VOLUME 12 ISSUE 7 MARCH 2013
There are no days more full than those we go back to. COLUM MCCANN (1965 - )
The Belonging Place
We’ll Get Out Of This Place
Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used To Be
The Lonely Paddleboat
I Looked To The Desert
Blink and It’s Gone
Peter and Wendy
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Lakyn Barton
THE NOSTALGIA ISSUE
Production Manager Katie Parkes email@example.com
Literary Editor Fiorella Morzi
I have been with Blueprint for four years now. 26 issues. 27 including this one.
Art and Photography Manager Allie Hincks
In this final issue, I find myself very reflexive and nostalgic of my time here. These past four years have held a wide range of experiences, with Blueprint remaining a constant. I have been witness to every piece published, the infamous debate around “letting the negative space speak”, and to every late night production in the past four years. I have walked home at six AM still wondering about layout design and pixel resolutions while the early morning joggers pass. I will miss these walks.
Radio Manager Katie Parkes firstname.lastname@example.org
Brantford Manager Carla Egesi email@example.com
Interns Jessica Groom, Ciana Van Dusen Staff Contributors Adriana Beradini, Ashley Newton & Andrew Savory
CONTRIBUTORS Shelby Barker, Ron Butler, Alexis Castrogiovanni, Madison Darwin, Sarah Hartholt, Melissa Kuipers, Nick Lachance, Katie McNamara, Christina Orlowski, Lauren Rabindranath, Alicia Saunders, Kimberly Stuckey, Katrina Venturato, Emily Zarevich
I have seen Blueprint change and evolve in very surprising ways, and I have changed alongside it. As I look on to my future in graduate school and my future beyond that I know that I will always value my time here. 27 issues. Thank you for reading. Lakyn Barton Editor-in-Chief
President, Publisher & Chair Emily Frost Executive Director Bryn Ossington Advertising Manager Angela Taylor Vice Chair Jon Pryce Treasurer Thomas Paddock Director Kayla Darrach Director Joseph Mcninch-Pazzano Corporate Secretary Allie Hincks
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COLOPHON Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community. Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.5 using Adobe Creative Suite 4. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada.
NEXT ISSUE Theme to be announced On stands Summer 2013
COVER Art by BRENDAN DEVINE In this piece I tried to offer the emotion of thinking, remembering or reliving. Personally, nostalgia is something often encountered through music. With that said, I tried to depict not only that feeling, but give the viewer a more concrete visual to represent time and the changes that inevitably occur. I wanted to highlight the importance past experiences have on who we are as individuals and the importance of holding on to and embracing those experiences. Our past is our future.
ALEXIS CASTROGIOVANNI Life is one long orgasm One stark seizing of the body Someone shitting loudly in the next stall Someone lying frighteningly serene in a white room A purple vein at your mother’s temple And each sweaty handshake you have offered in this one-room existence That you have built like a horse collecting flies on its eyelashes Has been regarded by the youthful portraitures on the walls. Each decade the paintings have become more conspicuous, Harshly accusatory, Because the figures are aging backwards Seeping from their frames into the carpet From aspirations to infants. Their age makes a mockery of your mortality Of your fingernails that bend now so easily backwards And many years later With an old forgotten womb In a room your children deemed acceptable You stand quite crooked in a shadow-land Of white eyelet and catheters Of cotton printed nighties And worn leather skins that smell of soft baby powder, and urine and soup du jour Violently close to the funeral home in a strange, pale, thin dystopia You stare almost blind from behind your cataracts into the night At nothing in particular, small flashes of light And for six seconds your quiet silhouette is seen by a girl on a city bus But you are beyond understanding You are an ice cream parlour she has never been to You are a bad smell she’s never suffered You are a bed she’s never slept in You are a drool spot on someone else’s pillowcase You are a grocery bag in the city And the children in the frames all gather With their many vacant eyes To sit with you as you teach them with practiced patience how to count With the ticking of the small metal clock With the pulse of the LED light on the VCR With the rolls of your stomach over your panty line One of nine final acts your body will make of peaceful defiance As it counts down.
Bittersweet Memories MADISON DARWIN
I woke up in London. I’ve got money in my pocket. I’m still alive, Though I’m not sure if it’s day or night. There are flashing lights, they make me think of better times. Lipstick stains on my cheek, And it reminds me of you. But you’re as cold as ice, you come as you are; I no longer patronize. I accept just who you are. But now I’m confused. Is this real life or just fantasy? How can I decide, when you’re clouding my mind? I used to be such a quick wit boy. Now I’m living in a dream about you. This time, this place; I just came to dance; to wash away. Forget that, I can’t stand the way you lie.
