The Spectrum Issue

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Volume 16, Issue 2 October 2016

The Spectrum Issue



Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection. The lovers, the dreamers, and me. KERMIT THE FROG (1955-FOREVER)


They Say




Illustrious (excerpt)


The Spectrum




Waiting for the Light


Ten Pretty Markers


Paint Me


The Boy and The Storm




A Drop of Blue




All She Remains




Danse Macabre


There Are Rainbows






Artist’s Debut





NON-FICTION As a Choice, Why Not Love?





Front Cover




Inside Back


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Breanna Kettles

Production Manager Amanda Scheifele

Literary Editor Manreet Lachhar

Art/Photography Manager Tamar Zecharia

Promotions Manager Erica Parnis

Web Editor Carina Rampelt

Literary Intern Vacant

Art/Photography Intern Vacant


Rebecca Allison, Kimberly Chung, Jonathan Collie, Eliza Heeney, Charis Hesketh, Mariah Jacklin, Madeline McInnis, Donnique Williams

The Spectrum Issue There’s a great comic from The Oatmeal about the mantis shrimp. It has a huge amount of colour-receptive cones at sixteen (we poor humans have only three), and so it sees the world in a huge explosion of colour and beauty that we cannot even conceive. Yet it is also one of the most violent sea creatures we have discovered, as if the more it sees, the angrier it becomes. In a weird roundabout way, I think humans are pretty similar. We live in a more globalized world than ever, and don’t need to go far to find a rainbow of human personalities, appearances, sexualities, and lifestyles that differ wildly from our own. And yet, we can only react to this with fear, and violence. There has to be a better way. We can’t change your world view in a single magazine, but I do hope that you set this down with a new appreciation for the beautiful, colourful mess we call home, and the infinite spectrum of people we call friends.

Breanna Kettles Editor-in-Chief


Rafia Ajimal, Rebecca Fletcher, Eakamjit Gill, Cora Vanessa Haven, Joshua Howe, Nikolina Kupcevic, Astrid Nicolson, Andreas Patsiaouros, Katarina Petrovic, Nicole Rayskin, Felicity Shipp, Preye T A

(PS: This issue is not affiliated with the Waterloo Spectrum Community. Apologies for any confusion).

ADMINISTRATION President, Publisher & Chair Meghan Roach Executive Director Lakyn Barton HR Manager Taylor Berzins Finance Manager Randy Moore Advertising Manager Care Schummer Treasurer John Pehar Vice Chair Abdiasis Issa Director Maddy Cutts Director Mynt Marsellus Director Matt Burley Community Director Fred Kuntz Community Director Gary Doyle

CONTACT Blueprint Magazine 75 University Ave W Waterloo ON N2L 3C5 p 519.884.0710 x3564 Advertise Contribute

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.



Shadows have no colour, they are flat with no expression and they often lie about what you really look like. Yet sometimes, that can be comforting. A part of us that doesn’t have a face if we don’t like what we see. But remember, shadows have no colour. They have no substance. They are not you. You are bright and sweet and fresh and full of the rainbow. You are a spectrum of life and no shadow can pull you down.

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 authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, or WLU. Blueprint is created using Macintosh computers running Adobe Creative Suite.

NEXT ISSUE Hidden On stands February 2017





Darkness gives way to the light. Is it morning? I ask.

The sun betrays because day has not come, and I begin to forget the light. Blind men die each day, forgoing the light of their hours.

I will fight to remember darkness is here but only for a moment. Light is my strength, as darkness creeps in the shadows.


They Say


They say that when you fall in love, you suddenly see in colour. I guess that’s why the very first thing I noticed about him was his eyes. Hidden behind the round spectacles, the colour of an evergreen pine peered distinctly out at me. As I fell in love, the world became more vivid. My life became an adventure. Blue, red, green, and yellow were no longer just colours. They had symbolism. They represented the fractions of our love. Where there was hope, we found streaming colour. The world around us was changed. I fell in love with the way he made me see the world just as much as I fell in love with him as a person. We were partners, taking on challenge after challenge, facing the world that was so against us. We prevailed time and time again. When things seemed hopeless, the story continued. We knew, somehow, everything would work out. They say that when you lose your love, things fade around you. Your heart turns to cold, black stone and you go numb. Things stop working the way they did, and you stop seeing so clearly. Things become less vivid, and you stop believing in the colours that love brought to your life. When the book was shut on that sparkling green, everything seemed to lose its magic. Walking through life now, everything seems dull. Things seems mundane, and I sometimes wonder if anything even has a point. He offered me a life that I could never make for myself. Now, left to my own devices, I see things differently. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but love has to be shared and developed. Through my eyes, the world shifted when our story did. Everything is the same, but everything is so different.



