Elegos The Literary and Art Magazine of the Upper School
Spring, Vol. 5 2009-2010
Elegos Staff Margeaux Ducoing Rachel Fried Joe Garay Stephanie Jackson Nia Jones Matthew Safarik Rachel Zalegowski Advisor: Jennifer Clark Evans
Elegos is the art and literary magazine of Fredericksburg Academyâ€˜s Upper School. Fredericksburg Academy is an independent, college-preparatory school in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Black & White Photo Contest Winner Photo by: Sofie Wachtmeister, 11th grade
Table of Contents Short Stories Wrong Diagnosis The Party Melody and Harmony *Freshman Short Story Winner* Giving Back The Piano Room No Angel
Austen Dunn Mary Fried Mackenzie Jackson Mimi Wack Rachel Fried Stephanie Jackson Matthew Safarik
4 7 13 23 53 56 65
Essays My Voice, Altered by None Other than the Media Chelsea Edwards An Economic Epiphany Devin Holladay Editorial Fred Daniel Cultural Identity Emily Kangas
46 47 49 51
Photography Poetry Shadows Black Iris Music Mystery Winter Blizzard Restricting Destiny Red Cardinal in the Snow Shining Silence Sonnets are Hard to Write The Roaring Game Thank You, Society My Best Friend My Beautiful Sleeping Soldier M&M The Glass Menagerie Change
Aaron Anker Isabel Steven Lauren Falkenberg Mary Fried Justin Safarik Jennifer Clark Evans Simone Wicker Mitchell Perry Matt Oâ€™Donnell Natalie Ducharme-Barth Simone Roberts Mimi Wack Rachel Fried Stephanie Jackson Joe Garay
30 31 32 33 34 36 37 38 39 40 43 44 61 63 64
Senior Tribute For Stephanie, Nia, Matt, and Rachel
Sofie Wachtmeister Mary Rose Hazel Tony Durso Austen Dunn Brandon Atkins Erika Boggs Hillary Johnson Anna Iglesias Sydney Hawkins Sofie Wachtmeister Margeaux Ducoing Rachel Zalegowski The Junior Class
*Black & White Contest Winner* 5, 11, 36, 39, 45 6 18 27 32 35 41, 50 42 48 55, 62 69 *Cover Art Contest Winners*
Artwork Maddie Huddle Margeaux Ducoing
52 60, 64, Elegos logo
By: Austen Dunn, 11th grade
just opposite our Cape Cod, the destination for the turtle drop-off, listening to ―I‘ve Gotta Feeling‖ on repeat and a sense of accomplishment blooming in our hearts. Cliché, I know, but really, there is something satisfying about seeing one hopelessly lost turtle slice pond water in practiced strokes, graciously at home. The lake in our neighborhood is a turtle haven, tall emerald weeds lining the bank, and an endless buffet of buzzing flies and mosquitoes for continuous snacking.
y five dollar alarm clock siren blared promptly at 7:00 am. Crap, it‘s Saturday. My dad had recently adopted the lifestyle of a health nut: working out multiple times a day, three on average. Now, I was reluctantly coerced into a two-mile jog every weekend. We‘d run up to the gate, down to the Rappahannock, and back up our driveway. It was routine. It was hell. But it was so-called bonding. So, thinking of the coffee we would sip after the morning run while gossiping over the latest Britney scandal (yes, my dad reads People magazine), I slipped off my boxers and yanked on a pair of Nike shorts. They were too tight, suffocating my hips and taunting me for skipping last week‘s run. I need this. Hell, it was April, practically swimsuit season. Five minutes later, I met my dad at the end of our paved driveway, the starting and ending point of these Saturday journeys. He strapped my iPod Touch to his bicep and blasted the latest Black Eyed Peas mantra. We started. After just passing our mailbox, I began to huff and puff the air of the out-of-shape. Blushing scarlet at the thought that I tired faster than my forty-six-year-old father, I tried to disguise my labored breathing by huffing and puffing to the beat of the music, sounding more like a chain-smoker attempting to whistle. Trying not to focus on the throbbing sensation in my thigh, and the fire pulsing through my muscles, I listened, ears straining, to Fergie and Will. I. Am chanting meaningless rhymes in the naked nature of Dogue, Virginia. The country breeze sighed a faint hello, brushing stray strands of my hair forward into my face. The bleached blades of dead and overgrown grass joined in the greeting, swaying back and forth. Deer fly bullets dive-bombed my ears as we jogged up the hill and into the straight path through the rural plain. The minutes went by as if we were running through a tub of molasses, slow and sticky. Sweat cascaded down my dad‘s chin dropping to the cracking country road in plops. We were now in a rhythm, about three-quarters of a mile having gone by, until my dad took one, unbalanced leap with a yelp. I stopped to laugh, pathetically thankful for an excuse to catch my breath while my father pointed at what I had thought was a steroids enhanced pebble. No, this pebble had a head bearing two beady eyes staring blankly ahead followed by four stumpy legs. Both my parents are veterinarians and as a general rule, we save stranded animals in the middle of the road whenever the situation presents itself. So, naturally, he grabbed the turtle by its shell and we started off at a slower pace. We trotted back down the hill that curved past the lake 4
Photo by: Mary Rose Hazel, 10th grade Just as I was tiring again, we came upon the water, the wind painting a wake on the surface, and we held our little rescued turtle to the bank. When he didn‘t squirm and wriggle away, we pushed him forward. No movement. I figured he was traumatized by the run. My dad‘s strides were a little choppy and could rattle the brain of anything being carried along, but to spur on the turtle we held him closer, tempting him with the lake water. Still, no movement. After a brief glance at me, my dad released his hold on the turtle, sending him to a bed of algae, murky water, and minnows. The water welcomed him, enveloped him, just like the warm comforter on an icy winter night. Only, our turtle sank straight to the bottom like the pebble I had thought he was. We watched. We waited. He laid still. There was a moment of deafening silence, then I panicked. Had we killed the turtle? Did we frighten it to death? Come to think of it, he hadn‘t retracted his 5 1 1 1
head or appendages during the trip down. He just let them flip and flop around at their own will, like the tendrils of a five-year-old on a pogo stick. Of all people, my dad, a practicing veterinarian of twenty-some years, should have recognized that the animal was deceased. We left the turtle to sit, stagnant and open for aquatic prey to eat. Imagining the bass and crappy nibbling the dry and scaly skin, pulling it away from the taught muscle; we power walked up the hill. I didn‘t even attempt to get a workout the last eighth of a mile after the turtle. I was too busy thinking of the somber ebony eyes that only stared ahead, as if hypnotized. We were in shock. I twirled my hair round and round my forefinger until the tip turned violet, only to unwind the lock of hair and wind it round again. Along with strangling my finger, my brain too felt just as suffocated as my hips had earlier in the morning. How silly that such a little life had ruined that Saturday, really it seems ridiculous, but we had carried its corpse for a good mile, even baby talking it like it could understand and appreciate our feeble assurances. We don‘t run the same path anymore, too afraid to approach a similar incident, another turtle. It might be an overreaction, but instead, we drive the forty minutes to the city, run on the city streets along the city cars among the city lights, no wildlife in sight. I‘m not welcomed by the pasture or insects or wind, but instead the car exhaust that warms the tip of my nose and engines that drown out the latest iTunes hit booming from my iPod. We wake earlier; run later, all because of one, lonely turtle.
Photo by: Tony Durso, Head of Upper School 6
By: Mary Fried, 9th grade
OM, I AM NOT A BABY, scaredy cat, or any of the names you just called me! You know very well what happened at that party! ‖ Brad recalled a small argument with his mom one time. His mom was still living in D.C. In the argument, Brad had been deemed by his mom a wuss at parties. Brad was in denial, clenching his fists and straining the muscles in his body out of fury. His mother gave him an incredulous look, but then her expression changed to a humorous gaze towards Brad. ―I don‘t know all of what happened, I wasn‘t there. I just told your uncle to pull that prank on you! I heard you were pretty scared. Your uncle said you were shaking all over!‖ she replied back to Brad. Brad was furious. ―Would you stop talking about it? You know what?!?‖ ―What? Let me guess, you hate my guts right now?‖ his mom inquired. Brad eased up, relaxing and let out a tiny, but audible chuckle. ―No, I can never stay mad at you for long, mom, but you are definitely not my favorite person right now.‖ His mom let out a loud, suppressed laugh she had been holding in so that it wouldn‘t make Brad even angrier. She knew that Brad was not mad anymore. Brad went into another reverie about his uncle‘s haunted house party. Every year, Brad‘s uncle had a Halloween party on one of his large, baronial estates. On the inside of this house that his uncle owned, every room was painted a bright, vibrant color, and beautiful pictures lined the walls. The atmosphere was always very palatial. There was a lovely set of grand furniture in every room that looked just as perfectly as the day his uncle bought it. Brad knew that his Uncle lived alone and had no use for the vast amount of furniture and other liabilities that he owned. Brad thought to himself ―What is the point of having a couch in a room and never even touching it or laying down on it? If I had the money to afford these luxuries, I would want to use them. ‖ There was usually one room in the house where most of the party took place. This room had a fountain right in the middle of it with a mermaid made of marble spouting water from its mouth. On each side of the mermaid rested two baby cupids with big angel wings on each. ―This room is like a work of art, and the mermaid statue is immaculate‖ Brad thought, marveling at the mermaid sculpture. Most of his cousins, who were the guests of this annual party, would go in any part of the house during the evening, even if they knew they weren‘t 7
supposed to. Brad had twelve cousins, and it was hard to keep track of all of them during these kinds of ordeals. During Halloween parties though, no parents ever came. If there were parents watching over these kids, his cousins would not be roaming around the rooms. They would not be able to take advantage of his uncle‘s house either. That was because they believed these types of parties were just for kids. None of the adults in his family were festive and spirited during Halloween anymore. The only adult family member who was exempt was Brad‘s uncle because he hosted most of his family parties. None of his cousins even dressed up for Halloween anymore. They just come for the parties. When his cousins accidentally spilled Cherry Coke all over one of his uncle‘s lavender blue, wall-to-wall carpeting or chipped off a piece of the living room chandelier, Brad felt bad. He often felt guilty for the damage of his Uncle‘s household, even if it was not his fault, mostly because his uncle was so oblivious to it, but also because it meant more manual labor for his uncle‘s two cleaners. Brad‘s uncle was a very complicated man. Brad felt as though all his uncle did was work because business was always on his mind. Brad‘s uncle was a very astute business man. His uncle was the CEO of his own company that sold houses. His uncle owned most of the income that the business got and spent his time buying lots, bonds, and stocks. His entrepreneur uncle taught him a great deal about business. ―The key in business is to have more assets than liabilities, more revenues than expenses, more income than debt to be paid,‖ Uncle described to him one time. ―In business, always look for better bargains and ways to get yourself on top.‖ Brad found all of his uncle‘s lectures enlightening and interesting, but Brad always thought he was unhappy or never ceased to constantly worry about money. Despite Brad‘s concern for his uncle, Brad loved him very much, and it was obvious that his uncle favored him as well. Brad‘s skateboarding cousin Max was always a good companion when the other boy cousins were either horsing around when they weren‘t supposed to be or full of mischief that would get them in trouble. Max was a good two years younger than Brad. He was a responsible kid and behaved well at parties, and Brad really respected that about him. Max had thick brunette hair that he wore in a long, side swept fashion. Sweat bands and live-strong bracelets covered his skinny, olive tan arms. Max‘s outfits often consisted of baggy pants and a bright, green t-shirt, usually from Hollister, because green is his favorite color and Hollister has his size clothing. Brad mostly hung out with Max, but all their conversations usually ended up talking about, debating or describing skate boarding. Max was a skateboarding fanatic, and since he looked up to Brad, he was always excited to talk about his number one passion. ―Hey Brad, I‘m going to take this awesome skateboarding class in San Francisco, California when my parents move down there for my mom‘s business.‖ ―That‘s great, Max! What school are you going to go to?‖ 8
―I don‘t know the name of it, but I know that after school I can take skateboarding lessons!‖ ―Does the school sponsor the skateboarding lessons?‖ ―No, it‘s outside of school, and I‘m going to learn about how to do flips on my skateboard and skate on the railings!‖ When Brad got tired of Max ranting and raving over skateboarding, he would turn to his cousins Rudy and Jessica. Rudy and Jessica were both sisters. They each had the same, giant nose that took the shape of a hawk‘s. These girl cousins of his always had something to talk about, even if it wasn‘t something he was interested in. ―What would happen if Jessica and I bleached your hair blond, Brad? You would look so different without that jet black hair!‖ Rudy asked him when he sauntered over to them. The only problem with talking to Jessica and Rudy was that they were girls and some of their conversations led toward subjects to which Brad was not remotely curious about. For instance, Jessica would not stop talking about her new design for her room. ―So my mom got a fan with all these different colors for my room from an interior decorator, and I was flipping through all the different colors I could pick from, and my favorite was this color called ‗vivacious pink!‘‖ ―Honestly Jessica, why do you have to tell everyone this? It‘s irritating,‖ said Rudy, a bit annoyed, but Jessica just went on as if she didn‘t say anything. ―It was a really cool name for a color and it would match my brown furniture, which by the way is a vintage style. I love my Marilyn Monroe poster. I‘ve just been totally anticipating a makeover for my room.‖ Brad had had enough of their conversation and wandered off in a different direction. Brad sometimes went to try and talk to his cousin Rachel, but all she described was how wonderful she was. This only made Brad not want to hang out with her. Even the way her poster was and the way she walked was not hiding a single ounce of arrogance. ―Brad, did I tell you that my mom says I have the best singing voice in my school chorus group?‖ ―Yes Rachel, I‘m pretty sure you told me this last year too. ― ―But did I tell you how my teacher says I need to work on keeping a pitch in the key of E? I don‘t think I need any major improvements. SHE has to be wrong. ‖ ―Yes Rachel, of course she is wrong.‖ This was all that Brad could endure of their conversation, so he politely excused himself to get a drink of punch from the giant, red punch bowl on top of a wide, snack table located by the mermaid statue. Brad felt sort of like a misfit during these Halloween parties, besides his cousin Lionel, who was so lazy that he just slept through these kinds of tribulations. Lionel‘s 9
