Off the Wall Snap Shots, from the Life of our Editor Christian Moran
Recklessness incarnate, pg 15
Feature article: Home and what it means to you
Letter from the editor
Table of Contents Significant places in Sarasota Interview feature: home and what it means to you Interview with Grandpa Interview with Jac, my roomate Interview with Sofia, my girlfriend Personal narrative
As a message to my readers, i just want to thank you for all your contributions to this magazine. I hope that this magazine portrays the reckless and sometimes chaotic moments that can sometimes be cast upon our lives. In this magazine are three major stories, each dsiplaying insights into either my or my friends personal lives. With each snapshot, interview, or story i hope to present to you with a detailed description of a part of my life.
My Adolesence in Sarasota Memo When we first received this assignment I wrote down places that meant a lot to me. I scratched off the ones that are well known, deciding that I wanted the reader to learn about my secret spots, or places that an outsider would never stumble upon. Instead of focusing so much on the spot itself I wanted to give the reader my take on it, or the way a certain place made me feel. I wanted the places in my paper to be living organisms, sites that breathe and are not borne down by unnecessary details. Research for this project wasn’t too difficult for me; once I had the spots I just began to write, letting the words pour out, knowing I could come back and fix them later. I focused a lot on the places around my house, since I experienced so much there; spots like the beach and my house being the easiest to write about because of all the memories I have there. Switching from third to first person I wanted
to keep the reader in an almost unsure balance as to what was going on, but keeping them intrigued to read the next paragraph. The freedom of this paper is what I truly enjoyed. In high school I never had the chance to write a creative paper like this, in which we could choose the structure, font, style, theme, place, etc. As the paper went on I tried to push deeper, telling the anonymous reader thoughts or feelings I hardly ever told my best friends. By sharing what I truly felt or experienced I hope that the reader can get a better understanding about a place than if I just explained it verbatim. Revising this paper was probably the hardest part of this assignment, with each reading and rereading I wanted to change something and I started to dislike my paper in its entirety. Yet, I hope the reader is able to walk away with an understanding of what I felt and why some spots meant so much to me.
My Adolescence in Sarasota For many people, planning a Sarasota vacation is as simple as getting away from it all, amidst the splendor of sun, sand and beautiful weather that are the Gulf Coast’s greatest natural resources. For them, doing nothing is the whole point.
When I was younger, my dad and I used to play Frisbee everyday outside on the street. I remember stepping out in the fading daylight, the leaves were falling. Every step on the lawn omitting a resonating crunch as the hardened leaves would break apart beneath my feet. The air was always crisp, with the scent of freshly mown grass. With every throw I would take a step back, testing my limits. I would rip the Frisbee as hard as I could and my dad would never miss a catch. On this street I learned how to ride a bike, to skateboard, to drive. I learned how to socialize, play in the tree house and shoot basketball with the neighborhood kids. I learned how to work; to mow the lawn and trim the bushes. On this street I learned how to live, to enjoy life. I’ve always loved pizza, and Dino’s is the best pizza joint in town. My best friend Joey’s uncle owns the restaurant, and I love it because you can eat as much as you want for 8 bucks. I used to go there every Friday with my friends, Nick, Joey, and John. We would talk about girls or just anything new. The restaurant is on McIntosh road, next to the Ace Hardware store and Sweetbay. From the outside it doesn’t look like anything special; yet, every time you walk in you are hit by the succulent smell of pizza. On the buffet line are all kinds of pizzas; cheese, peperoni, sausage, Hawaiian, thin crust, margherita, and supreme. As you go down the line there is salad, ice cream, cinnamon sticks, and garlic bread. The garlic bread is always perfect; fat pieces of bread that have been saturated and glazed in garlic. I have still yet to find garlic bread that tastes anywhere close to Dino’s (combined with the pasta sauce it tastes like heaven.) After loading up our plates with at least 6 pieces of pizza and garlic bread we would head to the booth in the back of the restaurant. It’s large, round, and furnished with red leather, and the table has people’s names written all over it, mine almost in the middle, next to an engraving of a couple that goes to Riverview High School. Even though the seat cushions are ripped up and somewhat broken-down it was always our favorite. Usually one person had to sit in the lump, a spot where the cushion kind of sinks in so that you feel like you’re being consumed by the seat. We