We can even pretend that big girls don’t cry, But I saw the hurt inside your eyes. I hear the ticking of the clock, It’s been 47 days. And I still miss the sound of your voice. So cheers to that, I’d drink to that! Waste away another day, another night, popping bottles in the ice, Standing at the liquor storeWith whiskey coming through my pores. Here we go again. I’ve fell right through the cracks, My happiness no longer lasts. I’ve made a wrong turn once or twice. So now memories will have to do, To bring me back to you. Guess it makes it easier to bear, Rather than seeing your face somewhere.
FIORELLA MORZI The first time I ever wrote for Blueprint was about being the daughter of Peruvian parents and my rich exposure to South American culture. In an attempt to come full circle, I want to write about my parents one more time. My mother and father danced to disco and ate pancakes as they got to know each other, igniting a solid friendship that would later blossom into a forever-love. Prior to their meeting, their lives had taken very different paths. My mother had an instinctual passion for travel and tourism, and my father was a Chemistry major with a knack for numbers, metals, and experimental medleys. She started off as a customer service agent for a European airline, while his job was to physically assist in the construction of airplanes. My mother ended up leaving her job at the airport in exchange for devoted motherhood, and my father got a job at a car-manufacturing company. However, they both talk fondly of their time spent with flying machines, whether it’s about the journey and destination, or the buzzing sounds the airplane makes when it’s about to ride off into the pale blue sky. They are connected through flight. As a girl I used to fear that buzz, trembling as the body of the aircraft violently shook to wake itself up, two celestial forms unified in motion. Overcome with anxiety, it was easy to concentrate on my accelerated heartbeat, but I was guaranteed to be challenged every time. I looked over to my father sitting next to me, as I struggled through my immobilizing dread, and witnessed his peace, ease, and delight. It felt like a sharp force inter-
rupting my worry, my commitment to remain frightened, and in the moment that I was confronted with his excitement about our ascent I felt secure. I found safety and assurance. Watching my father eagerly look out of his plane window, absorbed by natural interest, I understood wonder. Whenever I fly anywhere, my parents wait for my plane to embark by driving to a special location where they get front-row seats to the show, enjoying the remarkable take-off and blessing my voyage. Since my mother was actively responsible for the flight’s passengers, I like to think of her position as one defined by genuine care, and I think of my father’s as creator and puzzle piece. His fascination with airplanes makes clear to me his unchanged, child-like admiration for them, and the tender affection with which he beholds his passions. I know the light in his eyes as a boy has persisted. My mother’s relentless dedication to the care of travelers has enabled me to better value serviceoriented work and the importance of being a kind resource. It’s been 20 years since my mother has worked in the field of travel, a departure she expected to be permanent, a colorful past. She is currently in training to become a flight attendant, and she’s half-way done, and the pressure is thick, and she will succeed. My mother is a protector. My father is helping her every step of the way. Together, they are invincibly free to fly. I am proud of her experiences and the future emerging from them, and I am proud of my father for teaching me that the past moves.
CHRISTINE ORLOWSKI I see a girl who is about eight to ten years old. I see her almost every day, especially in the summer when the days are at their longest and the weather is most suited for being outdoors. This girl is always smiling, laughing, and playing with her neighborhood friends. They are always together with each other and have such a great community, since their parents are all friends with each other too. She and her friends come up with such imaginative ways to use their time,
like riding their bicycles as fast as they can, in circles, or playing cops and robbers. Sometimes they go into one of the lucky oneâ€™s backyards and play in the tree house their parents built for all the children to play in; they transform it into a house, a pirate ship, or a space ship. One of her favourite games is pretending to be characters from their favourite television shows, each taking turns at being one or another. In the summertime, I see her smile all of the time. She loves
to be out in the sun, playing with the neighbours or swimming in the pool â€“ where they also have many fun games. Sometimes, I catch her glancing off into the distance, taking a moment away from the time that is around her. I know that during those moments she has let her imagination take her to a place far away from the present, into the future, into the unknown, playing with her thoughts and ideas; I see her smile at this. She gets back into the game with her friends. They
all have so much energy to run around, skip, jump, hopâ€Ś any action to take them closer to the sky. Their imaginations fascinate me, as I am an outsider looking in at their little enjoyable community of friendship and fun. She can see me sometimes looking back at her, though she doesnâ€™t understand who I am; she just lets her imagination wonder what I could mean. She is with her friends so often, imagining different worlds and places, creating new possibilities and ways to
live. Once in a while though, I see a hint of sadness in her expressions, which she is so good at concealing to her friends. Life as a child is blissful â€“ what frets could she be pondering? Her life is superbly fun, and she just gets to play every day. As I sit here writing this I look back on my life. Am I nostalgic for a time that never was, sifting through memories that my mind has chosen to remember over others? I think that now is not the time to be nostalgic. Nostalgia implies wish-
ing for a simpler time, one from the past, from a different life. But now is the exciting time to be! I do not need to think about the future, nor of the past, I just want to be in the now and enjoy every moment that I live through. That young girl playing outside with her friends knows freedom and life - we all know that feeling - and it is happening right now.