golden blond hair was greasy and matted as he slept on an armchair. The armchair was 5embroidered with silver fringe and the rest of the chair was a rich, deep purple color. Lionel almost looked lifeless as he lay there, sleeping, as if he were a dead body. The lights began to flicker. No one particularly cared and resumed talking because it only lasted for a minute. Max decided to tell Brad‘s uncle, who was reading the newspaper that he was going to go skateboarding outside. Brad‘s uncle acknowledged Max‘s request with a nod and a small grunt. He didn‘t even look up from reading the newspaper. Suddenly, the lights started sputtering intensely and in a split second the lights turned off. In that moment, all the voices of chatter and laughing among his cousins ceased and went to a complete silence. When the lights were momentarily regained, Brad looked around in surprise. ―Hey guys, I don‘t think that Cousin Rachel is in here anymore‖ Brad said. Cousin Jessica retorted. ―What are you talking about, she was just in here a minute ago, she must have gone to the bathroom; oh wait, Rudy is in the bathroom right now, so she can‘t be there. She must be somewhere.‖ ―Are you sure Rudy is in the bathroom still?‖ asked Brad‘s uncle, finally alert to face this problem like an adult would, since he was the only adult in the entire house.‖ ―Well, I‘m sure I don‘t know!‖ snapped Jessica. ―It‘s been a while since I saw her go to the bathroom, so she‘s probably not in the bathroom anymore.‖ ―Then where did she go?‖ Brad inquired. ―Well, let‘s go try and find them, I‘m sure Rachel and Rudy couldn‘t have gone too far, in fact, we can all search a different room in my house,‖ said Brad‘s uncle with a good amount of authority in his tone. The remainder of the clutch of cousins went to investigate the bathroom. They found no one in it. Brad went to check the bathroom and the entire basement, but neither Rachel nor Rudy could be found. Some of his other cousins also checked outside to find that Max had disappeared as well. Fear and dread washed over the group of Brad‘s scared cousins. Cousin Lionel‘s face was goat milk white, and Brad‘s uncle was the only person that did not look frightened. ―He must be good at concealing his anxiety, ―thought Brad to himself. After the fear had sunk in, Brad‘s uncle announced ―Let‘s go on another search for...‖ ―Another search! You can‘t be serious!‖ Cousin Lionel interrupted with a noticeable tone of terror in his voice. ―Not after we lost so many people already! I only hope we can get out of this alive at this point, I mean what are you thinking, Uncle? You really think that going on another search will keep us all together. YOU must be crazy!‖ he yelled toward the ceiling. 10
Photo by: Mary Rose Hazel, 10th grade Brad‘s uncle exchanged a look with Lionel that signified something that Brad could not interpret, but whatever it was, the quick glance immediately put Lionel in a calm, serene state. Brad didn‘t know if the ―YOU‖ Lionel was referring to was his Uncle or if Lionel was shouting to some ubiquitous being that he believed was watching down on them. Whoever the greater being was, it must have been tormenting them. ―No one has disappeared for good or is floundering to stay alive, Lionel. I‘m sure that if we just search the house, we will find them and all will be fine,‖ said Brad‘s uncle before he split everyone up into groups to find the missing cousins. Brad and Cousin Lionel searched the downstairs and living room, and Brad‘s uncle investigated the kitchen and offices that he used for 11
his occupation. When they returned, Brad‘s surprise and horror was evident by the scared look in his eyes. Only his uncle, Lionel, and he were left. The rest of his cousins became part of the scary and strange disappearance. The next second that followed their arrival back into the basement, the lights were turned off, surrounding them in complete darkness. Brad‘s uncle, always thinking ahead, knew the lights would dim or go out eventually, and pulled out a small flashlight. Cousin Lionel, Brad‘s uncle and Brad huddled and sat around the ethereal glow of the flashlight. ―Hey Uncle, I‘ve gotta go potty.‖ Lionel exclaimed while jumping up and down, trying not to pee in his pants. ―You want to go to the restroom now? Lionel, this is the worst timing ever to go to the bathroom!‖ Brad exclaimed. Brad‘s uncle retorted ―Well, if you have to go, go; but honestly Lionel, you have picked to worst time to use the lavatory.‖ Cousin Lionel squirmed out of his criss crossed sitting position, near the luminous glow of the flashlight and hurried off to go relieve himself. Of course, he never returned. Now it was just Brad, his uncle, and the flashlight. Brad was holding the flashlight in his right hand, his good hand, he thought because his uncle held him responsible for holding the flashlight. Brad‘s uncle began to glance around anxiously and that made Brad feel the need to look around to try and find a person or two in the darkness. Brad nearly panicked and almost dropped his flashlight when he looked to where his once remaining uncle sat to find that he wasn‘t there anymore. His heart nearly bore into his rib cage at the rate that it was palpitating. His palms were sweaty and his hands were shaking as he tried to firmly grasp the flashlight. His face resembled the features of a Japanese Noh mask. He felt as though all his emotions were drained from his body, except fear. He was at a total disadvantage against darkness. He felt incredibly alone and super scared. Everything about this night seemed obscure and frightening. ―This couldn‘t possibly be a nightmare? It seems too real, too terribly horrific, ―Brad murmured to himself. Out of the darkness of the Halloween night, Brad heard the scuffling of movement and the sound of quiet snickers. Quickly the lights flew on; everyone from the party had huddled around him. ―Boo!‖
Melody and Harmony
By: Mackenzie Jackson, 12th grade
he first time I met Aiden was when I was seven years old. The house next door had been empty for a while, until the Powers family moved in at least. At the time I was the only young kid in the neighborhood. The older ones would always pick on me, calling me names and shoving me around. It got so bad that I never wanted to leave my house, but my parents forced me to go out and play. The bullies were there, waiting for me. They ignored the fact that the new family next door could intervene in what they could do to me. Almost immediately I was shoved to the ground as words were spat in my direction. I curled into a ball, ready to feel the pain they would throw at me. ―Leave her alone!‖ I forced an eye open slightly, enough so I could see their feet but not enough to know what was happening. I could see a pair of feet running right at the bullies. I shut my eyes tight and winced whenever I heard a cry of pain. I practically jumped out of my skin when I felt a hand touch my arm. ―It‘s ok. I won‘t hurt you.‖ Only when I was pulled to my feet did I open my eyes fully. The boy stood in front of me, staring. It made me feel funny because of how bright his blue eyes were. ―They won‘t hurt you again,‖ he said in a decisive tone as he nodded towards the boys running down the street. I stayed silent and nodded. The only thing going through my mind was Wow, he‘s cute! I‘m going to marry him. It didn‘t come to my mind at the time to actually thank him or anything. Besides, he was a boy and boys had cooties, right? ―Aiden? Come and bring your things to your room,‖ the lady next door yelled. ―Bye,‖ he said shortly before running across the lawn to his mom. That event in our lives was the sole reason we became friends, at least that‘s what I believe. Aiden wasn‘t what you would call normal, especially as we grew up. While boys thought girls had cooties, he‘d be over at my house playing games with me. The fact that our moms are now best friends probably has something to do with it, now that I think about it. As we entered Jr. High and kids started to get into each other, Aiden seemed to pull back into his own world, ignoring the advances of the girls in my class. He was very cute then, it seemed as if he was afraid of girls which made them chase after him even more. Now we‘re juniors in high school. Aiden accepts the fact that girls are chasing after him but he still stays by my side like he did back when we were seven. To the other girls he‘s the bad-boy, 13
the guy they want to upset their fathers with. To me, he‘s Aiden Powers, the boy who actually liked to play dress up with me and wasn‘t afraid to admit it. ―What‘s with that smile on your face?‖ he asked, lowering his sandwich and peering at me. I smiled a little bit bigger and shook my head. ―Geeze, you know I hate it when you do that. It freaks me out,‖ he mumbled before bringing his sandwich up to his mouth and taking a large bite. ―I mean, you don‘t blink. At all.‖ ―Sorry, I was just thinking about the day you moved in next door,‖ I replied, grabbing a French fry off of his plate before he could slap my hand. ―Why is it that you choose to remember that scenario other than my greatest moments in life?‖ he questioned. ―Like, the time I landed that wakeboarding trick? Or how I got my license on the first try when everyone else in our class failed? That‘s something you should remember about me. Not when I had a squeaky voice and couldn‘t run worth a heck.‖ Aiden had had knee problems when he was younger. It doesn‘t bother him now because he can keep up with the best track runners, but it made him feel weak when we were younger and he couldn‘t even keep up with some of the girls in gym. ―Why is it that you want me to remember that instead of remembering the first time I met you?‖ I questioned. I already knew the answer without having to look at him. He sighed. ―We‘re almost done with school. Then we‘re in college and then we go on with the rest of our lives. We might not see each other again. I don‘t want you to remember me as the kid with the squeaky voice. I want you to remember me as something important.‖ He shoved the rest of his sandwich into his mouth and chewed rapidly. ―I gotta get to my next class, and it‘s on the other side of the building. Are you sure you don‘t want me to walk you?‖ I rolled my eyes and stood myself. ―I‘m not brittle. I don‘t need you holding my hand to walk me across the school.‖ ―But what if I want to?‖ he asked with raised eyebrows and a half smile. I rolled my eyes again. ―Get to class.‖ ―Yes ma‘am!‖ Finally! Peace and quiet! I smiled to myself as I unlocked the band room and rushed over to my acoustic guitar. A blue Eleca. The paint still shines as if I had gottten it yesterday. It was my pride and joy for two reasons: 1) I love music and the guitar is my all time favorite instrument and 2) I got it from my Granddaddy for my twelfth birthday. At first I would never play it, I just sat around admiring it and cleaning it whenever it got a speck of dust on it. Now I play it all the time. It practically never leaves my hand. It‘s the reason why I usually end up staying up hours on end to finish forgotten homework. 14
―Shouldn‘t you be at soccer?‖ I asked Aiden. I didn‘t stop playing as I spun in my chair. I never had to turn around to know whenever he entered a room. I always got this…feeling whenever he was around. It was a calming feeling. No matter how riled up I was his presence could instantly relax me. ―My knee‘s been bothering me,‖ he replied with a shrug. ―I was hoping you‘d still be here.‖ ―I‘m always here,‖ I reminded him. ―Right.‖ He nodded. ―You need a ride home?‖ ―Actually, I do,‖ I responded, stopping the song I was playing in mid strum. ―Thanks. Let me just call my mom.‖ ―OK.‖ I quickly left the room and speed dialed my mom. I tapped my foot to a song that was playing in my head as I waited for her to answer. Come on, Mom! ―Hello, Mel.‖ ―Hi, Mom. I don‘t need you to pick me up anymore. Aiden said he can drive me home,‖ I got straight to the point. ―OK. I was going to head downtown anyway. I need to pick up a few things. Do you need anything while I‘m out?‖ Ah Mom, she was always worried about me. Sometimes she got too worried. Like the time she was a mere five minutes late picking me up after school. She was acting like it was two hours by the way she was hugging me and talking to me. I think her brain got fried after going through the divorce with my dad. Now she puts so much attention on me that it‘s starting to get on my nerves. ―No, I‘m good. I‘ll see you when I get home.‖ ―OK, bye sweetie. I love you.‖ ―Love you, too.‖ I hung up the phone with a sigh and rubbed my head as a headache came on. She always gave me headaches now, I couldn‘t understand it. We were close before the divorce… ―Mel, you ready to go?‖ Aiden asked, causing me to jump. ―Yeah, just let me grab my guitar,‖ I replied, flipping my phone shut and moving towards the door. He blocked my path. I looked up at him, squinting at his behavior. Something was wrong; I knew that immediately by the way he nervously licked his lip ring. ―What‘d you do?‖ I demanded, placing my hands on my hips. ―Don‘t get mad–― ―Too late,‖ I interrupted him. ―OK, rather than lie at you to get you even madder at me…I kinda…accidentally…broke your guitar.‖ He said the last bit in a rush that I barely caught what he said. But I caught it. 15