never sat anywhere else, and if that booth perhaps we just perceive it to be the greatest was full we waited until whoever was in it to because we experienced so much there. leave. The booth was perfect because it was practically closed off “Like a museum, the atmosphere was from the entire restaurantfrozen in time; we were the only ones Driving on Mcitself, and we could say Intosh at night that seem to grow and change. Every whatever we wanted and always calmed not feel judged because time we went there we created an experi-me down. It’s the our voices never escaped ence that was unique; the restaurant was road my neighthe perimeter. In that the constant and we were the variables.” borhood is next circle I’ve had some of to but it takes me the best laughs. The best part is we n ever to some of my favorite places in Sarasota. left hungry; we ate until we felt like throwWhenever I got angry or upset I would drive ing up. Dino’s was our safe haven; a place on that road. The reflectors on the street to escape to on the weekends. And yet, always seemed to explode outwards when every time we went there the only thing that I turned my brights on, taking me to some changed was us. It always started out the new place I’ve never seen before. With each same: Tabitha, our waiter, asking if we want- turn and fork in the road, letting my hands ed refills too early, and Greg, Joey’s cousin, make the decisions, striving to be as loose as at the cash register complaining about how the wind that poured through my windows. his dad works him too hard, John in the back Moving forward as the trees and houses flew flipping pizzas, yelling at Joey for never by; drifting past spots where I used to hang paying. Like a museum, the atmosphere was out when I was younger. My friends and I frozen in time; we were the only ones that listening but not talking, my CD’s turned up, seem to grow and change. Every time we spewing out lyrics that I felt entwined to. went there we created an experience that was unique; the restaurant was the constant and we were the variables. Yet, after a while My feet blister on the we stopped going, each of steaming cement, I forgot us getting more and more my sandals again. I step busy on the weekends. By out to the commotion of the time we were seniors people loading and unloadall of us had jobs and ing, like ants scavenging most of us had girlfriends. for their queen: the sun. Although I haven’t been “God I hate these tourists”, there in a while, it is still Joey looks over struggling to carry an ugly one of the greatest places in Sarasota, or
Hawaiian beach chair and a backpack with only one strap. “Why the hell don’t they give parking to people who actually live here?” I shut Joey’s beater car door with a kick. I look closely at the 96’ Camry, the paint ripped off and the tires sagging, worn down by time and usage. “Dude you really need to get a new car, how the hell are you going to drive to college with this piece of shit?” He chuckles, “That’s what I’m saying man, my parents keep telling me that they’ll get me a new car, but that I’m going to have to pay for…” his voice trailing off as I look towards the pavilion, watching a pack of flawless girls frolic their way towards the beach, skipping up onto the sand to escape the heat of the blacktop. Coming back from the Siesta was always a unique experience. We never returned the same as we came. Covered in sand and salt water, we would stop at a 7-11 or a McDonalds, always finding some place new to see. Never truly caring where or when, it was summer and we had no restrictions. Some days we would go back to my house or a friend’s house and swim, sometimes we’d drink, sometimes we’d smoke, but without a worry in the world we always seemed to have a good time. “I was within and without. Simul-
taneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”- F. Scott Fiztgerald It’s pitch black out, the ocean crashing and receding, undulating back and forth incessantly. We step out from the brush and see all the stars in their full intricate glory. Walking out to the red life guard stand, the beach is deserted except for a few kids fooling around with a lighter. I turn to her and she points at a constella-
