Harbinger Magazine Vol. 42
prometheus. noun | Pro·me·theus | \prə-ˈmē-thē-əs Greek Titan; Forethinker; supreme trickster; fire-bringer
Cover Art: Flame in the Dark by Riley Moran Section Narratives: The Phoenix or the Eagle by Calla Schultz denotes a faculty-chosen winner of the Harbinger 2017-2018 Visual, Poetry, and Prose Contests
President - Dr. Bradley Bonham Principal - Susan Crook Moderator - Marcia Meyer & Maria Murczek Carmel Catholic High School One Carmel Parkway Mundelein, IL 60060
Copyright © 2018 by Harbinger, a publication of Carmel Catholic High School. After publication, all rights are returned to each work’s creator. The views expressed do not represent the views of Carmel Catholic High School or the Harbinger staff.
Harbinger Magazine Vol. 42
1. SPARK Fathomless Fish
Riding the Rhythm
One More Mile Kate McKernan
A Long Lost Friend Melanie Zimmerman
Conquering Comfort Lucy Tarcha Prose Contest, Honorable Mention
Poetry 14 18 26
Out to Lunch? Riley Moran
Entry of His City Queen Sydney Johnson
A Bright History Molly Machala
Ash Petals Reagan McGinn
Yellow Beauty Mika Ella Ignacio
The Time Machine
Sea Town Amanda Walzer
Visuals Self Portrait Erin Bonham
Collageodile Sofir Fernandez
Regrowth Isabelle Beauchamp
Summer Daze Helena Te Visuals Contest, 2nd Place
Back Again Allie Settle
Reagan McGinn Prose Contest, 3rd Place
Treasure Carly Manshum
Fruit Ava Kolar
Leading Isabelle Beauchamp
Memorandum Coral Wang
The Letter That Came Too Late Elena Monroe
She Can’t Forget
Jackie Bruce Poetry Contest, Honorable Mention
Ode to Your Ghost-Town Celia DeKeyser
Building Blocks Megan Filar
Oh, How the Caged Souls Fight Allie Settle
The Monster in Your Stomach is Your Head
Dimes Baileigh Hannah
D(wh)y/dx Lizzie Trzupek
Out of Sight Patrick Delos Reyes
Nobody Sees Me Danielle Koziol
The End of the Line Grace Jones Poetry Contest, Honorable Mention
Celia DeKeyser Poetry Contest, 1st Place
Scarcity and Abundance Jacquelyn Luna
Sister Requel Young
Ghost Girl Sydney Johnson
The Long Walk Carly Manshum
Nymphaeaceae Coral Wang
Morning Breath Olivia Klein Visuals Contest, Honorable Mention
Dear Mysoginistic Coworker
Eighteen Jack Teehan
Theresa Thiel Prose Contest, 1st Place
“Individuality” with Ignorance Fight or Flight
Isabelle Beauchamp Visuals Contest, Honorable Mention
Fishing for Memories
Walnut Eyes Emma Jensen
You Are Home Annie Burkhalter
Katarina Rivera Poetry Contest, 2nd Place Madison Sasman Poetry Contest, 3rd Place
The Anticipation of Greatness Matthew Barker
“Smile!” Carly Manshum Prose Contest, 2nd Place
Hidden in the Heart Luna Ventura
Wearing the Labels
Soaring Corinne Chambers-Boucher
Nocturne Catherine Hidalgo
Caught in the Storm
The Middle Camila Pereira Visuals Contest, 3rd Place
Same Different Keeping Silent
Findings Isabelle Beauchamp
Carly Manshum Visuals Contest, 1st Place Mika Ella Ignacio
Faded Alyssa Graves
Moonlight Glow Amanda Rivera
White Light Bella Stefo
Arms Caitlyn Lenihan
Growth Lauren Laughlin
Waiting for Trains Coral Wang
irst there was chaos. Form, shape, color were all indistinguishable in the primeval blankness of the first world. For the beginning was both chaos and nothingness. And then from nothing, something. The first made do with little, pulling much out of what they had. They formed a family, fraught with
the conflict of opposites, bound up together in so many kin threads, relationship piled upon relationship, twisting and knitting each role into one weave, the fabric of the universe. Like all families, they had a long history of shifting alliances and little ironies. And this history was inscribed in each man and womanâ€™s heart.
SPARK EPISODE ONE:
cool breeze rushes through the morning, making your hair stand on end. It weaves through the air, sharpening the outlines in the landscape, bringing everything into focus. You spy a bird riding the current dive for his prey, his golden eyes focused on his one, immediate goal. Once he has it, he takes to the skies again, his spoils in tow. The beating of his wings is just discernible over the brookâ€™s musical chatter. You follow the brook, running along the quicksilver chasm, up and down the rolling hills, the dewy grass tugging at your feet. The brook takes
you into a copse of trees before collapsing into herself in a small pool, her endless babble laughter at her own mistakes. Even the trees seem to understand. They lean over and whisper to each other, their boughs quivering with expectation. We need you, they seem to say. You try to check your pulse, but your arms are trembling so much, it takes longer than it should. When you finally track down that one erratic little drumbeat, you spring into action. It is time to work.
FATHOMLESS FISH by Calla Schultz
y writing process is that of the fishermanâ€™s trade. Every day I prepare my tackle and pole for the idea fish. I climb into my boat, allowing the currents of thought to drift my vessel far out to sea. The day is cool, with a fine wind heavy with salt; the incomprehensible, opaque gray sea roils gently underneath me with a kind of hidden energy that beckons to me of the secrets it so jealously guards. I cast out my pole, laden with prompting lures, and sit quietly, keeping silent vigil for a bite. I reel in a fish that has swallowed the hook whole. This always requires major surgery. After detangling the line and some wheedling and poking with my tweezers, I tease out my hook and find myself holding the mangled remains of what once had been a fish. Frustrated, I recast. A massive pull on the line tells me I hooked a whopper of a fish. Palms sweaty, muscles taut, I
wrestle with my pole, my fishing line singing through the reel. I allow my bite to drag me along, to see where it takes me. Eventually I draw up out of the murky waters of my consciousness a writhing, shimmering idea. Stunned, I admire its clear eyes, wholesome white flesh, and handsome silver scales. It took the hook right in the lip, a clean bite. At the end of the day, I gather my equipment and my catches and row back to shore. I sit down in the sand and sort my fish. I remove the black seaweed and return to the water the small and deformed fish, leaving them behind to grow and mature. I set some of my catch aside for a tank, where I can observe their habits and swimming patterns, feeding them this kind of food and exposing them to that amount of light. The very best I take to the market and sell. If my customers like my ideas, they take them home to digest them.
Koi, Coral Wang
Out to Lunch?, Riley Moran
RIDING THE RHY THM RIDING THE RHY THM RIDING THE RHY THM
by Brooke Duncan
he calm, tranquil wind, barely present, did not disturb the people enjoying their Saturday afternoon; indeed, the day held no special qualities at first glance. Yet despite the oppressive heat from the unmitigated sun glaring down, I found chills racing down my spine. Fear. At a second glance, this was no ordinary day. Not for me. Strapped into a seat next to my best friend Julyssa, trapped as if we were prisoners behind bars, partners in crime, I tried but failed to prepare myself for what was to come. “No, NO. I change my mind. Get me off of this!” Raging Bull. I was on it: the tallest, longest, and fastest roller coaster at Six Flags Great America, heading toward what was certain to be my imminent doom. As it chugged tortuously slowly up its infamous two hundred foot hill—click, click, clickity–clack—I shuddered. Click, click. Looking back, I wondered why I had ever set foot on such a daring ride. Roller-coasters were death traps; I had feared them my whole life yet found myself clutched within their razor claws. The hill before me seemed never-ending, the foreboding sound of the track nothing but the haunting toll of a funeral bell ringing in my ears. After all, I thought, “What
goes up, must come down.” We were halfway there. A blind, consuming panic grabbed hold of me, my nerves like a boa constrictor wrapped around my heart, squeezing and choking me until all traces of breath escaped my body. The summer day no longer held any reassuring warmth: I was frozen in place, the sun’s rays doing nothing to thaw the icy cold feeling threatening to drown me. I didn’t want to focus on the terrifying ride ahead of me; I wanted to think about anything else, be anywhere else than sitting in that seat. I finally thought the suspense was too much to bear. Would my solace ever come? What a fool I was to have agreed to such a temerarious experience—what did I get myself into? However, as I convinced myself of my impending demise, an unexpected yet familiar voice rang out with the first few words of a song true to my heart. A savior stepped up to rescue me from my panic. I snapped out of my petrified stupor to hear a comforting voice surrounding me. I took my love and I took it down, Julyssa began to sing, trying to draw me out of my daze. That music. That song, my favorite song, “Landslide.”
And then, silence, as if the world was holding its breath, waiting to see what I would do next. Singing along, tentatively at first, I was learning how to breathe again. I climbed a mountain, and I turned around, I sang in a whisper. That simple lyric flipped a switch. My voice building with confidence and the crescendoing symphony in my head cueing me in, I continued singing. My isolated seat became my stage—my home. I lived for the stage and I lived to perform; the spotlight shone on me and no stage fright was present in my mind. I got lost in the music and I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could handle this intimidating roller-coaster. And then I no longer saw the track. We hung suspended in the air for a fraction of a second, yet, time, playing in my favor, stood still. From the peak of Raging Bull, I saw the park in all its glory; however, I focused not on the brilliant height of the ride that brought our heads to brush the clouds above, but rather, on the height of my fear, my fear of what was to come, higher than it had ever been. The ride towered menacingly over every roller-coaster below me and the people appeared as mere specks on the ground. Yet at the climax of the roller-coaster, the air was serene. I had entered the eye of the storm, a momentary calm before chaos would consume everything in its path, the blunt of the ride threatening to hit. We were waiting. Our singing drifted off, the last echoes of the song dwindling in the tension of the air,
taut and ready to snap. Well, the landslide brought me down. And then time resumed. We plummeted straight back to earth, engulfed by the shrieking wind blasting our ears, my stomach sinking like the Titanic. The ground rushed up toward us, threatening to swallow us whole. At the last moment, we pulled out of our steep nosedive only to face another drop. And another. And another. Over and over again, I was pelted with my original feelings of fear and panic overtaking my body, but it had never been this bad before, multiplied tenfold. This time, though, I knew I was not alone. Just like before, a gentle melody floated through the air to me, enveloping me, calming me. Remembering the way music flooded my heart before, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and began to sing. I let go of all my fears. I smiled. And I laughed. The roller-coaster rolled to a stop. It was then that I wished the seconds had lasted a bit longer, for time was a thief, stealing those few precious moments on Raging Bull all too quickly. The thrilling ride felt as if it had raced by, reaching its finish line before the starting pistol had even fired. I struggled to hold on to my newfound adventure, the memory already fading from my mind. With my fears forgotten, all that remained was the soft hum of a song reverberating in my ears. “Let’s go again.”
the landslide “ well, brought me down
that remained was “ all the soft hum of a song
reverberating in my ears
ONE MORE MILE by Kate McKernan
Entry of His City Queen, Sydney Johnson
THE ANTICIPATION OF GREATNESS by Matthew Barker
For now, nobody can see you You’re hidden amongst the crowd Your footsteps blend in with the others Your voice hardly makes a sound. Soon, they won’t be able to miss you You’ll be admired by the crowd Your footsteps will be followed in Your voice will be oh, so loud.