―You what!?‖ I didn‘t know whether or not to be angry or sad. That was the last thing I had from my Granddaddy…and he broke it. ―Do you realize what you did?‖ ―Yes,‖ he replied calmly. ―It‘s just a guitar, Mel.‖ ―It‘s not just a guitar,‖ I hissed. ―If you‘ve forgotten, my Granddaddy gave me that as a birthday present. That‘s the only thing I have to remember him by.‖ ―That‘s not true.‖ He shook his head so fast that his bangs sifted to the opposite side he shook. ―You have the memories.‖ ―That doesn‘t make up for what you did.‖ ―It was an accident, chill,‖ he said in a warning tone as he narrowed his eyes. ―I can fix it.‖ ―I don‘t want it fixed. I don‘t care,‖ I hissed. I was lying. He knew it and I knew it. ―Just…leave it,‖ I sighed, grabbing my backpack and stomping out of the room. I grabbed the phone that started to ring as soon as I set foot into my bedroom. I took my time answering it: first I kicked off my shoes, then I threw my backpack down by the bed, and finally I climbed onto my bed and snuggled against my pillows. ―I‘m sorry,‖ was the first thing that reached my ear. ―No, Aiden, I‘m sorry,‖ I sighed. ―I didn‘t mean to get mad at you. I overreacted.‖ ―But it was understandable. I should‘ve been more careful,‖ he replied. Aiden always took the blame for something he did, he wasn‘t like the other boys that lied and I liked that about him. It was the only way that I knew he would be totally honest with me. ―I‘ll get it fixed, like I said before. I‘ll pay for it to.‖ ―You don‘t have to--" I started. ―I want to,‖ he interrupted. ―You‘re my best friend; I hate it when you‘re mad at me.‖ He sighed. ―It makes me feel really bad about myself,‖ he muttered. ―I mean, like I said you‘re my best friend. I can‘t picture my life without you.‖ ―You sound like you‘re proposing to me,‖ I said as I chuckled and spun a strand of my raven black hair around my finger. Once I realized what I was doing I pulled my hand down, wincing in pain. ―Who knows, maybe one day, Mel,‖ he replied in all seriousness. ―We could end up married. I can see it. We‘d live in a three story house, with a large front lawn. In the back would be a fence with an in-ground pool and a tire swing on the large tree for our kids.‖ ―Oh, so we‘re going to have kids now?‖ I asked, laughing a little. He was always the visionary. ―Oh, yes. A boy and a girl. Austen and Harmony.‖ ―Why Harmony?‖ 16
―As a dedication to you,‖ he explained. I could hear shuffling before his relaxed sigh. That set off signals in my head that he wanted to have an honest, almost philosophical conversation. ―You know, Mel, like I said before I don‘t think I could continue on my life without you. When you were mad at me, in that little moment in time it about killed me. Now, I‘m not saying that we should go out or anything, but I want to always be with you. Even if you end up married to some lucky guy, I always want to be the first person you turn to if you have a fight with him or something. OK?‖ ―OK.‖ I frowned. ―What‘s going on?‖ ―What do you mean?‖ ―You only talk to me like this whenever something big is on your mind.‖ He sighed again. ―Mel…things are hard for me. My dad‘s putting a lot of pressure on me to be the best soccer player. Mom keeps me studying hard to get good grades to go into a good college. Then there‘s you–― ―What have I done?‖ I interrupted. ―You haven‘t done anything,‖ he replied. ―It‘s just you. I always want to do my best when I‘m around you. I want to make you proud of me…but it‘s hard, like when you‘re mad. And the guys at school, they‘re always teasing me for being your friend and not hanging out with other guys.‖ He took in a slow breath as I waited for him to continue. ―They call me ‗queer‘ and ‗gay‘ all the time. They put signs up in my locker, and they intentionally kick soccer balls at me.‖ ―They don‘t do that stuff around me,‖ I muttered. I was mad, beyond mad, I was pissed. No one treats my friends like that and gets away with it! ―Because, surprisingly, they‘re afraid of all 5‘2 of you,‖ he replied with a small laugh. ―But, to get to the point, sometimes I just want to get away from all of this.‖ My stomach twisted as that sentence hung in the air. I hated the way he was talking. It scared me whenever he talked like that. He didn‘t talk like that a lot, just when things were really getting to him. It was a rare moment when he actually told me what was going through his head like that. I stood and started to pace. This was where I would jump in and save the day, like always. Aiden once told me that he saw me as his knight in shining armor, which made me feel extra special. I knew that he would hang onto every word I said in the next few minutes, so I had to choose my words carefully. I bit my thumbnail as I thought, which was another bad habit of mine was. I paced and bit, bit and paced until I finally came up with something. ―You can‘t always run away from your problems,‖ I started slowly. ―It‘s like a boomerang; it‘ll always come back and hit you in the back of the head when you think you‘re safe.‖ He laughed softly on the other line. ―That‘s true,‖ he mumbled. ―Change of subject, Prom is coming up? Are you going this year or are you going to sit home and watch TV again?‖ 17
―What makes you think I want to go?‖ I questioned. ―Mel, you‘d be going with me. I‘ll be your shield for the night, OK? I want you to have fun. You don‘t get out anymore. Not since…well, you know.‖ ―I know.‖ ―That settles it then!‖ He replied, suddenly cheerful. He always jumped from sounding sad to sounding happy in a matter of seconds. It was so weird to me, but I learned to live with it and expect it. ―Before I go, do me a favor.‖ ―Anything.‖ ―Can you sing for me, Mel?‖ I stayed silent. I hated it when he asked me that. I used to sing, but then I stopped after the divorce. I wasn‘t even aware of it until he pointed it out and continually begged for me to sing. I always gave a lame excuse not to sing, but it never stopped him from asking. ―Sorry,‖ was all I could say. ―Ah, no skin off my nose.‖ He always said that when I turned him down. ―I gotta go. See ya, Mel.‖ ―Bye Aiden.‖
Photo by: Austen Dunn, 11th grade ―Probably stay home,‖ I replied. Prom wasn‘t my thing and it wasn‘t like I got asked out much anyway. I wouldn‘t want to waste my time being a third wheel on everyone else‘s dates. ―Not anymore. You‘re going with me,‖ he announced. I opened my mouth. ―Close it,‖ he quickly jumped in before I could say anything. ―No arguing, you‘re coming and you‘re going to go dress shopping with my mom and your mom. They had it planned for weeks anyway.‖ 18
―Aiden! Aiden!‖ I shouted over the noise of the students in the hallway. I tried to shove through them to no avail. A 120 lb 5‘2‖ girl wouldn‘t be able to shove past a bunch of 230 lb 6‘3‖ guys, not in this life time. So, I stuck with jumping up and down and waving my arms until he spotted me over the crowd and rushed to me. ―It‘s about time,‖ I muttered once he got to me. ―What‘s up? You‘re trying to flag me down like a crossing guard,‖ he said as he shifted his bag onto his shoulder. ―First, happy birthday,‖ I replied as I held out a cookie that I baked into the shape of a 17. ―Sugar?‖ He asked, picking it up. I nodded and he stuffed the whole thing into his mouth. ―What else?‖ he asked, spraying me with bits of cookie as he chewed. He was such a guy sometimes. ―I‘ve been meaning to ask you something,‖ I replied, falling into step with him. ―OK, shoot,‖ he said as he looked at me. I flinched when his gaze landed on me, a reaction that I‘ve been having for a couple of weeks now. ―You know how you‘ve been saying that your dad puts a lot of pressure on you?‖ I asked slowly. He nodded. ―Did you ever think that maybe it‘s because of what happened to…Lucy?‖ I squeezed my eyes shut so I didn‘t have to see the expression on Aiden‘s face. The silence got to me so I slowly opened my eyes. He had stopped walking and was staring at me, a mixture of sadness and anger was visible on his face but I knew a mixture of emotions was swirling beneath the surface. I understand why, too. I promised to never bring Lucy up again, but I had to 19
know. His dad was making Aiden lose sleep, his appetite, and his grades were slowly falling, even if he wouldn‘t admit it. I knew something was wrong for a long time but I decided to pretend that I was blind to it all. ―That story about the guys making fun of you, it was a cover, wasn‘t it?‖ He stayed silent. ―Aiden?‖ I placed a hand on his shoulder, he jerked back as if I had burnt him. ―You don‘t know what the hell you‘re talking about!‖ He hissed, tightening his grip on his backpack. ―Please, don‘t deny it,‖ I whispered. ―I‘m not denying anything!‖ He all but shouted at me. Some people stopped in the middle of the hallway and stared but others kept going. ―Why don‘t you mind your own damn business?‖ I watched as he stomped down the hall, almost shoving people out of the way. I let out a breath. I was asking for it, I knew that. But something didn‘t add up. I just thought Lucy was part of the problem. It‘s been seven years; I thought he would have at least been able to deal with it by now. It wasn‘t his fault, it was an accident. It was the last class of the day and I still hadn‘t seen Aiden. It was as if he disappeared after he yelled at me. He was called to the principal‘s office, but after that I hadn‘t heard anything about him. The knot in my stomach wouldn‘t go away so I called him during break and lunch. He wouldn‘t answer his phone. That meant he was really mad at me. He has never not answered the phone before, even if he was mad at me for one reason or another. So when he called me right as school let out it made the knot in my stomach bigger. ―Aiden!‖ I gasped once I answered the phone. ―Are you OK?‖ ―Yeah, I‘m fine,‖ he grumbled. He was in a sour mood, judging by his tone of voice. ―Where are you?‖ ―Home.‖ ―Are you sick?‖ I sighed. He was alright. I didn‘t have to worry anymore. ―No,‖ he replied dully. ―Oh…so why‘d the principal call you?‖ ―Confidential reasons,‖ he responded. ―I just called to ask you a question.‖ ―Go ahead.‖ I sat down on the front stairs as I wanted for him to speak up. ―Can you sing for me?‖ he questioned. Once again I had an excuse in my mind, but he beat me to it. ―I‘ll sing with you, we can make the perfect harmony.‖ I sighed. ―What song?‖ ―Broken by Evanescence.‖ ―OK.‖
I felt weird sitting in front of the school singing into my phone, but I felt at peace at the exact same time. Hearing Aiden sing into my ear made the knot return to my stomach. His voice was strange; it was if he was keeping himself from crying. ―Thanks,‖ he muttered before quickly hanging up. I re-dialed his number. Once, twice, three times. He never picked up; I was sent straight to voice mail. Something was definitely wrong. ―Mom!‖ I shouted once I saw her car. ―We have to get home, fast!‖ I catapulted myself out of the car, tore across the yard, jumped over the hedges, and banged my fist on the front door of the Powers‘ home. His mother opened the door with a bright smile and a hug waiting for me, like usual. ―Aiden‘s in his room. He locked himself in and he hasn‘t been out since. I was hoping that you‘d come, maybe you can get him out.‖ I charged up the stairs, taking two at a time. It was strangely quiet, that alone doubled my running speed. I grasped the doorknob and twisted. It wasn‘t locked. I shoved the door open. ―Aiden!‖ He locked eyes with me, sad eyes. Then they faded with a single noise that shattered the still air. People have been coming up to me for the past week, wondering how I was doing. How else could I be doing? I just watched my best friend commit suicide right in front of my eyes. People kept saying that they would be there for me to talk to, but I couldn‘t talk to them. Aiden was the only one I could talk to…and now he‘s gone. I stayed in my room for hours on end. I didn‘t cry. It seemed as if the tears refused to fall. I just lay there in silence, wondering why he would take the easy way out of life. Was it that bad? Did I make him that mad at me that this was the only way to get back at me? I couldn‘t help but feel as if this was my fault, although everyone says it‘s not. ―Melody.‖ I looked up at Mrs. Powers. ―I found this in Aiden‘s room,‖ she said as she held a notebook out to me. I‘ve seen it many times before, but Aiden would never let me look into it. ―He…he wanted you to have it.‖ I reached out and grabbed it, holding it close to my chest. ―And this.‖ She went into the hall for a few seconds before coming back with my guitar, but it was fixed and shiny as if it were brand new. ―I‘m…I‘m sorry,‖ I whispered. Mrs. Powers smiled a little before leaving my room and closing the door behind her. I stared at the notebook in my hands before finally opening this up to the first page.
Mel, If you‘re reading this then I am finally in a better place. I didn‘t want to tell you, but I‘ve been planning this for weeks now. Our argument had nothing to do with this. Actually, that‘s a lie. Our fight made me sure I wanted to do this. What happened to Lucy wasn‘t my fault, I know that. The current was too strong for her. But I was the one who let her go out there, so I can‘t help but feel responsible. I‘m with her now, so you shouldn‘t feel sad. I love you, Melody. You‘re the best thing in this life that‘s happened to me. What I said about wanting to get married, I meant it. I could really see us together, but I made sure to nip that dream before I caused you anymore pain. Thanks for singing with me, it really meant a lot. You have no idea. When you sing, everything is better for me. I forget that my dad‘s abusive, I forget that I killed my sister, I forget about everything bad in my life. I just wish you would‘ve sung more often. I‘m not saying that you‘re to blame for this, don‘t ever think that! You saved me, even though you didn‘t at the same time, if that makes any sense. Something I noticed about your name that always was stuck in my mind. Melody means a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity. That name fits you, more than you could ever know. Even though you‘re by yourself a lot (a single entity) you were truly beautiful to me, even if no one else saw it. I‘ll be your guardian angel now. Don‘t be sad, things work out the best this way. Love always, Aiden Powers P.S. Do you still want to know why I wanted our daughter to be named Harmony? Well, Harmony means the simultaneous combination of tones, esp. when blended into chords pleasing to the ear. I always imagined hearing you and our daughter laughing in perfect harmony. Melody and Harmony, my two beautiful girls. Pleasing to my ear and to my heart. I looked through the rest of the book and saw many songs, poems, and prose across the pages along with doodles and musical notes. Aiden was always a dreamer, but I never knew that he…loved me. I honestly didn‘t, I always thought it was in a brotherly-sisterly way, not the real adult thing. I slowly closed the notebook and picked up my guitar, starting to play the last song we sang together. I remember it all, especially our voices blending in perfect harmony. I finally let the tears fall.
