than any other. I love when the wind makes the boat tilt toward the water; adrenaline rushing, I hold onto a strap with my feet and lean my body outward to compensate for the force that is pulverizing the sail. The size of this boat makes it easy to change direction within seconds. Today’s wet weather brings commotion to the water and mystery to the winds. It scares off beginner sailors, but invites the more experienced and passionate sailors, like me, to come out and play. I laugh at how focused I am, and need to be, but also at how my mind ponders the physics of sailing. The force of the wind and counter-force of the sail. The boat slipping through the water but providing friction and balance. Perfect water displacement through the art and engineering of sailboat making. Keels, lines, and rudders providing a ying to nature’s yang. Sudden wind changes twist my boat and I make split-second decisions as my surroundings change. I analyze the wind speed and direction and constantly adjust to keep from gaining speed. Again, I laugh, as I think about the connections between 17
E sailing and skiing. The quick decision making when skiing moguls or ducking into narrow tree runs. The physics of skis on snow mirrors are that of a sailboat on water. I find it interesting that my two favorite sports are on water, but in two different states—liquid and frozen. Even though I’m relatively new to sailing, I have devoted myself to Community Boating, Inc. in Boston, and have become comfortable, perhaps proficient, with a wide variety of boats— including the Sonar 420, Rhodes 19, and Laser (my all-time favorite—even though I had no idea what a Laser was a little over two years ago). Through an Instructor-In-Training (IIT) program at the dock house, I taught kids from ages 10 to 18 in classes ranging from beginner groups of up to sixteen students to specialized classes with only five. Ever since my first few days on the docks, when I started teaching beginners to rig up their boats, I loved seeing a spark in a kid’s eye and wondering if he too would fall in love with sailing the way I did. Jimmy was one of those kids. He was half the size of the other kids on the dock, but with twice their energy. He wore black, thick-rimmed glasses, and his straight, shiny, reddish-brown hair almost covered his eyebrows. On his first day of sailing, Jimmy was thrilled, but noticeably nervous. As the wind picked up, the boat leaned to the side, and he got scared. I immediately flattened the boat by letting out the sail, then taught another beginner how to steer and scooted up beside Jimmy, who was clutching his lifejacket. He said he was afraid the boat would tip, but I explained that a huge weight on the bottom, called a keel, keeps it steady. I explained that the power of the wind against the sail made the sudden tipping sensation, then I proposed a game. I told the student who was steering to slowly pull on the main sheet to give the sail more power. I kept hold of Jimmy’s life jacket to let him know he was safe, and we carefully held on to the boat as it leaned further and further. After a few times, Jimmy lost his fear and was begging for more. Helping Jimmy, and kids like him, comes easily to me because I don’t believe people should let their fears hold them back. Fears can sometimes protect a person, but they can also 18
E stifle and paralyze. With my senior year almost over, I admit I am somewhat fearful about college. But my boat is rigged, the wind is whistling, and I am ready to sail into the next four years with optimism and determination.
Matt Dinsmore â€˜12
E You have not seen me yet Michael Collins â€˜14 You have not seen me yet Nay, I am not the sod you envision I am not the letter you ascribed in the middle of March I am not the paragraph you composed I am not the "B" I am the "A" I am the scholar Riding upon the stallion of intellect Leading my battalion of potential High momentum Full force And I stop At that barrier of my work ethic Of that gate of motivation, closed due to maintenance That was merely the second attack My troops that shivered and starved in the cold winter months But now, it is spring The frost has fallen, the grass has grown I shall attack once more I am the Khan And this kingdom, this kingdom of academic success It is mine for the conquering You will see me rise 21
E You will see me break from these shackles And I will receive my "A" There is no challenge you can deal I will not best It is my prophecy And self-fulfilling it is And you have all known this You've known this since the first moment you wrote "He lacks the motivation" This ends this spring This trimester You have not seen me yet
Hannah Zinn â€˜13
E In Search of My Inner CJ Rachel McCoy ‘12 “Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes. We need gigantic revolutionary changes. Schools should be palaces. Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for the government and absolutely free of charge for the citizens, just like national defense. That is my position. I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet.” ~ Sam Seaborn, The West Wing. It’s rare that a TV show has a true impact on people, especially in today’s pop culture world where the most popular shows are reality-based, such as American Idol and America’s Got Talent. These shows require no thinking when you watch them. They don’t provoke thought and they certainly don’t make you want to get up and do something meaningful. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like some of these shows. I’m just saying that they’re not the type of show that is going to make people think about their world. They’re not going to inspire people to go out and make a difference. As I said, not many shows have the ability to inspire people. In my life, I have only come across one show that has made me think critically and inspired me to take action. The TV show I’m talking about is The West Wing. For those who have never seen The West Wing, it follows the life of a fictional presidential administration. Every time I watch the show, I am always in awe of how smart the characters are and the difference they can make. I realize that the show isn’t real, but something about it made me want to be them. Watching Sam Seaborn, Leo McGarrym, Josh Lineman, Toby Ziegler, CJ Craig and Josiah Bartlett find fictional solutions to real life problems made me realize that I wanted to help find real life solutions to those same problems. I also found myself really connecting to two of the characters, Sam Seaborn and CJ Craig. 24