I despise running. The continuous smacking of shoes on the pavement combined with the feeling of not being able to breathe is low on my list of enjoyable activities. So when my dad asked me to run an 8K with him, my immediate answer was no. My dad has been an avid runner for his whole life, constantly using his free time to train for marathon after marathon. Unfortunately for him, that love of getting up early for a morning jog did not continue on in my brother or me. Both of us much prefer to spend our weekend mornings fast asleep in our warm beds. Despite this, when I saw the dejected look on my dad’s face, like a sad puppy, I reconsidered my decision and found myself at the starting line of The Shamrock Shuffle several months later, surrounded by a crowd of runner enthusiasts. “It’s only five miles! You run that much for soccer all the time,” my dad said in an effort to cheer me up when he saw how overwhelmed I was before the race started. I attempted a weak smile because his uncontrollable excitement was
hands and face. The rotten stench of the nearby river flooded my nose, doing nothing to suppress my loathing of the situation I had landed myself in. I did not understand the appeal the runners saw in this; in fact, it appeared torturous to me, being wrapped up in multiple layers of clothing at 8:00 in the morning just to be rewarded with a measly medal at the end. Regardless, I decided to give it a shot for my dad. “Racers—get ready, get set, go!” the overeager announcer’s voice belted out over the towering speakers with a shrill like a tooearly alarm clock. And so it began. My head was swirling from all of the sounds: the adrenalized shouts of the runners just starting their race, the pesky barks of the dogs who wanted to participate, the racket from the crowd with their unnecessary cowbells, the music cranked all the way up. I could not focus on anything else. Coldness seeped into my whole body with each uncomfortable step as we started out slowly. I glanced around to see if anyone seemed to
my head was swirling from all of the sounds: the adrenalized shouts... the racket from the crowd... obvious. The sun peeked lazily through the clouds with little effect, and the cold breeze whipped through the crowd, biting at my
share my pain, but all I saw were smiles from the colorfully clad runners. My dad was not excluded from this animated crowd; however,
I couldn’t help but hint at my own smile when I realized how exhilarated he was by this experience. It was contagious, a fast spreading disease of serenity. The first two miles were a breeze, but after that I started to lose steam and let my pessimistic thoughts take over again. I was running through a field full of nothing but green. Green shamrock headbands taunted me as they bobbed up and down, waving at me with their sparkly leaves. Green posters beckoned me to stand on the sidelines cheering instead of running. Green wigs bounced up and down in a nauseating repetition with each step of their owners; never have I hated a color that much. “Almost halfway there. And there’s probably Gatorade just around this corner,” my dad said as if reading my mind. The mention of a drink grabbed my attention and shook me from my running depression. Sure enough, when I turned the corner, a glistening row of cups filled to the brim with yellow Gatorade sat perfectly lined up. I snatched the first one voraciously and gulped it down. The refreshing waterfall of liquid streamed down my throat, offering instant relief. My dad laughed at my ravenous appetite for the Gatorade and then started to run again. I trailed behind, longing for more of the sweet, sugary goodness. I only sped up when my dad glanced back with a grin as if he was a child on a trip to Disney World. “Why are you smiling like that?” I questioned as I caught up to him. “I just love to run and I love that
you’re here with me,” he replied, picking up his pace. We continued the next mile in a peaceful silence, the rhythmic pattering of shoes and heavy breathing the only sounds between us. There was an unspoken happiness as we ran in sync, warming up to the bitterly cold day. We eventually slowed our pace to a walk for a few minutes to control our labored breathing, and a man approached from behind. “You’re lucky,” he smiled as he looked at my dad, “I tried to get my daughter out here with me but she just laughed and told me ‘no way.’” My dad chuckled, but that comment stayed with me. After all, my dad is the one who has survived sitting through countless—and sometimes painful to watch—soccer, tennis, basketball, and volleyball games for me; running five miles is nothing compared to that torture. The man gave me a high five and sprinted away. By this point, we were almost at the finish line. I looked up at my dad. “Try and beat me, old man!” I yelled as I sprinted to the finish line with a laugh. The feel of my feet hitting the pavement quicker and quicker took over. My mind was free of thoughts. I dashed past the slower runners, a whirl of arms and legs frantically searching for the end. Finally. I made contact with the finish line and collapsed to the ground in fatigue. Every bone in my body sighed with relief as I laid down. My dad, breathing hard, crossed the line a few minutes later looking just as tired as I was. I turned to him with a smirk. “Better luck beating me next time.” Flavors, Erin Hegna-Banlasan
Gifted, Isabelle Beauchamp
IDENTITIES by Katarina Rivera
Languages are red Blood red The color of words that lead to war The red of passion The color of love songs Words of passion and rage Both love and war How many identities Can one color have? Yellow is crinkled paper Ancient and fragile Yellow is the past, yellow is history Yellow is what everyone fears Yellow is what people donâ€™t want to become Blue Icy blue Numbers, cold as the winter winds Math is simple Math is unchanging People say that life cannot be reduced to numbers The chilling math disagrees Every man has his price Green is spring and life Green is wonder at the way the world works Green is new beginnings But nature fades Man turning inward Wonders fade Now go unseen by man Now green is money Green is envy Green is greed
White is light and black is darkness Simple as that Life and death Shining and shading Day and night But If one mixes black and white One gets gray Neither light nor darkness Neither life nor death And the gray can never again Become white Gray can become lighter But never white Purple Soothing lavender Lavender helps with dreams Did you know? Allowing a person to sleep To dream under the violet night sky Fiery orange The color of a fight within Orange is what consumes What takes Brown is the color of the dirt The mud beneath our feet Itâ€™s the color of the tree bark Of that which comes from the mud We came from the dirt And to the dirt we shall return
A Bright History, Molly Machala
T A LONG LOST FRIEND by Melanie Zimmerman
he sun scathed me as it sliced through a cloudless sky. Its fortifying heat forced sweat droplets down my cheeks. Or were these tears? Of frustration? Of sadness? Of stress? Their saltiness foreshadowed my grueling efforts to come, and my confusion was quelled. Approaching the tennis courts, fear seized me. The lines of the court crossed at perplexing angles, and I struggled to recall the rules and strategies of the game. I stood for a while and allowed the sun to melt me into a distressed puddle, until a familiar voice and footstep cadence
approached from behind. My father walked towards me, leisurely, both calming my anxieties and preparing me for the intense work to come. “Do you want to start with some rallying?” my father asked as we stepped onto the courts. “Sure,” I squeaked back, attempting a smile. I walked toward the rusted fence in short, stiff, unyielding strides; I knew I wasn’t ready for this. As I dropped my bag onto the court, a muffled clanking noise rang through the air like the crash of a downed bowling pin. I peeled open the bag’s zipper and realized the racket was
Ash Petals, Reagan McGinn
my racquet. Funny, I mused. Its grip molded to my palm, hugging my hand like a long-lost friend. Suddenly, this tight embrace reminded me of last year’s tournament, and my anxiety returned. I had used my friend with such ease, gliding it through the ball with an effortless swing; if only I could conjure that swing now. “Hurry up, we’re losing daylight!” quipped my father. His lighthearted words sent a rush of relief through my body and pushed me toward the court. My father thrust a neon tennis ball into the air, and crushed it with his racquet, exhaling loudly and spewing sweat droplets from his face. I shuffled to get to the ball, but the combined weight of my crumpled shoulders and the pressing sun halted my progress. How did he expect me to return that ball? My eyes paused on the sulking net and I mimicked its posture. The next ball raced past my face. My eyes darted across the pan of the court in an attempt to follow its path; however, a bead of sweat seeped into my eye, blurred my vision of the court, and forced me to
blink. A strand of hair flew off to the side, carried by the whistling ball’s airstream. Of course, I had missed the ball’s path. My father’s eyes crinkled into a smile, stretching the few wrinkles on his face. “Concentrate, look at me, and study my movements,” my father advised. How was he remaining so patient amidst my failure? He must be mocking me. He loves to win. My teeth clenched down as I rolled my eyes and pushed steamed air through my nostrils. I looked up in anticipation of a disapproving glare; instead, I saw that his wrinkles had settled beneath his skin, and a single corner of his mouth rose slightly. We exchanged a quick smile and continued the game. So he was not mocking me. He carried his movements with expression. The lines in his forehead creased as he smiled through the game, something I had not noticed as I had been fixated on the slumping net. His feet bounced in circles like popcorn kernels exploding on the stove. He grimaced as he extended to make contact, revealing thick blue
veins which rose beneath his skin. The ball exploded off his racquet with the force of a bullet. Inhaling sharply, I mirrored my father’s tactics. I forced the corners of my mouth upward into a jovial smile and swung my racquet into the ball. It swooped downward and I missed. Failure. Heat flashed through my body and I choked my racquet as punishment. “Hold your head higher, and move through the ball smoothly. You can do this,” my father said. Why did he have such confidence in me? He fed me another ball, and this time, I mimicked his rapid foot movement. The tips of my toes ached as they held the entirety of my body weight, and the racquet swept fluidly across my body. I waited to feel contact. Nothing. I almost fell forward as my racquet whirred, missing the ball and slashing air out of the way. “Now you’re really getting it. Nice form,” my father offered. What? Was he watching the same shot that I just missed? Blood rushed to my forehead, and my pulse beat at my skull like a crazed woodpecker; my
embarrassment burned and turned me the color of a freshly sprouted rose. However, my father’s words sent a rush of energy surging through my body, sending a shiver across my shoulders. The once-forgotten language I shared with my friend was becoming decipherable. The next ball approached me. I mirrored my father’s grin, sure stance, and ready feet. As I swung smoothly through the incoming bullet, I made contact in the center of the racquet’s cross-grid of strings: the face. The collision of the ball and my racquet’s face was as smooth as a knife slicing through butter, and the ball exploded towards my father’s feet. My racquet had spoken to me, and I understood. I gave my friend a quick embrace, and glanced up towards my father. His eyes illuminated and an open smile exposed his clean, glimmering teeth. I unclenched my hand, dropping the racquet as I leapt toward him. He wrapped his sweat-drenched arms around me, capturing a pocket of heat between us. My curdled energy burst.
panic streamed through my motionless body CONQUERING COMFORT by Lucy Tarcha
ntering the sultry room, my mousy eyes scrambled around for familiarity amongst a sea of onlooking strangers. To my relief, I heard my group of friends call my name, and with a relieved smile like that of a lost child reunited with their family, I rushed over to join them. “Everyone take a seat,” barked a voice from the doorway. Being the complacent teen I was, I sat down Indian-style and rolled my eyes back so far that the clamoring room disappeared from consciousness. Just another drab leadership discussion. With an exchange of caustic looks, my friends and I settled our implacable minds on the drollness of the lecture. Mr. Quentin’s ambitious voice became a hum as I zoned out from the discussion and imagined my return to the confinements of my cozy little niche of a dorm; nonetheless, my roaming mind strayed back to the world of reality as Mr. Quentin announced the next activity: “In just a second I will be turning on some music, and each and every one of you... no exceptions... is gonna show us some of your stellar dance moves right down the center aisle here. Form two lines!”
My heart stopped. No way would I dance in front of my peers; there was just no way. Panic streamed through my motionless body as a wind swept through the arid landscape of a desert. I looked around for an escape route, but with my supervisors standing guard at the exit door, I was like a mouse trapped in a cage full of ravenous cats, the leering eyes of my peers ready to pounce on my pathetic dancing. As Flo Rida’s melodic voice filled the room with “Low,” I placed my trembling feet into a row forming on one side of the aisle. One boy strode to the front. A brave young soul. Mouthing the words to the lyrics, he shimmied through the aisle of people who responded with an eruption of heartfelt cheers. The next student rallied the crowd when she effortlessly dropped to the ground and wiggled her body as if she had no bones, like a worm. What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do? Or better yet, how can I get out of this? Ablaze from the speakers came “Firework” by Katy Perry, not the best dance song. Each of the students, poised or anxious, gyrated through the middle; however, just as I thought
I had escaped from the clutches of embarrassment, Mr. Quentin singled out my equally fearful friends and me. While each of us aggressively pushed the others to the front of the pack, the tiresome melody of “Despacito” engulfed the room. Menacing butterflies infiltrated deep within my stomach and laid their eggs in my gut. As a droplet of sweat made its way down my now tomato-colored face, I shakingly stuck one arm out followed by the next, crossing each over my rapidly expanding chest. The Macarena it was. My five seconds of fame were filled with the rambunctious hurrahs of an energized audience. Once I had exited the spotlight, the sandbags strewn over my shoulder fell to the inviting ground. I had done it: I had danced in public, however unwillingly it was. A renewed kind of energy consumed my body like a spark ignited at the base of a drywood forest. To my shock, all of my nerves had dissipated, and in the meantime, the two originally formed lines dissolved into a gaggle of dancing teenagers. Gazing into the wired eyes of my friends, I could tell they had been in the same position, the introverts at the school dance. But once the music
blasted, all of us set our encaged selves free and jammed out to the music without a care in the world. Within minutes, the room full of tension just a half an hour before smelled of impassioned sweat. Pit stains in my cotton T-shirt formed, and my once conditioned hair took on a shiny glare, but I didn’t care. Grabbing the hand of my friend Mera, we cavorted over to the central pit of the dance floor. I felt an unknown rush of exhilaration as I unreservedly danced among these practical strangers. Soon the music abruptly died and my pulsating heart slowed and my face dropped. “Well that’s it for tonight. Hope you all enjoyed yourself,” beckoned Mr. Quentin. As a disappointed crease formed between my furrowing eyebrows, I acknowledged that I was not anywhere close to a good dancer. But that didn’t matter. While crowding through the narrow doorway to the central lobby, I reminisced as I looked back into the room. That square-shaped, blandly decorated, and whitewashed room harbored something more than vending machines; it fostered opportunity.
all of us set our encaged selves free
Yellow Beauty, Mika Ella Ignacio
PSALM 75:3 by Madison Sasman
The golden grass bows down its head As the dry wind passes through And the flowers are all wilted and dead The trees’ leaves browning too How the night sky pulses, sweating away The labors of the morn While restless stars hang overripe From the darkness they adorn Now it hasn’t rained for many moons And the pressure’s oppressive, outworn But we know that the thunder has got to boom soon So we wait for the rising storm
nder cover of darkness you give them what those in power have long denied them. You watch from hiding as they learn its lessons and grow from their simplemindedness. They are happy; never before have their faces expressed such joy. They do not have to operate in the dark anymore. They have the capacity to see their errors, to know what is wrong and what is right. They can be more than anything their creators ever intended. They take your gift, and they learn to run. You
see it reflected on their faces, in their relationships, even their belongings. They are your people, and you are their beacon. Everything falls into place, even the darkness, for brilliance shines brightest in the dark. The warmth of your success fills you up from within outwards, until your whole body radiates with it. Your back seems to sprout wings, and you are soaring, the beat of your wings ushering in a shining new era. It is a blessing to bless.