By: Mimi Wack, 9th grade
rad reached down and wrenched the car into drive like it owed him money. Blinking, he took a second to steady himself before easing out of his parking spot. It felt like he had been trekking around the country for a long time now, in this car, longer than it actually was. There were memories of places he‘d never forget, even if with some of them he rather wanted to. The sound of the car, for example, brought back the faces of his old friends, the times they had carpooled, the stupid nickname they gave him, and the times they had driven his mother up the wall… the loneliness… He was awakened from this reverie by a ridiculously loud bass line. Twisting in his seat, he found a car behind him that had its windows down and a bald, muscular man wearing a leather jacket sitting in the driver‘s seat. He was undoubtedly the culprit. Brad scowled at him through the back window. It certainly looked like the sort of guy to blast his music for the world to hear, just the kind that Brad disliked. Just the kind he imagined his father was. The light turned green, and Brad pressed down on the gas, eager to get back to his hotel, away from the thumping vibrations. Unfortunately, as he discovered, he and the other man seemed to be taking the same route. Just my luck. He probably stays at the same hotel I‘m staying at, was the bitter thought that arose in Brad‘s mind, right before the more pressing one of, Isn‘t he driving strangely? Is he drunk? The answer to this question became evident as the man finally lost control of his wobbling vehicle and smashed into the back of Brad‘s car. There was a screech of metal on metal-The sound of splintering glass-The distant scream of a pedestrian-His head hit the dashboard-The airbags deployed just a second too late-And the world was black. Then, the world was white. This was because Brad was staring into a light bulb. I should probably stop doing that, shouldn‘t I? he thought, Yes, yes I should. But somehow, I just can‘t care enough to. ―You‘re an idiot.‖ 23
Huh. Is that so, mysterious voice? Well you know, I really don‘t care about that either. I‘m going to fall asleep again now. The world was black again. The next time he woke up, the light wasn‘t there. Instead, there was a face. It was a young man‘s face, the kind that gives the impression that no matter what he went through, he would do it with a smile and a glass of hot chocolate. Brad wondered, vaguely, where on Earth that thought had even come from, then noticed that he was on an IV. He figured that it was just painkillers. Meanwhile, the face was moving away. Brad saw that against all odds, there was a body attached to it. The body had a white robe on it, so Brad wondered for a second if he was in some kind of church. Then he realized that it was a doctor‘s robe, so he must be in a hospital. He remembered the car crash with a mental grimace. Deciding that while the tiled ceiling was nice, it was also very boring, he attempted to turn his head to the window on his left and let out a groan when the movement sent a burst of pain through his skull. The face returned with a worried look on its… face… and the mouth moved. After another moment of dull staring, Brad remembered that it was a good idea to listen to people when they have doctor‘s clothes on. He tried to concentrate on what the face had said, but the mouth was already moving again. ―-said, can you hear me?‖ It was the right kind of voice for a doctor to have, Brad decided, smooth and quiet. Not at all like the one that he had heard the first time he woke up. Then, because the face was still staring at him in a concerned way, he opened his mouth and made it say, ―Yes.‖ A brilliant smile immediately appeared on the face. ―Well, that‘s good then. Doctor! He‘s awake.‖ Brad once again tried to turn his head, and once again pain lanced through his head. It was weaker this time, though, and he could ignore it. Or he could have, anyway, if a clipboard hadn‘t made its way to his head. ―Owwwww!‖ he howled as all his hard work in sitting up was undone. Clutching his head, he peered through his fingers at the person who had smacked him for who knows what reason. He saw a woman around her late twenties, holding the clipboard and sucking on a lollipop. ―Oops,‖ was her only reaction to his pain, something Brad found infuriating. ―Wh-What are you doing?‖ wailed the man, waving his arms around in a way that made Brad worry about the upright position of his IV. The woman blinked at him and— 24
―Hold on, hold on.‖ Brad said, ―Okay, who are you people? I‘m getting tired of just calling you ‗the woman‘ and ‗the man.‘ Where am I?‖ Turning back, the woman had an expression that was suspiciously similar to a smirk. ―Well well, so he does speak. I was getting worried that all he could do was sleep. To answer your question, this guy‘s name is James; he‘s my intern. As for me, you can call me Doctor. I am, as you may have guessed, the doctor in charge of you. You‘re in Greenly County Hospital, in Tribune, Kansas.‖ Noticing that he was staring, Brad asked ―Doctor what?‖ ―Just Doctor, idiot.‖ The phrase, while distressing James even more, served to force the gears in Brad‘s head into motion. ―It was you, wasn‘t it, who called me an idiot last time?‖ Doctor looked pleased. ―So you were awake then. Yes, that was indeed me.‖ James, who had seemingly calmed down and was squirming slightly in the corner, began to dither nervously again at this. ―Oh, oh dear. If Mrs. Hershel ever heard about this…‖ Doctor turned to squint at him. ―Well, she isn‘t going to know, is she? And stop your wiggling, it‘s freaking me out. Why are you so weird right now?‖ ―He was in a car crash,‖ James wailed, ―What am I supposed to be acting like? You? Do you want me to hit him with a clipboard, Erin? Mrs. Hershel does have the authority to fire you, you know!‖ The stick of the lollipop and a wrapper went sailing toward him, and James just barely caught it. ―Calm down, rookie, and don‘t call me that. Go throw that away and don‘t come back until you‘re ready to stop freaking out, too.‖ As he left, James threw a secretive smile back at Brad before stepping behind the wall. It threw Brad, who thought he had figured the two out, right off his game. His eyes went over to the Doctor almost involuntarily and saw that she was still watching the door James had gone out from with an expression Brad had almost never seen before. The closest he could come was when the guys he went to school with had stared at the girls. He watched as she stared for just a second too long, then coughed quietly to break the silence, and mumbled ―Erin, huh?‖ She jerked back to life, and the scowl returned. ―Shut it, boy. You‘re not allowed to call me that either. Anyway, you have a concussion. Staying here for a few weeks, or two, so I‘d say, that would be a good decision, so I suggest you do that. You can even watch the guy who crashed into you in court from that TV there. Charge is driving under the influence.‖ A new lollipop went into her mouth. She was very rarely ever without one. Blinking, Brad reached up and rubbed his head. He felt that there were bandages there for the first time since waking up. Humming to himself in thought, he realized that Doctor hadn‘t mentioned something. ―What about my car?‖ he ventured nervously. ―Is it damaged?‖ 25
She grinned around the lollipop. ―Miraculously, no. It has a few bumps and bruises, but it‘ll still work. Taking it to a mechanic would be a good idea, though.‖ James hopped back into the room with a smile plastered across his face. There was a woman close on his heels. She was just about the tallest person Brad had ever seen and was wearing a pair of fake cat ears. He tried not to stare. He was trying so hard, in fact, he failed to notice that she was coming up to his bedside at a speed that would make Olympic runners fall to their knees in jealousy. ―Oh, he‘s only a little boy!‖ the cat-eared person cried, trapping Brad in a vice-like hug that threatened to choke him. ―How could this have happened?‖ Near panic, Brad searched out James for help; the man was just grinning like he had brought in Brad‘s long-lost sibling. Before he could turn to Doctor, though, she had already taken action. The clipboard came whistling through the air once more and made painful contact, knocking off the cat ears. ―I have to ask you not to suffocate my patient, Miss Spas. While you were the one who phoned the hospital and I‘m sure he‘s grateful for that, killing him yourself will not help anything.‖ The miss reluctantly loosened her arms, and Brad gasped for breath. James handed her the ears with his ever-present smile. She smiled back in a way that could only be described as flirtatious and purred ―Why-y, thank you.‖ Brad abruptly felt awkward and self-conscious. Doctor, though, flushed angrily and turned away. ―Well,‖ James broke out cheerfully, ―Brad, I suppose you should know that Miss Spas here has kindly volunteered to pay your hospital bill.‖ It took Brad‘s brain a second to get that sentence past the clouds of befuddlement, and when it did get through, he could barely believe it anyway. ―She what? Paying my what?‖ Her cat ears now back in place, Miss Spas grinned toothily. ―Do-n‘t worry about it, dear. I have plenty of money to spare and you all on your lonesome. A-ah, I don‘t know what I‘d d-o if I didn‘t have someone to take care of me.‖ This last section was not-so-subtly sent in James‘ direction, who just smiled and seemed not to notice. Doctor, though, looked like she wanted to smash something. The clipboard in her hands was making alarming cracking noises. Miss Spas apparently heard it and, turning to go after giving Brad another suffocating hug, sent a smirk in her direction. It was a horrid expression, one full of arrogance and superiority, clearly saying ―You just try and beat me, little girl.‖ Though, Brad guessed, she would say it more like ―Yo-ou.‖ To make matters worse, James was seemingly still painfully oblivious to the entire situation and offered to accompany the Miss to an exit. She was about to accept with what Brad was sure would have been another sickeningly sweet smile when Doctor interrupted. 26
Photo by: Brandon Atkins, 9th grade ―Oh, no, James, you stay here and look after the idiots here in bed. I will take Miss Spas there myself.‖ The expression on the two women‘s faces gave the impression that they would rather eat raw eggs, but both left the room all the same. James was thrown off for a second, but the ever present smile returned and he reached over to check Brad‘s IV. Three days passed, and on the fourth Brad was certain that there was something going on between Doctor and James. It was obvious from the way they interacted that their bond was something stronger than a boss-subordinate relationship, and yet they themselves seemed not to notice it and just kept dancing around each other on their tiptoes, unaware of the tension between them. Usually it was only noticeable if one looked for it, but that day it was apparent even to James the oblivious. Doctor had been quieter lately, less grumpy and more careful with her words. It was disconcerting, like a vital part of her had been taken away and now she was only a doll, going through the motions she did on a daily basis. James did his best to make her smile again, but all his efforts seemed only to push her farther back into the shell she had made. Exasperation now showed clearly on James‘ face whenever he appeared with Doctor, and it was surely only a matter of time before one of them snapped. By pure coincidence that moment was in Brad‘s room, as he was being checked on again. 27
Doctor pulled her lollipop stick out of her mouth with a sigh and made to the trash can in the hall, but James‘ quiet question made her freeze. ―Aren‘t you going to make me throw that away, Erin?‖ She turned stiffly and glared at him in unveiled annoyance. ―I‘m perfectly capable of doing it myself, you know. Why would I make you do it?‖ ―Oh, I don‘t know,‖ James replied sarcastically, ―because that‘s what you always do? What you‘ve always done?‖ She flinched visibly and turned away from him again. ―Well, now I don‘t. Is there a problem with that?‖ James grabbed her arm and jerked her around forcibly. ―Yes,‖ he snarled, ―because it means you‘re angry at me and I‘d really like to know why.‖ The room seemed frozen with apprehension at that moment, and for what felt like years Brad wondered that a quiet, ditzy guy like James could sound like that. Doctor looked just as shocked as he was, but she recovered quickly and wrenched her arm out of James‘ grasp. ―I don‘t know what you‘re talking about,‖ she growled back, ―and I‘ll thank you not to disturb my patients like this.‖ ―I don‘t care about your patients,‖ James hissed, reining back his temper. ―All I want to know is why you‘re avoiding me.‖ Her head snapped back around at a speed that nearly gave her whiplash. ―I am not avoiding you.‖ ―Oh, really? Well, sure fooled me.‖ James laughed mirthlessly, ―If this isn‘t avoiding me, then I‘d sure hate to be avoided.‖ The fight seemed to drain out of Doctor and her eyes dropped to the floor. ―Leave it,‖ she mumbled almost inaudibly, ―just leave it, James.‖ He fell silent and just stared at her. She slipped out the door with nary a whisper, and the click of its closing was the loudest noise in the room. At least, it was until James gave a strangled yell and wrenched it back open. Doctor spun around in shock, opening her mouth to ask just what he thought he was doing before he cut her off by wrapping his arms around her and squeezing until she thought she might burst. ―How dare you look like that,‖ he whispered to her fiercely, ―How dare you say that kind of thing when you‘re the strong one, you‘re the one who never gives in to anything.‖ She let her head drop down onto his shoulder, digging her teeth into her bottom lip. ―Never?‖ she managed to force out with a trace of her former sarcasm, ―Not ever? Really?‖ He sighed and held her tighter, if that was possible. ―Well… maybe sometimes, but when that happens you know I‘m here for you.‖ 28
She surprised all of them with a harsh, bitter laugh. ―You‘re here? I thought you were busy off with that cat-eared rich woman.‖ James‘ heart fluttered for a moment before he stepped back and held her at arm‘s length by the shoulders. ―Is that what this is about? Miss Spas?‖ Doctor flushed to the tips of her ears, and she turned her face away from him. ―Well, what with her hanging off of you at any given moment, I had been worried you were going to start being unprofessional and missing work and--‖ James cut her off, ―Erin, I‘m not interested in women who are weirdly obsessed with cats, much less ones that throw themselves at me. You don‘t have anything to worry about.‖ Doctor stared at him in disbelief. ―Y-You‘re not? Well, uh, then, that‘s good, now you won‘t, uh, be distracted at work…‖ She was still staring at him in a mix of disbelief, hope, and relief that was mildly uncomfortable for Brad, like he was spying on something sacred and forbidden. James, seeming slightly amused at her fumbling attempts to speak, cut her off with a pat on the head. ―Don‘t worry,‖ he repeated softly, ―I‘ll stay here with you.‖ Doctor turned tomato red from her chin to the tips of her ears before grabbing his shirt and pulling him forward into a kiss. It lasted less than a second before she jerked away and pelted down the hall in the opposite direction. James remained stock-still for a second, processing what had just happened, before chasing her with a shout of ―Wait!‖ Brad stared as the two doctors disappeared around a corner, then burst into nearhysterical laughter.