However, I can still see the colours of the sunset. The pinks, reds, and oranges that play across the sky, slipping and dipping for the perpetual motion towards the racing stars. Even they have colour, as little lights of heaven shine upon us, far apart in the world, bringing wonder as they gaze back on our faces. Those small glimpses of divinity remind me that there’s life beyond my current situation. The veins on the spine of a well-loved, old novel allow the blue leather to breathe. Cracking it open reveals the yellow, fading pages of another life. Black ink reveals another world, bringing emotion back to the seemingly benign, fading world around me. Purple bedsheets create a refuge where I can escape from the scary aspects of a world on my own. There, I can turn my attention to my own thoughts, goals, and ambitions. In the purple, I can relax. I can see my future as I want it to be and dream of a world where I am happy and healed. I don’t have to be anything or do anything. I don’t have to compare to him, and I don’t have to think about him. In the purple, I can live for myself. Through my window, I can see the crisp leaves of autumn, dazzling even the most cynical of critics. The beauty of the leaves is that they handle endings so gracefully. They become beautiful as they drift towards the inevitable conclusion. As they fall, there’s the promise of growth for the future. It’s not the end for those red, yellow, and orange. It’s a rebirth. They say that when you fall in love, you suddenly see in colour. I can’t see in greyscale. I never have. I never will.



The Spectrum REBECCA ALLISON ROYGBIV. Normal set. To dance outside the lines. A new colour with no adequate distinction. How to describe the shades of different. The peach coral the same as the orange’s hue. One name. Fitting to none. A spectrum more expansive than the original. Individuals dancing to their own concerto. The notes unique and distinct. Indescribable.



May your dark and light find balance.




Waiting for the Light KATARINA PETROVIC


Distant reality Impossibility Did it happen, did it not Who’s to say It can be easily forgot Sitting in the day, sitting in the dark Sitting in the night, sitting in the bright Waiting for the light To shine through The unbreakable bitter night Falling from the sky Oh there the light goes Spreading like a wildfire A natural disaster Persistent tragedy Unfortunately Can hover with a hue Tint of blue Can cause The dark to clap with Applause






Paint me in pink cheeks and pink lips Reminiscent of a delicate porcelain doll Like I am a cheap thrill For the passerbys and the spectators. Paint me in blue shadows To accentuate my brown eyes As though they are not dark enough And you need my anguish to get the hue just right. Paint me in purple and green To show the world how nauseated I am By my inability to be pretty in your eyes Without your bronze and blush. Paint me in black To fill the chinks in the armour You forced me into, in order to battle The spotlight I never wanted. Paint me red So you can see the pain, the rage, The bloodlust of my broken red heart. But all you’ll ever think of me as Is a blank canvas, meant only for you.




She is the whitest city in Canada, where cultural diversity froze somewhere in 1956, and someone forgot to clue us in to the concept of evolution. She is an aging population of silver-haired nonnos and mummus trying to hold onto the leaves of their family tree, even as the winds of autumn shake its branches. She is the bright sky of childhood clouded by ashes that decades of steel work produced while eating away at nostalgia like the dock crib rotting in the river. She is the grey Lego tower buildings that erase the last of her personality – replacing sandstone history with a misguided sense of modernization that came far too late. She is the charcoal rubbing of a headstone no one can read, of a family name no one remembers, since the last of its line found themselves in Toronto somehow. She is thick pitch that threatens to glue you to a city that gets scared when an Indian family has the audacity to try to make her their home. She is shielded by a river-stone coffin from the rainbow of human personality, preferring the monochrome familiar. My hopeless, my forgetful Marie.