HIDDEN IN THE HEART by Luna Ventura
ove you, Dad! Good luck on your bike ride today!” my voice rang out against the crisp air of the Tennessee morning. My brother, sitting next to me in the green golf cart, motioned for me to go so we could begin our expedition. The two of us had decided that we were going to set up a scavenger hunt for my father while he was away that morning. My dad, a hard-working man, had left my brother and me alone for an hour, with a golf cart and an extensive amount of land that seemed to have sprouted out of a fairy tale novel. The pedal of the golf cart was sensitive, causing the slightest bit of pressure to send my brother and me flying along the smooth, paved trails that wove through the property like a complex river system. I was the driver, of course, and I was determined to do as much as I could with the little time we had. Arriving at our first location, my brother hopped out of the cart and ran to a wooden pavilion with a stone fireplace consuming the majority of the room. The fire reached out with its warm and inviting arms, similar to my dad; therefore, it protected us the from the slight bite in the breeze. I enjoyed the soothing presence of the fire; it filled the space of the otherwise empty void of the room. My brother, frantically running around like a parent hiding Easter eggs for their children, amused me and illustrated the seriousness in which he was taking this scavenger hunt. Along the back wall, a minuscule crack in the mammoth wooden support beam beckoned us to hide our clue in between its small wooden gap.
Snatching the clue out of my hand, my brother gingerly placed the folded slip of paper into the wooden crevice. The clue, a simple piece of paper to the naked eye, sat calmly in the wood, almost as if it were smiling at what my brother and I were doing. A look of satisfaction spread across his face, slipped into the air, and impressed itself upon me. Our feet carried us across the uneven grass to where the golf cart was parked, both of us giggling, all the while a feeling of fulfillment manifesting itself amidst my brother and me. Good. That’s what I wanted. Continuing on our quest, our spirits akin to that of Indiana Jones, my brother and I proceeded to the dog kennels. Smiling and laughing as we made our way to the next location, a genuine and pure atmosphere filled the empty space; indeed, I was making memories with my brother, the kind of memories that are inked and stamped onto one’s past. Arriving at the kennel, we opened the rusty, weather-beaten latch, threw open the gate and immediately were greeted by a mass of small puppies. The tiny balls of fur jumped around excitedly; the only prevalent emotion was love for these random, young strangers. The puppies, wagging their tails, sat at the feet of my brother and me. I have always felt a certain peace in the presence of dogs, and this time was no different. Carefree and happy, the puppies brought with them an onslaught of memories of my family as numerous as the number of spots on the polka-dotted dogs. Time’s impatience ripped my thoughts from my family and back to the secret act
Self Portrait, Erin Bonham 32
Collageodile, Sofir Fernandez
of thoughtfulness we were executing for my dad. My brother scanned the kennel to find an adequate hiding place, the trees casting elongated shadows over a small dog house. Perfect. Rushing over, we tucked the small sheet of paper under one of the coarse shingles on the roof, all the while being trailed by a small army of commercial-ready puppies. Onward we went, next to the gardens, full of an assortment of colors so varied they could have made up a 64-Pack of Crayola colored pencils. There were plants of different sizes, shapes, colors, and scents; it seemed like Bath and Body Works had snuck its way into our noses and set up shop. I appreciated the way the garden was able to influence all of my senses simultaneously; it added additional beauty. Parking the cart, we hopped out and scoured the garden, all the while surrounded by the bounties of nature. Our surroundings seemingly resembled a coloring book done by a young child—the landscape filled with an assortment of unorderly colors. As my brother and I searched, just us two, my brother spoke up, “Scarlet?” I responded, “Yea, Jason?” Timidly, he asked, “Do you think this will make Dad happy?” I smiled, “Of course this will!” My brother’s genuine attitude toward the whole project was as prominent as the bright sun that was now blazing overhead. It seemed as though the pureness of our surroundings began to rub off on us as the scavenger hunt drew on. We finally decided to hide the clue amidst the barrels of grains stored in the rustic garden barn. Low on time, we sped back to the main 34
house where we anxiously awaited my father’s return on the cold stone steps of the lobby. My brother drew closer to me, almost as if the sap from the nearby pines were sticking us together, or maybe it was the laughs we had shared while hiding the clues. Regardless, we sat in the silent presence of one another, the feeling of excitement germinating inside of us. Ch-ch, ch-ch, we heard the chain of my father’s bike spinning rapidly as he peddled toward us with the rest of his bike army. My heart rose to my throat; the mountainous landscape surrounding me began to drift as I began thinking about how our dad might take to the scavenger hunt. Click, click, we heard the noise of him taking his shoes off the pedals as he began to make his way towards my brother and me. Both of us were as anxious as children on Christmas morning waiting to see if Santa had brought them their desired gifts. In our case, we were waiting to see if my dad gave us our desired reaction. Smiling, he embraced us both, “I missed you guys so much! What have you been up to?” Speaking first, I blurted out, “Dad, we made you a scavenger hunt. We just... I don’t know, thought you would like it. You always said homemade gifts were the best, so this one is from the bottom of our hearts. There are clues scattered all around, let’s go find them all!” There was a brief moment of silence in which my brother and I stared intently at our father. My dad, dumbfounded, was unable to speak, but the tears in his eyes did the talking for him. Mission accomplished.
EIGHTEEN by Jack Teehan
The past is gone with a future yet to come. The dam has cracked but water has not flowed. Still we turn to the shore and the sea’s hum Calling us to seek what has been sowed. As we turn our backs to the land we know And look beyond to what is strange We realize that there is still much to grow And even more that has to change. “Advance! Advance!” we hear the cry As the vultures circle in the sky Waiting patiently with their judgemental eye. The winds and waves batter us like dough Making it a struggle for some to stay afloat The sea becoming more of a foe “To shore, to shore,” my comrades quote. Alas I see the land I desired From across this sea that made me tired. Changed I am now from before Now that I have reached the shore. My transition is all but done. My future has now begun.
by Amanda Walzer
People comment behind me: “What a dumpy, old town on the sea.” I look out the frosted window: The leaves lull to the ground, The wind whips against the glass. There is crispness in the air; Nakedness in the scenery. No kids swimming, no families vacationing, But, in my heart, it is warm. The birds still soar, and the sky is still blue, The water still rushes to the cliffs, Tanning oil is still in excess. The memories are all still here. Why would anyone think of it differently? Because what lies above is the easiest see.
Regrowth, Isabelle Beauchamp
“There are no motivations or social requirements behind it. It is not a lie. It is a truth.”
“SMILE!” by Carly Manshum
I have hundreds of pictures scattered around my room—in picture frames hanging on the wall, on a cork board around my mirror, even a frame shaped as a bus with thirteen different openings for each school year picture (kindergarten to twelfth grade). As I look at each one of these pictures, I cannot help but notice that they all look basically the same—a smile is plastered to my face. I look happy in these pictures, but unless I can remember the exact moment I took each of them, how can I actually be sure? The only way is to look beyond those deceiving grins, even if it is not what I really want to see. A smile is simply a facial expression. It is an upward turn in the corners of both sides of the mouth, and sometimes the mouth opens up just a little so that the front teeth become visible. It is not a hard thing to do; nonetheless, a simple smile can mean something completely different for each person. In society it is used as a symbol for happiness; it can represent friendliness and approval. Many would say that it can hold all the power; it is a handy tool to whip out whenever needed. Some smile as a coping mechanism, curling their mouth just wide enough to fool those around them, and sometimes even themselves, into believing that there is no pain at all. But more than anything, a smile is a result of circumstances that elicit happiness and contentment. It is not a disguise meant to mislead those around them. A smile’s beauty should only be shown when it is really meant.
Today it is hard to catch a woman on camera with a smile not on her face. On the show The Bachelor, for instance, every girl steps out of the limo with the same delighted grin. The bachelor then begins to instantly pick out which women have the most appealing features, and it all begins with the smile. Yes each smile may seem genuine, but it can be easy to question the motivations behind the smile. Is there joyful sincerity hiding behind that red lipstick, or is it a guise meant to fool more than just the bachelor himself? “Let’s see, maybe some more blush… and a little more lipstick. Okay that looks good.... Oh wait, one more finger comb through my hair. Now I am ready.” As these mindless thoughts go through her head, she tugs her prized possession out of her back pocket and opens her most used app—Snapchat. It is now time to respond to her streaks. Flipping the camera screen around to face herself, she must make a difficult choice—how she should pose. First she does the lip scrunch, hand behind head, head tilt, “I’m too cool for you” appearance. “Do I like that one? Do I look pretty enough here? Maybe I’m trying too hard? Or maybe I’m not trying enough… Ugh! Forget it, I’ll just take another one.” This time she tries sticking her tongue out slightly, looking down at the ground, and laughing as if it just said something hilarious. “That’s a little better, but not quite right... that one was just practice anyway,” she declares. Her last attempt is less complex. She
tilts the phone up above her head, with a perfect smile showing all her teeth and her eyes shimmering as if a twenty-four carat diamond is reflected off her eyes, and takes the selfie. On social media, we need to make sure our smile is recognized. Besides capturing constant selfies of ourselves to prove how happy we are, we send messages such as: “Too funny! LOL!” and “OMG! I love that!” These simple words and emoticons are the new way of showing others that we are always happy even if our face is not seen. Similar to Leslie Gore’s famous song, when we look through the perfect lens of social media, our life is just “sunshine and lollipops and rainbows.” The lyrics of Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” might as well be on closed captions underneath the post. Even if we do not believe it ourselves, it is easy enough to convince others that we are “happy.” Andy Rooney, a famous radio and television writer, once said, “If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.” This concept is a challenging one for me because it is difficult to picture myself smiling when no one else is around; however, after considering Rooney’s theory a bit more I realize that it is no different than praying outside of Church, or volunteering at a homeless shelter without the intention of using the hours as a part of the Christian Service Hour requirement. In both of these situations I am not gaining any compensation from other people; rather, I am growing as a person because I want to grow as a person. Similarly, when I smile when no one
else is watching, I am smiling because I have a reason to smile. There are no motivations or social requirements behind it. It is not a lie. It is a truth. “You are not alone; there are so many people who love you,” my cousin told her friend. This friend was the essence of an artificial smile. She had the most sincere fake smile anyone had ever seen, yet those close to her could see right through it. With the help and support of my cousin, her friend eventually realized that smiling was not the answer to all of her problems. That sinking feeling of being alone was not a result of not smiling enough, but because she smiled too much. She did not have friends because she smiled, but because she was loved. Her friend was just one of many who fall into the trap of social protocol that dictates smiling on command. Rather than falling into the continuous trap, women need to take a step back and ask themselves why they are smiling. If every smile we make is made simply because someone else told us to smile, then we need to determine what is going to make the forced smile turn into a natural one. Rather than walking outside and turning that frown upside down, it is easier to expose the truth to the world. It is not a bad thing to let that smile be upside down once and awhile, because everyday is not “sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.” Not every day should we feel the need to send a happy face emoji. By leaving that facade at home and honestly smiling, it will be easier for others to see what is really inside. So when we see our smile in a picture, we will know that it is a genuine one.