We’ll Get Out Of This Place LAUREN RABINDRANATH
Holy shit. The day is finally here. The one we’ve been counting down to, avoiding, stressing about, and anticipating for four years. The day that marks the end and simultaneously launches us into a whole new, scary beginning. Wonderful, daunting – it’s here. Whether you’re itching to leave the Laurier bubble or not ready to move on, graduation is forcing us to, at least in some symbolic capacity. We finally get to put our hands on that expensive, meaningful, all-important piece of paper we have been working towards. While I’m sure this graduating class looks very similar on paper; in terms of averages, faculty distribution, and future plans, the class of 2013 has had a unique experience at WLU. I remember coming to check out the campus on a Friday of November 2008. The small, community feel of the campus and (seemingly) happy first years showing groups of people around residences made me feel like this was a place I could call home. There was outdoor seating and only a Williams on the lower level of the Terrace. The “quad” was an empty space used as residence for a local goose, and the dining hall was open terrain for meetings, studying, and eating. I remember being in first year and getting Second Cup in the Concourse after my night class, walking by the off-limits “Grad Pub”, and needing to be 19 to get into the Turret. We drank fishbowls at Vault, then Titanium, and then split a pizza at Four Seasons. If you forgot your Homecoming accessories, Forwell’s had you covered. Tutorials in St. Mike’s were spent questioning your safety. You never went hungry because Mel’s was always open, and instead of studying you played Robot Unicorn Attack and Family Feud. The 24 Lounge was just that – a lounge – and the lower Concourse had couches that were either the greatest or the most awkward seating situation ever. If Laurier called a snow day, you got an official email, no Tweets or Facebook updates.
Since first year, Laurier has evolved. I’m not trying to say that these changes are bad (I’m sure a lot of people like Starbucks) but there is no denying that the school looks and feels a lot different than when we started. New residences, additional Turret nights, new walls, a plethora of screens, and an influx of students have given the campus a more modern and fast-paced feel than the homey campus I visited in 2008. While, for the most part, the school still attracts a similar preppy and friendly group of students, the growth of this population and subsequent building renovations has changed the makeup of our campus. The class of 2013 is lucky in the sense that we got to experience both of these versions of Laurier, and the good and the bad aspects of each. I used to be able to get a seat at the library, but you couldn’t get sushi. The Bookstore and Hub did not look nearly as cool. Our Registrar’s Office line is better managed but now you have to be prepared to wait in line for coffee. We lost our fishbowls but gained cheap drinks at Firehall. Some days I miss our “old” campus. Some days I can’t even remember what it looked like. Still, it’s cool that our class got to see what Laurier was; small, humble, and chill, and what it’s going to be; bigger, sleeker, and busier. I’m happy to leave before another huge class of freshmen is admitted, but I’m sad that I won’t be able to use the new business building. For every class, graduation is bittersweet, and for us it will be no different. Our experience of Laurier has been different and now, at the end of the road, I feel lucky that we got to experience WLU’s transition and get a taste of the past and the future. While the construction wasn’t always enjoyable (seriously, how long did it take to pour cement and make that ramp?) the results have been (mostly) great and it’s wonderful to see the school respond to a growing student population’s needs.