tion, “That’s Orion’s belt”. I look into her; “What are you thinking?” She continues to look up at the night sky, “I don’t know” “Well you look like you’re thinking about something”. She looks back, “What are you thinking?” “I don’t know”. I lean against the sand encrusted wood and stare at her until she looks away. I come closer, until my fingers are just barely pressed against her abdomen. She looks back and I lean in and kiss her. She looks hesitant in the moonlight, but I feel close and infinitely far away from her like the constellations hanging in that
night sky. I put on a stoic expression “Dare me to jump in?” “You won’t” “I will if you will.” She smirks, “I’m not going skinny dipping” “That’s fine”. We strip down and jump into the warm ocean water. I remember looking out at the horizon, the sky matched the water so perfectly it almost seemed like you were floating. Only looking back the beach and the red lifeguard stand reminded you of something that seemed so distant. My house has always been the house we hang out at. Friends are always popping in and out, and showing up without even telling me. It’s decently big, and very pretty. My mom is always decorating something and calling our house her “fantasy shoebox”. My best friends Kasey and Joey practically live there. So much time spent with them sitting on the couch in the TV room, bantering about girls, sports, or desires; my mom always cooking food in the kitchen, and teasing joey about something new. On weekends, coming home late at night after
a party and cooking bagel bites or frozen pizzas, cause food tastes ten times better when you aren’t sober. Times spent in the pool when I was younger, playing dumb pool games like marco polo or shark. Surprisingly, the room I’m least in is my bedroom. My room is dark blue and decorated with really random posters that I don’t even remember putting up. Above my bed is a huge poster of the world and beside my TV is a really random poster of a Yellowstone national park. On top of my dresser is a bulletin board with pictures of my friends and I at different ages/places, and I often catch myself looking at it, seeing how much I’ve changed. Pictures of my friends and I at a dance in middle school, reminders of people I’ve grown so much apart from. The front room in my house is mine, even though everyone in my family disagrees. I’ve spent countless hours in there, listening to music, playing guitar or Xbox. The room has two dark, glossy
lounge chairs, and another rickety wooden chair. It has a wooden floor, but a huge carpet on top of it so you tend to forget that it is actually wood. There are two windows but there always
“ One part of me wants her to throw it out while the other half is screaming for her not to ” shut because my sketchy neighbor Juan always wants to look inside my house. The room is decorated with pictures of our family, different vacations or family members, and then there is this huge bulletin board, with more pictures, concert tickets, and notes. A picture of my sister and I hang on the wall, both from a cruise in 2009, in the picture I look very angry, because I remember my parents forced me to take it. Our family’s main computer sits in the corner of the room as well. It sucks; partly due to
the fact that I’ve illegally downloaded music or movies from illicit websites, and the other half because it’s old. The room is always stuffy and I still don’t know why, but I’m guessing it’s because all the electronics and the bad ventilation. Next to the computer there is a piece of loose leaf that my ex-girlfriend wrote her name on when we were in that room one time, she wrote it in those big bubble letters with a triangular looking exclamation point. Under that is a list of cool band names because my friends and I told her we were in a band, which isn’t true but we were debating about how a band name can tell a lot about the band itself. That piece of paper has been in the same spot for 5 months but I can’t bring myself to throw it away, I feel as if it’s one of the last tangible things I have about her. It’s surprising how much something as miniscule and worthless as a piece of paper can mean the world to me.
What’s more surprising is that when my mom cleans the room she doesn’t throw it away, she doesn’t even touch it. And I don’t know why, I didn’t tell her not to and there is nothing stopping her. One part of me wants her to throw it out while the other half is screaming for her not to. Works Cited “Things to Do in Sarasota.” The Official Website for Visit Sarasota County on Florida’s Gulf Coast. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 June 2013.