Sides CHARIS HESKETH They asked me that if I had to choose between black or white which one would it be I said that I choose both But they wanted to choose my identity They said that I acted “white” so I must want to choose that side Though I just acted like me They implied that I had to choose a side or I didn’t exist Like people like me have to be one or the other Though here is the twist The diversity that lives within me makes me who I am I cannot rip out 50% of my identity And you can stop giving a damn It’s not your job to identify me I choose to be both sides Is that so hard to believe?


Balance RAFIA AJMAL Balance. A simple word. Seven letters. Four consonants. Three vowels. Two syllables. But what does it mean? What is the significance of Such a simple word? Is balance the juggling act We try to perform every single Waking moment of our lives? Is it the complicated footing we Must master to ensure we do not Fumble—or at least not in the sights Of anything with a beating heart? Or is balance the fallacy? The fallacy that we Have the ability to control all Aspects of our lives in order to Keep our heads on straight?

Is that the balance every Living soul on this planet Wants to achieve?

Balance. What must we balance? What is so unrelenting on Either side of the s p e c t r u m That we must avoid?

Or is it protection from the Blinding light, So powerful And easy to give into, You might as well be staring For an eternity?

Must we balance the Screaming voices that tell us That everything we have done in life And everything we will continue to Do is and will never be enough? Or must we balance the Forces of darkness that tug us apart So far that we might as well split Right through the middle?

Balance is a tricky word. Balance is not the same as Stability. There may be doom awaiting us At each side of the s p e c t r u m, But the greatest way to Achieve stability, The real notion that every Beating heart desires, Is to never lose sight Of what’s really important. There is darkness in this world. Inexplicable darkness. But there is also light. And light is the most beautiful thing.


You mustn’t try to have equal darkness And equal light, But instead, have as much Darkness and Light That can keep you stable. Have as much light And darkness you so desire, As long as you can get up If, when, you fumble.

Illustrious (excerpt) ELIZA HEENEY You wandered out into the dark streets without reason, and are now almost certainly lost. It’s a big city, and your feet have never tread here before. Just you, all alone, in a well-worn hat and a coat too thin for the snow that has just begun to fall. The symphony of the winter city blows over you on this December night, dissonant and chaotic. A thousand unwitting percussionists, scuffing their shoes against the snow-dusted concrete at all conceivable tempos. A strings ensemble of passing cars, the booming brass core of the subway. You are caught in the harmonies of those around you, tugged along by their intended destinations, as you do not have one yourself. Although you are alone, you sense your wanderings might have some kind of unseen guide. There is a faint glow to the northwest you continually turn towards. Your fellow street folk seem intent on that direction also, and so you wander away with them. Perhaps it is obvious you don’t know where you are going, but the crowds don’t care. The midnight winter symphonia continues with the flashing of brake lights and the clanging of street cars, every instrument for itself. You round another corner and your destination appears like a fireworks display: suddenly, and with all due drama. It is the first violinist, the harp, and the upright bass, all at once. You approach, and it transforms into its own orchestra, overpowering the second rate harmonies of the surrounding streets. It is the aria of this winter opera, the obvious reason you ventured out into the cold tonight, although a quarter of an hour ago you had no plans at all. The Hotel Illustrious. Potentially too remarkable to describe, let alone wander into. It rises like a Pyramid of Giza in this deep city midnight: white, gold, and shining. A mile of marble, reaching up into the blue-black winter sky. The indigo wind hits a thousand yellow windows and ricochets backwards, leaving frosty lace skating across the glass. Six tremendous doors are crowned by a colossal inscription of ‘THE HOTEL ILLUSTRIOUS’, studded with electric lights. You are the smallest bit afraid to enter those doors, although you fear you won’t be able to resist for much longer. The harmonies of the street opera become more and more dissonant, while the melody of the Illustrious is more alluring with every passing moment. But you remain at the curb, on the verge of entering, while featherdust snow accumulates on the brim of your hat. The quiet glow of a streetlamp pools around your feet, a puddle of light that is put to shame by the immense sparkle of the building that towers in front of you. It is squeezed into not enough space on this busy block, shifting and flickering in a honey lemon light. It swells with a diamond aurora, nearly splitting at the seams. You see the crowds that flow in and out, dressed to the nines and laughing deliciously. They leave with a certain shine in their step, as though the fairy dust that surely encrusts this hotel has stuck to the bottoms of their feet, to be spread through the city with every stride. You think about having your own gold-dusted shoes... The Illustrious cannot contain itself. It is a crystal candelabrum in a dark room, and you, helpless little mortal, grow weaker by the minute. With one final, glittering turn of the chandeliers, you start your timid approach. A moth to a candle, a child to a firefly. The liveried footmen, having expected you for quite some time now, swing open the centre doors with choreographed grace. The warm scent of champagne, orchids, and something undetectable washes over you, and the footmen grin knowingly at one another as you tiptoe inside. The sparkle of the doorbells follow you in, nipping at your coat tails and tousling your hair, whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