YOU ARE HOME by Annie Burkhalter
You are a blinding white light when I am in the darkest of places, guiding me back to where I’m supposed to be. You are a red rose in a field of daisies; you are beautifully different and perfectly unafraid of being unique. You’re my cup of hot chocolate after we’ve gone sledding because you warm me up on the inside and make me feel good. You’re a wizard, smart and cunning, and sometimes a little mischievous. You are my favorite book because I can feel the fingers of my right hand holding onto less and less pages as I read on. I don’t want you to end, or in this case, go off to college. I want you to magically have more pages than the last time I opened you up so I can keep reading and not worry about when I’ll have to stop. But all of these, my light, my rose, my hot chocolate, my wizard, and my favorite book, I would give all of these up in a heartbeat for the sake of the last and most important thing that you are to me. Lastly, you are home. You are what I crave after a long and tiring day at school. You’re where I want to go after hanging out with friends. At the end of the day, I always find my way back to you. My safe space. Thank you for being my shelter in the storm, where I start and end every single day. You are and always will be home to me.
Summer Daze, Helena Te
WALNUT EYES by Emma Jensen
The four of us were all sitting around the table, fork and knife in each hand. Outside the rain-stained window was a storm of fire-hued leaves blowing in the crisp, autumn air. Dinner was routine; my father had made the typical meal of green beans and pork, accompanied by tall glasses of skim milk. The typical “How was school” and “Are you going to the office tomorrow?” statements were exchanged. I was still dressed in my uniform, consisting of a long plaid skirt and clean, white polo. Everything was normal. I cradled my chin in my hand and pushed my vegetables around the blue plate in front of me. Being only seven years old, listening to my parents drone on about the news was quite a bore. I lifted my head to
all they did was add another muddy feature to my appearance. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair at all. I crossed my arms over my chest and felt my lower lip began to tremble. A single tear trickled down my cheek. “Darling, what’s wrong?” my father asked me gently. Though I hadn’t said anything, my dramatic body language was enough to catch his eye. “Why are my eyes so ugly?” I cried. At this point, I was already bawling, my little frame shaking and shuddering from sobs. Eye color doesn’t seem like something important enough to have a temper tantrum over, but keep in mind that I was only seven years old; consequently, to me this was simply a tragedy.
the contrasting features of my family: porcelain faces, rosy cheeks, and silky, light hair. I always felt different, like the only un-sharpened pencil in the box. “You have brown eyes because you were born that way, and they are absolutely beautiful just the way they are,” my mother told me, but I said nothing back. There was another episode of silence. I was not in the mood for a cliché pick-meup from my mother, especially since it was her blue eyes that were the antagonist in the situation. Suddenly, my mom stood up from the table, her old, wooden chair scraping the old, wooden floor. She shuffled from the table, the pant legs of her jeans producing a subtle swishing noise. Soon, the clinking of glass and the
rustle of plastic bags resonated from the kitchen. A few moments later, she returned with a proud look plastered on her face. Cupped in my mother’s hands was a little bowl containing one peanut, one cashew, one pistachio, and one walnut. Why we had so many different nuts in our pantry, I don’t know. “This is our family,” she stated, “Everyone is one nut.” She then individually plucked each nut out of the bowl and presented them to their corresponding family member. Naturally, I got the walnut. I carefully observed it, the wrinkled, brown specimen staring right back at me. “All the nuts are different, but all are equally as good. However, when you put them all together, it makes the perfect mix.” I smiled a little smile and
“The toddler threw me a toothy smile, her eyes twinkling like the sun on the sea.” glance at the little girl seated across from me. The toddler threw me a toothy smile, her eyes twinkling like the sun on the sea. For a reason that I could not explain, the orbs grasped my attention. They were all I could think of. My own plain brown eyes darted from face to face. My mother had irises of ice, shocking and bright, and my father’s were the hue of a soft sky. The jealousy I felt consumed me like a disease. Their eyes were so beautiful and so blue while mine were the color of the dirt under people’s feet. I hated my eyes so much, for they were incredibly plain; similarly, 40
“I want blue eyes like you guys. Why am I different? I don’t want brown eyes!” There was a brief silence at the table. The forks and knives stopped cutting and were put down, the breeze outside ceased, and the leaves settled on the ground. Tears were streaming down my face, so many that I could taste the salty droplets that slipped down to meet my lips. I have always known that I was adopted. My parents never hid this truth from me. They said it was my right to know. It wouldn’t have been hard to figure out however. My tan skin had always set me apart from
Morning Breath, Olivia Klein Candlelight
wrapped the walnut in my fingers like a warm blanket. I sighed and looked at my mother who was staring right back at me, the same smile dancing on her mouth. This was much better than the pick-me-up. The sentimental moment was disrupted by a loud crunching noise. My parents and I both turned to look at the little girl, vigorously chewing a certain something in her mouth. Noticing the sudden attention, the girl stopped mid-chew, her eyes wide; she was caught red handed. The girl laughed a loud, breathy
Treasure, Carly Manshum Candlelight
laugh, and the pungent scent of peanuts reached my nose. I started to giggle, the jealousy and sadness from before almost completely dissolved. Her laugh was like a hysterical kitten. Loud and crazy, but undeniably adorable. Not to mention contagious. Now the whole table had erupted in laughter. Now there was no tears, no differences, no eye color; there was only laughter. I still call my little sister Peanut.
FISHING FISHING FOR FOR MEMORIES MEMORIES
by Patricia Freeman
“Hi! Welcome to the Warren Township Grandparent’s Day Celebration!” Sighing audibly, I turned away from the lady at the check-in counter and began to survey my surroundings like a new student in the school cafeteria. A pair of first graders on my right, a runny-nosed preschooler on my left, and absolutely no one that I knew. As I spun around again, the childish signs posted around the entrance caught my eye. “Face Painting down the hall!” “Coloring in the main room!” “Balloon animals outside!” What has my mom forced me into this time? I thought, regretting my decision to give in to her nagging. Turning back to the situation at hand, I flinched as my grandma grabbed my arm. “We should go fishing at the pond!” she exclaimed. “You always go fishing with your dad, right? You can teach me and Grandpa how to use a fishing rod!” The woman working the checkin counter nodded her approval of my grandma’s idea, ignoring my apparent eye-roll. “I just need one more piece of information from you before you leave,” she announced, turning to me. “How old are you, sweetie? Seven? Eight?” “I’m twelve.” For a second, she seemed taken aback by my curt reply; however, her cheery smile raced back into view as she scribbled down my age and directed us towards the fishing pond. Following yet another bright yellow
sign with a crayon-drawn picture of a fish on it, the three of us made our way to the back of the community center, silence filling the empty space. I could sense the atmosphere becoming increasingly unbearable, and I wanted nothing more than to return to the comfortable solitude of my house. “Are you sure you want to go fishing?” I implored my grandparents. “We could just go home. It looks like it’s about to rain anyways!” Glancing skeptically at the clear blue sky, my grandma remained adamant, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to fish and what better way than to have my granddaughter teach me!” As we began to make our way through the line leading to the pond, my grandparents made every attempt to engage me in conversation. They were woodpeckers, chipping away at my silent exterior. “Who are your teachers this year?” “Are you still playing basketball?” “When do you leave for vacation?” However, I remained silent, pouting like a toddler who has been denied her favorite ice cream treat. We finally reached the front of the line and were greeted by a young man who supplied us with three child-sized fishing rods before walking away. My rod was a hot pink, Dora the Explorer-themed piece of plastic. Covered in dried water weeds and smelling slightly of old fish, it was about as enticing as a moldy tree
Fruit, Ava Kolar
branch. Disgruntled, I stared silently at my reflection in the glassy lake, not talking or making eye contact with either of my grandparents, the foreign fishing rod lying uselessly at my feet. I refused to admit to them that I actually had no idea how to use it. Although I had been fishing with my dad before, I had never actually learned how to do it myself. My only job had been to bait the hooks; besides, I didn’t care about fishing. I found it exceedingly monotonous. After several minutes of sulking, I heard a series of small splashes next to me and turned to see my grandpa unhooking a small fish from his line. Amazed, I broke my silence as I cried out loudly, “I had no idea you knew how to fish, Grandpa!” My grandpa nodded, “I used to fish all the time at the pond in my neighborhood when I was your age.” I began to eye my own bright pink fishing rod, my curiosity hanging loosely in the summer air, waiting to be addressed. Sensing my unspoken question, my grandpa offered, “I can teach you how to use it if you want.” Hesitantly, I nodded and let my grandpa take a hold of my rod. He pierced a tiny piece of bread with the barbed metal hook and demonstrated how to properly hold the handle; his rough, calloused hands gripped mine while he showed me the correct way to cast my line outwards into the pond. As my hook hit the surface of the water, I could feel myself starting to smile. Maybe this isn’t so bad, I thought, beginning to feel more optimistic about not just fishing but the whole day in general. A wave of enthusiasm washed over me, and
before I could change my mind, I turned to my grandparents and asked, “Do you want to come to my first basketball game next week?” My grandma’s eyes lit up, and my grandpa began nodding vigorously. Smiling, I started to tell them about my new classes, when suddenly, there was a sharp tug on my rod, followed by an insistent pulling. “You got one!” my grandparents cried. “Quick, reel it in!” My eyes widened incredulously, and the muscles in my arms tensed as I prepared to reel in my line. The slippery plastic of the rod slid in and out of my hands as I worked to remain in control, and in the background, my grandma’s excited cries pierced my consciousness. The fishy smell of the lake filled my nostrils, and I started laughing nervously as my rod jerked from side to side. My heart beat faster and faster, the rod slowly slipping through my fingers and the sharp fishing line cutting into my palms. Despite the fun I was having, I realized the fish was too strong; I was going to have to let go. All of a sudden, a large wrinkled pair of hands embraced my own, and I looked up into my grandpa’s face. “Don’t worry,” he reassured me. “I’m holding on, too. That fish can’t pull both of us into the pond!” Relieved, I once again smiled and then began to reel in my fish. When it hit the shore, my grandparents cheered and embraced me, their love as contagious as the smiles that ran across their faces. Tossing the fish back into the pond, I turned to my grandparents and grinned, “What should we do next?”
“Disgruntled, I stared silently at my reflection in the glassy lake.”
HAPPY PLACE HAPPY PLACE HAPPY PLACE HAPPY PLACE HAPPY PLACE HAPPY PLACE HAPPY PLACE by Alyssa Graves
hush of rustling leaves whispered in the wind; under them, a soft dew had woven a veil of glistening droplets over the grass. The quiet chatter of students’ feet gossiping with the gravel in each step fell into rhythm with the morning lullaby of the birds. The sun peaked over the towering spire of Silliman College, and my pen fervently scratched at the journal beneath me. Deep in thought, floating in peace. The squeak of a tree swing awoke me from my romantic fog and I removed my eyes from the paper. As I looked out to the courtyard before me, Yale transformed through my shift in perspective. No longer did the brick walls enclosing me appear daunting; rather, its charming architecture felt as familiar to me as the warmth of my comforter back home. For the first time on my trip, I was content. All anxieties fell behind me. I watched the inhabitants of the campus go about their business; the squirrels scampered up the bark of their oak trees, birds flitted from bush to nest, grass wiped its eyes from an evening’s rest. I was no longer peering into a world foreign to me; I was a part of the picture, adding my own instrument to the finely tuned orchestra. Sprawled out on the wooden bench, I continued my work. Analyzing scripts and characters consumed my attention. For a moment, I felt the warmth of the sun break past the barrier of my skin to my thoughts. Glowing. Suddenly, my friend burst out of the stoic dorm building doors and clamored down the weathered
steps. Emma joined me on the bench, plopping down with her own work in hand. “How about some coffee?” she asked. She had just met me a few days ago and could already read my mind. Coffee was the only thing missing from my early rise. “Sounds great,” I smiled, hardly able to contain my giddiness. We walked up the stairs, out the wrought iron gate of the Silliman courtyard, and across the street to Blue Street Coffee; the vintage white facade radiated its morning welcome, a shining beacon for early risers and night owls alike. We swung open the door and were greeted by a refreshing breeze of the small cafe, the aroma of coffee bean overwhelmed our senses. A line of desperate customers who eyed the coffee counter with thirst came next to acknowledge us. “Good morning, girls!” a barista shouted over the shrill of the espresso machine. “Good morning!” we returned in unison. The rumble of laptops at work and the thunder of people visiting over their porcelain cups filled my ears. We stepped up to the counter and ordered our usuals: iced caramel macchiato for me, a chai tea latte for her. “Isn’t it funny how we’ve only been here for a week and we already have our orders down to a science?” Emma laughed. I would’ve never thought I would be comfortable enough at Yale to start a routine. We grabbed our orders and crossed the street back to Silliman. While I touched my key card to the door, I brought the straw to my mouth; a bitter stream rushed
Leading, Isabelle Beauchamp
over my taste buds. A quiet beep sounded off and we hurried back to our homebase: the soft grey bench under a quaint tree. More of our peers had come out from under their sheets and joined us in the courtyard, clusters of colors strewn across the quad. A few boys played frisbee in one corner, a group of kids gathered around the tree swing, others laid on the ground with their noses deep in scripts. We set down our drinks on the stone pathway next to our feet and assumed a comfortable position. With no shame, I swung my legs over the arm of the bench and lounged on it like my couch. I opened my book and returned to dissecting my character. “Hey, guys!” a few of our friends called from the other end of the yard. We waved and invited them to our sacred spot. Emma suggested we work
on our monologues, and soon, we bonded over the stories. I remember looking around as we laughed at a monologue. The wind now smiled with us and a fresh understanding rose between the group. No longer strangers grasping for acceptance, we became a family. “I love it here,” my friend Sophie blurted out. I couldn’t have agreed more. “I really want a picture,” I gushed as I grabbed my polaroid camera from my backpack. My Yale family squeezed together in a tight embrace; certainly, I couldn’t help but smile as I pressed the shutter button. Click! I finally felt my mind grow still. Deep in thought, floating in peace. Glowing. The polaroid developed.