A few years later, Brad sat at his father‘s kitchen table, looking through old photos from James and Erin‘s wedding. They were smiling in all of them, nearly glowing with happiness. As far as Brad knew, the two were still working together at Greenly County Hospital, lighting up their patient‘s lives with the joy they carried with them. Brad sat back in his chair and grinned. Everything had turned out just about right.
Poetry Black Iris
By: Isabel Steven, 9th grade
By: Aaron Anker, 10 grade th
The sky in all its beauty over all That glows a pink and orange hue, is mine. As sunrays glisten, sparkle, light the sky And ever cloud with stories asks them all Of why the sun does go when even called. And why the sky does darken and in my Silent and quiet house, as voices die, And everywhere children sleep in the bedâ€˜s call. And all over in silence they do wait, As people everywhere silent sighs, As they sit and they wait and stay up late. All silent, waiting, as the sun does die. As lengthening of shadows, glistens hate All are in waiting as the darkness sighs.
Night falls Darkness ensnares everything Throwing the world into turmoil Nothing lights the world. Then the moon Rises pale and full Painting the world anew A world of silver and silence. Yet not all is basked in a silver glow, One single black iris Lies beneath the shadow of two trees And remains untouched By the sweet glow of the moon.
It will encroach Sneaking into the innocence Night will fall And nothing will light the world ever. If we let it, only ifâ€Ś A single black iris Could become A single silver iris But only if it was held.
What sadness is this? That one dark flower Is not lit by wonder In such a tender place. Such is the truth of the world Not all is simple sweetness Ache touches everywhere Ever present, ever near. And if we let it rule
By: Lauren Falkenberg, 10th grade Is music only notes that are splurged across a page? There must be more, it must bring emotion to minds. The kinds of emotions vary from happiness, sadness, and rage. Is music inspiration, telling us to look around and find the principle of life, of love, and who we are? Although, what is love? Does it make our world better? We strive for love, even if it looks so far away, love needs to be better than lands of nether. But what does this love have to do with music? Can music be a special kind of love in life? A whole new type, that canâ€˜t be made by Isaac Newman. It can only be experienced through listening in rife. The truth about what music is, and its true meaning, is that music is love, and it is beaming.
By: Mary Fried, 9th grade White, chilly and numbing Soft, low When the weather is below zero I see it plummeting from the sky My brother used it to build a little, round man With eyes like black quarters And an orange nose, big like the Great Duranteâ€˜s My sister carved her body into it And made footprints Itâ€˜s everywhere On sidewalks, lamp posts Dogs and asphalt I am surrounded by a white, freezing mist That delays my senses The icy particles Paint me from head to toe With wintry magic Pulling me into its Cold nothingness
Photo by: Erika Boggs, 10th grade 32
Restricting Destiny By: Justin Safarik, 9 grade th
A while ago I believed Life was determined A preset fate that you cannot change A path from which one cannot deter A decision that will not bend It is something that God chooses for us One that he suits to fit what is beneficial Supposedly helping us Supposedly a helping hand I believed this then But not any longer For fate is a path that you shape A road that you make
For how is it right for a child like myself To be restricted and confined To speak that which has filled My heart and my mind So I tell you with pride and courage That I reject your ways and make my own That although I may be different against your views I do not stand alone We all follow our own path We all make our own decisions We will define our destinies We will change the world how we see fit
It is that which you decide to change And that which is composed of your decisions Whether for the good or the bad It is yours to choose I defy those who restrict me Those who try to tell me what to do Or how to feel For this is my life only How dare you say that my path was chosen That which was meant to be For I know that this does not help me But only harms me
Photo by: Hillary Johnson, 12th grade 34
Red Cardinal in the Snow
For Henry David Thoreau By: Jennifer Clark Evans, Upper School English teacher I spied a cardinal from my window pane in snow drifts deep against a fallen tree; Its flutter - all my distant eye could see. Those bright red wings lay like a violent stain on crisp cold snow entombing yard and lane. I wondered if this vibrant bird could be a harbinger - or summoner of glee. Then as I pondered soon it was so plain that what this bird reminded me was clear a natural guest come quickly in my view when all is cold and bleak. What I hold dear is not within my heated room but through this solid wall of glass. The thought draws near, surrounds, and does remind me then of you.
By: Simone Wicker, 10th grade In a silent street, a sound is heard. The whistling waves of wind cannot overbear, a powerful person with proposals of unity. Yet the ignorant inhabitants will still incoherently speak. We must try to listen and not lose our logic. Silence is the most gentle gold in the ground. It reveals more reality than rampages of noise. He who can be heard needs listeners, with ears of eager energy in silence. Where the most thorough thoughts thrive, and people are poised to be at peace. When the world decreases to a whisper, we understand how to unify our uttering voice. We become one, boldly and benevolent In a silent street, people are listening.
Photo by: Mary Rose Hazel, 10th grade 36
Sonnets are Hard to Write By: Mitchell Perry, 10th grade Where is a good place to start I‘m not sure, Ideas pass through my head, but still nothing. The due date – tomorrow- I‘m stuck, for sure. This poem is frustrating and confusing. This outline is not looking very good, Constant backspaces as I ponder change. Can‘t give up now I told myself I could, Maybe this will sound nice if I exchange. I really want to make it just perfect, But that is a lot harder than it sounds. Everything jot down seems incorrect, I really hope this poem is a bound. Then after my distress fades to nothing, My brain starts to work and I get something.
Photo by: Mary Rose Hazel, 10th grade
The Roaring Game
By: Matt O’Donnell, 10th grade Curling. A sport underestimated. No running, no jumping, no half court shots. No injuries, no one hurting their head. No sacks, no touchdown passes will be caught. Yes, you might have forgotten about it, the reasons why we would have thrown spinners, or how hard it will be to throw a split. Snowboarders aren‘t the only gold winners. So while you dream of many, many scores, and you‘re tackling a player with a boom, we dream of knocking stones off, two or more, or winning gold medals at Silver Broom. So next time you say that curling is lame, just remember that all games aren‘t the same. 39
Thank You Society
By: Natalie Ducharme-Barth, 10th grade I‘d like to thank society For what it does todayTeaching girls not to eat. Skinny is the only way. Perfect role models Our naked teenagers are For all the younger girls Who want to raise the bar. What they call styleHow proud we should be To just wear underwear. What vast creativity!
And only use their bodies To take and to receive. Why teach them of their beauty That comes from the inside. That‘s crazy! It‘d be better Just to be fake and to hide. Why be happy with yourself When you can be scared and insecure? Thank you to society. For our perfect messed up world.
Only 121 million people All around the world, Suffer from anxieties Felt by that little girl. It‘s not that important. Really, she‘ll be fine. In case you hadn‘t noticed, She cut and is drinking wine. Listening to music That talks of lust not loveThe importance of the body, The gift sent from above.
Photo by: Anna Iglesias, 9th grade
Oh, I cannot wait! For our daughters will achieve, 40
My Best Friend
By: Simone Roberts, 9th grade From the first day I met you, I knew we‘d always be best friends. Through the good and bad times we‘ve shared, you stuck it out till the end. I knew we‘d always be best friends ‗cause you always stood by my side, and stuck it out till the end. Even until the day you died. You stood by my side, so I stood by yours till the day you died. and got called unto the lord. I, too, stood by your side, through the good and bad times we shared until you got called unto the lord. But, I knew we‘d always be best friends.
Photo by: Sydney Hawkins, 10th grade 42
My Beautiful Sleeping Soldier By: Mimi Wack, 9th grade
Gunfire, Torn Between Two Sides, Painful, Harsh, Rough, Blowing Away With The Wind. And Perhaps This Is The Beginning Of The End Even Now, He Sees Not His Resting Friend, A Tired, Silly Looking Man, But A Sleeping Soldier. My Beautiful Sleeping Soldier. Recruited Before His Time, He Vanished Before I Had A Chance To Love Him.
Your Vision Of Glory, Wouldn’t Stand A Chance Against Reality, But Perhaps We Can Grow Into Adulthood Together. My Resting Friend. My Beautiful Sleeping Soldier, Make Sure You Come Back So That We Can Laugh And Be Together. My Beautiful Sleeping Soldier.
Perhaps He Left When He Saw That I Wasn’t Sure What To Make Of His Vision, Whether It Was About His Growing Up Or About How He Still Clung To Childish Notions Of Glory. Letting Him Go Was More Painful For Me Than Anything. I Believe That It Will Be The Longest Time We Have Ever Been Separated, My Beautiful Sleeping Soldier. Those Notions Are Being Blown Away Like So Many Cobwebs In The Harsh Winds Of Reality. Sympathizing With His Country, Trying To Be An Adult Too Fast, He Was Thrown Into Maturity With The Force Of Gunfire. Remember Me, Love. Your Vision Of Change, 44
Photo by: Mary Rose Hazel, 10th grade 45
Essays My Voice, Altered By None Other Than the Media By: Chelsea Edwards, 12th grade
Our world has its ups and downs, good times and their bad times, as well as its rights and wrongs. Because of the society we live in, it is often difficult to distinguish our actions and thoughts into categories of acceptable or unacceptable. This becomes increasingly difficult for people, especially teenagers, with the overwhelming quantity of media put in our lives. The bountiful amount of the perspective swaying that the media is able to accomplish often changes our attitudes about certain topics. What concerns me most about the ability that the media possesses is the way that it is affecting so many teenagers‘ morals. There is such a vast amount of things in our culture that influences members of the public in every way possible. There are commercials dictating what the absolute best acne products are; TV shows illustrating ways to trick your parents into thinking you‘re tucked away in bed while you‘ve snuck out; movies describing the standard life in college; and books depicting those necessary summer romances. I am ashamed at some of the things that I see on the television screen, for the fear that someone might find anything they see acceptable. I can remember being young and seeing commercials for the newest toys, and thinking that just about everyone would have it, and I needed to get it too. Looking back on that, I am able to see that the colorful, inviting commercials are an easy way to weave into the minds of children. By maneuvering into their sponge-like young minds, the manufacturers hope that they will beg and beg their parents for something until they given in. As time has moved forward, I feel that the morals of people have rapidly decreased. Don‘t get me wrong, I think there are plenty of wonderful people with nothing but good intentions in the world, but there is a fair share of ones who do not think through their decisions and the effects that they carry. One of the issues that is currently affecting teenagers in this day and age is the attitude towards illegal substances. Because of the lightness that is presented with using said drugs, they are treated as part of our culture without any second thoughts. The opportunities to obtain these mind controlling, monstrous substances are so vast that it has become part of the
background. In movies and TV shows, the use of drugs is often not a big deal; this has the ability to influence it‘s audience that drugs and alcohol is part of a teenager‘s everyday life. Many choices are altered by the way the media molds our thoughts and what we see in the headlines every day. One example of this is the increasing number of divorces in the news; before divorces became so popular, couples would work through marriages to the best of their ability. But because nearly everyone in the world of pop culture has had at least one divorce, it has lessened the impact of what a divorce really is. This once taboo subject has been thrown around like yesterday‘s trash. It no longer holds a great importance because it is no longer a foreign thing. The media has persuaded the public to find no faults with topics of this nature. I feel that our society has lost sight of its core values. The way that I see fit to alter this is to limit what is displayed throughout our media. It is affecting children, teenagers, and ever adults in so many negative ways.