The Belonging Place SHELBY BARKER
I can’t remember the last time I was so desperate for home. I miss it terribly. I’m so tired of this place. These people exhaust me. I feel claustrophobic here, caged even; I can’t breathe properly; I feel like I’m being smothered. I yearn for the place that feels like home; A place where I can wake up early and fall asleep late, A place where I can feel beautiful with my hair up and no make-up on, A place where I can forget to behave and not have to worry about being scolded, A place where I never feel judged for being a little bit crazy or for laughing too loud. A place that doesn’t remind me of what a prison must feel like; Not here, that’s for certain. But this other place, it is sometimes curious. Curious because it is so easy, too comfortable; should it be this simple? There’s barely any mystery anymore. I know the way the floor feels on my bare feet, each of the scratches and markings on the kitchen table. I know the original colour of the paint behind the frames on the walls and how much brighter the rest of the room was before it faded from the sun’s rays. I know all of the shadowed hallways and deep corners where I can hide when I need to. I know exactly the way the light looks when it comes in through the windows. I know the way it smells, the sounds it makes, the way it feels on my skin. But perhaps that’s why I love it? Because I’m afraid of change, because I like that I just know. I’m not fond of standing waist deep in a pool of murk and confusion, I prefer the ease and intimacy of a place that I know better than my own face in a mirror. And so, here I am. Home. Not a house, really, but a place that I can call home. Right here: warm, soft, and so familiar. This is where I belong; this is where I am supposed to be. Being honest with myself, I know I never doubted it. Where are we? It doesn’t even matter. You brush a strand of hair away from my face and I know that this is the home that I love. I’ll be your home if you’ll be mine.
Blink and It’s Gone ALICIA SAUNDERS
I blink. I blink and in that second I find myself in another place— in another time. It’s the familiar park where I spent my youth, steps away from my childhood home. Nestled on the corner of my suburban neighborhood, this park was my social bond. I spent days on end here playing with friends. I came with others. But some days I came alone. The pathway feels so familiar I have no need to look ahead as my feet lead me in. My mind is free to wander. The sign is more visible in the bushes than I remember. It has faded now, worn from the weather and the years. But I can’t help but smile at the wooden planks and yellow painted letters. I remember all those times I felt rebellious as I sat on top of it. The hill I sledded down every winter used to be a mountain. Now, it’s flattened out with mild angle. It is no longer the steep challenge I used to face. As I peer over the top, I can remember the anticipation of sliding down, my apprehension and fear of going too fast. I remember climbing back up each time, pulling my sled behind me, just waiting to feel the rush one more time. The evergreens are rooted in the same place as they’ve always been. They towered over the neighborhood, I felt so small in their presence. They were the perfect hiding spots during games of hide-and-seek. Those trees felt like giants before, but now they feel smaller. I’ve outgrown them. I’ve outgrown this place too. I tower over the playground; I don’t fit in the structures comfortably. It’s the world’s way of telling me that I’m no longer a part of this place, this life. I will always be able to visit, but I’ll never be apart of it, not anymore. But there’s a kind of magic in that place, an innocence that I can never quite get back. Maybe that’s why I keep seeing it whenever I close my eyes. It was a simpler life back then. A world where my biggest fear was riding my bike home when the world went dark, lit only by the streetlights. Where the only pain I felt was when I fell and scrapped my knee. The only disappointment was from the rain that kept us inside on those long summer days. I guess I long for that simplicity again, a life without heartache, without disappointment, without pain. Life before the world became honest, before time forced me to grow up. Before I learned how valuable that time was. If I’d know that then, I would have cherished every moment. So I slip on my rose-colored glasses one more time because maybe, just maybe, I can escape my reality for a little while longer. But I am hasty. I am too eager to stay trapped in the past that I drop the glasses, cracking the lenses. The memory disappears, fading into nothing. I blink, and the real world comes rushing back. NICK LACHANCE
ADRIANA BERARDINI Many seem to think that letting go means forgetting. Although I said goodbye, you still exist in the crevices of my mind. The bittersweet memories give me a taste of all I left behind. The reel of memory that I replay over and over again keeps you here with me, It fuels my incessant longing of the way things used to be Back when my fear was repressed and I felt invincible, I felt happy. The cold, cruel night took you away from me my love, I imagine you still here with me, since reality is tough to grasp. I need to realize that some memories belong in the past. The whirlwind of grief still exists, chilling my bones like an eerie song. Without you, life continues, but I cannot help but feel that a part of me is gone.