Feauture Article: Home and what is means to you Memo From this assignment I really learned what it is like to interview people. I think I’ve only interviewed once before for another class but this has been by far the most extensive interviewing I’ve ever done. When I was first brainstorming this topic I really wanted to focus on a certain place or idea that I could interview three unique people about. I wanted to see how people’s perceptions about a certain place or object could contrast, or on the other hand could be strikingly similar. I decided to pick three people close to me that could answer these hard and sometimes personal questions. The first person I interviewed was Jac my roommate, I decided to interview him because I felt like he could supply me with a very educated yet reserved perception. Contrastingly, I felt my grandfather could give me a more laidback and kindhearted approach. And finally Sofia, a very close friend back home, a person who doesn’t have the greatest relationship with her family; I felt as if she could supply me with a very real and sometimes sad perception of what home truly means. After completing this project I was actually quite surprised at the answers I received, many of them overlapped and I feel like my interviewees gave feedback that was more alike than different. In conclusion I honestly enjoyed this project and feel like I have learned a lot not just about interviewing but also about what home truly means.
Interview with Jac Shubert, my roommate Stepping into my musty dorm, I look around at all the clothes lying on the ground. My roommate Juan’s bed is completely stripped of bed sheets and his is fridge wide open. Turning to my left I see my roommate Jac completely asleep. Starting to wake up after the hearing the noises of me unpacking my bag, he mumbles in his sleep “Christian, I left you some bagels in the fridge”. I look back at the empty fridge, chuckling I turn back to Jac, a scrawny and studious student. Either eating or sleeping Jac reminds me of a sloth. Yet while awake he has a quick wit, and down to earth personality. Willing to help with anything, Jac is a great friend and after telling him about this project he simply said “If you need an interview, I got you bro”. Hopping up onto my bed, I pull out my laptop. Foraging for questions that could elucidate the subject I’m trying to broach. Jac, coming from an upper middle class family, is a unique candidate for my interview.
With such an exotic setting and unique person I feel as if I can find unrivaled answers. I hope Jac can resolve my precarious question, what does home truly mean? Me: What does home mean to you? Jac: Home is with my family and friends, to me home doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you’re going, home is being surrounded by people who love you. Home is like the locomotive leading you onwards in life, love, and happiness. Me: Who makes up your family? Jac: My mom Laura, my dad John, my sister Alexandra and my brother Will. Me: Why do you feel close to your family? Jac: I feel close to my family because I love them and they care for me, without them I would not be where I am today. They have raised me with great morals and virtues. As an adolescent they
sent me to a catholic high school for a better education. They have literally given me so much and I have the utmost respect for them. Me: How do you feel towards your family? Jac: I love them, with an everlasting love. No matter what happens I will always be there for them and they will be there for me. Me: Where were you born? Jac: Orlando, Florida in a neighborhood called dubsdread circle. It’s a restricted community on a golf course. Me: What’s the name of the street you lived on? Jac: Dubsdread circle, it’s the name of both the neighborhood and street. Me: How did you enjoy your neighborhood? Jac: It was alright, it was mostly full of old people so I didn’t have many kids to play with when I was younger. Most of the time I spent hanging around the neighborhood was with my siblings. Me: How do you enjoy your family? Jac: I love hanging out with them but I of course get into fights with my siblings all the time. My brother will and I have always been pretty competitive. We’re pretty close in age he’s 16 and I’m 18, and we like to best each other in anything. A month before I left for college we actually got into a nasty fistfight and I broke my wrist. Yet, while we’re always bickering I really do love him.