E Sam, the eternal optimist, never let the failed attempts to make change effect the way he saw the world. Many people have given up hope that their government is actually working for them, but Sam never let anything dampen the optimism he had in the process of the American government. I need to know that someone is always there, not corrupted by the system or given up on trying to fix it, because that is the only way the government can continue to work for the people. And I guess I have an “if they can’t do it, do it yourself” attitude, because the only guarantee that such a person exists is to do it yourself. CJ Craig also stuck out to me because she was a powerful, brilliant woman making a successful career for herself in a career path dominated by men. If you asked me whom I would choose to be out of all the characters from the show, I would most likely point to CJ. CJ didn’t give up what made her who she is to succeed in her career. She faced setbacks, but she overcame them and became stronger because of them. But I know that I am nowhere near prepared enough to go out into the real world, to make a difference in the way that I want to make. I want to learn more, but I also want to experience more because knowledge and experience combined are what make a person capable of making hard decisions and finding solutions to difficult problems. Before I saw The West Wing, I knew I was going to college. I knew I wanted some job that would help me make a difdifference in the world. The show helped me realize how I wanted to make a difference and the path I would most likely pursue to reach my goal. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that students, once they have received a foundation, should follow their passions in education (Emerson 102). I believe that is the true purpose of college. College is the place where we are free to explore the subject we are passionate about. Emerson also argues that students should seek out opportunities for learning and learn through experience as well. Recently, I visited Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. As I look back on the visit, I am struck by how Northeastern’s co-op program models Emerson’s view education. At Northeastern, not only are you required to take classes, but you are also required as an undergraduate student to get some form of 25
E experiential learning. The co-op program specifically has students in the classroom for six months and for the other six month they have a job in a field related to their major. This continues for a cycle of three co-ops if you do the full program. The co-ops are not just in the Boston area – students can return home to do a co-op or try a completely new location. As explained by my tour guide, wherever Northeastern students are from, there is a co-op there. Students do not have to participate in co-ops. They can do research, they can study abroad or they can do service learning. The choice is theirs, which echoes Emerson’s belief that students should follow their passions. Not only does this program remind me of Emerson’s views on education, but it also reinforces my belief that the best education is a combination of theoretical and experiential. You could know the exact process of how a law is drafted, passed and then signed into law, but can you actually draft said law? Or work to get it passed? Or advise the president on whether or not to sign the bill? Chances are you wouldn’t be able to do that right away. Going back to The West Wing (and you thought you had escaped it!) and CJ Craig, there is a lot of trial by error. CJ had never been a press secretary, and had to learn on the job. She had mistakes, but she learned. I plan on making mistakes, and I plan on learning from my mistakes. Everyone does. But many let their mistakes get them down and prevent them from advancing, but CJ kept her wits about her and learned. In all honesty, I don’t like to idolize TV characters because they are fiction after all and not real. But everyone on The West Wing seemed so real and I can’t help wanting to be them. I can’t help wanting to search for my inner CJ Craig or Sam Seaborn. I mentioned earlier that I am not ready to be CJ Craig or Sam Seaborn, or one of the other fabulous characters on The West Wing. I’m honestly not even sure if I’d be ready to move to a city, find a job and apartment and live on my own. I need a steppingstone between high school and real life to follow my passions, as well as to learn how to be an independent adult. However, not every child is offered the opportunity to go to even think even think that way. In many inner city schools, students are not encouraged to pursue college. Instead, they are taught that the best job they could ever get is management. Schools have cut back on art and 26
E science and history and any subject that isn’t on standardized tests (Kozol 118). I was lucky enough to live in a world where those subjects were emphasized in my education. I also was not taught morals through literature (Prose 94). Morals and values should not be taught through literature; novels should be taken for what they are. Like the West Wing, they are fictional and not everything they do should or even would be emulated. Some books offer an example of what not to do, but because many try to teach morals through books, that message is overlooked. Just because a character did something, doesn’t meant the author or the book is advocating that everyone should emulate the character. This is not a way to learn, nor is it a way to teach. Everything I have read about education has helped reinforce my decision to pursue a college education and then hopefully work in government to help make a change from within. However, now I have a focus. I want all children to have the same educational opportunities I had. And I know that is a Sam Seaborn type statement, but if I truly confine my inner CJ Craig I know I will at least look for a way to do it. I believe education is the key to everything; it unlocks the world for children. I will probably never stop seeking an education. I’ve always wanted one. I guess what I’ve been getting at is that I am seeking a college education, because I want others to seek one as well. Not only do I want to lead by example, but I want to make changes to the educational mentality in the country so all children believe that college and a higher education is within their reach. Works cited: Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Education.” The Language of Composition. 102-08. Print. Kozol, Jonathan. The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration Apartheid Schooling in America. New York, New York: Random House, 2005. Print. Prose, Francine. “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read.” The Language of Composition. 88-99. Print. Sorkin, Aaron. “Six Meetings Before Lunch.” The West Wing. Dir. Clark Johnson. NBC. 5 Apr. 2000. Television. Transcript. 27
E For the First Time Andrew Palacios ‘12 This is the way of doing things where I’d come from – Observe afar, gather, then meet. Kathy bursting into laugh, And that smile was everything. Walking, striding with a powerful confidence. She converted, Wearing jeans and a hijab. Zeitoun breathing a sigh of relief Trying to settle his stampeding heart – She was beautiful
Matt Dinsmore â€˜12
E The Caterpillar Elizabeth Aliotta ‘12 When Ava’s family discovered she was one of those born with the ability to draw power from nature, they sent her off to one of the schools built for training people like her. So, here she was, outside looking up at her elder standing on a stone platform. The elder had a smile that made her feel like he knew something she did not. She got the feeling he found amusement from her not knowing. It was her first lesson, and they were spending it outside of the edge of the campus where the woods started. She watched a squirrel run in and out of the tress waiting for the elder to begin. “Our power,” the elder said looking down at her “is sourced from the world around us, and to fully understand and appreciate this, you must learn to become one with Nature. As I am sure you are well aware, Nature chooses you to carry this gift, but despite this, she is still in control of the power given to you. Unless you can learn to make a connection with her, you will not be able to acquire any of the power unless she allows you to borrow. What most people do not understand is that Nature allows you to borrow power. You yourself have no control over it. That is why we call it a gift.” Ava slowly nodded her head up and down. “So does that mean that if Nature does not approve of how you use the gift, she can take it away?” “That is possible, but I’m not sure that’s ever happened.” he answered. “Hm,” she pressed her lips together before going on. “Is Nature really a person? ‘cause I noticed you’ve been calling it a she.” Before answering, the elder smiled knowingly while watching a butterfly glide past. “Nature is not a person in the sense of a living being, but,” he paused before going on. “It or she has 30