Press Further DANIELLE DMYTRASZKO Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used to Be Crammed in the backseat our legs finally touch. KATIE MCNAMARA
The warmth our sweaty and smoky denim produces makes my heart palpitate. Music bellows through the broken car stereo, residue of whiskey on my breath, I press my Nostalgia isn’t a feeling, a marketing scheme, or a certain aesthetic leg further. style. To me, nostalgia is eyes. a lifestyle – a way of perceiving the world. For those Feverishly, I close my whoHe know me, I live inof nostalgia. Many submergedown themselves greyscale tucks a strand hair behind myothers ear, travelling to my in waist pulling me into him. memories of the past, too. The to flickering lightbecoming of a film isone. like the first flutters of Our naked bodies contour each other, a baby herdoor mother’s womb. The shadows on the down screenhis arestreet. warm, comforting, Theincar closes, the young man stumbles andIinvite jadedcheeks heart into a better world never to existed. Sometimes thefrom him. laugh,my inhale, burning as the carthat descends another town, away film’s criticizes the society in which by it was in,ofbut the filmic setMymessage senses were awakened and pleasured the made friction our denim. ting is still more preferable to the stage we are performing on. There is always a little more hope in a film, a little more love, and more dreamers in the films of the 1930s and 1940s. There is always a need for more dreamers in filmmaking, for they are the ones who remind us to “forget your troubles, c’mon, get happy!”* Too much action stirs violence, too much drama creates melancholy, an imbalance of raunchy comedy places a lack of respect in people. Slapstick, wit, and heart are essential elements to nostalgic films. I wish contemporary films included these ingredients, but the thing with nostalgia is it can’t be reproduced. It refuses to be recreated. The emotional high experienced by nostalgia is a fleeting moment – perhaps only 90 minutes long. It will not be found, embraced, or fondled permanently. The longing for nostalgia’s caress on the soul is an everlasting game of hide-and-seek. Nostalgia is a lifestyle because you are constantly searching for its calming innocence. It is a rather cruel fate: you never feel at home in your current era because you are obsessively stalking the shadows of eras gone by. *Judy Garland singing “Get Happy” in Summer Stock (1950)
Peter and Wendy KATRINA VENTURATO
I once knew a boy named Peter Who never wanted to grow up And never had to There was something about him His eyes had seen more years Than his body had I thought this boy could fly But there was a rope attached to him One that I could not see That he placed around his neck He went to Neverland that day Leaving me behind And forgetting to close the window on the way out The wind so strong, I canâ€™t close it I sit by it, shivering Wishing on the second star to the right That heâ€™ll come back for me Tempted to jump out the window And fly there too
Crepuscular Light ASHLEY NEWTON
I wanted to write something truly unique about what it means to feel nostalgic. I tried writing poetry, I tried listening to songs from my childhood, and I even tried to force myself to think of something special. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it will always be impossible for me to recreate the sense of magic I once knew in the past. That’s why it’s in the past; it’s meant to stay there. Nothing I say now will ever be as unique as it was back then. I just wish I could bring the magic to fruition once more. If I could bring the magic back, maybe I wouldn’t miss that place so much. But I do. I miss the long catwalk in my old neighbourhood that weaved its way between two houses and separated them with a thick wire fence clad in bushes. The end of the catwalk always led me to a place where I could see fantastically bright sunsets. It was the place I rode to on my bike during the long and hot summers of my childhood. For some reason, I kept going back every night to watch the sunsets in that magical place. The best part was that nobody else knew how magical it really was. It was like a private spot reserved for me. For a brief moment, the world would be calm, quiet, and bright. These days, I always wonder whether it was the place that was magical or if the sunset held everything for me in its rays. Sometimes I’ll even wonder where the magic has gone.