Interview with Grandpa My grandparents’ house lies next to a placid pond, in a beautiful neighborhood full for charismatic people. Upon entering their house I am hit by the familiar and scrumptious smell of freshly baked cookies. Looking past the kitchen towards the TV room I can see my grandpa begin to swivel his LA-Z boy chair. After speaking with my grandmother I stride past the sliding glass doors into a room full of tangible memories. Pictures of my family and I hang on the wall, places we’ve been and snapshots of my sister and I opening presents at Christmastime. Finally making eye contact with my grandfather, I recognize kind blue eyes and his same inexhaustible grin. “Chris! How are you doing?” Seeing behind his plump and round face, he’s an honest man through and through. After working as a detective for the NYPD, my grandfather came down to Florida to retire. Very knowledgeable and always supportive he is a man I can come to with any question. Seeing as my grandma and he are the genesis of my family, I believe he could answer my question of what home truly means. Me: What does home mean to you? Grandpa: Home means supporting each other no matter what. We are like the bricks that make up a wall or foundation, without one another we all will fall. Me: What was your home like when you
were born? Grandpa: My home was very tiny and packed full of kids. As you already know I have three and two sisters. My father was a brick layer, but he didn’t make much money; most of us had to start working at a young age to support our family. We didn’t have TV or internet, and most of our entertainment came from talking to one another. I feel because of this I grew incredibly more close to my family. I can remember nights when we would gather around in the living room and my father would tell us stories or ask each of us how our day was. Me: Who makes up your family? Grandpa: My deceased father Patrick, my deceased mother Marie, my brothers Matthew, Tom, Kevin, and my two sisters Mary and Judy. Continuing down the line, my wife Veronica, our children Kevin, Chris, and
Catherine (your mother). Our grandchildren, emy did you return home to your Shaun, James, Gianna, Erin, and of course family? you. Grandpa: No during my time studyMe: Why do you feel close to your family? ing at the police academy I picked Grandpa: I feel close to my family because up a half-time job. I began workthey have brought me so much love and joy ing as a grocer in a nearby store. I over the years. I love spending time with each started to save up some money and of my family members and I am grateful that after a couple of years of dating your we support each other so much. grandmother we got married and she Me: Where were you born? moved in with me. Grandpa: I was born in Long Island, New York. Me: When did you move away from home? Grandpa: I moved away from home when I was 18, after high school I applied to the police academy in New York. During this time I moved from Long Island to Brooklyn, New York. Me: How did you like moving away from your family?
“At young ages we got used to figuring things out on our own, and when the time came for us to live alone we knew what to do.” Grandpa: At first I was a little homesick but after a week I wasn’t as sad. Times were different then and most kids had already been working for a while. At young ages we got used to figuring things out on our own, and when the time came for us to live alone we knew what to do. Me: After graduating from the police acad-
Interview with Jac, my roomate Stepping into my musty dorm, I look around at all the clothes lying on the ground. My roommate Juan’s bed is completely stripped of bed sheets and his is fridge wide open. Turning to my left I see my roommate Jac completely asleep. Starting to wake up after the hearing the noises of me unpacking my bag, he mumbles in his sleep “Christian, I left you some bagels in the fridge”. I look back at the empty fridge, chuckling I turn back to Jac, a scrawny and studious student. Either eating or sleeping Jac reminds me of a sloth. Yet while awake he has a quick wit, and down to earth personality. Willing to help with anything, Jac is a great friend and after telling him about this project he simply said “If you need an interview, I got you bro”. Hopping up onto my bed, I pull out my laptop. Foraging for questions that could elucidate the subject I’m trying to broach. Jac,
coming from an upper middle class family, is a unique candidate for my interview. With such an exotic setting and unique person I feel as if I can find unrivaled answers. I hope Jac can resolve my precarious question, what does home truly mean? Me: What does home mean to you? Jac: Home is with my family and friends, to me home doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you’re going, home is being surrounded by people who love you. Home is like the locomotive leading you onwards in life, love, and happiness. Me: Who makes up your family? Jac: My mom Laura, my dad John, my sister Alexandra and my brother Will. Me: Why do you feel close to your family? Jac: I feel close to my family because I love them and they care for me, without them
I would not be where I am today. They have raised me with great morals and virtues. As an adolescent they sent me to a catholic high school for a better education. They have literally given me so much and I have the utmost respect for them. Me: How do you feel towards your family? Jac: I love them, with an everlasting love. No matter what happens I will always be there for them and they will be there for me. Me: Where were you born? Jac: Orlando, Florida in a neighborhood called dubsdread circle. It’s a restricted community on a golf course. Me: What’s the name of the street you lived on? Jac: Dubsdread circle, it’s the name of both the neighborhood and street. Me: How did you enjoy your neighborhood? Jac: It was alright, it was mostly full of old people so I didn’t
have many kids to play with when I was younger. Most of the time I spent hanging around the neighborhood was with my siblings. Me: How do you enjoy your family? Jac: I love hanging out with them but I of course get into fights with my siblings all the time. My brother will and I have always been pretty competitive. We’re pretty close in age he’s 16 and I’m 18, and we like to best each other in anything. A month before I left for college we actually got into a nasty fistfight and I broke my wrist. Yet, while we’re always bickering I really do love him.