You’re fully lost now, I promise. We’ll see you in the morning…


Danse Macabre JOSHUA HOWE

Beneath the orange moon stood I (Twelve had tolled the tower) And raised my fiddle to my lips Loosing notes of power. Slabs shivered and shook with escape And down the path they came, Eldritch eyes seeking partners all With still-warm hands to claim. By light of moon couples took up, Uniform silver streaks; The ivory skull of a king Met blush of peasant’s cheeks. Terrors there were upon the streets: Those distinct with my mark; But most of all the ignorance From living minds gone dark. And then, from far across the way, I saw the Old Man rise; Up with him came the threat of morn And countless cock-call cries. I ceased my playing all at once, My dancers took their leave, And I myself departed too ‘Til next year’s Hallows Eve.






There Are Rainbows AMANDA SCHEIFELE There are rainbows in the water, dear, The fathoms bleed the colour See the fish swim through the glass? There are rainbows in the light, my dear, Millions trapped inside See them twirl through every puddle? There are rainbows in the windows, dear, The sunset demands they play See the red and yellow stars? See that blue one there? There are rainbows in your eyes, my dear, Though it’s dark now, I remember But see the spectrum of the world? My dear, promise that you do.





Do you hear the colours as they crash through the theatre? It begins in black, save for the gray tones of the audience mumbling, coughing, sniffing. The canvas behind your eyelids is ready. A scarlet blaze of the violin stains the darkness. He is bold and bright, and cannot be overpowered by his gingery brother viola. Ever the showoff. But still, they blend with the violet cello – natural as rain. Can you see the timpani as she joins with thunderous forest greens and navy blues while the flutes scatter periwinkle starlight? The trumpets are gold. Bells are silver. Close your eyes and see their work. And amidst the wondrous sound and light, do you hear Herr Liszt calling two centuries away, “Bluer, gentlemen! Make it Bluer!” to a confused orchestra? These oboes are far too orange. There is a painting in your ears. A symphony glued to your eyelids. Bring down the lights, and let the rainbow fall from your lips. Your hands. Your fingertips.




Make something, they said. Show us who you are. All she had to show was a blank sheet of paper on her desk, absolutely pristine, and an old, half-empty box of markers sitting to her right. The hollow space between the blue lines of the page mocked her and she couldn’t even bring herself to lift a damn finger, let alone find a pen to start.

But where to start? she wondered. What could she do that would be good enough? What could she do to “show who she was.” Except. Except the person they saw didn’t exist. So maybe… A pen wouldn’t do. She grabbed the box, pulled out marker after marker, and began.