An Economic Epiphany *Satire
By: Devin Holladay, 10th grade The United States has managed to accumulate a touch of debt. The number is just barely into the trillions, but America is still suffering economically and the streets are crammed with the unemployed. The government has thrown billions of dollars away in a brilliant attempt to stimulate the economy, but masses of people are still unemployed and have to line up for miles and miles for food stamps and to apply for jobs. Globally, economists have searched for the answer to this dilemma, but everything has proved just as successful as the stimulus package. A glaringly obvious solution has been skipped over though. A large portion of America‘s debt is to China, why then not simply use the resources at hand to pay them off? The countless people searching for work and food could simply sign into indentured servitude to China. China would provide them food and clothing, and they would work off America‘s debt. Signing America‘s unemployed into indentured servitude to China would eliminate all of the United State‘s economic problems. To do this would require a small investment on the part of the United States and its people, but in the end would be well worth it. Firstly, all the unemployed in each state would simply report to the state‘s capital with buses to transport them from their local towns and cities. From there, they would be taken to the nearest ports and loaded on to large steamers. Each person should be allowed one square yard of space and will be supplied with a half-gallon of water, a carrot, apple, granola bar, and PBJ sandwich per day. These 47
accommodations will prove to be more than adequate and for many of these unfortunate souls, who are near to starving and at their wit‘s end, complete luxury. In fact, we are practically offering these people their equivalent of a pleasure cruise and so there should be no objections to going to China. Upon arrival at China, each laborer would be assigned a household for which to work. They can be used for domestic duties or assigned a factory position or employed in another workplace, however the household sees fit. In return, the families will provide for the laborer until they die. The current debt is about 54 trillion dollars. Assuming 12.5 million indentured laborers and work off roughly a little more than 2 million dollars, the debt can be cut in half. Also, these unemployed people will be happy to have something to do and a way to provide for their needs. The remaining debt will be nothing but a trivial problem because America‘s economy will now be streamlined by not having to care for the unemployed. This appears to be an ingenious and simplistic solution that should be enacted immediately, as everyone will clearly be in complete agreement with it. Other methods, such as the government planning building projects and new industries to create jobs, and investing in the economy, are clearly useless and should be completely disregarded. The benefits of sending America‘s unemployed to China as indentured laborers, called Operation DEBT (Dabombdiggity Economic Boost Theory), are boundless. Uncle Sam wants you to work for China!
Photo by: Sofie Wachtmeister, 11th grade 48
By: Fred Daniel, 12th grade It is 1:37 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and I have just woken up. I stumble into the kitchen and, systematically, fix a bowl of Captain Crunch and then proceed, systematically, into the living room where I plop down in the lazyboy. After roughly thirty minutes of channel surfing, to no prevail, I reach just to the right of my comfortable oasis and grab my Xbox-360 controller and beginning to assassinate and perform precise ―head shots‖ on grunts and elites. Roughly an hour later I get up out of my oasis to change the game disc and proceed to go on a rampage killing innocent civilians by hijacking a car. As I run over the civilians, I can‘t help but notice the blood trail left by the tires. After twenty wasted minutes trying to spell random words with the blood trail left by dead innocent victims of a hit and run, I enter a cheat code to get a sniper rifle which I then use to shoot the heads off of people. I can‘t help but notice how after I completely decapitate a civilian in the game their body limply falls to the ground while spurting out a steady stream of blood from where the head should be. Not once did I stop to actually think of what I was doing or what was going on and how wrong it was. That scared me. It scared me to think that those two games, which shall remain nameless, were at one point the most popular games and may still be. I wonder how many other people who have played these games stop to actually think about what they are doing. Granted they are both just video games, I understand that, but they are not the only video games like that. In both games the player is actually killing what is supposed to be a living being. Maybe I‘m just different, although I highly doubt it, but I have never until this point in time taken the time to stop and think about what I was actually doing in the video games. It is more than just the killing aspect of the game, but it is the way it is portrayed in the game. It is the graphic details in which you can see the blood building up in pools on the ground, or oozing out of the dead body. It is not only video games but in films being produced. I went just recently to see Zombieland in the movie theatre, and it was the number one box office selling movies the weekend of the movie‘s release. (Which means I wasn‘t the only person to watch it!) It was nothing more than watching zombies eat dead people and watching the people that were still alive blow the heads off the zombies. I don‘t know where to start, but I‘ll try with this one scene which has been stuck in my head and will remain there no matter what I do. One of the zombies, we will call him Frank, was feasting on a dead corpse, and in the beginning of the shot you see Frank‘s head buried deep into the stomach of a dead human. As Frank lifts his head, you see a lovely 49
waterfall of thick sludgy blood drain from Frank‘s mouth while Frank still has what seems to be an intestine clinched in his mouth. (Even that does not fully describe the hypnotizing horror) Myself, along with my three friends who came with me to see the movie, and roughly the other 40 some people in the theatre began to laugh at the spectacle. Why? I don‘t know. This is what disturbs me, the fact that society has become seemingly oblivious to what is now being shown in movies and in video games. Maybe I‘m wrong, maybe society isn‘t oblivious, but do we now have a new norm in which things like this are acceptable? I for one will watch Zombieland again, I thought it was a good movie, and, I will continue to play my Xbox-360 games, however I am a little more aware of what I am doing. Why I enjoy shooting and killing things on my Xbox-360, I do not know. Why did I enjoy Zombieland, I don‘t know. All I know is that after coming to this realization I‘m am not going to change my actions, but I will be more aware of what I am actually doing. Will you?
Photo by: Anna Iglesias, 9th grade 50
By: Emily Kangas, 12th grade My name is Emily Kangas. I have lived in three countries, two states, and four cities. And I am a woman without a country. If you ask a group of kids who have lived overseas what their experience was like, I can bet you $50 that the answers are all the same: ―It was great, just amazing; such an awesome opportunity to live in a totally different culture, but I‘m glad to be back in America.‖ And as generic as this answer is, it‘s honestly the only response that we international kids can give. If I were to say that I hated living overseas, I would be seen as an ungrateful uncultured brat, but if I told people that I liked living abroad more than living in America, my identity would be labeled as an unpatriotic international snob. And this was where my troubles lay as I began high school in America after seven years of growing up in Germany. I was torn between two personas that I felt I had to fill; the American who felt that I was better than everyone simply because I am American, and the international kid who has traveled the world more in her childhood than most people do in their entire lives. Leaving Garmisch, Germany was easy. Besides the sad goodbye to the kids I‘d grown up with for seven years, I couldn‘t wait to return to the land of sprawling shopping centers and the home of the 7-11 Slurpee®. A place where picture perfect suburban neighborhoods lined every street, and the driving age was 16. At first it was great. I was ecstatic to be back home where I didn‘t have to speak a language I barely knew (despite 7 years of elementary German class) just to buy lunch. I liked going to the mall and eating Chik-Fil-A. And for the first few months, I reveled in the shiny supersized American way of life. But once the glitz of my fantasy dulled, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I began to see the holes in the country I had dreamed about returning to for years. Christmas lost its magical snowy charm and became more about Super Sales; the Volvo station wagon replaced my beloved bike as a mode of transportation; Olive Garden and Pancho Villa were the restaurants of choice rather than the little family owned German establishments. And these changes upset me. Forcing me to realize that this American culture I wanted to be a part of was something I just couldn‘t identify with, no matter how hard I tried. Coming to this realization that I would never fully be American made me feel lost. If I wasn‘t an American and not a European, what was I? Would I ever find a culture that I could identify with and belong to? My days flip flopped between patriotic and ex-patriot. Some days I‘d wish for nothing more than a plane ride to the Munich airport; other days I was perfectly content 51
in Fredericksburg, with no desire at all to leave. This schizophrenic world view frustrated me. All I wanted at this point was a place where I belonged, a place to call my home. I‘d like to say at this point that I figured it out, that I know where I belong, and that I have a perfect little conclusion to my identity crisis. But sadly that‘s not the case. I still don‘t know what culture I subscribe to, what persona I fill. And honestly I don‘t think I‘ll be able to figure that out in the near future. I know definitely that I‘m going to return to Europe someday; whether for two weeks or two years, and that I won‘t ever lose the European culture that‘s been instilled in me since age seven. But I‘m not going to reject my American citizenship and heritage. Somehow, I need to mesh my two cultures, my two continents, into one, and be a dual citizen of my cultural identity.
Artwork by: Maddie Huddle, 11th grade 52
Staff Submissions Giving Back
By Rachel Fried, 11th grade
e had just put up our tent, and tonight I was with Natalie. It was a beautiful campsite, maybe just because it was our first one in these mountains. The Himalayas. Making the tents took the rest of our strength. Most of us were pooped from the hike, and in our rush to crash land on the grass, some of us failed to notice that there was a different kind of poop on the ground. It was only Chris‘s yell of, ―Rachel, watch out!‖ that saved my one truly clean pair of pants from being covered in steaming fresh horse patty. He laughed, not his regular soft chuckle. He was in a good mood, for what seemed like the first time today. Laughing and brushing off the added humiliation from almost being stepped on by a horse not two seconds later, I walked back to our tent. While I rummaged through my bag and changed into a warmer shirt, everyone had calmed down and was either laying in the non-fenced off area, chatting or journaling. Some of the boys who still had energy were climbing the hill our camp was at the base of with our crazy leader Andrew. It was quiet except for quiet murmurs and the clinking of the hired men as they set up their tents and got things out. It was my job to help them cook tonight. I sighed as I took out the three cookie cylinders. Walking around to the small groups and individuals, I gave everyone two cookies. Walking carefully around the horse that had almost stepped on me earlier, I gave the 7th and 8th to last cookies to Court, who was writing while sitting on the short stone wall, which I then proceeded to try and step over gracefully, almost dropping the cookies in the process. Chris was strumming with his guitar propped on his leg in that way only good guitarists do. It was natural. Although I had given Chris the most massages of all the people in our group, and I had joked around with him lewdly the whole trip, I hadn‘t had any big conversations with him, besides his explaining of why I should be liberal. Now, sitting there strumming, he looked up at me with my cookies and smiled. I could see a lot in that smile. It was a smile saying, ―I‘m bored, I need some company.‖ Or so I thought, and so I plucked up courage and sat down in a dry spot not too close to him, so that I didn‘t get in the way of his guitar neck. Not having to deal with musicians much, I didn‘t know the proper etiquette of when to interrupt their solitude or not. It seemed to me I had made the right choice as Chris said; ―Do I get one of those?‖ 53
―Yep! Have as many as you want!‖ I said, taking one for myself. ―Sweet.‖ I laughed, a bit awkwardly, not sure if he wanted company with that short reply. But, he continued, ―Rachel, I‘m kinda stuck here. I‘ve been trying to remember my song as we were walking today, and I can‘t remember how it went! I had the perfect little bit going and I was trying to finish it, but now I can‘t even think of that little bit!‖ ―Oh, that sucks. Well, I‘m always forgetting things, what if you just forget about it for a while? It might come to you.‖ Grinning, I started into a conversation with him about where the inspiration for the odd but amazing song about apples had come from the other night. He and Andrew were always playing for us. Then we got into a conversation about his guitar. I noticed that one of the strings was all weird and he said that it was because one of the stings broke and that was an extra. Then he told me this was his cheap guitar that he used for the trip because he didn‘t want his other ones to get broken. He had two, but I didn‘t really understand his enthusiastic guitar speak about some awesome one that he loved at home. Then, out of the blue, as it does happen, he thought of that bit! ―Yes!‖ With a bright smile he started playing the little ditty over and over so as not to forget it, but he needn‘t have worried, he had it back by the first two notes and he wasn‘t forgetting. I tried humming along just in case he forgot so I could hum it back to him. After a few minutes of him playing it back, pausing and thinking, he huffed and relaxed his hold on the guitar. ―I still can‘t think of how to finish this. I think it could be a chorus, but…ugh!‖ ―Yeah! It‘s very catchy, definitely, but I‘m sure you could think of something, you just need…I don‘t know…umm…some motivation? Isn‘t that usually what singers use? Like sounds? Nature or a heartbeat or people talking? No, that‘s more for lyrics, voices, sounds…umm….How about listening to the river or something? No. That‘s dumb.‖ ―No, actually, that‘s a good idea. I‘ll try it.‖ And so, as Chris sat there and strained his ears, or pretended to, he got it. ―Hey, Rachel, would you hold my guitar while I go get my notebook? I don‘t want to forget it!‖ He raced off after lightly just plopping his guitar in my lap. I was surprised. He did it so nonchalantly, as if it wasn‘t a big deal. I guess it wasn‘t for him, but I was finally entrusted with holding the guitar. Yeah, I‘d helped carry it in its case before, but now I didn‘t know where to put my hands. After a little while, Chris came back with his notebook and a pen. ―Would you hold it while I write it down? Thanks.‖ 54
Scribbling notes, I didn‘t look to see if he drew the five lines and a treble clef or whatever, but I did see the look of panic when he couldn‘t remember part. No lyrics yet, just a small tune, but he had worked so hard on remembering. Embarrassed, I hummed the bit I knew and he got the rest. ―Whew! You saved me there! I thought I‘d forgotten it!‖ I laughed, self-conscious, I still can‘t take praise. ―That sounds nice, Chris. That‘s really great. You know, it‘s so cool that you play guitar. I don‘t play an instrument…used to, but…I‘ve never been too musical; I just like to listen…‖ ―Oh, it doesn‘t matter, you inspired me today! Maybe you‘re one of those people who helps the player, not with an accompanying instrument, but…like, you‘re an inspire-er! You know what? It was you that inspired it, so it‘s you that I‘ll write part of the lyrics on. I already know which part…‖ And, mumbling and scribbling, Chris went back into his contemplative artist state. Knowing now was the time to leave, guitar playing etiquette or whatever. I quietly told him I was leaving and went to sanitize and peel potatoes for dinner. Okay, so it wasn‘t guitar playing etiquette. I was the most embarrassed I had been since forever. Jeez. It‘s not often that I get a deep, meaningful compliment like that, more like never. Usually it would be a, ―You look pretty today, Rachel,‖ or a ―That skirt is cute.‖ Always from people whose voices told me they were really jealous, but with eyes that showed they were only doing what was expected, paying a compliment for a new outfit or hairdo. Sincerity.
