Art Words Stories
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ijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcde f gCover: h i j Gold k l mBeads n o pby q Haliegh r s t u vLevthan wxyzab cdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxy z aStory b c dby e Callie f g h Valenti ijklmnopqrstuv 1. wxyzabcdefghijklmnopqrs t u Tree 1. v w xbyyAutumn z a b cIafrate defghijklmnop qrstuvwxyzabcdefghijklm n oBasket 2. p q r sCase t u vbywJulia x y Crawford zabcdefghij klmnopqrstuvwxyzabcdef g hWelcome i j k l m to n othep Marigold q r s t u by v wMaya x y Chandra zabc 3. defghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz a bThere c d e by f gSuzie h i j Savage klmnopqrstuvw 6. xyzabcdefghijklmnopqrst u vHand w x yby z Autumn a b c dIafrate efghijklmnopq 6. rstuvwxyzabcdefghijklmn o pCan q r You s t uHear v w Me x yNow z a bbycAndrew d e f gCarlin hijkl 7. mnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefgh i j kRecovery l m n o pbyqMolly r s t Goldstein uvwxyzabcde 10. fghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzab c dAn 11. e fEscape g h i j from k l mthe n Ordinary opqrstuvwxy zabcdefghijklmnopqrstuv w xbyy Lauren z a b cGimpel defghijklmnopqrs tuvwxyzabcdefghijklmnop q r sMalala 12. t u v by w xHannah y z a Freund bcdefghijklm nopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghij k l m nDouble 13.The o p q Name r s t uthat vw Saved x y zmy a Life bcdef ghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabc d ebyf gCaroline h i j k Lazarus lmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvw x y z aRablings 16.The b c d e of f ga Lonely h i j k lNarcissist mnopqrst uvwxyzabcdefghijklmnopq r s by t uEthan v w xThomson yzabcdefghijklmn opqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijkl m nThe 17. o pEnd q r by s tEvan u v Schwartz wxyzabcdefgh ijklmnopqrstuvwxyzabcde f gBack h i Cover: j k l mMetamorphosis nopqrstuvwxyzab cdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxy z a b c d e f by gh i j k l mGarrigues nopqrstuv Alexandra
Story by Callie Valenti
After the preface Before the epilogue Beneath the header Above the footer Within a chapter Out of the passages Beyond each sentence Between the lines Past the cover Before the end On the pages Underneath your fingertips Into your head On account of the ink It was told
Welcome to the Marigold by Maya Chandra “Testing . . . testing. OK let’s start with the intro. Don’t be nervous. This is a news program, not a tabloid story. We all know the old Hollywood child star gone bad routine. You didn’t go bad though, you went crazy. You killed someone, stark raving mad—that’s what you are. Sorry. No really. Recording in 3 . . . 2 . . . . . 1.” “She glanced at her reflection, her sunken frame having fallen into a greater state of disrepair than the dusty old mirror that captured her form in all its pathetic glory. Short, thin, with silky brown hair that barely reached her now jutting collarbones. Her occupation—tortured-soul type artist, her drug of choice—misery. Trapped by a disease of the mind that had brought her to this place, The Marigold Mental Health Center in Tampa, Florida. It’s like a scene out of a movie, one of her movies, the wallpaper frayed around the edges and complete with faded rose patterns and dubious stains. The furniture is scarce, even for a “wellness center” only a lonely gray futon accompanied by the lonely gray woman. A gray soul that is, her body had yet to fully accept her depression, though given time it would succumb under pressure and relinquish its hold on the physique of her excitable delinquent youth. The newspaper clippings that litter the walls tell the story, her story. For most the end of the story is death, for her it was here in the headlines ripped at first off the front page, and slowly as they made their way to page 19—and irrelevance. “Seven-year-old Sara Symphony to join the cast of the hit TV show Mr. Diamond”, “Sara Symphony becomes youngest Oscar winner in the history of The Academy at AGE 9!”, “Sara Symphony, only 14 and already a Hollywood Walk of Famer!” . . . “Sara Symphony, caught driving under the influence?”, “A possible Sara Symphony sex tape?”, rumored drug abuse, alleged assault, and finally the one that sealed the deal—murder. For her it is a recurring nightmare, one that could’ve taken place just yesterday, though reality insists that it was nearly a decade ago. She was 24. That wraps up the introduction, are you ready to begin?” “ . . . hmmmph” She smirks, shaking her bangs away from her hazel eyes. I wince, only slightly, my persistent professionalism subduing my annoyance. “What was that?” 3