“Let me write honestly. Let me write about how, once upon a time, it was easy. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived safely in her home and never worried. Mommy was happy and Daddy was there and the little girl never wanted to leave. But I was young, too young, and still trying to learn a good thing from a bad one. I had no way of understanding the gray areas in between. Let me write about how I was safe in the space between the dark brown garage doors and light brown backyard fence. Everything from one end of the green grass to the other was all my own and I never had to be scared of what lay inside. The outside world was scary, but home was always home and I would stay a little girl there forever. Let me write about my cheeks turning pink from laughter as I used the turquoise swing-set in the backyard in every way I could – the swings, the slide, the see-saw that was never really a see-saw. I remember the mid-day heat and the sun streaming down my face, a lazy watered-down desert gold. The world may have been scary, but it could never get me, and I’d be ready if it did. Let me write about that little girl who wanted nothing more than not to be lonely. She tried her best to be kind to everyone, to make them feel warm and welcome. Eventually, enough people did feel warm, warm enough to realize she was a people-pleaser. And that was how everyone, especially Mommy and Daddy, liked the little girl best. Let me write about how I was young, and naïve, and I thought the world would have my back. So I gave and gave because there was no need to worry. Everything was good because nothing was bad. Except I was young, too young, to understand the gray areas in between, and so I didn’t realize that “not awful” did not equal “great” and that half my joy came from fear. Let me write about the change that was slow, slow, slow, and then sudden. How an instance here and an incident there suddenly became a long-running series of moments that only became sharper in tone and scarier in consequence. The future I promised myself was demanding I get there faster, lest I crumble under the pressure of harsh words and scrutinising gazes. Let me write about that little girl who changed into a person she doesn’t even recognize. Where there was once optimism, a hope for the world, is left a dreary haze that clouds her mind and she mourns it every chance she gets. The only way to make the haze go away is to not think about its source, to shove it in some dark corner while she tries to hide in the light. Let me write about how the feelings are violent, welling up inside of me angrily, with no escape. They get stomped on, repeatedly, with loud reminders – good girls don’t say things like that. But they’re still there, begging to be released. Vomit up your anxiety. Scream. Please let us be. But I know what screaming sounds like, and I know it’s different, but I’m too scared all the same. Let me write about how cold I am, how clammy I feel, whenever I hear those same words, repeated over and over and over, as though I am still a child who still needs to be taught a lesson, a child who still cannot brave the world. And sometimes I believe it. Sometimes, I believe I’m not ready for the world because I am forced to play a woman two decades old, stuck in a child’s body. Let me write about my fear, and how it grips me every day, while I sink and I sink and I sink into a swirl of the things I know, and how that is scarier than the things I don’t. The outside world is still scary, but Mommy and Daddy are not the ones who protect me anymore. They are the stifling shadows who have become worse than the outside world, and fear is all I know anymore.”

She read, and re-read, and stared, and stared. Then she tossed the page away. After all, those ten pretty markers didn’t deserve to write such ugly words.




The Boy and The Storm FELICITY SHIPP

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved storms. He said they smelled like the underside of that pink, silk edged, wool blanket every house has. People said he was a little odd and his mother told him too, but with a smile on her face. The little boy would sit on his window ledge sometimes and cross his legs, playing with his shoelaces and smiling at the trees. Sometimes, the trees would smile back. The little boy saw their mounds of hair and patted his own. It was grey- as grey as the clouds overhead. And the clouds overhead were his favorite, because it meant that the sky had chosen to wear her hair like him that day. And that day he could smell a storm. Of course, it could just have been the itchy pink blanket he was sitting on. But when the people finally saw it, they began to close their windows and lock their doors for the mass of black that grew above them like a great ocean wave over a baby turtle. The boy saw the wave but he was not upset, because unlike the turtles, he was a crab. A little bitty crab, and a crab was not scared of waves like baby turtles because crabs can dig. And dig the boy did. He gathered his blankets and sat as close to the window ledge as he could and bundled himself up as he dug himself in. The power was audible now as the thunder echoed across the clouds and the boy shivered, but he did so with a smile, not unlike that of a tree. And so the boy watched the storm. He watched until he could see it in the lightning that slashed the sky to silver ribbons. He watched until he could feel it in the rain that flew up into his face. He watched until he sneezed and flew backwards into the house. His mother bundled her little crab up and took him to bed. After she dried his grey hair until it fluffed like a cloud, she kissed him, tucked him in soundly, and kissed him again and the boy fell asleep. He did not see the storm fade to the horizon. He did not see everyone open their windows and unlock their doors. He did not see the rainbow stretched across the sky like a tiara. And yet, deep in his blanket, the little boy smiled, because he could still smell the storm.