Photo by: Margeaux Ducoing, 11th grade 55
The Piano Room
By Stephanie Jackson, 12th grade
he had started learning piano at the age of nine but stopped at the age of fifteen when her interest dwindled due to her mother‘s constant nagging. Somehow the appeal the beautiful instrument had on her as a child was lost through the years. Yet now, at the age of seventeen turning eighteen, the appeal had resurfaced after watching a professional concert, and she found herself back where she started. She played at school, in a little room. It was in the corner of the school lounge, with a sign: ―Piano Room‖, as if making an official statement that this was the piano room of the school. The one and only, when in fact, this was the one and only Piano Room for ‗non-professional‘ musicians. The other piano rooms were located elsewhere, with a sign banning all other musicians except for the ‗professional‘ ones. She preferred playing for herself rather than for anyone. She never enjoyed playing for an audience larger than two people. She never enjoyed playing under bright lights. One day, she decided to play ‗Your Hands are Cold‘ from the movie Pride and Prejudice, in her own company. The elaborate melody flowed within the walls and enveloped her, as her slender fingers scaled the octaves of black and white keys. She didn‘t hear the slight creaking of the door, the footsteps approaching her or the chair that slid next to her. Suddenly, she felt his presence, and although she would normally have stopped playing immediately, she continued nervously. As she continued playing, he placed his fingers on a lower octave and began to play the same tune. She glanced at him and he looked at her, and they both smiled. When the song was finished, just as quietly as he had entered the room, he left her, all alone. She found herself wondering if she would ever see him again. Every day she went into the room and played a variety of songs, but always played ‗Your Hands are Cold‘ at least once, wondering if he would come back and sit by her again. At times she would dream. Of love and all the possibilities the music brought to her imagination. She would play and wonder at the same time, as her mind drifted off. At times when she played that song, he would creep in quietly and add his duet. They barely exchanged words, perhaps their names on one occasion, and just a smile after the song was finished. However, one day, she decided to muster all her courage and break out of her muteness. ―You‘re really good at playing.‖ Her voice was quavering slightly. He looked at her and smiled. ―You‘re really good too. I think you‘re amazing.‖ She could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks and she could picture the color rising. 56
―I‘m not that good. I haven‘t played in years. I only started picking it back up recently.‖ Her eyes met his and she could feel herself blushing furiously as she felt a large sense of embarrassment that such a simple conversation could evoke. He opened the door to the room and she followed him out. ―It‘s alright. Practice always makes perfect. But I think you play perfectly already. I‘ll see you around, I hope.‖ He said, before walking off. She wondered about his words before checking the time, realizing she was late for class. But she didn‘t seem to care, because every minute that had just passed made her happier than she had ever been before. She continued playing in the piano room, but as the days and weeks passed, she began to play not in solitude, but in his company. They would play for what seemed like hours. The music they made together filled the void in their lives. At the end, he would walk and take the metro with her until he had to switch over to the other line. And that was how it was for all the days that came and went: he would go home with her, regardless of what time it was. When they weren‘t playing piano, they would have long conversations, about anything. They would sometimes sit next to each other and be silent, yet the moment was still perfect. She simply relished his presence. He found it awkward that sometimes she would not talk, but she told him that his company was already enough. Satisfied with this constant response, he would wrap his arm around her as she placed her head on his shoulder. It was always like this, most frequently on the long bus rides to the central station after school. He skipped class one afternoon, and met her in the piano room, playing the same song when he had first met her. Whenever he opened the door she would look up and smile, expecting him to join in at the end. That day though, she was surprised to see him and she abruptly stopped playing. He smiled at her, and she looked at him quizzically. ―Aren‘t you supposed to be in class?‖ ―I am. I don‘t want to go.‖ ―Why not? I can wait for you.‖ ―I don‘t want to go. I want to see you. She sighed and he sat next to her and they did their duet. Then he played a sonata he had memorized perfectly, and she would try and play a piece she could only sight read at an average level. She loved listening to him play, even if he always played the same piece over and over again. She would play hers, and at the end he would hug her, telling her it sounded good: she always thought she played badly. ―It sounds good to me. You play really well.‖ She enjoyed being lavished with his compliments. That same day, they ran out on everyone they knew and walked down to the metro station. At the intersection where he switched lines, they stood at the bottom of a staircase, his 57
arms around her, talking. She looked up at him and smiled, disregarding three trains that passed by, before she decided to finally catch a train home. Just like she had summoned all her courage to continue playing to see him, she did it again, to give him a small peck on the cheek before she ran to the train. There was a point in time that their piano playing became a little less frequent, as work began to take priority. Though the two resented it, they knew that it was an important determining factor in their lives. Yet every time she studied with him, his attention would falter. He would lean over to her as she read the notes she carefully took from class, and whisper in her ear. ―I can‘t study when you‘re around.‖ ―What, am I a bad influence? Should I just leave?‖ ―Oh no, don‘t go! I don‘t want you to leave me alone.‖ He would kiss her forehead and return back to his textbook, smiling. There were times where the autumn chill seeped through the windowsills and made her shiver. He would take his jacket and place it over her shoulders, and she would wriggle in it, making sure it wouldn‘t fall off. She would look at him, and without even opening her mouth, he knew exactly what she was going to ask him. ―It‘s okay, I don‘t need it. You‘re cold.‖ ―But you‘re only wearing a T-shirt! How can you not be cold?‖ He took her hands at the same time, their fingers slipping in between each other‘s. He would squeeze her hand, always commenting that they were cold, and she would tell him it was her blood circulation that was lacking: even playing the piano never warmed them up much. And from then on, he‘d always take her hands to warm them up, yet she felt the warmth everywhere except for her fingers. One late night when they stayed at school to study after playing for the majority of the day, she fell asleep on his shoulder on the bus ride. It was at that very moment she wondered if it was possible to love someone at the age of seventeen. Was it possible to hold such a capacity for love? She wondered about it but decided to push it to the back of her mind. It seemed irrelevant to her at the time. For a while, the piano room was left empty, as the holidays settled in, and exams were finally over. She wanted to see him, and he wanted to see her but she was in one place and he was in another: he had gone to Vancouver. She spoke to him on many occasions and he told her he missed her. She missed him too, and was at times wondering what it would be like if he had stayed behind. During the holidays, she spent some time picking out a gift for him, despite the fact he resented her getting him a gift. ―I told you not to get me one!‖ he had protested, saying that it was fine for him to get her a present, but not the other way around. She told him she didn‘t care if he didn‘t want her to get him anything: it wasn‘t supposed to be one-sided. 58
The distance between them was somewhat unsettling, as she wondered if she would see him soon when he came back. But things eventually changed, like the seasons switching from one to the other. Perhaps her thoughts, foreboding and doubtful, made her try very hard to make sure that everything would remain perfect. That they would be similar to the melodies she played on her piano, flowing fluidly and growing in complexity. He apologized for everything he was not able to do: to see her before he left, and perhaps to see her before school would start again. After a long wait, she finally saw him again as she played a song in the piano room. After she finished, she let him play his song and as she listened to him, there was an awkward silence. The silence was like no other silence she had experienced, and it made her tremble. She wanted to break it but nothing would escape from her mouth, and her voice seemed to have disappeared. He noticed this and stopped playing, trying to meet her eyes. She was sitting on the windowsill, and he got up to sit next to her. ―What‘s wrong?‖ She looked at him and pondered about his questions, thinking about the nights she spent thinking about him, or the days she spent wondering if she would hear from him, or the times she had gone out with friends only to realize that she could only think of the piano room and him. She thought to the days she spent, playing melodies and wondering what he would say if he heard her play. He let her lean on him as she spoke, but she never contemplated that it would be her last time. Nor did she ever think that it would be the last time she could pour her heart out to him: she wanted to tell him so much, how much he meant to her and everything she could possibly tell him. But she couldn‘t: the words couldn‘t escape. With her head on his shoulder and his arm around her, they ended what they had started. She felt no bitterness, nor resentment but only grief. He had made a decision, likewise to the one he made to enter the piano room while she played, and the only thing she could do now was accept it and follow through. She let him go and saw him leave the piano room. As the door closed behind him, she knew that she was alone once again. The days seemed longer as she spent less time in the piano room. Each day seemed a little colder, and perhaps her tear soaked pillowcases made the nights seem endless. She wondered where things went wrong, where did she play a note wrong in the melody, and many times she would find her eyes fleeting to the photograph on the wall, or her mind to the rewinding memories shared with him. She tried hard to forget but she couldn‘t: this was what she had always waited for. And this was how she knew it was going to end. One snowy January afternoon, she walked towards a door. She turned the knob and there was the piano she had neglected for many days on end. She sat and played a scale, testing the keys and started playing ‗Mrs. Darcy‘, another song from Pride and Prejudice. The black and white keys still carried the memories of what used to be. She still missed him. After her song was done, 59
and she was still alone, she walked out; knowing things would stay this way for a while. Not every dream of romance comes true, and nothing ends up like a fairy tale ending. Halfway down the corridor she heard another melody, ‗Your Hands are Cold‘. She looked back and saw the room door was no longer ajar, but closed, and knew that he was playing. Motionless she stood there as the melody wrapped her in memories of dreams of love and all the possibilities, and everything became blurry as the tears rolled down her cheeks. As the notes continued she felt rooted in place and she realized that perhaps, she could never play this again.
Artwork by: Margeaux Ducoing, 11th grade 60
By: Rachel Fried, 11th grade Seeping slowly, Crunched quickly, Melting stickily, Or swallowed whole. Any way that you decide Is fine with me. Savor me Or Favor yourself With the pleasure Of a quick nip. You have all my Brethren anyway In that bag that Soon seems much Too small after All of us are gone. Secretly you hide Me in your desk and Lie about being on That diet But it‘s impossible To give me and my Sweet taste up. Tiny piece of Deliciousness Makes you Addicted and Needing, craving More you reach inside Your desk Inside your purse Inside my bag
And latch onto me. Chomp. You quickly swallow me when no one‘s Watching. Yum.
By Stephanie Jackson, 12th grade Upon a fuzzy vista - vision blurred I tried to focus; nothing ever solid Came to view, but undeterred, I blinked An eye to try again. Through the mist A coloured hue; rainbowed wildfire The raging sun above shines through the pure transparent collection of crystal sands filling the many Angles and shapes Holdâ€”we must hold Onto things not by our fingertips But with a grip For it is precious, Do not let it slipâ€”hold We must hold all its joy Hold Before we take flight Into that dark good night
Photo by: Margeaux Ducoing, 11th grade
Grey snowflakes fall and cover The raging sun; the departure of bands of color and luminous glitter One small change of reason And the crystal sands pool hiding behind shimmering shields of illusion shattered rainbows appear the fragments of fantasy slowly moving out of my mind. 63
By Joe Garay, 10th grade The house is strong and walls withstanding. The walls are decorated with pictures, from the past, which are lined on the landing. And trophies lined up as silent figures. Kids fill the halls with laughter. As time goes on, laughter runs out. And toys are lost from the basement to a rafter. These items are lost forever no doubt. As time moves on these items collect dust. A new item replaces the lost toy, A time has started were being home isn‘t a plus, And it is a time where they are employed. But they will always remember the place, For the memories they cannot replace.