E what you may call…a living pulse.” “What?” Ava raised her eyebrows. The elder laughed before speaking, keeping that small smile on his face. “It’s not something I can explain to you, but you will in time answer that question for yourself.” When Ava did not say anything in response, he continued on. “Shall we try, then?” “Sure, what do I do?” She looked up at him. “Listen.” He stopped. “And…” Ava said waving her hands in a circular motion. “That’s all.” He tilted his head at her. “Why don’t you try sitting comfortably and close your eyes.” Once she was sitting cross -legged on the ground, he went on. “Now try to feel everything around you: the dirt…the grass…the wind,” he paused, “and listen.” Ava stayed in the sitting position with her head tilted. Listen. Listen. Lis… “I don’t hear anything.” She opened her eyes, discovering the elder sitting on the stone platform cross-legged like her with his eyes closed. He was frozen like a statue with all the muscles in his face completely relaxed. *** “You must learn to make the connection with nature,” Ava’s elder commanded once again, staring down from the stone platform. It had been a week since Ava had been trying to make the connection. Every day, her elder had been forcing her to come outside and work on the meditating. The elder continued, “Until you learn to make a steady connection with Nature, you will never, I repeat, never be able to use your gift.” Ava interjected, “I don’t get it. Don’t we have that connection when we develop the gift?” The elder briefly closed his eyes before speaking. “Yes,” he opened his eyes, staring her down. “What you are not understanding, and what I have been trying to get you to understand, is that because of your natural connection to Nature, it can leak magic through you. Leak is the key word. Until you are truly able to appreciate what Nature has given you. You. Are. Useless. That is why you must make the connection to Nature, 31
E because then and only then will you be able to harness your gift.” “Fine,” Ava mumbled. “Do it again,” he instructed. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. You haven’t exactly given me much instruction on how to make this so-called connection.” She made a face. “All you told me was that I needed to meditate and try to sense the world around me, whatever that means. I’ve been trying, and it’s not working. Maybe if you told me exactly what to do it would help.” He pressed his lips tightly together before answering. “The whole point of this is to figure out how to do it on your own.” “Like I said: Not helping.” Ava threw her hands at him. “And like I said: Do it again. Now.” he insisted. “You’re kidding, right?” She stared at him in disbelief while he watched her. She turned her back to him before starting again. “Any advice?” she asked sarcastically. “Listen.” He smiled that smile, making Ava raise her eyebrows. To what? *** Walking out to a bench, Ava stared around her. The sun was just peaking over the hills, and she wanted to have a few moments to herself. Sitting down, she began to think about what her day was going to consist of. The meditation…again. She rolled her eyes at the thought, thinking how the elder would just watch her with that knowing smile. Looking down, she saw a caterpillar crawling up her leg. Gently guiding it on her finger, she said to it, “You know, according to my elder, I should be able to sense your thoughts or something. Mind telling me what you think about that?” She watched it crawl on her hand. “No?” She sounded hopeful. “I thought so.” She sighed. She continued to stare at it, looking doubtful. Bringing it closer to herself, she started to make a cross examination. Maybe if 32
E I look at you long enough you’ll tell me something. It was almost all green except for yellow dots that went around the body. Looking closer, she was able to see that there were ridges also going around the body, making a pattern of dots-ridges-dots-ridges. Its eyes were red, reminding her of a very small drop of blood. She also notices the hair sticking out of the body, and upon noticing them she could feel them very delicately bushing across her skin as it crawled. After making a thorough examination, she closed her eyes, keeping the image in her head. Dots-ridges-dots-ridges. Listen. She slowly tried to imagine what a caterpillar would sound like while also trying to hear it crawl. Can it breathe? With that she began listening to her own breathing, trying to find a rhythm that could be a similar to the caterpillar’s. In-out-in-out. Suddenly, she felt the caterpillar stop crawling. Without even looking, she knew that it was stretching up towards her as if, she thought, it wanted to connect thoughts. Taking a deep breath, she tried to do the same, visualizing her thoughts in almost a spiral, trying to send thoughts to him. She started to become aware of other things around her…the wind gently blowing as if trying to bring her somewhere…the trees swaying in the wind…the birds flying through the air, making noises as if calling her…the ants making their homes. Ava was feeling all of these things as separate entities, but at the same time, she was able to feel a common force keeping them united. This is Nature. The… She tried to come up with a word to describe it, but realized there were none. This is what keeps us united and gives us our power. Eventually, she opened her eyes, staring at the world around her. Looking at the familiar scene around her of the stone tablet, grass, tress, and sky feeling her face lit up with a smile. “Just to let you know, you’ve been meditating for three hours since I got here,” the elder said, making her jump. She looked at him sitting next to her on the bench. “Three hours…” she awed. ‘Are you sure?” “Yes,” he smiled that knowing smile. “It’s easy to get caught up in it.”
E Exiled Happiness Regina Salmons ‘14 Cotton hoodie I smile He tries to hide Camera It’s dangerous A threat A permanent moment He’s scared I’m happy My eyes Are bonfires His shoulders Are hunched Over a brick railing I watch He knows. I deserve this moment.
Justice Content â€˜13
E Hawking and Dillard in Harmony Kelly McDonald ‘13 Cracked pavement is painted beneath a warm winter sky How fated, how dated, how happy am I? Fleshy white blossoms tremble on the boughs of a tree, Sunbeams glisten on the walk, the breath of divinity; Caressing the asphalt where I tumbled, scraped a knee Giving me purpose, allowing me to see. The world, it seems, is quieter, when I’m not around; I melt into a canopy of trees, the dirt on the ground; The croci adorning that stitch of earth out on our lawn; I think with a leaden heart of how soon I will be gone. I spread my arms, exultant, at the smooth waves of sky; College will pass, I will grow up, life will go by; I don’t have much time left, yet I have all the time on earth Such is the way of natural things-death and life and birth. They say electrons have proven our free will, did you know? They proved it with accelerators and particles that glow. My mind numbs at what these little intricacies show--I try to Escape, wind fluttering through my hair as I run, run, go-Beautiful and still, there’s only one thing I know; How deeply I wish things could always go this slow.