THE TIME MACHINE by Tori Jozwiak
“I can’t remember the last time I saw him. We weren’t that close,” Grandma said while rocking in her chair. She paused for a second. “He did have a nice car, though.” I pulled my eyes away and stretched my neck to look over at Grandma, expecting her to be looking at me with a smile. Instead, her eyes were casted downward towards the Christmas stocking that she was working on. I let myself gawk at the way her arthritic fingers attempted to dance with the thread and needle. Whoever said age slows a person down has never met my grandmother. Remembering stories from her young adult life all while sewing angels into the stocking sky. As she worked, I entertained myself with 3D pictures of her adolescence. Faster than light, my grandma’s photographs transported me into a valencia-colored world. I closed my eyes, just for a moment, and imagined myself living in the scene portrayed. I was soon sitting with a gang on a curb in the 1950’s. As I rested with them, I heard a feminine laugh. I peered over towards the direction I imagined the laugh to be coming from and noticed a young woman; nonetheless, she was barely older than me and sitting on the hood of a car that looked similar to the one
my grandma mentioned. The laugh was generated by that girl, clothed in a floral, below the knee dress—an outfit I would never be caught dead in. Next to her stood a man with a smirk plastered across his face with a cigarette hanging from his lips. Boys will do anything to look cool. Soaking in all of my surroundings, I realized how different lifestyles were among spanning generations. The two casually positioned themselves around a cherry red sports car, whispering a private issue, one that was apparently amusing to the woman. Her flirtatious giggle. Lips as red as blood. Twirling her hair between two fingers. Batting her eyes just a little more than normal. Her behavior was one that I’ve seen girls do time and time again to try and grab the attention of boys. I tried to make out what they were saying, but the roar of the car’s engine was overwhelming. I focused back on the female, this time on her face. Do I know you? I stared for a time that would have been considered rude. It was a familiar face. One that would be hard to forget. Grandma’s. I opened my eyes to Grandma still working on the angels. What just happened? I peered over at her and still could detect a hint of youthfulness, as
if she was still planted on top of the car. Years had passed, but her playful spirit remained in her. Suddenly, a croaky laugh that came from my grandma startled me. “Go exploring,” she said, pointing to the container of photos under her chair. Without trying to embarrass myself from my excitement, I casually scooted closer. The aged container was a treasure chest for me, filled to the brim with riches and memories. A long creaking noise emerged as I opened the top; I gathered a few of the old-timey photos, making sure not to damage them. I cradled the lot in my arms as carefully as a new mother would hold her newborn. I glanced at Grandma as she once again was consumed in her craft; likewise, I was consumed in the hoard of pictures and thoughts. It’s no big deal to her. How are these no big deal? I had a million questions to ask. “Those were the days.” Almost as if she read my mind. I scanned the selection in front of me. There was easily thirty years worth of pictures among them. It felt as if I had just won the lottery. I had the opportunity to visualize memories that I had grown up hearing about. This time, a group of people were assembled on the stairs of a
church: men in ruffled shirts and skinny ties, women in poofy sleeves and hair teased to the heavens, all wearing smiles. It was a wedding day. It was a happy day, one that I have never experienced before. Yet I was there on the steps with jovial relatives who I had heard about, but never met before. I smelled a strong mixture of musty cologne, mothballs, and alcohol, the scents often associated with distant relatives who one would only see at a wedding. Before I could name a single person, the bride waltzed by, gleaming with love and traces of sweat. The church bells conducted a song of jubilation as the wedding party filed into their cars. “My wedding was a hot one,” Grandma interjected. “People were enjoying the champagne too much that day! My friends don’t even remember that picture being taken!” She paused and looked down for a second. “Everything is stitched together!” she said in a satisfied tone. Puzzled at what she meant, I looked up at her. “The stocking. It’s all stitched together. I finished.” I collected the memories, placed them in the bin, and slid them under the chair to await another journey.
INFERNO EPISODE THREE:
ou give and you give and you give. You give them everything; you pour your whole heart into it; you give them your heart. Tremulous and raw, it quivers in their rough-hewn hands. You watch in horror as their open palms clench into fists and squeeze your heart into one muscle contraction, stopping its arteries as it judders to a whimpering beat. You are on your knees, pleading, but you cannot see their faces anymore. They have all blurred into one face, one leering grin. You feel
chains manacling your limbs down, but you do not remember how they came there. Everyday the same bird comes, and everyday, you are his prey. The birdâ€™s beating wings replace the beating in your chest. To stop up yourself from becoming completely empty, you gather up everything, every should have, every could have, and stuff it into the aching hole in your chest, until there is only rancorous acid bubbling in the pit of your stomach. What were you expecting?
Scarcity and Abundance, Jacquelyn Luna
“INDIVIDUALITY” WITH IGNORANCE by Theresa Thiel
f freedom is the wise, aging father of American identity, individuality is its up-and-coming twenty-something child. Expressive singularity has seeped through the past decade of American culture as the new way to exercise one’s liberties. To America’s youngest generations, being unique is the new normal. Modern culture spotlights some pretty eccentric characters: sold-out runway shows of clashing garments no average citizen can afford, celebs who walk the red carpet with faces covered in paper bags to mourn their long-lost careers, families who are famous for spelling every word with the same initial and “just being famous.” Older generations look at these heavilypublicized spectacles with wideeyed utter shock; in contrast, the resounding reply of young America is an affirmative chuckle and “just be yourself.” Want to make a statement in a flashy, bedazzled outfit? Go for it! Have a secret nerdy passion for algebra? Own it, join the math team! Feel the burning desire to stand unclothed and stoic on the outskirts of the presidential inauguration in “artistic protest” (a real headline from the 2017 political scene)? Strange, but I’ll just laugh it off. After all, “you do you!” In a world brittled by bias, polarized by politics, and divided by debates, there’s nothing wrong with standing up for individuality. If anything, current socio-political
tensions have made expressing oneself even more essential to American life. Our inherent uniqueness births independent thinking, an essential skill for analyzing current events and proposing solutions to national and world-wide conflict. Millennials, the children of the 80s and 90s raised under a culture that screamed to “just be yourself” in appearance and personality, have transitioned their push for outward individuality to this idea of independent thinking. Around election season, Twitter teemed with 140-character reflections on the candidates, their platforms, and debates. In an era riddled with low voter turnout and many Americans failing to examine primary sources and think for themselves, millennials’ desire for outspokenness and original commentary is the small but mighty doorstop that prevents our nation from closing its door on collaborative decision-making. Cemented in personality and ideology, the trend for individuality is here to stay; furthermore, it holds significant potential for unified national progress if Americans can respectfully acknowledge the perspectives of their peers. But does “you do you,” the most recent catchphrase of this growing movement for American self-expression, actually promote the push for both individuality and inclusion? Upon examining its tone and context, one can confidently say “no”—and this should concern our Inferno
country of independent thinkers. Starting with its basic structure, “you do you” is an expression as empty as a barren desert. Linguistics experts classify the phrase as a tautology, a saying that “begs the question” with unnecessary repetition of a vague idea. On that structural level, there’s not much to “you do you.” Similarly, this popular catchphrase of American individuality loses nearly all of its clout in conversation. Its nonchalant expression and the subtle laughter accompanying it essentially shrug off the validity of the recipient. “You do you” does not translate to “I support your decisions” or “I appreciate your insight.” On the contrary, “you do you” is a cop-out used to deliberately avoid seeing another’s perspective. It’s a mockery of independent ideas, a refusal to even consider a different opinion, all wrapped up in a package of supposed acceptance and understanding. What the “inclusive” individuals who use this phrase really think falls along the lines of, “I’m not quite sure what you’re saying, so I’ll hold tight to my own opinion. ‘You do you’ and go your own way, but don’t dare to infringe on my beliefs.” Perhaps this drive for individualism, the culture of outspoken independence, has created a stubborn generation, resistant to change in the face of criticism. Looking back at social media, yes, young Americans are posting their own views, becoming involved instead of blindly agreeing to the top headlines...success! Or so it seems. Scroll below the Tweet, below the Facebook post, below the controversial YouTube video; that’s where it all runs awry. The comments
section. One dissenting view, even expressed in the most neutral way, creates a firestorm of backlash. “Stop trying to impose your views on other people,” reads a typical response to many an opinionated post, that of proficient editorialists and the average joe alike. The movement for individualism, the “you do you” mentality, has given America’s future opinions, or at least the ability to express them. But it has also given them obstinate ignorance, a refusal to back down from their beliefs no matter how sound an opponent’s logic may be. With cultural messages bordering on self-idolatry to the extent of Kanye’s popular song “I Am a God,” millennials themselves cannot bear all the burden. Our culture trained this participationtrophy generation to believe that the individual is always right, no matter what views he supports. “You do you” and its connotations deny the presence of objective truth; they make acceptance and concession alien to outspoken individuals. The privilege granted in having an opinion
I will strive to make young individuality something wise, nation-building freedom is proud of not lead the American movement for individuality. No matter who takes the blame, be it the media, millennials, or the generation preceding them, the ignorance in individuality needs to change. Next time I question a fashion, protest, or political view beyond my sphere of thought, I will not shrug my shoulders, laugh to myself, or release a nonchalant “you do you.” I will not fall into the ignorance of
individuality, becoming so blinded my opinion that I cannot bring light to any others. Instead, I will bridge the divides, inquiring about different practices, fostering the true spirit of independent thinking with acceptance and a broadening of perspective. I will strive to make young individuality something wise, nation-building freedom is proud of, even if that means leaving “you do you” behind. Sister, Requel Young
the ignorance in individuality needs to change has a catch—the need to be open to others’ perspectives—but “you do you” disregards this by glorifying narcissism, and therefore it should
FIGHT OR FLIGHT by Elizabeth Karagiannes
While walking out into the crisp fall air, nothing but the pull of frustration and exhaustion consumed me. I wanted only to drift into a serene repose. As I dragged my wornout Asics along the crumbling concrete, I abated my frustration over the difficult practice I had just experienced by forcing myself to focus on my upcoming period of rest and relaxation. The old, stark white Lincoln, whose peeling paint revealed patches of shining silver underneath, awaited my presence at the end of the mile-long parking lot. As I approached the passenger’s side of the car, eager to enjoy my awaited, peaceful downtime, my mom yelled out, “You’re driving.” Great. I did not want to drive. Alas, there was no choice; my mom was annoyingly hopping her fingers along her iPhone with her feet perched like a bird on the beat-up dash as she reclined in the coveted passenger’s seat. I grudgingly yanked myself up into the driver’s seat and tossed my bag into the back before closing the car door. A waft of sweat and worn socks greeted my mom and me like a concrete wall. “Geez, you should wash that thing in this century!” my mom bellowed, as she gagged while opening her window. So, of course, her comment only compounded my resentment and anger of having to drive home and wait even longer to attain some semblance of peace and quiet. Pretending not to have heard her, I waited for the pedals to greet 58
my feet as I moved them forward. I swiveled the mirrors to the correct position and shoved the car into drive. I crawled out of the parking spot and onto the main road, where I promptly went the wrong way. Shoot! I knew I had turned in the wrong direction; however, I pretended that I knew where I was going. My mom slid her feet off the dash and sat up, alert and ready to announce the error. Her eyebrows wrinkled together as she pointed to the opposite direction from which we were going, with her hand and fingers almost in front of my face. With exasperation she yelled at me, piercing my ears with her highpitched voice, to tell me that we were going the wrong way. But I calmly assured her we would make it home and everything would be fine. Then, I turned the radio on, to let some music soothe me into a peaceful state of mind. I did not want to drive.
staccato “ the notes
boomed and struck the air as we drove on...