A Drop of Blue PREYE T A

There is a person called Blue Boy, who moves in on the 4th of September. He is fine until everybody else arrives a couple of days later. This is because he is reminded of what the locals have that he didn’t when he moved in: their families, icebreakers, and the hundred dollars cab fare that he painstakingly paid to get here. Later, as Blue sits on the grass with his team, he starts to feel what he will for a while. We like to think we are a fairly complete human spectrum, but ours, though rich, is uneven. Such that when Blue Boy, who has lived in monochrome all his life, is thrust into our environment, he struggles for a while (even though the people are terribly nice). It also doesn’t help that in every class, he is the only blue boy. Now, there is nothing wrong with being the odd ball in a room. One must learn to adapt and be open because there are friends to be made with the truly wonderful individuals here. But tell that to this foreign freshman experiencing a culture shock that almost consumes him. For the first time, he looks and sounds completely different and that takes a lot of getting used to. When he asks a question in the 297 capacity lecture room, every head turns to the source of the voice. I think they like his “accent,’’ or maybe just the presence of an accent. He is amused and somewhat flattered. The outcome is one of two: he either whips it out more often for the attention, or he does his best to trade it for that which fills the room. Because maybe, among other things, Blue Boy is the introvert that doesn’t like to be seen. He’s really trying to make friends but his humour is different. He also spells the word “colour” with a “u” in it, the way that God intended. It is literally as though he speaks a different language from them. Of course, it doesn’t help when they do one of the most condescending things, by saying with utmost enthusiasm: “Your English is so good!” As though every foreign person is meant to have poor English skills. Worse is he can’t tell if they genuinely believe this is a compliment. English is his first language just as much as it is theirs, so of course he speaks perfect English. Blue reminds himself that the single story they know is to blame. He feels like a blue drop of ink on a white sheet of paper whose vastness is infinite; and it sucks. Icebreakers who couldn’t have had this experience are screaming in his head that it will get better, and maybe it will. He might soon come to see himself as person before pigment, but that will be tomorrow. This is today and today simply sucks. We’re not yet the spectrum we wish to be, because like Blue, some colours at the edge of the monochrome are trying hard to blend with the rest. Blue knows he can’t fault anyone for having an easier time at this because of their hue, personality, or because this is their home. He doesn’t know them. Their days too might suck in different ways. Our Blue Boy is just trying to work with the other colours and be part of the rainbow you want to see. Because he’s hoping that they were right when they said that “tomorrow will be better.” But know this, Blue Boy: you will learn to blend in and stand out all at the same time. And when you do, you will once again see nothing but a monochrome of beautiful individuals. This, is my hope for you.








B is for beautiful, black hair and big eyes, R is for righteous, a warrior race in disguise, O is for outcast, a stranger in their eyes, W is for warm, for love their heart cries, N is for never, their pride will not die



My presence radiated the club, As my body absorbed every last drop of liquor. It ran through my flushed cheeks and bloodshot eyes. I felt like a rose on display, Blooming through the way I swayed my hips. Captivated by my spell, You picked me up from the bunch, And surrendered to my temptation of lust. We invited more alcohol in our systems, Adding more fuel to the fire of ecstasy. With each passionate kiss, I saw your lips Covered with my favourite Ruby lipstick. Your hands gripped mine, Swaying through the wondrous crowd, Thrilled with what could be next. Laughter filled in the car As you drove rashly back, Passed the streets on a Wednesday night With specks of people and glaring lights. Our only thoughts involved irresistible desires, To be more intimate, vulnerable, and heated with each other, And then I was blinded by Red, Causing screams that pierced through the empty roads. My mind eventually became hollow, Numbed out by the sirens and pain, Surrounded by the tears and blood gushing out on my ruined body. I gave in towards the madness, As my heart weakened with each exhale Leaving me dead in the midst of Crimson.