E Ugly Duckling Lucas Romanowsky â€˜13 I hate to look back at that year. When the very image of my face In the mirror haunted my dreams. Etched from ear to ear a crimson patchwork of marks dawned my face. And every time I cried, The salty water would run down canyons of flesh. Donâ€™t get me wrong, I tried to hide the scars. Not even multiple layers of cover-up would do the job. I used to hide my face with a scarf every time I went out. I would tell my friends that my head felt cold. No-one had seen my face for months until of late. The good doctor told me that the graphs were ready and hot. They say time heals all wounds, but yet I still feel sick. Because, even though my face is fine, The lines remain.
Brianna Smith â€˜14
E My Sixteenth Year Ellie Lynch â€˜12 Inside of me, inside of this body, is a pit that over the years has morphed. It has grown, has blossomed, has been rained on and lit up, into a tree â€“ being shaped and pruned into the thing I call Myself. In the years of growing up, you live, you watch, you learn. You lose yourself. I lost Myself. The blossoming tree in the pit inside me, lost all of its leaves. They were either blown away by confusing concepts, or snipped off by sneeringly whispered words. Maybe they were plucked off
E one by one by the people who strategically took me down. Or, they could have been embellished and glorified, until the praise for their beauty wasnâ€™t enough anymore, so they wilted. Anyway, I lost Myself. And it has been hard, undeniably attempting the lost soul, It has been trying the leaveson the fragile treein the pitinside of me.
hard to find Myself. hard to re-grow
In order to re-bud, to develop, to go back to a time of balance where I stood firmly (I guess you could even say planted), I have tried to open up, to let people in, and to let my guard down. Once youâ€™ve lost yourself, letting down your guard is hard to do. How are you supposed to open up, 40
E to branch out, when you feel like you don’t even know who you are? If you’re exposed, what will people see? If you feel empty, like a tongue with no taste-buds, like a face with no authentic smile, like a body that’s been dug out and torn apart, until all that is left is a cold, emotionless skeleton how could anyone want to see you? When you’re barren, devoid, it is hard to show yourself to someone. To show them what you like, what you hate, what makes you tick, what controls you, what you get up for, what wears you out, what you stand for, why you chose this. You don’t even know. 41
E Maybe in years of growing up, losing yourself is inescapable. Maybe in the years of growing up, allowing people in is inevitably difficult. Either way, amidst my journey of life, my lost soul, and my inability for affection have disfigured my flora. They have slithered around and swarmed deeper and deeper into my once-blossoming soul. Until all that they have left me with is my pit. No soil, no trunk, no tree, no leaves. I want my leaves. I may not know Where, Why, or How to attain them, to keep them intact, alive, healthy, strong, or content, but I do know I want them back. I want my leaves. Each and every one. 42
Justice content â€˜13
E A Vanquished Hope Kelly McDonald ‘13 The sky was a patchy yellow the day they announced that day that prisoner 221905 had escaped. Shafts of light pierced the usual dark of midday in the Commonwealth; the climate dome generally was enough to shelter its citizens from these beams of light, but today they shone directly through its transparent roofing and pulsed in luminous golden circles on the Earth. The prison where 221905 had been detained had been placed gingerly on a hill towards the edge of Commonwealth, a subtle yet menacing reminder of what was to become of the citizens if they did not obey. Felix had walked by the prison every day as a Young One on his way to the Center of Learning, with a friend named Neil he had known since infancy. Every day as they walked by the prison, Neil would gaze at its iron doors and sigh almost imperceptibly; then, scuffing the ground with his foot, he would spit. “My father tells me that I must always do this when I walk by a prison. I think it’s to remind myself of the way our government locks up so many innocent people.” Neil told him one day after Felix expressed his curiosity about this behavior. Felix had been frightened by Neil’s statement; surely Neil and his parental unit had never heard of The Body of Protectors doing anything bad. They would never lock up innocent people, Felix tried to convince himself, but he felt nervous throughout the rest of the day anyway. That afternoon, Felix shared his concerns with his own male parental unit, the one that Neil and other Young Ones with renegade parents called ‘father.’ To Felix, the word was meaningless-merely a remnant of the archaic Old System, a time when people were permitted to thoughtlessly create a union whoever they pleased and produce as many Young Ones as they desired. This struck a nerve with Felix, who had always cherished 44
E the special attention of his parental units, and could not imagine them having more than the prescribed one Young Ones. When Felix told his parental unit about what Neil had stated, his parental unit grew very concerned and went out of their Domestic Module for a very long time. That night Felix’s other parental unit had tucked him into bed and assured Felix by herself that his friend was foolish, and had been brainwashed by his parental unit—who was part of The Enemy, who still endorsed the chaotic Old System. The next day, Neil did not meet Felix in front of his Domestic Module as he had done every day since the boys had begun their classes at The Learning Center. Later, at the Center of Learning, Felix’s class was informed by the Head Educator that Neil and his family were going to be placed in a ‘re-education’ program for the mentally diseased like themselves, by decision of the unselfish, benevolent goodness of the Body of Protectors. One week later, a new family moved into Neil’s old Domestic Module, and when Felix asked the Head Educator where Neil had gone, she replied, “There has never been anyone by the name of Neil in our community.” She then informed Felix’s parental units that he should take ‘anti anxiety’ tablets—otherwise known as white pills—for a month, to help ameliorate the delusional visions that he was experiencing. After that, Felix forgot about Neil for a very long time. He had never even thought about him again until today. The blazing, canary oblongs cast across the pavement by the ascending midday sun caused a dull ache at the back of Felix’s throat as he hauled wood at the construction site for the new Center of Learning. The one he had attended as a Young One had been worn by the span of years, and as an Architect of the Community he had been assigned to facilitate its construction, along with hundreds of other workers. He had been midway through nailing a plank down when the alarm sounded; immediately, every man working on the site ducked beneath the shelter of their work-tables and covered their heads with their arms, trembling like leaves in a fierce wind as their leader ascended a makeshift podium, crafted from leftover splinters of wood and newspapers strewn all about the place, a look of sheer desperation painting his face. 45