Adulthood has a way of erasing what I used to know about the magnificent wonders of the world. I can’t remember the last time I witnessed a sunset as moving as the ones I saw as a child. Life has a way of making me forget to enjoy moments like that. I tell myself I should open my heart to the future and create new memories—enjoy a sunrise over a sunset. Then I start to remember the past and appreciate how inviting it is to think of myself in a good way. Then I start to remember those songs from my childhood and those visions of a beautiful sunset that somehow mean so much to me now that they are over. If only I could feel that sense of relentless energy and appreciation for my future. If only I could pull away from the old photographs; both real and implanted in my memory. You want to know what nostalgia is. You want to know what it means. Only you can answer that. Your memories are not my memories, and they never will be. They are your own. If they bring you sadness, happiness, or everything you can imagine in one concrete specimen, only you can know how it feels to be pulled back by the longing for home or the simple comforts of childhood. Maybe nostalgia is remembering a day you once baked brownies with your best friend who now lives far away from you. Maybe nostalgia is regretting something you did—or didn’t— say to someone when you should have,
and now the opportunity will never come again. Or maybe nostalgia is wishing your father could be at your university graduation, but that could only happen if he was the loving man he once was before he abandoned you. This should not be sad for us. Nostalgia already has a way of doing that in life. I want us all to learn to chase the sunsets so long as we don’t let them consume us. We don’t have to touch the sunsets; we just need to remember how they made us feel. Think of what was in your past, but do not torture yourself by attempting to displace the past into your present. You cannot pluck people, events, or images from your past and expect them to convert into things in your present that were never meant to be. I know now that the magic is not lost. It is hiding somewhere else for me to find. It’s waiting at the end of a different catwalk in another country among different people and different circumstances. It probably doesn’t even exist at the end of a mere catwalk anymore. It’s in the heart of something I cannot fathom until it is brought to life. A sunset is just an imprint of the past. A sunrise is the indication of a future worth having. Both are stories worth telling. Someday, even this story will be in the past. It already is. You can find it in the crepuscular light at the end of a lone catwalk in the late 1990s.
The Lonely Paddleboat EMILY ZAREVICH
I sucked in a breath. I dunked under. It’s a different world under the lake water. Heavy and chilly and blurry… And it probably still is. It was a cold spring afternoon. The lazy sun didn’t heat the water that day. I was eleven… Or twelve… I can’t remember. But I remember whole afternoons of swimming. I remember knowing that above the water my family’s old little cottage sat quietly on a hill. It was always quiet, except on that afternoon because my cousin was staying with us. There was once a time where she and I loved the same things. We both loved silly jokes and adventures and ice cream cones. We both loved the lake water and the smoky campfire…and the paddleboat. Oh, yes, the paddleboat. We both loved that dinky, rusty little paddleboat.
I came up to the surface, gasping for breath and saw her coming towards me, shouting after me. She was in the paddleboat alone, and it tilted on her side. She was a bird with one wing and she looked lonely. That was probably why she jumped in the boat and came out to meet me, the lonely swimmer in the lake. We turned it into a game. I swam away, she pursued. It didn’t last long, because a neighbour’s dock was nearby. Once I was under it, she couldn’t get at me in the boat. It was a stupid game, and I didn’t want to stay under there forever. I swam out, and she pulled me in and we paddled away laughing in the dinky, rusty paddleboat we both loved and headed towards the old little cottage sitting quietly on the hill. We were one bird with two solid wings.
But we eventually stopped flying together. We eventually lost touch. We’re both twenty now and we no longer love the same things. That cottage has been sold, along with the paddleboat we loved, and she and I have lost touch. Maybe life’s unfairness over the years has made us hate each other a little as well. I miss swimming. I sometimes miss her too. Maybe I miss what we were most of all. I hope that the cottage’s new owners love that paddleboat as much as we did. I hope another pair of cousins play stupid games on the lake in the spring and summer. I hope that the paddleboat we loved isn’t lonely, sitting quietly on the water, growing rustier by the day, missing my cousin and me. (But it hurts, because a part of me just knows, that no one is using it anymore. That poor boat’s as lonely as I am.)