Interview with Sofia, my girlfriend back home After a late night steak n shake run, we head back to my house. Leading her upstairs to the game room, I am convinced Sofia is one of the most unique people I have ever met. Always willing to listen before talking, and able to sit in silence and not feel awkward, she has been one of my closest friends. She looks at me with those dark penetrating eyes, as if she could see right through me. I look back at her pensively, trying to take in her every detail, her dark glossy hair, her pale yet smooth skin, the sharp cuts of her facial features. She is a very nurturing and affectionate person, and the way she thinks totally different than all the previous girls I’ve met combined. “I’m so happy to be with you”, the words ring out as she comes closer to me on the couch. Know-
ing that she has a difficult relationship with her family, I feel as if she is perfect for my interview. Honest, she is right to the point, not afraid to show how she truly feels about something. After
family? Sofia: My evil sister Isabella, my clean-freak mother Fernanda, and my dad (she hesitates, unwilling to share what she really thinks) Dennis. Me: Why do you feel close to your family? Sofia: I obviously feel close to my family because they raised me, but in all honesty the only member I actually feel close to is my mom. Me: Why do you feel that way? Sofia: I don’t know, my sister really hates me because I used to hang out with all her guy friends who were four years older than me, and my dad just loves my sister much more than me. Me: How is your relationship with your father? Sofia: (She pauses) Not good, I really do think he hates me. If I am out he tells me not to
“...the way she thinks totally different than all the previous girls I’ve ever met combined.” asking if I could interview her she just nods, “Of course babe”, Since we had spent so much time in that upstairs room it felt only natural to interview her there too. Without hesitation I pulled out my laptop and began to strip away the layers of what home truly means. Me: What does home mean to you? Sofia: Wherever you feel most comfortable. Me: Who makes up your
come home, and he is always yelling at me or my mom. And I don’t mean like occasional yelling, it’s all the time and it really scares me. I think he is a great man but I feel like he has some serious anger issues. Me: Where were you born? Sofia: Ottawa, Ontario Me: How has being born in another country make you feel towards this country? Sofia: I really love both; we usually visit there for a month during the summer because literally all of our family lives up there. Me: What’s the name of your neighborhood? Sofia: Serendipity country club Me: How do like your neighborhood? Sofia: I actually hate it. There are so many old people, and they complain way too much about random things. Furthermore, the guard gate is always annoying whenever friends want to come over or when I’m getting home late. Me: If you could live anywhere where would it be? Sofia: Probably somewhere in Australia, I know there’s a lot of pretty places there. Me: Are you excited to move away from your family or are you sad and wish you could live with them longer? Sofia: I am ready to get the hell out of here. Me: What do you think makes a place home, the house itself or the family? Sofia: That’s a hard question, but I would say family. If I came home to my house and my family was living someplace else it just wouldn’t feel like home to me. Me: Have you always lived in the same house, or are there other houses you lived in? Sofia: I first lived in Plaza de Floras apartment complex for 5 years, but then we moved into the house I’m living in now. Me: Which place did you enjoy more? Sofia: I like the community better in plaza de floras, but I also really like the house I’m living in now, it’s so beautiful and smells so extravagant. Me: How has living with your family affected you? Sofia: Sometimes it has led me to do more rebellious things but it has also taught me a lot about relationships and how to do well in school.