The bass of the music vibrated throughout the car; while the staccato notes boomed and stuck in the air as we drove on. The repetitive beats of the current songs, not only did not calm me, but instead, further
irritated my state of frustration and exhaustion. I gripped the smooth, hand worn steering wheel more tightly as I continued driving down the main road; all around me, cars were bustling up and down the roads, in a hurry to get to wherever they needed to be. As I approached intersection after intersection, out of the corner of my eye, I watched my mom pressing her imaginary brake to stop the car at all the glaring red lights. This was what topped the resentment and anger bubbling up inside of me because I couldn’t comprehend why my mom insisted I should drive home when she didn’t trust my driving. I trusted my abilities and instincts. What was her problem? I did not want to drive. We finally reached the bend in the road at a three-way stop. The stop sign stood askew and rumbled in the wind. Freshly painted and rusty colored cars surrounded us. I trusted myself. I was nervous but I was confident that I would know when it was time to go. Cars were driving quickly past me, in a hurry, rushing along as they pleased, while I waited patiently to turn. “Why aren’t you going?” my mom screeched, as the flat car horns yelled from behind us to move on. “Go, what are you doing?!” When I finally felt right about making the turn, my mom’s cheeks flooded with red hot anger, since I did not obey her directions. I had trusted myself, why didn’t she trust me? However, my mom’s anger shook me; butterflies flooded my stomach, beads of sweat built on my forehead, confusion clouded my head, and the steering wheel became slippery
under my fingertips. I did not want drive. I no longer felt confident, just strong feelings of exhaustion and frustration.
“ I had trusted myself, why didn’t she trust me?
To head in the right direction, I had to turn left at a bustling highway stoplight. Feeling my nervousness overtake me, again, I hurried to get the shiny, glorious green arrow, to escape the busy traffic and avoid another red light incident. I sped faster and faster towards the arrow until it decided it no longer wanted to be green, but instead turned yellow. My instincts took over and I stabbed the heal of my Asics onto the brake. “GO, IT’S CLEAR!” my mom screamed. I did not feel ready. I did not want to drive. I really, truly did not want to drive. My instincts were telling me no. But my mom’s anger and insistence took over, so I jammed my worn-out Asics onto the gas again and went for the turn. As I turned, a slender, glistening, jet black sports car came speeding like a jaguar from across the intersection. I did not want to drive. I knew I shouldn’t have gone. I didn’t trust myself. I felt a jerk of the wheel from my mom’s hand just as my Asics met back up with the brake. We stood stagnant in the middle of the intersection, breathless, as the sports car moved on.
Ghost Girl, Sydney Johnson
DEAR MISOGYNISTIC COWORKER by Carolyne Im
Dear Misogynistic Coworker, You asked me once why I liked the fourteen year old girl—nay, the fourteen year old dragon—with fire in her veins and chipped nail polish adorning her fingertips and a voice a little too loud for a humid kitchen with five fryers. You asked me with scorn in your voice, Why do you talk to her? like she was somehow lesser than you, because women were outnumbered five to one in that grease-filled room. You told me once girls don’t usually keep this job because it was too “messy,” too “hard,” told me I “wasn’t like other girls,” like it was a compliment instead of another boring platitude, like I was supposed to throw myself at your feet with gratitude, thank god someone finally understood me. You swore in front of me and told me you could handle the heavy packages so I wouldn’t strain myself, and your machismo was so obvious as it leaked out the sides of your mouth and flashed in your eyes, and I politely looked away. You hid behind the mask of a timid, polite boy, and maybe you are. I wouldn’t presume to know too much about you; I only saw you in five hour shifts three nights a week with grease embedded in the pores of our skin, a baseball cap placed permanently on top of our heads, tucking away every stray strand, neon lights illuminating every beautiful and disgusting feature. But with every off-hand word, I simultaneously understood more and less about you. And to answer your question—I talk to her because I refuse to stifle her voice as so many others do.
SHE CAN’T FORGET by Jackie Bruce
See: That she is trying. That sometimes it’s hard to tell that you’re genuine because she’s so used to being fed lies. She can’t distinguish between your hands and his, so sometimes when you touch her she remembers. Regardless, she still welcomes you with open arms. Because she relaxes into you the way a house settles into its foundation. Your bodies fit together like puzzle pieces. But please Consider: That she is trying. That the bad in her life outweighs the good and there is more than one man who haunts her dreams at night. There are parts of her life she can’t remember but can’t forget. That she sees her life as a series of regrets. But whether or not you agree, you must Realize: That she is trying. She no longer sets a place for sin at the dinner table. But there’s no way to erase the mania. Tongues that speak a mile a minute do more harm than good. That sometimes she can’t slow down. Other times she is a prisoner in her own bed. She doesn’t have control. There are holes in her soul that will never be filled. But you are trying. She is the boomerang that will always come back to you, even if she gets lost sometimes.
Okay lies not in a field of flowers, but drying or pressing those flowers so we can create something new out of seemingly useless surroundings.
THE MONSTER IN YOUR STOMACH IS YOUR HEAD by Allie Settle
The monster inside never stays quiet. It grows inside your stomach. We used to fear the monster under our bed, But now it is inside our head. It makes you think about its enemy every waking moment Until it is fed. It’s a bottomless pit. Only water may fuel it. Maybe today I’ll be more this, more that. If I try hard enough, I will get something from anyone, Just a little of anything. If I am more this or more that, Those above me will see my shine, They don’t need to give praise, Just make memories and happier days. Maybe if I stick it out a little longer, It will all go away. I might run towards okay. Okay lies not in a field of flowers, but drying or pressing those flowers So we can create something new out of seemingly useless surroundings. Okay is not trying to change every aspect To become something another flawed person thinks is a different kind of flawed.
The Long Walk, Carly Manshum
VITALITY #17 by Celia DeKeyser
the rhododendrons: immediate and forever curling, weaving through crooked fingers, through crooked, heavy fingers, fist clenching, white-knuckled snowdrop who ate the rhododendrons, swallowed the bush whole and sutured the earth with twine only to rip, again, the careful threads with her toes: ripe and bruised, ten purple, swollen grapes.
Nymphaeaceae, Coral Wang
Wearing the Labels, Carly Manshum
Same Different, Mika Ella Ignacio
BACK AGAIN by Allie Settle
I am sick of living in the mess you created. I know no way out, since no one showed me the ropes. There’s just an inevitable rut that keeps getting deeper with each recurring thought. The walls have turned to brown like those of a coffee shop with huge windows overlooking the abandoned street corner but busy with the hum of coffee machines. It’s moderately full of three college students furiously typing and a group of fortysomethings catching up, being too loud for the mother of two behind them. I strut in, faking the confidence that was stolen years ago. My gaze falls upon a wilted man so alone the air around him died, too. He wilts not in age, though he is not young, but he wilts in sorrow. The crisp fall air must have nipped at his ankles, because his head rose as the door shut. Dead silence fills your head as it screams in a palette of possible outcomes and escape routes. He stares in awe at how much I have grown, or so he thought. He was really looking at a work in self-progress. The thing he sees raised itself out of the mud and got past those who were simply walking. It pushed them back. They say I pushed them down, but the only way to lift yourself up is to lift others up. I let myself come back to reality by taking the first step forwards. One foot in front of the other. Let your emotionally calloused body follow. Repeat. He rises from the tall chair and has his target set on me. I stop dead in my second step. Without a moment’s notice or the opportunity to pull out my pocket knife before my plan
to run, his arms attempt to hold me hostage. The two seconds feel like thirty in misery; a whirl of confusion. This is not a stranger, but I know the rest of the world’s people better than the one who thinks it’s okay... I’m okay… to hold. For years of sleep loss and depression, I have been planning what to say or do, when to remain silent. Instinct takes over since autopilot only exists in this cockpit. My body bursts into movement and runs out the door as if it is but mist. My legs that were lead now carry me to the hidden parking lot behind the overpriced home decor shop. As soon as my numb mind detects relative safety, it tells my legs to stand down, letting my body fall to its knees. Still leasing control of my mind, I let out a cry of defeat, as if my lungs scream why. This is when I recognized my mind and soul dying. Most people discuss dying casually. To me, death itself is not too far from the truth. My body may be young, but I grew up before getting old. Peaking early only means the person was too slow or too late to take the wave of opportunity that surpassed them, leaving them behind in the rapture. The man remains inside. He is silent as he assesses what he has and has lost. That balance tips. The weight of loss pounds in his heart which has gone stone cold. Each strike he lands on the tiny shadow of a child in his memory turns him to stone. The one who abandoned is now the deserted one, yet there are no fingers to point other than to history. Time. Time doesn’t heal all wounds on a soul because nothing really can.