Artwork by: Margeaux Ducoing, 11th grade 64
By Matthew Safarik, 12th grade
ass, drums, beat beat beat. Over and over. Practice makes perfect. Lines in the chorus. Lines in the sand. Need to escape, brushed by a cloak. Now alone. A desert all around. Midnight on the dunes. Cold steel, iron, mercury. Seth shook himself awake, fancy metallic alarm clock coaxing him conscious just about as easily as a fist to the face. It was a present from his parents: ―Love your songs! Love your band! Love you!‖ it read in red ink. Attached was a picture of his mother and father. It was still half wrapped with delicate Christmas paper, opened a month early. He chucked it across the room. It shattered against the wall. ‗Stupid piece of junk.‘ he thought. ‗Now I have to buy a new one.‘ He pulled the satin sheets off and sat down to eat, purple bathrobe billowing behind him. He reached across the table to grab the open box of cereal. Didn‘t even bother looking at his bandmates‘ mugs plastered across the back of it. ‗Nothing without me.‘ He mentally scoffed through a mouthful of oats. ‗Freakin‘ star sitting right here! What you want pictures?! Please, take them! I‘ve got enough of me to go ‗round!‘ Seth mimed a swarm of reporters coming at him, occasionally feigning reluctance. ―Mmmm Baby…come back to bed…‖ A female voice called out from behind him. ‗So that‘s what happened last night…‘ Seth pondered smugly. ‗Too wasted to even remember I guess. Well, I'm sure she remembers.‘ ―Comin‘, Babe.‖ He called back There was a faint knock at the door, followed by a more forceful banging. ―Lemme in, Seth! It‘s Wade! I got bad news!‖ Seth groaned and stood from his table. ―Start without me, girl. I‘ll be right there.‖ Seth called back sleazily. With dull fingers Seth wrenched open the door to Wade‘s sweating face. ―What‘sa matter witchu?‖ Seth slurred through a yawn. ―L-Look at this!‖ Wade nearly screamed, shoving a magazine towards Seth with a shaky hand. ―You ‗kay, mate?‖ Seth inquired, ―Raising an eyebrow at Wade before taking the magazine.‖ The bolded red letters jumped at him from the front page: SETH McCLOUD AND HIS BAND, CLOUD NINE SOAR TO THE TOP OF THE CHARTS IN THIS WEEK‘S TOP 20 COUNTDOWN! 65
―How‘s this bad news, you twit?‖ Seth asked eyes still glued to the magazine ―Ain‘t this good?‖ ―No, believe me.‖ Wade spoke. ―It‘s bad news.‖ The sounds of birds tweeted outside as Wade felt a cool hand nudge him awake. An innocent voice cut through the chorus of nature, ―Come on, Wade! You‘re going to be late for your performance!‖ Rubbing yesterday‘s dreams from his mind Wade peeked open his eyes. There stood Carrie, sweet little angel that she was. Just turned seventeen last week. Her blond hair bounced around her face as she attempted to shove her slumbering brother awake. ―Get up, get up, get UP!‖ Carrie playfully yelled and she pounced on the bed. ―Alright, alright. I'm up.‖ Wade grumbled, propping himself up with a hand. ―Any reason for the military wake-up call?‖ Carrie tilted her head up, pretending to think about the question. ―Nope!‖ she decided, bursting from the room. ‗Always a ball of energy.‘ Wade smirked, ‗Wish I had half of her enthusiasm.‘ Dropping his leaden feet from the mattress, Wade began his daily routine. Taking a shower he could hear Carrie humming some pop song in the kitchen, undoubtedly concocting some secret, yet intricate breakfast. Being on the road with his band was tough, and contact with his family was rare. For the past week their band was making a memory tour back to all of their first performance sites. It was a breath of fresh air for the members, especially Wade. Out of everyone he left behind, he missed his sister the most. As kids he assumed the role of guardian angel for her, protecting her from bullies and jerks at school. In return, she showed him the same respect and thanks by letting him into her life, talking to him about personal issues and calamities in her social life. They grew close and developed a bond only family could share. When he made the decision to go on the road with his band he knew it would be hard for them both. But each of them knew it would happen eventually. Tears fell and hugs were given, but eventually they parted ways. It was now over two years later. With the smell of fresh omelets teasing his nose, Wade quickly made his way into the kitchen and sat down. ―I like this apartment.‖ Carrie spoke. She stood by the stove with her back to Wade, occasionally attempting to flip some of the eggs. ―It‘s a good fit for you. You‘re twenty-one and should look for a decent apartment.‖ Wade smiled at her hidden motives. ―First of all,‖ he stated ―This isn‘t even my apartment! This is my friend Roger‘s; he said I could use it while I was in town.‖ Wade leaned 66
back in his chair, ―I know what you‘re trying to do, and you know I can‘t leave the band, no matter how much I might want to. We‘re small enough as it is. If I left, there wouldn‘t be a band.‖ ―Oh, I'm sure Seth could manage.‖ Carrie quipped back, concentrating on a difficult transition of omelet to plate. ‗Seth. Now there was a piece of ungrateful human trash if ever there was one.‘ Wade thought. ―Seth is an inconsiderate, egotistical waste of space‖ he spoke aloud. Carrie turned around and winked at Wade. ―Oh, but he‘s pretty cute.‖ Wade rolled his eyes and grabbed an omelet from Carrie. He chewed in silence as his sister rummaged around the living room. ―Looking for something in particular, sis?‖ Wade inquired, his attention still on his breakfast. ―Just where the vacuum is.‖ Carrie wandered over to the hall closet and began to rummage through it. Coughing on his omelet Wade ran over and pulled her back. ―Hey now!‖ He said, ―No need to dig through my stuff! It‘s in the back laundry room next to the washing machine.‖ ―Why so defensive?‖ Carrie teased, ―Afraid I‘ll find love letters or something?‖ ―Oh yeah, that‘s it. I'm definitely hiding love letters in my closet.‖ Carrie giggled as she headed to the laundry room. Quickly, Wade inspected the closet, making sure everything was in its place, and then headed back to the table. However, it wasn‘t long before a knock sounded on the door. ―Oi, mate!‖ Wade groaned. It was Seth. ―Get yourself out here ‗fore I'm forced to kick the ruddy door in!‖ The voice called from outside. Wade pulled open the front door to the image of the short, mousse-hair-ridden, boy-band wannabe Seth McCloud, lead singer of their band, ‗Cloud Nine.‘ ―‘bout time!‖ Seth moaned, urging for Wade to hurry. ―Going to be late for our hometown performance! Wouldn‘t want to disappoint the–‖ Carrie peeked her head around Wade to get a look at Seth. ―Oi, didn‘t know ye‘ lived with an angel now‖ said Seth, interrupting himself. ―What‘s your name, beauty?‖ ―Carrie!‖ the girl behind Wade said giggling. ―Carrie? Carrie Winfield? The Carrie we‘ve heard so much about from Wade? Oh, now I know I'm dreaming.‖ Seth slid in a feigned admiration. ―And you‘ll keep dreaming‖ Wade interjected, pushing Seth back and closing the door to the apartment behind him. 67
―Didn‘t know your sister was such a looker‖ Seth cooed as they were walking to the band bus. ―Listen, Seth.‖ Wade commanded, voice rumbling. ―Don‘t even think about it. If you so much as touch my sister–‖ ‗Oh, I‘d do more than touch her.‘ Seth thought. Flashing lights. A dark stadium. Bass. Drums. Beat, Beat. A chorus line drawing screaming teenagers to rhythm, sometimes to tears. A blurred performance, thoughts on the mind. Over and done. Good to be home. Good to be here. Wade shook himself out of his daydream, a steady hand gripping the red leather of the chair. The concert drained the energy out of him, hardly had enough left to stay awake on the ride to the after-party. ―Wake up, dude!‖ Some party-go‘er took hold of his shoulder and shook him. Must have been one of the band mates. He stood up and took survey of the room around him. Only a group of specifically designated attractive fans were allowed to come to the after party. Girls of questionable moral standards were everywhere to be found, either hanging off of some drunken guy or talking with other girls. After parties weren‘t Wade‘s forte. Fun and all, sure. But was it really necessary in the hometown? Couldn‘t they have just met with old friends and hung out? Did it really always have to turn into some sort of booze and drug fest? No doubt Seth was in some back room taking coke lines off of some girl‘s abs. God, he felt awful. More than tired, like he was hung-over or something. But he didn‘t drink at all today, what was going on? Wade tried to shake a headache away and decided it just must have been the atmosphere. ‗What am I doing here?‘ wade thought. ‗I don‘t need this. I don‘t need this night after night. I'm tired and I'm going home. Forget this party. Seth can have all the hookers he wants.‘ Wade pulled open the door to the outside and felt the exhilarating rush of cool air brush past him. ‗Ah the sweet taste of freedom‘ he thought. Stepping forward out into the cool night he headed towards a payphone to call a cab. ―Oi! Where you goin‘!‖ Seth called, drink in hand as he saw Wade walk out of the party. ―Just getting started in here, boy! Leaving all the fun to me? Well, alright then!‖ As he was heading back to the back room his eye caught a familiar flash of blonde in the crowd. Working his way over in a semi-controlled stupor, Seth caught hold of the shoulder of a rather frightened looking Carrie. Spinning around in shock, she relaxed a bit when she saw who the hand belonged to. 68
Photo by: Rachel Zalegowski, 12th grade ―Oh! Hi, Seth!‖ Carrie piqued. ―Y–You haven‘t seen Wade have you? I wanted to tell him good job on the performance. It was really fantastic.‖ ―No more fantastic than you, my dove.‖ Seth spoke, hand sliding to the small of Carrie‘s back. 69
Carrie blushed. ―Um, thanks.‖ ―No, thank you,‖ Seth added, motioning his unattended arm towards the rest of the room, ―for gracing this humble party with your presence.‖ Carrie blushed again, unsure of how to respond. ―I‘ll tell you what,‖ Seth whispered into her ear, pulling Carrie close enough so his warm breath teased her ear. ―Come with me, have a drink, I'm sure we can find Wade somewhere in here.‖ Pulling an unopened beer from a nearby table, Seth handed it to Carrie. ―I–I . . . I really shouldn‘t.‖ Carrie stammered, voice catching in her throat. ―Oh, but it would be so easy.‖ Seth whispered again. Slowly, but steadily Seth wrapped his arm ‗round Carrie‘s waist and lead her to the back room.
Artwork by: Margeaux Ducoing, 11th grade Wade looked down at his watch. It was nearly 10:00. Where was Carrie?! Did she say she was going somewhere else last night? She came to the performance, but then what? Did she go to mom and dad‘s house? A stumbling outside the apartment door seemed to answer the question. Rushing to the handle Wade swung the door open. His heart stopped. ―Wha…sup? Buh-ro?‖ 70
There was Carrie standing in the doorway of the apartment. Her blonde hair was tossed every-which way, she had on the same clothes from last night, and she could barely keep her balance. ―Out...ma way.‖ She said, stumbling past Wade into the apartment. He was stunned. Words escaped him. His jaw was stuck open and thoughts raced across his mind. Suddenly the putrid smell of stale beer wafted past him. ―Car–Carrie?‖ he managed to spit out. ―Wut?‖ She mumbled back, falling into the recliner. Jerking himself out of his shock Wade rushed next to her. ―What happened?!‖ he screamed. Carrie winced at the volume of his voice but stayed silent. Wade looked deeper into her face and noticed her dilated eyes. ―Are…Are you High?‖ Wade asked, incredulous. ―So wut?‖ Carrie slurred. ―No big deal.‖ He put his hands to her forehead and brushed aside her hair, revealing a number of red scars, some bleeding. Mind exploding with expletives, Wade turned over every thought in his head. ‗How? Why? When? Who? How? WHO?!‘ He knew she wasn‘t capable of this, she would never do this. ―Where were you last night?!‖ Wade yelled again. ―At your . . . party.‖ Carrie slurred again, a drunken smirk coming across her face. ―What?! Who did this to you?‖ Wade questioned further. ―Mmmm.‖ Carrie moaned, ―He said he liked to rough, that I could be as bad as I wanted…‖ ―WHO!?‖ Wade screamed. In her drunk and high stupor Carrie looked wade in the eyes and grinned a disgusting grin. ―Why, Seth, of course.‖ Wade‘s eyes burned with fury. How dare he. HOW DARE HE! ‗I‘LL KILL HIM.‘ He screamed in his head. ‗I‘LL KILL HIM. Rage coursing through him like molten lead, Wade jumped from beside his sister and ran to the closet. Grabbing his black coat he jostled a gray box, tumbling it from its shelf, its contents rolling across the floor. With a moment‘s hesitation he stared down at his fated mess. A second later he rushed out the door. Seth‘s door was the luxury suite. No missing it. 71
Hand palming the glossy cover of the magazine in his hand, Wade moved his steps faster. His heart beat as an engine against a cage of iron, bursting with fury, flaming with contempt. His mind raced with what he would say, how he would confront this piece of living trash, how this monster could atone for corrupting such a beautiful youth. His sister. His Carrie. He ran over what he would say, practiced it out loud. ‗Practice makes perfect.‘ He thought. ‗Practice makes perfect.‘ Without warning the door was before him. Sweat poured down his forehead, veins ready to burst. ‗Not too fast now.‘ Wade thought, ‗Careful.‘ With extreme effort Wade brought his hand up and lightly rapped on the door. ―Lemme in‘ Seth! It‘s Wade! I got bad news!‖ he called. He had trouble controlling his voice. ‗Practice makes perfect.‘ He thought. ―Whatsa matter witchu?‖ Seth slurred through a yawn. ―L-Look at this!‖ Wade nearly screamed, shoving the magazine towards Seth with a shaky hand. ―You ‗kay mate?‖ Seth inquired, raising an eyebrow at Wade before taking the magazine. Wade watched the fiend blink at the cover of the magazine, obviously confused. ―How‘s this bad news, you twit?‖ Seth asked eyes still glued to the magazine ―Ain‘t this good?‖ Wade took a deep breath and reached into his coat. ―No, believe me.‖ Wade whispered. ―It‘s bad news.‖ In one flowing motion Wade reached into his coat pocket, and grabbing hold of the iron above his heart, extended it before him. ―Mate, I don‘t know what you‘re getting at but–‖ Suddenly Seth looked up and caught sight of Wade. A terrifying black fear spread across his face. ―Look, Wade, I–I didn‘t mean to– you know–w-with Carrie. I'm–I'm Sorry.‖ Wade narrowed his eyes ―Too Late.‖ Trigger squeezed, a round chambered itself in its iron cell and locked eyes with Seth. ‗Goodbye, my foe.‘ The bullet may have thought; And then it blew his brains across the room.
a leader of the Elegos literary magazine staff for all of her four years in the Upper School, Stephanie served as Co-Editor this year.
has been a part of the Elegos staff for three years and served as Submissions Editor this year.
Matt Safarik shared his expert editing talent as a member of the Elegos staff for the past three years.
has served on the Elegos staff for three years and worked as the club‘s Co-Editor this school year.