“Yes, yes I’m ready.” “So let’s start with the questions on everyone’s minds, how? Why?” “It was his fault I suppose. He was mean, he was cold to me, relentless in his cruelty. He ate away at my happiness like a parasite feasting on human flesh; it was like he enjoyed the pain I felt.” “A sadist, I know the type. Do you remember how it happened?” “Not really, it was all a blur.” Of course she remembers. He came home, he was alone, but she could feel the other woman’s presence lingering on his jacket and in his heart. I know this, I understand. “But why did you want to—“ “I didn’t want to!” “Don’t yell. No wait, the doctors will be coming soon to make sure you’re still crazy, try it then.” “. . .” “Alright, back to the topic at hand.” Remember the story—she was home, and in bed. She could never sleep till she heard the faint scraping of his boots on the worn out Welcome Mat. He came home, he was alone, but she could—no you already went over that. “Fine,” she says, “Fine.” The rotting corpse of her husband sprawled across the kitchen tiles lying like he did the nights he came home drunk and angry—angry at the world for not giving him a better lot, or at least a better her. His anger was infectious, it had snaked its way into her mind and through her veins towards the finger that had pulled the trigger. “So how did you do it? You don’t need to answer that, I already know.” “I stabbed him, once, twice, and then I couldn’t stop. I just kept—” “What are you talking about— you shot him, remember? Point blank with a 9mm, he smelled like whisky and sex—but the bad kind because it was with someone else, and you shot him.” “No, I stabbed—” “Don’t lie to me! He was your husband and he made a mistake with that woman . . . but he loved you and you just—” “He was my brother, what are you talking about? I was out with my friends and I came home and my brother was there on the couch. It was the first time I’d seen him in a year, he was always jealous, you know. He wanted to be in movies, but I was the pretty one, the talented one. And I messed it all up, you read the clips “Sara Symphony—from Hollywood to the slammer!” Jim, my brother was called Jim, you know, he called me names, he said he hated me, that I had thrown away my life! He was right of course and I hated him for it. I got the knife from the kitchen counter and—” 4
“Shut up! SHUT UP! You’re lying. He was your husband, his name was Todd. Todd Walgreen. You got married on a beach in Italy, you wanted kids but you couldn’t get pregnant. He said you should adopt, but you said no, you wanted the kid to be yours. But he was adopted, and he didn’t understand. He was angry, so angry, at the world and at you. He had an affair, he said he would leave, but he didn’t. But he didn’t leave her either, she sat at home and waited for his midnight calls when he thought I was asleep, he would—” “You said ‘I’. . .” “What?” “You said ‘he thought I was asleep’. . .” “What? Oh I’m here to interview you, I mean you were famous and you killed your . . .” The walls, covered in newspaper clippings, about her talent, her passion, her tragic descent into insanity. “Sara Symphony takes insanity plea deal in murder of brother, Jim Symphony.” Her brother, not her husband. Not Todd Walgreen. Who was Todd Walgreen? Who was the woman with the gun and the anger that clawed through her lungs to her heart? Do you ever feel that in your heart, because I feel it everyday, every freaking day since—Oh. That’s right, that was me, it was me in the kitchen with the gun, 10 years ago. Why am I here? They said I was insane, because I screamed at the trial and cried my tears of desperation into the hardwood floor. Or was there a carpet? I was there with Judge Thomas and the reluctant pity in his cold green eyes. More memories, dusty old cassettes hidden in the back of my mind, with my first steps and wedding video hidden among them. The woman who brought me here, with her rigid blue blazer in stark contrast with her peppy attitude. “Welcome to the Marigold Mental Health Center, this is your room. This is your roommate Sara, you may recognize her from that movie “Killer by Day.” She won an Oscar, she had everything you know. Such a shame she threw all that away. Just get settled, remember We are here for You!” Oh God I remember it all. I, I— “Earth to Racheeel. You really are nuts. Shot him point blank in the head and stared into his stupid dead eyes for four whole hours before you called the cops. Remember Todd, Rachel, remember?” She whines the last word, needy, clingy, taunting me with her acceptance of her crime. It’s nice to have a friend. A friend who knows what love looks like even when it’s covered in blood and sprawled out across the kitchen floor. And you try to destroy it, you really do, but it’s still there and it wont leave. It latches onto you and won’t leave, just growing like a tapeworm inside of you. Soon it gets so big you go mad—that’s what love is like. Sara gets it, she understands. I reluctantly submit myself to her quiet laughter that soon mellows out 5
into a soft hum. She’s really something—charismatic as the wind if it came in colors, and as beautiful too. Shame she threw it all away to come waste away here with me at the Marigold. It’s crazy. Stark raving mad. But yeah, I remember now, how could I forget . . . End recording.
There by Suzie Savage There once was a man from far, Who owned many prize-winning cars, He made a mistake With a seller named Jake, Who sold him a hungry jaguar.