E “Public Enemy #1 has escaped,” he declared breathlessly, unrolling a poster between his gloved hands to reveal an image of a grimy, unshaven man with unusually bright eyes. “He is extremely dangerous. You must return to your Domestic Modules and lock the doors tightly. Should you, by any chance, catch a glimpse of him, you must”—he cast a grave look upon his enraptured audience— “You must turn him in. Otherwise he will kill us all.” Felix peered intently at the poster, inwardly hoping-deviously hoping, he knew, feeling ashamed-that he might come across this man so that he could turn them in, and receive acknowledgement from his beloved Body of Protectors. He rose up and drew forward, trying to memorize every detail of the man’s hollowed face, when he was struck with horror to realize that he did in fact know the face; it was that of his old compatriot, Neil. Knees buckling with dread as his mind flooded with recollections of his forgotten friend, Felix raced to retrieve his knapsack full of things from where the workers piled all of their belongings, his breaths coming unsteadily as his leader dismounted from his podium and moved to direct everyone towards their Domestic Modules. How, how could his Head Educator lie to him, Felix thought, numb with horror, as certainty pulsed through every nerve in his body that he had in fact known a boy named Neil, even though his Educators and Parental Units had assured him that he hadn’t. They had forced him to take those disgusting pills for weeks, until he started to believe that the new family in Neil’s Domestic Module had lived there all his life… The sirens blared throughout the Commonwealth as frantic citizens darted throughout the streets, their wares and articles of clothing stretched above their heads, wielding spare planks and textbooks as crude weapons should the need arise to defend themselves. Felix clutched his knapsack as he moved across the paved road, his shirt billowing behind him like a cape. A young woman stared at him with wide eyes as he darted across the dark, street corner around him, and she hissed aloud, “Was that him?” The harsh sun shone like a white amulet from its perch in the sky as Felix moved breathlessly across the deserted street, marred with 46
E stains of white in the form of scattered papers and abandoned knapsacks of all kinds. He nearly collapsed with relief when he reached his own Domestic Module and pushed open the door, sirens still screaming out their nauseating anthem as Officers of the Justice scurried about, taping Wanted posters with Neilâ€™s face onto the doors, the shops, anywhere their hands could reach. The restless activity, the sickening noise, made Felix feel physically ill; he had to lie down on the sofa as he closed his eyes, trying desperately to calm himself. Felix could recall only one other time when the Commonwealth had been in a state of emergency. It had been when he was very young, and still attending classes at the Center of Learning; Neil been there, so it must have been a very long time ago. Then, someone had attempted to assassinate a member of the Officers of the Justice, and the sirens had whined even more loudly than they were now. Felix had to squat underneath his desk in pure darkness with the rest of his classmates for hours, tormented by the fear that the criminal may burst into their classroom at any moment and capture him or one to whom he felt close. In the weeks after that, Felix had been forced by his parental units to swallow one infamous yellow pill per day; the ones that were crafted to make one forget an experience, a stretch of hours, in comparison to the white pills, which were used to force one to forget a pattern of similar experiences. But no matter how many yellow pills he was forced to take, Felix could never forget it; the unprotected, stomach lurching feel of raw terror coursing through him, the desperation to escape, the face of the criminal displayed wily in his mind. After a while Felix merely lied to his parental units when they asked if anything scary had happened lately at the Center of Learning, but he never once forgot what had really happened, not for a moment. Nor did he forget his strange outrage at his parental units as well as the Body of Protectors for trying to alter his memory he believed ought to belong solely to him. Felix did not love his Spousal Partner. 47
E Her name was Trudy, and she was stout and florid but still relatively pretty. He didn’t care. Trudy’s male parental unit had been an Officer of the Justice, which had lead Trudy to believe she was superior to all of the citizens of the Commonwealth, including Felix. She nagged him to apply for their Young One, which every couple was mandated to do before they reached thirty-five years of age. Felix and Trudy were barely in their twenty-eighth, however, and Felix did not believe he was prepared to undertake challenges that a Young One would present just yet. Furthermore, Trudy had an unflaggingly low morale, which as everyone knew was key to being a good servant to The Body of Protectors and The Commonwealth. She was reluctant to do her chores and often complained about her career assignment as an Assistant Educator, and often made cruel remarks to her fellow citizens, causing disorder and unnecessary struggle. Trudy had made Felix believe that it made sense for citizens to select their own Spousal Partners. “Did you hear about that man escaping?” Trudy queried him in her awful, monotonous drawl as she entered the threshold and slammed the door behind her, as was her custom. Felix groaned and rolled over, then buried his face into one of the pillows neatly placed upon their sofa. “What’s wrong with you?” she demanded shrilly, moving to sit on the space beside him; he scrambled off of the sofa and onto the floor and then looked at her with a wild, furious expression. “I know prisoner 221905,” he told her desperately. “He’s Neil, a friend from my Younger Days!” “You’re crazy,” Trudy announced, wrinkling her nose in distaste as she moved out of the Sitting Area and into the Dining Area, where, Felix assumed, she would raid the cabinets for all traces of sugar, and then proceed to devour them, just as she did every week. “It’s a wonder they don’t have you locked up in that prison.” “You don’t understand!” Felix retorted bitterly, “He can’t be dangerous! He’s just...he’s my friend…I have to explain to them, Trudy! I knew him, and he was a close friend of mine…and I betrayed him… I’ve got to help him, I have to…” “Well I have had it up to about here with you,” Trudy declared as she emerged from the Dining Area, rolling her eyes while stuffing a 48