As a Choice, Why Not Love? MARIAH JACKLIN

Everyone in our lives always tells us not to follow love, but why? Today love has become the enemy. It hurts us, beats us around and sometimes even destroys us. In that light, it’s no wonder love has become disreputable. Now we are meant to be unfeeling robots setting off into our successful careers, driven by ambition and entrepreneurial practices, and perusing love has become an antonym of success. However, I present a challenge to that view. In life, we are free to do what we want. In fact, we are encouraged to chase after it. Yet what we are supposed to “want” is not love and foolish feelings, but a sensible straightforward career. People are supposed to want money, success, and prestige. However, what if that isn’t what you want? There shouldn’t be anything wrong with wanting love. What is society to tell people what they should want? Success is nobody’s definition but their own. What I define as success and what you define as success are two different ideals. So who are you to tell me that my definition is wrong? And who am I to tell you? If what I define as success is love, you have no right to tell me I’m in the wrong. What’s more, following love doesn’t mean you give up a career for it. One can have both, they can coincide. Meaning love doesn’t have to be the enemy of success. Next, I dare you to think about happiness. It’s part of the key to success, but what does it mean? Realistically, it’s not something that can be clearly defined. Happiness is more of a theory, like gravity. We’re all pretty positive it exists, but no one can know for sure. All that we do know is what makes us feel our definition of “happy.” Now maybe your happiness stems from success in school, or making money, but with that alone do you think that perhaps you may be missing out on the full spectrum of life’s colours? Without love of any kind, doesn’t life seem rather monochrome? In the end, despite everyone’s success, the life, the light and the colour love brings to one’s world is what everyone is in hunt for until they die. Without love can one truly be happy? And if so, can one truly be successful? If we need happiness to be successful and we need love to be happy, then is love not what we need? Love is happiness and happiness is success, without one you cannot have the other. In the end love is needed for success. Maybe the Beatles were right, maybe all we really need is love.



Yesterday, I smashed a coffee cup over my girlfriend’s head. She sort of looked up at me, blinked through the china shards and piping hot brown liquid mingling with red, and then smiled so brightly before smacking me across the face with her ring hand. A pink coral rose caught on my cheek, scratched a crimson thread glowing as bright as a stigmata. Her other fist flew up and caught me square on the jaw, where wisdom teeth scars lurked underneath. I broke the mug over her head because I thought she was going to leave me, because I thought if she was going to leave me I might as well speed up the process. Maybe she wasn’t going to leave me after all, before that. But after the fact, she certainly did. Today, she is gone. No books, no shoes, no dusty perfume bottles left on our dresser, the dresser that is only mine again. I didn’t call or text her, or check my email. No pleas over Facebook or desperate messages through friends. I call my son Alasdair from a hundred miles away to tell him Lana and I have broken up, to not call her please, unless she calls him first. He is shocked, but not surprised. There is a clicking of electronics, and the phone goes back to sleep. A bit later, I go out with my friend Jamie for coffee. Jamie sips his coffee, shakes his head when he should, nods when he shouldn’t. The lights catch the pink amongst the blonde highlights in his hair. He asks about my health (still diabetic), how Alasdair’s doing at university (well). He tells me Lana’s left town. “Oh, aye?” “Yeah, hen. I heard she went to her mum’s, in Peterhead like.” Lana moved in just before Alasdair started Primary Four, I remember that. Myself, I don’t believe in marriage: I read “marriage” in locks and chains, the steely soot-stained faces of Catholic saints outside of kirks in the East end. It glares at me and would spit in my tea if it half got the chance. So, no, we never married, despite the changes in the law now. When my relationship with Lana was good, it was so good. She was Alasdair’s other mum, the cool younger one. After a few glasses of wine she could still sing in tune where I became hopelessly silly. She stuck up for me at Parents Evenings even when I cried after. I was twenty-four with a bairn, and she was eighteen and working in a Sainsbury’s. What did we know? We made a good team in so many ways. I ran and locked myself in the bathroom while she’d kick the door and scream. I threw hot soapy dishwater in her face one night after she wouldn’t shut up about how I never cleaned the greasy smears off of the cutlery blinking in the light. I spent too much money, while she staggered home and promptly passed out in the downstairs hallway. We spent two months in the same house not talking. If that was not cruelty, I don’t know what is. The phone never rings with her voice at the end. I never find her sleeping on the welcome mat, lipstick smeared in a greasy kiss, the kiss of some other strange woman. I still wait for her to come back, grace my grey life with her presence. But she won’t. The shards of this lie on the kitchen counter, waiting.






Yet to begin, you wait. To make your mark. Your canvas still empty. Soon you will paint your path. The palette, the days of colour ahead. The shade of the missing tooth in your smile. The imprint of the eagle’s feather on the sky. The blinding glint of the hook during your first cast. The colour of the song you can never forget. The hue of your laugh emblazoned across your tapestry. The flickering flames illuminating your fingers. The contrast of a tear dancing across the hardwood. The flash of your shadow racing into the horizon. The stain of grass in your bruise. The white flame that burns behind your eyes. Mine, anticipating the masterpiece, yet to be.