MELISSA KUIPERS Heather had referred him. She knew his older sister who was “the sweetest girl ever,” and if my oldest sister suggested it, it was nearly gospel. So when John Truman called, I said yes and he came to pick me up the following evening. It was my first date. Heather lent me a brown polyester skirt. I kept reapplying my deodorant every hour throughout the day. When we heard tires squeal in front of our house, Heather patted my bum and told me to behave. I responded with a scowl, and made my way out to the rusty growling pick-up. He rolled down the window as I approached. “Hey, you look nice!” he called over the rumbling engine. He reached out his hand. His fingernails were dirty. I thought of my fifth grade teacher, the one from Trinidad who would walk up and down the aisles every morning and check our fingernails to make sure they were clean. If they weren’t, he rapped them with a ruler. I lifted my hand and he shook it hard, bumping his forearm on the bottom of the window. He winced. “Well, are we gonna have our date here on the side of the road or should we go somewhere?” he said. When I walked in front of the car, he revved the engine. I jumped a little, and my sweaty hands were shaking by the time I tried to lift the door handle. He was laughing when I climbed in. “I’m so sorry I scared you! I was just joking around—trying to break the ice. Oh, but your face! You should have seen it.” Dinner was at the Capitol restaurant, the only restaurant in town with a flashing neon sign. Our father told us never to visit it because the food was disgusting and the mugs were all chipped. John told me about hay season, about castrating pigs, and about how they butchered in their shed even though they weren’t supposed to because of “all the crazy health and safety crap.” He asked me what my dad used to do when he was still alive, what my favourite class was, and did I like working in tobacco in the summers. I didn’t love it but the money was better than picking strawberries. He said, “I think I’d rather cut the balls off pigs than work with all the Mexican immigrants, but you do what you have to do.” I gave him short answers, and he seemed to appreciate that. The food was better than I thought it would be, if you could get over the slight taste of cigarette ash. He finished his meal long before I did, and kept watching my fork move from my plate to my mouth while he talked. He told me about their barns cats, how they loved to lick up the pigs’ blood in the shed. Sometimes Scooter and Mittens would climb up the wood siding of the house and cry at John’s window at night. He demonstrated, his hands balled into little paws hanging off the edge of the invisible windowsill between us. His little meowing kitten face had me snorting chocolate milk up my nose. He couldn’t resist the little critters, and he’d let them in his room overnight. Then he shooed them back out in the morning before his mom found out the grubby little creatures had slept all over his pillow. After dinner, he suggested a movie. I would have said no, had it not been for the way he talked about the cats. We wouldn’t have to talk anymore in the theatre, and besides, Heather had suggested him. We drove to Stanford where the theatre played two movies. I forced a giggle here and there through the comedy to match his wet snickering. I kept my eyes pasted on the speckled screen when I saw out of my periphery his pimpled face turn to look at mine. On the ride home, he rambled until he informed me he had to “go, if you know what I mean,” with a wink. He pulled over on the shoulder of the gravel road, slammed the door, trotted past the front of the truck, and then to my surprise, wrapped around the side of the vehicle, passing me, and stopping near the rear bumper. I whipped my head forward and glanced into the rearview mirror and caught him urinating on the back tire. The next time he called, Heather told him I was unavailable.
ANDREW SAVORY You may suffer and you may wonder, But do not let hope evade you just yet. On your feet my son, Hold your head high. You have seen all that is bleak, You seem to forget that not so distant peak. You ask yourself how you lost it all. Surely you can’t make sense of this. Your life may be in shambles, Do not begin to ramble. No one can aid what you so desire. Rely not on other people’s fire, Or else you will still be that same old liar. Look within yourself. You’ll find it there. The realization you need to achieve, Are you willing to restart? To abandon all that you know, In favour of a second chance. Lose yourself to this ideal, Then things will start to become real. Just look in the mirror, and kneel. A silent transformation you will begin, Endure this for now, Painful it may be to watch. Those soaring memories flying away, They were more of a burden anyway. No more excuses. All rests in your own hands. At this moment they may tremble, But do not allow them to fumble. Your fate shall be held sturdy. You’re awake, Reborn with those past mistakes forgotten. A feeling of purpose you possess, You understand what is to be done. No one has trampled this ground. Leave your mark. Make sure that it doesn’t scar, Or I’ll return, To watch you burn, Hopefully you will be able to learn.