E sweet-cake, culled from their dessert rations, into her mouth. “I’m not crazy,” Felix spat at her, and climbed irately back onto the sofa. A horrible stew of rage boiled within him there, and before he could halt the furious words tumbling from his lips he cried, “I don’t know what ghastly revenge the Body of Protectors were trying to take on me when they assigned you as my Spousal Partner!” Aghast, Trudy emitted a cry of indignation and marched forth from her perch at the doorway towards Felix, a sweet-cake clutched menacingly in her hand. Her face glowed a bright, impassioned red, and strange drops of moisture that Felix had never seen before spilled down her cheeks. “You…” she began, frothing so madly with wrath that she was unable to form a coherent sentence. “You should just…” Before she could finish her sentence though, Felix had arisen and stormed out the door, his entire being consumed with a terrible hatred for himself, an unquenchable despair to make amends for the wrong he knew he had done Neil. Neil had only been a Young One—a harmless, innocent Young One—surely he couldn’t have meant any harm…and certainly if the Body of Protectors was cruel enough to throw him away in a prison, perhaps Neil’s father had been correct after all… At that moment, Felix froze; froze because he knew something was awry. He glanced haphazardly around, searching for what it could be; then he realized that it was silence. The sirens had halted. Around him, neighbors began spilling out of their Domestic Modules, their expressions methodical; on the storefront windows, the posters had been removed—not a trace of their presence lingered. “Excuse me,” Felix cried, running up to a young female that had just exited her Domestic Module and slung a knapsack over her shoulder, apparently prepared to return to the banal duties of her Career Assignment. “Has the prisoner been caught?” She turned her head slightly to the side and, wrinkling her brow answered, “What prisoner?” Felix raised his eyebrows and didn’t speak for a moment, hoping 49
E that she would dissolve into laughter and assure him that she was joking. But when a few seconds of silence yielded no such response, he continued, “Prisoner 221905, of course!” The female raised her eyebrows even higher at Felix, and then turned nervously towards her Domestic Module, where her Spousal Partner’s visibly concerned face could be seen through a downstairs window. When the door opened and the male stepped out, demanding to know what Felix wanted, Felix turned and ran at the fastest speed he could muster back towards his Domestic Module, where he found Trudy seated before the television, contentedly nibbling on yet another sweet-cake; Felix thought with slight annoyance that this was probably the last of their desert rations for the week. “Trudy!” he cried breathlessly, “Can you believe it? The couple next door doesn’t know who prisoner 221905 is!” Trudy turned to him with an utterly disgusted expression and, cramming the last of the pastry into her mouth she cried, “What on Earth are you talking about? I swear, another outburst like this, and I am going to report you to the Office of the Justice for mental instability. There is no such thing as prisoner 221905, Felix.” But Felix wasn’t listening anymore. He had already burst out of the doorway and torn down their street, at the end of which the female he had asked about Prisoner 221905 stood, holding the hand of her female Young One as they waved to her Spousal Partner, the Young One’s male parental unit. The female pursed her lips slightly when she saw Felix pass, but otherwise made no acknowledgement of his presence—for which Felix would have been grateful if he weren’t so panicked. He barreled frantically down the now clogged roadways, filled to the brim with his own coworkers and residents of the Commonwealth, continuing on with their day as though nothing had happened. At every turn he stopped someone, anyone who happened to be passing by and asked, “Have you ever heard of prisoner 221905?” All denied that they had with varying degrees of alarm; most clutched their knapsacks and moved slowly away from Felix, and a couple cried out; but none showed even the vaguest flicker of recognition at the mention of prisoner 221905. 50
E It didn’t take long for Felix to make his way to the prison, given the hysterical pace at which he was moving; upon his entrance of the building, Felix barreled past the entrance guards, stationed meticulously just outside the front door and towards the front desk. The moment he reached it, Felix threw up his arms and cried, “What has happened to prisoner 221905?” The man behind the desk stared at him unblinkingly, a vacant look cast over his chrome grey eyes as he replied, “We have no record of a prisoner by the number of 221905 being detained at this facility.” Felix felt his throat detract with rage as he cried, “You’re lying to me!” He whirled furiously around and glared at the entrance guard who stood by the wall across from him, countenance stolid and gaze unwavering as he rested his eyes on Felix’s hysterical face. “You know what I’m referencing! You know you’ve heard of prisoner 221905! He was my friend Neil…he was arrested when we were only Young Ones…” “Looks like we’ve found our man,” the guard by the entryway whispered, grinning horribly, as he pulled his gun from where he kept it tucked in his pocket, and shot Felix dead on the spot. Just before he collapsed, the guard saw the eyes of his childhood friend dilate in recognition of his betrayal; for Neil’s own eyes were so unmistakably bright that he knew Felix would have to recognize him eventually, even if he didn’t pull the pieces together until it was far too late. “What a clever scheme to lure him, here, Neil,” the guard at his side whispered to him as the Cleanliness Workers dispersed to clean up the remains. “And that public service announcement, telling everyone to take their yellow pills so they’d forget everything about “prisoner 221905”—you knew Felix would miss it, because he’d be running around trying to find you. Not that it matmatters anyways, for him, I suppose, but he would have known we were up to something, he was clever…it’s what made him so dangerous.” Neil smiled wanly to himself. How his father would hate to see him now! And yet—what Neil had done at this moment had been enough to remove him from the torturous depths of prison—and 51
E what human being wouldn’t have taken the chance to escape that horrifying place on an offer to train to become a government informant? The information Neil had known about Felix, that he had been immune to white and yellow pills (as Felix had confided to him when they were young) had been extraordinarily valuable, enough to move Neil through the ranks and move negative attention away from him and onto Felix. Neil had been orchestrating an intricate plot to eliminate Felix for years now—because he’d known that the only person in the Commonwealth who was a more menacing threat than he, the son of the renegade, was Felix, and Felix alone. Once Neil had made that realization, his scars still fresh from the tortures of incarceration, friendship ceased to matter. Felix was his only hope, and besides, he was the reason Neil had ended up imprisoned in the first place. Felix deserved every bit of what he was going to get, Neil reminded himself every time a sympathetic doubt, a pang of human sympathy stirred within him; for to him, Felix was nothing more than a traitor. As Neil eyed the body of his only friend, he was aware that he ought to have felt some twinge of remorse, even considering what he had come to realize Felix had done to him, and yet he couldn’t. The only sort of friendship he felt was his eternal loyalty to the Body of Protectors. The only reason he lived was to appease them. As Neil gazed overhead, the sky darkened perceptibly. At last, the guard thought with manufactured joy, his Body of Protectors had calculated how to block rays of sunlight even on the brightest of days. Now he would live free of the burden of that terrible, scorching sunlight forever. The Body of Protectors could do anything; they were powerful enough to give him everything he had ever wanted, so long as he repaid them with his simple vitality. Neil didn’t understand why he had once been so afraid.