The Travel Narrative I lean back, exhilarated as I push the pedal all the way to the floor. Racing down the highway at 140 mph, Car lights fly by and street reflectors gleam a blurred white, a masquerade of locomotives. Nicole screams out by my side, never have I been so close to death, or felt so alive... The recklessness giving me a rush I’ve never felt before. I am enthralled and entangled by the licentious thought of bringing my life to an end in an instant, seeing nothing ahead of me but more cars to pass and asphalt for miles; a chance to transcend into a world I have not yet ruined. There is no sound but the purr of my engine’s pistons pumping back and forth as the wind caves against the windshield. The cold air pouring through the open window, breathing life into my lunges as the crisp oxygen awakens every pore on my body; Swerving in between cars as my unstable mind loosens my steady hands. “Slow down Christian! What the fuck are you doing?!”, her scream penetrating my trance. Green and white exit signs loom ahead. Seeing the Fruitville exit coming up, I drift into the right lane. Looking over at her, she stares at me wide-eyed, her hair windblown yet still perfect. Her onyx eyes flickering back and forth, towards the road and then me. Slowing down to get off the exit ramp I impatiently tailgate a grey Nissan Ultima. Peering out the window I see the familiar Bob Evan’s red and white
archway towering over the yellow streetlights. Hit once again by a surge of memories sparked by the sight of my hometown, Sarasota. Stopped at the red light, I take in the panorama of halogen storefront lights, each battling the other to be the brightest, the biggest. In front of me an Applebee’s, with people spewing out of it, I watch as dinner parties say their goodbyes in the parking lot. To my right a Mcdonalds I used to ride my bike to before I could drive. I once again turn to look at her, this time she continues to look forward, her lips pursed with anger and confusion, and yet I’m still taken back by her strikingly feline features. The sharp upward curve of her nose, her slitted eyes. Canines as sharp as needles. The sight of her angry reminding me of the first time we met, at my friend Kasey’s 16th birthday party. She was so upset because she had to babysit her friend who had drunk too much. A time that felt like an eternity ago, still debating whether meeting her has made me better or worse. Her voice once again breaking the silence, “What the fuck was that about?!” I continue to stare ahead. “Answer me Christian you’re really freaking me out.” Without turning to look at her, “I don’t know I just felt…I don’t know.” “Have you gone pyscho?! You could’ve got-
ten us killed.” The light turns green and I loosen my grip on the steering wheel. I accelerate up to a blacked out range rover, trying to see inside but its thick tinted windows not permitting me. I continue to drive side by side with the range rover as we pass the Checkers and Chickfil-a that are practically glued together. Nicole pulls out her phone as I continue to gaze into the range rover, looking for a face to bring life to the car. But like a phantom the car continues on its cold and careless path, not needing human empathy to do its job. “Can we talk?” “We’re talking right now…” “No I mean can we talk before I drop you…” Cutoff by the sickening sound of a metal colliding with metal I look forward at the savage collision of two cars and a life coming to an end. As if in slow motion, I can see the average 35 year old man, a man who neither specified mediocre nor exemplified greatness, bore through the windshield of his car with the frontal lobe of his head. Chunks of flesh and blood splattering over
charred pieces of glass as he is ejected from his locomotive. In a split second I turn my car away from the shrapnel, swerving to the right as the sounds of tires scream to a stop. Shaken up and hyperventilating we lean back gasping for air. I look over at her, she’s trembling, overwhelmed and disturbed by two consecutive traumatic moments. After a minute of calming down she looks at me, “oh my god oh my god oh my god! What the fuck just happened?!” Calling for an ambulance I continue to stare at the mangled body, unable to look away. Out of the corner of my eye I can see a woman and child climbing out of a distorted Honda Accord. Finally pulling my eyes away from the lifeless body, I jump out of my car and run over to help them. As I approach her I can see that her forehead is cut and she is in a state of shock. The small blonde haired boy huddled at her waist, confused about what had just happened. “Are you okay?!” The woman doesn’t respond, she continues to stare blankly