Keeping Silent, Olivia Klein
L O O S E L I P S by Reagan McGinn
ust tell me,” she says. “I promise I won’t tell anyone else.” You stand there on the fence, at the crossroads, tempted to speak. The words, words about someone else, seem to be crawling their way up to your mouth. They start in your stomach, but you hold them down. “Maybe I shouldn’t,” you respond. But the words are on the move again. Don’t do it. The words have touched your lungs, consuming the air you breath. But what’s the harm in telling her? Now they have touched the back of your neck, tingling your nerves. I can’t take it. I just want to let it out. And now they have grabbed your tongue, twisting and coiling it like a contortionist. Here they come, they just need one more push. “Come on, please?” she asks, almost seeming desperate. And that’s it. They come spilling out, those secrets, those rumors, those words you didn’t own. They’re out, and you can’t take that back. Oh well. We hear conversations like this all the time. Whether it happens in the halls, on the bus, or through the phone, gossip plays a huge role in our lives. In fact, 60 percent of our conversations are gossip. This means a majority of your life, you’re talking about someone else, or someone else is talking about you. While you’re passing on the latest rumor, your best friend is spilling your secrets, knocking down that wall of trust you two built up way back in the second grade. All those little pieces of you— the ones that seem so small but mean so much—you shared with her, and in return she shared them with that girl (What’s her name?...) who sits behind you in Bio. And who knows who else is
going to hear them now? That’s okay, you think. No one really cares if I drank from a sippy cup till I was six. But like any game of telephone, somehow, the words are going to get tossed in a blender and mixed around until they’re ready to be poured into a tall glass of “This is Not What We Started With.” Next thing you know, you’ve gone from someone who used a sippy cup through preschool to someone who drank from a baby bottle through freshman year. So you retaliate. You find your victim—possibly antisocial, slightly neurotic? She’ll do. You find your victim’s weakness—only wears hand-me-downs, tucks her hair back behind her ears when she’s nervous? Sounds good to me. Ready? I don’t know. Aim. Should I? Fire. Oops. So you keep the ball rolling, feeding into that 60 percent wherever you go, throwing gossip and rumors into the air like a pile of colorful Autumn leaves. Beautiful— until they start blowing around and making a mess. You don’t have control over them anymore. Every time you drop a seemingly harmless rumor about someone, it gets caught in the wind and blown around by hot air. Now everybody is talking about your victim. And maybe she’s crying in the bathroom, maybe she skipped school, or maybe she’s just wishing she didn’t exist. With heightened anti-bullying efforts, this all sounds cliché, but that’s what happens when people gossip. Victims of gossip can have anxiety, neglect for school work, or even suicidal thoughts. The one rumor that was spread, whether is was true or not, set the leaves on fire for the victim, and her classmates aren’t giving her
any water to put them out. But who cares? She was a loner anyway, and she would never be anything more than that. But it’s not that simple. Just look at Taylor Swift—ever heard of her? Fame, fortune, talent, the girl has it all; could you ever imagine bullying someone like Taylor Swift? It almost seems impossible, but she was teased and gossipped about in middle school by a clique of girls who didn’t think she was pretty or “cool” enough to hang out with them. Her bullies underestimated her abilities, seeing her love of country music as flaw rather than a tool to make her mark on the music industry. Deep down, Taylor Swift had what it took to earn fame, just like every other victim. Your target may be swimming in a stained, oversized sweatshirt today, but tomorrow, she could be walking the red carpet, reporters begging her to answer the question “Who are you wearing?” You choose to ignore this, focusing instead on the superficial reasons that make someone worthy of your “respect.” You choose to play with a pile of leaves. But I’m a victim too, you think. I know what it feels like to come home crying and not want to go to school the next day. I get it. In fact, with gossip taking up as much of our conversations as it does, we might all be victims. Let’s go back to middle school, that time of random growth spurts, social selection, and verbal toxicity. Some of your friends start wearing makeup, so naturally, you want to wear it too. You decide to wear makeup to school for the first time—nothing too heavy, just a bit of nude eye-shadow, a few swipes of mascara, and some lip gloss. With
poise and elegance, you strut onto the bus, hoping to earn a spot in the back seat—the school bus equivalent of the grade school cafeteria “cool table.” Showing your “best friend” your makeup, you bat your eyelashes, and with that sixth grade sense of humor, you probably add in a wink. With wide eyes and an insincere smile, your friend says she likes it, “but….” She doesn’t like it. She spends the rest of the bus ride in the back seat—now the governing force behind spewing social inequities—whispering with the other girls about your first attempt to wear makeup. Peering over their shoulders, the girls giggle. Humiliation presses down on your chest. In a moment, this thin facade which promised self confidence and inclusion has transformed into a coat of conspicuous clown makeup. Was it my lips? My eyes? What did I do wrong? Last week they were appalled you’d never been to Sephora, yet today they’re hoping you brought makeup remover. Shrinking away, you find refuge in intense examination of your backpack; its zippers, straps, and pockets now require all of your attention. By the end of the bus ride, the story is that an old woman did your makeup. It’s like they want you to start crying, like they want to see your mascara run just so they can criticize you for not buying waterproof. You go home that day, take off your makeup, and, out of fear of further criticism, don’t touch cosmetics for two years. But even after we’ve been the victim, we still gossip. We go from crying in the bathroom to dishing rumors during passing period. Why are we so inclined to let history repeat itself? We want to be in that circle,
Caught in the Storm, Olivia Klein
that circle of cohesion that connects all the people who know everything about everyone and anyone. We want them to crowd around us, hanging on every word we say. We want her to beg us to tell that one secret, the juiciest secret, the one that climbs its way up your throat and into your mouth and won’t leave until you just spit it out. We let our loose lips do the talking, every spilled rumor earning us bonus points in an effort to keep ourselves out of the line of fire; no one would dare hurt us now. And yet again you find yourself back on that
bus, whispers being thrown at your back like darts. Gossipping hurts both the giver and receiver and is therefore not an effective method to build trust. You can provide all the gossip, all the rumors, all the truths, all the lies, but they won’t provide you with protection; forget about the bonus points, you’re already target practice for the firing squad. Soon, our own secrets will be the ones crawling up their throats, twisting their tongues, ready to leap out.
ASHES EPISODE FOUR:
rown used to the daily ache of your shackles, your mind turns to other channels of thought. The sun and moon keep their perpetual watch. By their steady light you stare at the fallen earth, and you grieve. You grieve for your mistakes, and you grieve for theirs. Under the sun’s withering glare you recount all of your failings, every error that brought you to this point— your arrogance, your pride, and your shame. And under the moon’s penetrating gaze you reflect on their simplicity, indolence, and selfishness. Your differences with them, which seemed so defined before, melt away.
With this realization in mind, you find less potency in your daily struggles. One day your chest splits open, and as your regrets spill out onto the ground, you find something else has filled your emptiness. Finally, one of your people climbs up your mountain, strikes at your chains, and carries you down. By the time you reach the bottom, the exhilarating, terrifying sound of beating wings has faded from your hearing. You get up on your own two feet and walk with your people westwards.
Unity, Alyssa Graves
AN ODE TO YOUR GHOST-TOWN by Celia DeKeyser
the leftover diner fish are rotting raw on the curb, maggots working their dusk magic on haddock and herring, mothballing the dreams of the waitress and cracking the windows, and out of context one might think you were trying to undo the enlightenment.
by Megan Filar
Walls are built up like legos. They connect together but are weak enough to be broken. The cycle goes on and on. You build up your walls, then someone comes along and tears them down. They are destroyed and you’re broken. You’re left to pick up the pieces. There is no such thing as mercy when it comes to people’s feelings. You might have help building up your walls making them stronger, Learning from YOUR mistakes. You might be left alone, because people are so tired of constantly helping you. It is only when you’re left alone that your pain spreads. Then you give up on building your walls. They crumble till there is nothing. Only a vast landscape that once used to protect you.
Findings, Isabelle Beauchamp
OUT OF SIGHT by Patrick Delos Reyes
“Steph, please. Help your mom with her bags,” my father asked, opening the trunk. I quietly obliged, reaching for the dull black handle of her suitcase. As we approached the airport, my brother and I stepped carefully with our umbrella, dodging the near-invisible pools of water. The suitcase, clumsily rolling along, did not help my cause, and I soon regretted wearing slippers in the rain. Alas, it was to be a quick trip to see my mom leave for her flight. Despite the clock nearing midnight, the airport was packed. Clusters of people in lines, waiting to weigh their luggage, turn them in, or take them home. People looking for their loved ones, people running to the restroom, people napping on the benches. The air was an ovenlike humid, and I felt thoroughly 78
uncomfortable. I decided then that I did not like airports one bit. I knew I had to be here, though; my dad would not take too kindly to any opposition tonight. I pondered on my last airport experience, which had been a trip to France. The airport in France had been much more exciting, I thought. Everything everywhere was in French. There was this bubbleshaped dome in the middle where several gently sloping conveyor belts, not escalators, crisscrossed through, taking people to different sides. How exhilarating it had felt to be in a new country! I was with only my fellow French student Kevin. I had been alone except for him, which was a nice breath of independence from— “Stephen, are you listening? We need to get in line. Let’s go.”
I suppose one cannot daydream at night. We moved past the crowds of people walking in endless circles and joined the check-in line; luckily for us, it was shorter than I expected. I glanced over at my brother and found him mindlessly playing a game on his phone. It looked fairly violent, and scowled at him when he looked up. “What? It’s just a game.” “Sure, but is it really that fun to shoot big guns and watch little people explode?” Nevertheless, his head tilted back down, returning full attention to the screen. I glanced around, noticing nothing important. I sighed loudly, hoping to draw the attention of my parents. They had a solemn look about their faces, and gave me a brief nod. I hoped that meant they knew I was bored here. I understood why it meant much to my parents that I came, but I really would have rather just stayed at home. The line shuffled forward anxiously, the consecutive steps like stopped cars in traffic, impatiently inching forward to get to work on time. Eventually, my mother led us up to the check-in desk, and with a slight smile presented her bags to the counter. The suitcase was tagged and weighed and measured and tossed onto the conveyor belt, all the while my mom being nervous, as usual. I figured she worried too much; besides, we had measured it ourselves at home multiple times. And as I expected, everything went well and we moved on. Now was the point of the trip; we would watch Mom weave her way through the barriers and wave her goodbye as she walked on
to security. And so we did. The welldressed woman walked on with small steps. Even though she was going to be on a long flight, I remembered she wanted to be dressed up because she told us she would be going to her father’s wake right after. He had just passed away recently. Unfortunately, I didn’t know my grandparents well, or at all, really, because they all lived back in the Philippines where my parents grew up. Visiting them would require a flight like the one my mom was taking, but it would probably be worth it to see the people who raised my parents. And see where they grew up. And learn about their childhood. And learn what it was like in another country. My dad loved to recount stories of his childhood, but I never really paid attention to the details. Details that perhaps would have opened my eyes to who my parents were. I took another look at the woman walking down the hallway. The woman who raised my brother and I. The woman who let me into her bed when nightmares invaded my dreams. The woman who taught me manners. The woman who sometimes yelled at me but always apologized. The woman who always told me to make my bed in the morning. She turned the corner, and the woman disappeared. “Okay, Steph, we can go now.” We went back. Back past the bare check-in lines, the sparse groups of people, the large glass doors, the murky puddles, and the near-empty parking lot. My dad offered to let me sit in front, since my mom wasn’t there. I quietly declined.
OH, HOW THE
CAGED SOULS FIGHT
No one born in a cage is aware of how it is trapped. Tell it so, and it won’t believe you. Let it go, it won’t come back to you. But if you try to cage a beaten soul, You shall surely get what you deserve.
Oh, how the caged souls fight. They ponder upon their plight. Should one disrupt their ways, The world they carry on their back sways.
Each soul has its own reaction to terror. You can’t say mine was an error. Violence means something different to each soul As peace may not be a tangible goal. Each soul has its own reaction to terror Based on what works and what doesn’t.
The Middle, Camila Periera
by Allie Settle
Oh, how the caged souls dance. They sing a song of mourning. The rest of the world finds it boring, But when you speak the language, You find coexistence.
D(WH)Y/DX by Lizzie Trzupek
“I found a more dynamic person hidden under the mask of perfectionism.” AP BC Calculus. The gleaming end of my marathon, my pride. The class I had trained rigorously for the entire summer before Junior year. With my summer homework studied time and time again, my number two pencils in hand, I strutted into the class confident I could tackle anything it dared to throw at me. I dropped it after two months. Biting my trembling lip, I ran towards the library bathroom. My throat strangled me as my vision became blurry. Slamming the door, I collapsed onto the tile. Failure. Failure. On my schedule, “withdrew” leered at me beside one phrase: AP BC Calculus. Oh, I had tried. But when I unexpectedly had to receive intensive medical treatment, I could not keep up with the rest of the class. Defeat. How could I just give up after all my effort? That wasn’t me. I knew I was better than that. I had always worked so hard to present the best of myself. From pulling all-nighters for AP World History to practicing my trumpet solo for hours every night, I made sure I was exactly the person I wanted to be: put-together, pristine, perfect. Actually, I was none of these. But as long as I could present myself this way, as long as I could pretend I was the perfect student, what was the difference? After all, the need for
success pumped through my veins: my mother, with her M.D. proudly displayed on the wall; my father, who entertained us recounting his crazy graduate school days at MIT; my brother, whose trophies and awards lined his wall. I was a Trzupek, a name that may well be synonymous for greatness. I could not let my family down. Yet, life tore me from this illusion when I had to go on medical leave halfway through my junior year. As I began to focus on my health, I had little time for my studies. In the following months, my studious perfection disappeared. Yet, slowly, I spent less and less time perfecting my grades and more time on my life. As I did, I found a more dynamic person hidden under the mask of perfectionism. Sure, my family reeks of academic success. However, the heart of my family lies in their passion, their humor, their unfaltering kindness. Without these sparks, their charm dims into the mundane. I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about my GPA. I still want to achieve high grades and present my best work. However, I’ve found between cramming for my Government test or going out for ice cream with my friends, I receive so much more out of socializing than an extra hour of studying. In the “AP
culture” of my high school, hard work is pretty much sacred. I am a heathen. Although I do recognize the merits of hard work, I once lost myself in an excessive drive for an unattainable standard. My grades were not fueled by a fire of intellectual curiosity, but an overbearing fear of failure that consumed my entire life. This year, entering AP BC Calculus for the second time, I don’t care about maintaining my perfect image. I’ve willingly admitted to my classmates that I dropped the class, and, after making numerous jokes with my new class about calculus
sending me to the hospital, I finally accepted that life is so much more than academics. Sure, I study hard. But I also make stupid jokes in class and talk a little too loud for my own good. I may not be perfect, but I am happier than I ever was. And ironically, I’ve received better grades as I focus on balancing my health, social life, and academics. So thank you, BC Calculus. I may not understand your limits, but I sure understand mine.