Brianna Smith â€˜14
E The Always Summer Leah Holden â€˜14 In a squat boathouse on the Merrimack river with a ceiling paneled in hunter green plastic, unstained wooden racks bear their light burdens of shells, painted white, gray, black and emblazoned with the same logo on the hull of the bay: "The Derryfield School." By a squat boathouse on the Merrimack river, is a courthouse, abandoned by three P.M. when the hippy yellow buses roll into the parking lot strewn with colorful cans of Coca-Cola and forgotten Nalgene water bottles, cracked by the tires of the cars of the privileged, the juniors and seniors pulling smelly, striped socks and musty shirts from underneath their gray velour-covered seats. The students, wearing striped and neon pennies that claim origins from other rivers down the way and black spandex, already collecting warmth on the tops of their thighs from the caramel rays of the afternoon sun, quickly pad on their bare toes over the heaps of churned mud lying on the ground like chocolate moose abandoned after a drunken dinner without a dessert, the marshmallows hardening into inedible rocks. The girls, squealing, skip through, leaping down to the water to swirl their skin in the cool shallows dancing in the sweet afafternoon glow. The boys, running and chasing, dare each other to jump through the largest chocolate milkshakes and soon, 54
E steal girls' socks or Nalgene water bottles, so as to let the abandoned once again find their friends. When the man, wearing crinkling and crackling pants shouts something at the children, for that's what they are, they come, heads bowed together whispering as they swarm into the racks and balance long oars on their shoulders Whispering and wondering about whether they will get to jump into the water after rowing today, just today, like summer isn't far gone.
Emmie Lamp â€˜12
E The bliss of Solitude Maxine Joselow ‘12 I wake to stillness. I lie curled beneath the covers. Above me, a map of the world hangs on the wall. The thin, curved tip of South America wriggles at the top of my vision. I allow my sleepy eyes to trace its penciled crags and valleys for a moment. Then I sit up. I stoop out of bed and pad down the hallway and flight of stairs to the kitchen. A note is on the kitchen counter. My mom’s loopy blue scrawl curls across it. Dad and I went to Boston. Call if you need us. We love you! –Mom. The note is addressed only to me, not to my sister too. I remembered suddenly that my sister slept over a friend’s house last night. I am alone for the morning. The kitchen feels eerily silent. My ears strain. The dryer’s hum comes through the wall from the washroom, and outside a wind whips around the corner of the house. But there are no telltale human stirrings. I make myself a piece of wheat toast. When it pops off the metal edge of the toaster, I let it slip to the bare countertop. I take out a jar of Nutella and a knife, and sweep a creamy chocolate arc across the top. I carry my breakfast back upstairs, clutching it with my palm, the corner threatening to knock into my white t-shirt. When I reach the threshold of my room, I nearly trip over my violin case. It rests under my wooden shelf, the tip protruding into the doorway. I stumble for a second, a panicked brown stain flashing before my eyes on the carpet, then regain my footing. I stand there and slowly, deliberately finish my toast. Then I slide the violin case out and place it on the bed. I haven’t played in a while. I unzip the case, carefully undoing the Velcro flap on the front. My violin gleams up at me, a beautiful red-amber sheen. I lift the violin tenderly. My fingers work to fasten the black shoulder-rest. Next I take out the bow. I twist the metal tip until its 57
E hairs are taut. On my music stand, Mozart’s Concerto Number 3 is open to the front page. I lift the bow to the instrument. The first chords sound whiny and awkward. I start again, and this time the notes are sweet and strong. Sound resonates from the body of the instrument. I play louder and louder, winding up for the crescendo. I am a practiced soloist playing for a large crowd. My fingers slip up the neck of the instrument to third position, the notes climbing. When I look at the clock next, a couple of hours have gone by. My arm feels like weak rubber. I place the violin back in its case, fastening the strap over the instrument. From a pocket in the case, I take out a small cloth and wipe chalky white rosin from the strings. Then I tuck my violin case away and walk back down to the kitchen. I open the freezer. A slant of electric white light glints menacingly at me. I take out a tangerine popsicle and slide the freezer shut. The popsicle’s surface bulges and dips, sticking to the plastic in places. Instead of a smooth column of ice, it is a lumpy and deformed mass. It must have melted during the recent power outage, then refroze in its goopy form when the power ticked back on. I tear open the clear plastic around the popsicle. From a drawer I get out a bowl and spoon. I pry the popsicle off the stick with the spoon and mash it against the sides of the bowl. I lift a bright orange bite to my mouth. It is sweet and cold. It slides coolly down my throat. “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams pops into my head. “Forgive me, for they were so sweet, and so cold,” I recite to no one in between cool gulps. When the last of the tangerine “sorbet” has receded into the white china, I traipse back upstairs. My backpack slumps against the couch in the hallway. I sink down onto the couch and rummage in the bag for my history book. My fingers locate the soft parchment. I place the book on my lap, open it to the right page, and begin to read about Woodrow Wilson. Time lulls as I fall into a relaxed state of semi-awareness. My thoughts drift from Woodrow Wilson to my friend’s dad Mr. 58