ahead; The little boy beginning to cry as the shrill scream of a siren rounds the corner. Knowing that I would just get in the way of the ambulance, I begin walking back to my car. As I look inside I can see Nicole crying. I sit down with a sigh, she turns to look at me, her dark eyes softening as I reach over to grab her hand. Her supple skin silky against mine. “Where do you want to go?” She simply shrugs, still in shock from the wreck. Turning back onto the road, I hold her hand as she continues to cry. Pulling up to another intersection, I make a left onto Mcintosh road. Cruising down the street I look around at familiar places, to my right St. Martha’s, a catholic elementary and middle school I almost went to, and ironically across from it, a Jewish temple. The dashboard illuminating my face in a blue aura as I look over at her. She’s no longer crying, her eyes blank against the pulse like patterns of the red and white car lights. I decide to pull into the empty parking lot of the Lutheran elementary school right next
to my house. Opening the car door to the cool autumn air I can smell the dried leaves. I stepo out and look towards the parking lot and then the church I remembering how fun it used to be playing on its playground. Four swings, a jungle gym, and a decent slide, it’s one of my favorite places to go at night because no one is ever there, nor will anyone ever bother you. I take her hand and walk with her to the swings. As she sits down the rusty chains squeak and groan, I come up from behind and begin to push her. Her head beginning to droop, tired from the rollercoaster of emotions she just experienced. “What did you want to talk about?”, she says turning her head. “Nothing” I continue to push her and listen to the crickets loud chirping against the deafening silence. Looking around into the surrounding houses I began to feel like a peeping tom. Yet at the same time I don’t really care anymore ; every house and family completely different, each with their own set of worries and troubles, passions and animosities, good and bad times. Every house telling a different story, a family watching TV together, a pregnant woman eating out of a Ben and Jerry’s tub of strawberry ice cream, an elderly man screaming at someone on the phone. With each turn of my head, a new chapter beginning, a new story to explore. Nicole sits there quiet, I had lost track of time and almost felt like she was asleep. I stop pushing her and walk around so that we are facing each other. Looking at her face I see she is fast asleep. The moment frozen in time as I take a step back. She’s sitting in a white blouse and black yoga pants; slouched over, but somehow still incredibly beautiful, the corners of her mouth turned upside down like my world only a few hours ago. The yellow emergency lights of the school shining over her but not touching me. A wall of light separating us as if we were worlds apart, surrounding her in an
aura of ethereal light, while I am engrossed in darkness. Moving closer again, she awakens at the sound of my shoes against the grass. Looking up towards me with sleepy eyes she doesn’t show any emotion. We continue to stare at each other for a moment. I come closer to the swing and she gets up and surprisingly hugs me. She’s expecting me to say something, anything. Yet, I don’t, and she begins to cry. Her face sobbing into my shoulder, the sweet strawberry smell of her hair just beneath me, every detail sending me into an execrable frenzy. Growing more and more enraged, I grab her neck. She looks up at me exposing it more, with lifeless eyes she doesn’t resist as I begin to contract my hand over her airway. Squeezing harder and harder, her skin begins to turn a purplish hue, yet she remains limp; those blank eyes still piercing through me. Ripped apart from the inside I cannot do it; I pull my hand away as she falls to the ground gasping for air. She pants heavily, looking up at me, not angry nor afraid but an unearthly tranquil. “Why didn’t you do it?” “I can’t.” I lean down, out stretching my arm to her, she looks up and then grasps it. Pulling her up we walk over to a park bench and sit down. I look around once again, noticing the hundreds of signatures engraved into the park bench; each name representing an individual person who graduated from the school. To my right is a drawn out spot on the cement where we would play four square when I was in the 8th grade. Looking down I notice with contempt a huge crack I tripped over one time and broke my thumb. Antsy I get back up and sit down on one of the swings again. Nicole sits on the other. Sitting on those broken down swings, we continue to talk and joke for hours about stories that already happened and things to come. Places we wish to see, and dreams we wish to attain. The night slowly turning into the morning, as our voices plod on. Still on the swings we talk about God and questions we may never know the answers to. The early morning sun creeps over us as I spew out words that just come to my head. Finally coming to an end, with nothing left to be said we sit there. Lazily swinging back and forth, with each swing the pendulum of time creeping up on us, compelled to bring us to an imminent end.
Published on Jul 30, 2013