I Looked to the Desert RON BUTLER
We left San Isidro at 7:30 a.m. heading for one of the many ritzy beach house communities of the coast. Southwest, one and a half hours. San Isidro is a paradise. The whole area consists of a numerous amount of identical houses that look like massive cardboard cutouts, held together by glue and paint. Tenfoot high walls with broken glass and spikes on top surround the perimeter of every home, and meet tall reinforced gates at every doorstep. Each window is barred too. This is to keep the animals out, and there is more than one kind of animal in Lima. We were inhabiting the home of the most wonderful, welcoming and loving elderly couple I have ever had the privilege of knowing. They reminded me of my grandparents, the Italians, and staying at their home brought me back to Sunday afternoons spent under my grandfather’s pear tree, and picking grapes
from vines in their backyard that he would later turn into wine. I would never get to taste my grandfather’s wine. The sun was high and you could see the heat in the air touch the sand and rock of the desert as we flew down the highway. I had never seen the desert before, nor had I felt the powerful heat that radiated from it. It was baron and featureless, until the mountains began to rise from what seemed like out of nowhere. They looked like castles made of sand and clay; one touch and they would fall apart. In the distance, I saw them. Dots of white, yellow and red. Dots turned into shapes and when I began to see larger rectangles, I expected more cardboard cutouts. When I was finally face to face with what I had waited to see in the distance, I quickly realized these were not the homes of San Isidro. Entire walls were missing, roofs were gone; there was graf-
fiti on everything. It looked like some strange, post-apocalyptic world, as if a bomb had been dropped and it was now uninhabitable because of radiation. I thought “God, how long had this place been abandoned?” Then I saw it; a single line with clothes piled high on top of it, connected from wall to wall on one of the roofless building tops. Then I saw a second, and a third, then many. I turned to the person next to me and began to ask, “but…” “Yes, people live here.” I turned back towards the window and the town had vanished as if it had never existed. Just more desert and castles made of sand and clay. Moments later, I saw more dots in the distance. Red and orange, but this time, the dots only grew into small squares instead of large rectangles. They never grew that much at all. They were shacks, spread out among a large portion of the desert. Each one no big
ger than a compact car, all of them made of tin and cheap pieces of scrap metal. They were orange and red from rust and sand that diminished the metal homes each day from the intense desert winds. Again, I saw them; the lines piled high with wet clothing. I looked to my side once more. She shook her head. A voice from the front of the car spoke, saying, “These people travel miles for clean water. There is no water here, but these are their homes. Many of them come from the desert and the mountain villages and look for a place in Lima, but the divide is so great that the wealthy pay no attention to them. Many of them are children who can’t read, and when they ask for assistance, people turn their noses to them as if they are dirt.” In the time I’ve spent here, I’ve grown to love this country. I’ve established a connection in such a short amount of time that I
have never felt elsewhere in all my travels. The colors, the food and the humanity fill my soul with warmth and life, and though I am not from here, I looked once more upon the desert homes and thought; “these are my people.” As we came closer to town, we were stopped in traffic. A young boy of about eight or nine went from car to car selling mango and pacae. As the traffic broke and the cars began to move, the boy jumped to the side of the road and sat in the orange sand, waiting for the next moment of standstill traffic to begin. We made a right, then a left, and then one more left, making our way further away from the desert of broken bottles, rickety fences and metal homes for the gated beach house community where we would spend our afternoon. One needed to be on the guest list to enter in. The houses were white and spacious with glass doors and were owned by those who
could afford them, though many families only occupied them for a few weeks out of the year. There were no vendors, or selling of any kind. No loud music or parties after nine, and the maids had to wear white and were not allowed in the pools. Each house had its own private hut on the beach. When we reached the house of a friend of a friend, I felt for the first time how hard privilege was to swallow. We had a drink and walked down towards the beach. My feet had now finally hit the sand. It was clean and beautiful, and the ocean tremendous and rough. I stared at it, and then at the sun above me. My feet touched down to the water in front of me, and then I turned to look back at the desert behind me.
Aestas Estas KIMBERLY STUCKEY “Non semper erit aestas” I want it to be summer more than I have wanted anything in a long time. Every single piece of me aches for it. For the sunshine, for the insufferable heat, for the smells, the flowers, for the swaying of trees, and for days unrestricted by time or commitment. I miss the sunsets – how my skin feels glazed with a million beads of invisible sweat that put themselves to sleep with the sun. I miss the scent of sweet grass, and the way my nostrils can predict a rainstorm. I miss sitting on the porch with an ice-cold beer and a clove cigarette, knowing there are no books that need to be read, no tests that need to be passed – only warm evenings spent in the company of the moon and stars. I long for iced coffee with cream, and the tomatoes my mom grows in her little garden. I miss gathering the courage to jump off bridges into cold Canadian rivers and I miss the sound of a canoe gliding over a still lake. I miss water that can’t be walked on but plunged into. I could die happy, in the summer. How can you be sad, standing bare-foot in the grass, with your hair lightly stuck to your temples from gentle perspiration, holding onto the hand of a loved one, sticky from too much lemonade? Winter has her beauty. She spreads her blanket of diamonds over the front lawns of people huddled up by the fire wearing wool socks and sweaters, and she breathes frost onto my windows to remind me that even death is beautiful. But she is cold, she is silent, she is too still. Give me summer and I promise I will not ask for more.
Volume 12, Issue 7