E Wilson, to the volleyball in the Tom Hanks movie Castaway named Wilson. It is nice being able to float through my thoughts, nodding to the current, instead of being jolted back by a teacher, friend, or parent. Eventually, my thoughts circle back to the reading. An hour or so later, I flip the book closed. The reading was actually pretty interesting. It turns out Woodrow Wilson was a pretty lonely guy. In a series of letters, he even lamented his lack of friends. It occurs to me that I could have been feeling lonely like Woodrow all morning, moping about how I haven’t been hanging out with friends. But I am glad to have been alone. This morning has been a pleasure. My mind, with all its quirks and valleys, has been world enough. I slip the book back into my backpack and walk down to the kitchen again. The kitchen is dark. My mom’s note is still on the counter. I mentally compose a note back to her. This is just to say, thank you for leaving me alone today. Also, you might want to buy more tangerine popsicles. I look up. A bright swatch of red flashes in the corner of my eye. Out the window, a cardinal lights on the birdfeeder. It moves its neck in small ticks, pecking at the small silver opening for birdseed. Get up and walk over to the window. The cardinal continues to back, oblivious to my face just a couple feet away. Up close its feathers are mottled and textured. I catch a glimpse of its underbelly. It looks soft. Suddenly the loud, distinctive grind of a key in the lock startles the silence. The kitchen door opens and my sister stumbles in, her arms full of belongings. “Hey, I missed you!” she exclaims when she sees me. “I missed you too! How was your sleepover?” I reply. “It was really fun,” she pants. Her voice is full in the hollow kitchen. I glance back at the birdfeeder. It is empty and swinging. I barely catch the cardinal disappearing around the side of the house, a bright fleck against the gray sky. “So, what did you do while I was gone?” she asks. “Mom and dad left, so I threw a wild party.” “Not again.” My sister laughs. “No, really though, what did you do?” I think back on my morning. I have reveled in trivial joys, in 59
E simple amusements. But I don’t know how to explain the pleasure of these mundane occurrences without sounding silly. How could I explain the joy of playing each and every note to a wailing, melodic perfection, of following a deliciously unfurling train of thought to its conclusion without a jagged interruption, of eating cool tangerine mush in the darkened kitchen while reciting a line of poetry? I shrug back at my sister. Words cannot convey the bliss of solitude. “What did you do?” I inquire, deflecting the question back at her. My sister walks over to the counter and sets down her bags. She sinks tiredly into one of the chairs. I follow her over and sit down in the other chair. Outside, the light eases to afternoon. Weak yellow sunlight sifts through the panes, casting a warm glow on our faces. We sit there for a moment, our huddled silhouettes forming a tableau of togetherness. My sister starts to tell me about her sleepover. She relates awkward moments and hilarious incidents, details of excursions and snippets of gossip. She punctuates her banter with lively hand gestures and expressions. At one point she throws her head back and laughs, flashing me a bright, easy smile that ripples in the light like a silver bangle. As she talks, a curious thing happens. I feel something deep within me thaw. It melts in my chest, sifting around my ribs and collecting beneath my heart, pooling in multi-colored puddles. Maybe I have it all wrong, I think to myself as she continues to talk, oblivious to the warmth trickling happily in my chest. Leaving scrawled notes and letters for one another is no way to communicate, no way to live. Solitude may be sweet and cold, but company warms the soul.
Matt Dinsmore â€˜12
Matt Dinsmore â€˜12
E The Nude generation Allison Halchak-Lord ‘12 Just get naked. One way or another, The way is yours to decide Whether you show your body Your thoughts, or your creations, You must leave yourself vulnerable If you expect to be noticed. This is also one of the few things that someone else can’t do for you if you’d like to start something, get autonomous. get naked. Take off your favorite bathrobe Striped and almost too soft. Crack open your skull And bleed out some new ideas Break down the walls of Your happy place You’ve been in there for too long now. Get started on changing the world One molecule of you at a time Stop being so damn comfortable. Because if I’ve learned just One thing It’s that even the very best bathrobe Needs to come off If you expect to get dressed that is. 63
E Time Remaining Lucas Romanowsky â€˜13 Where will I find you years from now? Who will bask in your radiance? Wasnâ€™t it enough that I gave you everything, even thought it sapped me daily? We used to dream about our future, thinking we understood. But, lying here on the porch now I feel as if I cheated you daily. Lord only knows how I squirmed in my seat when you sat next to me. Yet, I always prayed to him, so that you could be in my schedule daily. Though we walk in similar circles, it is hard to talk. I wish we could have a moment just to ourselves daily. At this point, I still cannot express how you have twisted my very soul. Even though I know I feel equally broken for not telling you how I feel daily. By now my letters will have told you what is etched across my jet-lagged heart. And you know, as of now, that I could never spend an hour apart from you daily. 64
Zoe Morgen â€˜13
E Nostalgia Jessa Fogel ‘13 Walking through the woods, I see a haphazard mess of sticks and stones: The remains of a bridge I built across the brook. This was my second home Back in the days before cell phones, Before Facebook and Youtube, When “homework” meant a spelling test tomorrow. Those were the days of Treasure Island and Wind in the Willows, Of acting out adventures in storybooks, When the brook was really a bustling canal, And ships were made with birch bark hulls. Back then, caterpillars and slugs were “cute,” Music was the chirping of tiny frogs at night, And I stood at the bank of the brook with a bucket To capture water-striders on the surface. Walking through the woods again I don’t believe those days are gone The bridge remains, the brook still flows The storybooks still linger on my shelf I think I can go back…
Matt Dinsmore â€˜12