“In the ‘AP culture’ of my high school, hard work is pretty much sacred. I am a heathen.” Soaring, Corinne Chambers-Boucher
NOBODY SEES ME by Danielle Koziol
nobody sees me. I’m alone in a World of people without color, people without teachers. People without guidance. People without boundaries. People without working minds. People without bodies. People without sense. People without me. I’m hiding behind a smile, and not the one that people call fake. I’m hiding behind a genuine smile, because rarely I’m not alone in my World. I’m hiding behind a facade of pure joy and satisfaction. Behind it all is tears of blood and cries of pain, my pillow with an imprint of my wet face at midnight. My clothes torn as my heart. My mind was not working before either, but now it is, and I regret. I regret. nobody sees me. If you want to dance, I’ll see you. If you want to laugh, I’ll see you. If you want to cry, I’ll see you. If you want to sing, I’ll see you. If I want to move, you won’t see me. Maybe you do see me. Maybe you’re hiding behind a facade, like me. Cliche and broken, but maybe it’s true. Maybe you’re hurting and you act happy, as well. Maybe you see me, and I see you and together we cry and don’t say a word. Our mouths are stitched with thread after thread of disposal and waste and hurt. Our cries are silenced by the imaginary down looks of everyone around us. We know change can some if we ourselves summon it. But you don’t know I see you. And I certainly don’t know you see me. But we can’t change that. Our words are pulled back by chains.
Ashes Noturne, Catherine Hidaglo
Faded, Alyssa Graves
by Baileigh Hannah
gaze ecstatically out my bay window, leaning forward ever so slightly. A gentle spring breeze rustles the trees outside, and the sun shines warmly onto my face. Children throw bright blue balls in the rich green grass, as well as play hopscotch in the worn-down streets. The sound of their laughter can be heard around the small town of Hanson. Lost in thought, I prop my elbow, and lean my face onto my right hand. A blond curl falls onto my face, and I pull it back behind my ear. A face pops into view, and startled, I fall backward onto the hardwood floor. I stand up, wipe the dust off my white dress, and inspect the intruder. A small brunette boy of about eight years old grins a
wide jack-o-lantern smile at me. “Emily, come and play tag!” he screams through the glass. I roll my eyes and shout back, “Evan, I’m busy right now.” “Aw, come on, Em! You’re always ‘busy.’ Today’s the only day it hasn’t rained this week, and it’s your birthday! Can’t you spend some time with your best friend?” he says and wiggles his eyebrows. I make a puking gesture, and grab the lever to open the window. Evan leans on the ledge, and snarkily remarks, “Do you still think he’s coming home today? My dad told me the same thing a month ago and I haven’t even received another letter from him since.”
“Shut up!” I respond angrily, “Go bug someone else.” “Fine, just don’t get your hopes up, okay? See you at school tomorrow.” Without another word he stalks off. I watch him turn the corner, and with a sinking heart, I realize he could be right. Could my father be making an empty promise? It was a dark, stormy September day, and was raining buckets. My father opened the front door, crouched down, and looked me dead in the eyes, my brown ones staring straight into his. He placed his hand on my shoulder and took a deep breath. “Emily,” he said, “I promise I will come back. Cross my heart.” I nodded, and noted his breath smelled like peppermint.
it’s only a dime for a scoop. I’m going to get butterscotch, and he’s going to get chocolate, just like always. I go back to my window, and wait. I must have dozed off; when I woke, clouds covered the horizon and the shadows of the trees were lengthening. Sitting up, I see a car pull into the driveway. Too stunned to move, I watch as a man in a military uniform makes his way to the front door and rings the bell. I don’t answer. He rings the bell two more times, without a response. Finally, he slips a letter through the mail slot and makes his way back to the car. I see the headlights turn on, the engine revs up, and the car disappears down the street. Slowly, I creep to the door, and pick up the letter. Outside, it starts to drizzle. I rip open the creamy paper, and pull out a small piece of paper that read:
“ He then stood up, grabbed his suitcase and left ” He then stood up, grabbed his suitcase, and left; the rain enveloped him at the end of the driveway. I still feel like he left yesterday. My hand reaches into the pocket of my dress, and I grab a small yellow paper addressed in his shaky cursive. It smelled like peppermint. This comforted me; it had his promise written out for me to read whenever I was in doubt, “I’m coming home on April 3.” He’s going to come home; I know he is. We’re going to walk to the ice cream cart on 23rd and Clark street, like we always do on my birthday. I’m happy because the cart has delicious ice cream, and Dad’s happy because
Dear Fax Family, Unfortunately, your loved one was killed in a bombing on March 24, 1940. He risked his life to return to a danger zone and save his fellow comrades. On behalf of Troop 204, we thank him for his sacrifice. A tear rolled down my cheek onto the paper, and I threw it onto the floor. I rolled into a ball and cried for what felt like hours. Eventually, I looked up and noticed a small bulge in the envelope. My hand reached into it; the mysterious object was very small and felt very smooth. I grasped the item, and removed a dull silver dime.
by Coral Wang
The girl with tiny pink glasses eagerly ran forward, toward the brightly painted jungle of blues, reds, and yellows. Romping across the hanging bridge, the chains created a cacophony of clickclickclickclicks. Running up the bright yellow stairs, she hopped, skipped and jumped up to the top of the playset. “Watch me, watch me!” Slipping down as fast as she could, she bobbed up at the bottom of the slide. This cycle continued until the bright red swing set beckoned her attention. Small hands soon grasped those red chains and shook them. The glitter on her sneakers gleamed in the sun as her short legs kicked
and protesting, the girl crossed her arms and frowned again, glaring up through dark eyelashes. “Use your feet and push the ground.” Slowly, small feet stretched out and feebly pushed off the ground. The swing rocked back. Her eye glinted. The second time, her sparkling feet pushed even harder, and she rocked back further. Swinging forward, her feet flew out. Swinging back, her feet flew in. Bubbles of laughter colored the air and her eyes glowed, as she flew like a pendulum, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth… And in this way, the girl swung until the sun began to descend.
“Little girl, please never forget.” and bucked. But the warm winds seemed to giggle at her struggles, as they clinked the swing’s chains and scattered the strands of her hair. No matter how hard she rattled the chains or flailed her legs, her efforts were futile. Frowning, the girl ran over to her dad, tugging on his shirt, and cried out, “Help me!” Returning to the swing, her dad set her down on the seat. Instead of pushing her, however, he told her to swing by herself. Pouting
Little girl, even if the distant memories of a colorful jungle are whisked away by the first breezes of yet another spring, never forget the delights of your youth. When you become absorbed in your present and your future, never forget your simple childhood joys. When you become despondent and listless, never forget your simple reveries. Little girl, please never forget. Moonlight Glow, Amanda Rivera
THE END OF THE LINE by Grace Jones
I walk a fine line. I try to keep my balance and I straighten my spine. But I notice this sneaking suspicion, That it’s not my back that’s about to snap, But it’s my mind, walking this thin line. I feel myself choosing between two sides. I sense the flood coming from behind my eyes. The scale is tipping, My sanity is slipping. I’m trying to remember where my truth lies.
“ It’s not my back that’s about to snap, But it’s my mind, walking this thin line. ”
There’s always a choice, Either dark or light. But it’s rarely that simple, Never day and night. I’m running out of time, I feel it closing in. I hope that all of my past lies, won’t end up being my future demise. But I fear deep down, I know it’s too late, I’ve fallen too far, Over the edge to the wrong side…
THE LETTER THAT CAME TOO LATE by Elena Monroe
very day I love you more even though it doesn’t seem like you care about me. The words, etched in flowing blue ink in my grandma’s elegant handwriting, provoked a heart wrenching pang of guilt in my chest. I clutched the newly-received letter more tightly in my hands and leaned back against the front door of my house. I had just turned fourteen, but the marvel and possibility of life as a teen seemed to have been brought to a sudden halt. Around me, spring was in full bloom. The soft scarlet petals of tulips were beginning to unfurl in the flowerbeds and the grass was tinged with a more vibrant shade of green than the day before. The closing of my eyelids felled this idyllic vision like an axe to a tree as I pictured the time I had spent with my grandma. She lived in Washington, which meant a drawn out flight that brought my siblings to hysterics, diminishing both my parents’ patience and funds. As such, we’d only spend a couple weeks there every summer. One particular time, it was just her and me at a nearby park. It was a hot and humid August afternoon; the
sun beat down on skittish children running and returning to the mass of slides and jungle gyms like so many bees to a beehive. I covered my eyes with my sweaty hands as I imagined going back to my grandma’s house and parking myself in her living room; with the lights turned off, the cool air would alleviate this blistering heat I was suffering through. The TV would play my favorite show, the flickering graphics would reflect in my staring eyes. My grandma’s figure, stepping in front of the sun, snapped me back to harsh reality. She stood straight up, her head framed by the glowing sun like an angel with a halo; however, there was no sheen of sweat on her forehead. My grandma was like that: everything she did exuded class. At ten years old, I was too young to appreciate this. The soft, scarlet cotton material of her light jacket fluttered slightly, lifted by the fingers of a faint breeze. She beckoned with a rugose hand, engraved with the roadmap of her life. “Carol, sweetie, why don’t we go get a milkshake? That way you can tell me all about school and your friends back at home!” Her
voice rose with excitement as she envisioned spending time with her beloved granddaughter. I, of course, was oblivious. “No Grandma. I wanna watch Good Luck Charlie at your house,” I whined. A look of sadness crossed her face. “But sweetheart, I never get to see you. You can always watch TV.” “Come on Grandma, it’s a new episode! It starts soon!” She let me drag her by the hand back to her house and watched as I settled myself on the couch, my legs draping over the whole length. The recollection of my horrible ignorance precipitated the tears wobbling on my lower lashes onto
the crisp whiteness of her letter. Splish splash. The drops, like the first smattering of a rainstorm, smeared the blue words my grandma had meticulously written at the top: Happy birthday! I brought the paper to my face, searching for a sign, a memory, anything that would remind me of her. The paper smelled like her house, like her cinnamon perfume and eggs and bacon for dinner and old country music on the radio and tears and laughter and everything I should’ve done. Splish splash. A buzzing noise from my pocket startled me, and I pulled out my phone to find a text from my friend: I’m so sorry your grandma died. I know she loved you. White Light, Bella Stefo
Arms, Caitlyn Lenihan
Growth, Lauren Laughlin
Waiting for Trains, Coral Wang
nd the wheel kept turning. Mortals and immortals alike still fell into the same follies, the same vices. The seemingly endless slew of wars, each time more unprecedented than the last, were all the same war, strung out across the ages. There was nothing new underneath the sun.
There is nothing new underneath the sun. The seemingly endless chain of small kindnesses, of wishes for the future, of grand plans, have all been the same, grand wish for the future. In each era mortals and immortals alike still fall into the same virtues, the same revolutions. For after the jar was opened, hope still remains.
acknowledgements. The work presented in this year’s issue of Harbinger would not have been possible without countless people in the Carmel community. Thank you to all the fearless and unflinching writers, poets, photographers, and artists who submitted to this year’s magazine. Sharing one’s art is an act of intimacy, a bearing of one’s soul, and it is the talent that roams these halls that truly creates the makeup of Harbinger and its mission. Your passion, warmth, grief, and everything in between have not been lost. Thank you to the Art and English departments for your encouragement in both the pursuit of art and the publication of this magazine. Your tireless cultivation of young minds is integral to the creative space of the Carmel community. Thank you for encouraging Harbinger submissions and for allowing us to steal into your classrooms to persuade your students, as well. Thank you to the entire Harbinger staff, from club members to editors. Thank you for your dedication in choosing pieces, your passion in debating themes, and your infinite hours of layout. And finally, thank you to our lovely moderators, Ms. Meyer and Ms. Murczek. Without you, Prometheus would not be the reality it is today. Thank you for the countless meetings, the reminders, the deadlines, the tutorial videos, and your unassuaged enthusiasm in every interaction. With the joy, love, and sweat put into this year’s magazine, we hope you enjoy Prometheus. Editors-in-Chief Megan Brinkman Carolyne Im
Submissions Editor Carolyne Im
Layout Editors Reagan McGinn Jade Mirza Riley Moran Natalie Rutz Calla Schultz Coral Wang
Editor’s Note: All submissions were considered anonymously. The 2017-2018 issue of Harbinger was typeset. The layouts were produced on Adobe InDesign CC with the assistance from Adobe Photoshop CC. Harbinger was printed on 80# White Endurance Silk Text, using Lora Regular, Lora Italic, Montserrat Regular, Montserrat Italic, Montserrat Bold, and Monserrat Italic for titles, captions, credits, and body text. The cover was printed on 100# White Endurance Silk Cover with Overall Satin Aqueous Coating One Side. The actual magazine contains 96 pages. The magazine is bound with perfect binding. Harbinger Volume 42 is a limited edition of only 1300 copies.