Can You Hear me Now? by Andrew Carlin
It was an ordinary day. The 6:42 train from Rye was on time. I grabbed the last seat on the first car and read the sports section. The conductor glanced at my monthly ticket, nodded, and announced our arrival. Rushing through Grand Central Station on the way to work, to a dreary office for a dead-end job in the accounting department of an insolvent insurance company, I never imagined this was the day my life would change forever. I saw the blinking train schedules on the wall. I glanced at the clock above the information booth, which had just struck 7:30. There was, as yet, no line at the Apple Store on the mezzanine, but the stars still twinkled on the ceiling. I found myself face to face with a man of similar size, close enough to dance, but angry enough to fight. Perhaps we were sleepwalking or just unaware, but we had inadvertently collided. “Sorry, my bad,” I murmured reflexively. “No man, it was my bad,” he replied graciously, and offered to buy me a cup of coffee. Not in any rush to get to my desk, I agreed and we headed to the nearest Starbucks in the terminal. While waiting to order, I introduced myself as Hunter; his name was Asher. As miserable as the day awaited me was, Asher’s was going to be worse. He claimed to be heading to a divorce lawyer to give away all his property to his cheating wife. We commiserated over women, work, and the lousy start to the Rangers season, until we said goodbye and headed to our day of disappointments. I headed into my building, showed my ID card to Kevin, the security guard, rode the slow elevator to the 13th floor and nodded at Marilyn the receptionist, and headed down the dark brown hallway to my cubicle. My computer was offline, and it seemed to take hours to boot up. I went to check my cell phone and realized it was gone. I searched my memory for the last place I had it. Did I leave it at home? No. I used it on the train. I felt it in my pocket when I exited the train car. Did I have it at Starbucks? I don’t know. I don’t recall. Immediately I dialed the cell from my office phone. A man answered. The voice was familiar, even as he only said, “Hello.” 7
“Who is this?” I demanded. A pause and the question returned, “Who’s this?” “The owner of that cell phone you answered,” I angrily retorted. “Now, who the hell is this?” “Hey, what’s up Hunter, it’s Asher,” I heard. I was stunned and irate. This guy acted as if I’d just called him on his own phone to say hello. I replayed the morning in my head wondering whether it was all a set up. A collision made to seem accidental must have been a ruse for a pickpocket. Springing for a coffee took me off the track of suspicion. Incensed, I had to get my phone back. Internally I quickly debated whether to be sweet like Coca-Cola or sour like the lemon in it. Originally, my scruples convinced me to give him the benefit of the doubt. “Asher, I need my phone, can you meet me?” I said calmly, without accusation, though the words were burning in my throat. “I prefer not,” said the thief. Incredulous, I replied, “What do you mean ‘you prefer not’? My question was rhetorical. I need my phone back from you. And how did you even get it?” “I’d prefer not to tell you. All I can say is I’m not who you think I am.” “I don’t care who you are. You are going to meet me by the clock at Grand Central Terminal or you will seriously regret it.” My aversion for this man quickly grew. “I prefer not,” he said. “You will be there,” I said before the call disconnected. Curious if Asher would in fact meet me by the clock, I headed out of the dull office, towards the world’s most famous train station. By this time, my colleagues had all arrived, phones were ringing, and faxes were printing. It was nothing unfamiliar; just the ordinary cacophony of any average day. Over these sounds, the words “I prefer not” replayed in my head, like children taunting in a schoolyard. As I waited beneath the clock alongside the information booth, I paced, wondering whether he’d show and what I’d do if he didn’t. My self-control was slowly slipping away as the minutes ticked by. When 12:30 hit, it became evident Asher was not coming. Civility had lost this round; however, the war had just begun. Desperate to find the location of my phone, I dashed up the arched staircase, to the contemporary Apple Store. Nearly three months ago, I registered my device with an application called “Find My Phone.” It was about time to make use of the app. Logging into my account on the Store’s newest iPad, the location of the phone, was reveled: Fifth Avenue, between 42nd and 43rd, 8
on the west side of the street. In other words, outside the venerable New York Public Library, guarded by the lion statues. Asher being the prey, I chased him down, similar to a lion hunting for dinner. I sprinted through the city streets, bumping pedestrians along the way, just as I had been thumped earlier. I reached 5th Avenue, and he was in my sight; he was sitting on the top of the stairs, talking on the phone. Not just any phone, but my phone. I quickly approached him and contemplated my next move. “Give me my phone!” I shouted. “I’d prefer not,” Asher retorted, as a crowd gathered. Those words, “I prefer not,” pierced my last nerve and final slice of sanity. I had had it with my miserable job, my frustrating day, and my disappointing life. It was time to take control, even if it is only my phone. Asher rose one last time, and like a broken record, uttered “I’d prefer not.” With one hand, I grabbed my phone, as the other struck his jaw. It felt amazing, until I saw the consequences. Asher tumbled down the stairs and entered a state of unconsciousness, while laying in a pool of blood. Asher was as alive as a pile of ashes. The passive man I had always been, seemed to transform into a malicious hunter.
An Escape from the Ordinary by Lauren Gimpel
I believe in capturing the essence of the moment. I believe in viewing the world from a different angle. I believe in representing the images of the natural earth from a unique and more creative eye. I believe in taking everyday objects, and turning them into something beautiful. I believe in looking at things with a deeper meaning and going beyond what the “eye can see.” I believe that everything has beauty, and that everything deserves a chance to become a spectacular work of art. One day, as I was walking around my house with a new professional camera that our family had recently purchased, I noticed how the sun artfully hit the grandfather clock, reflecting streaks of light into the living room. It gave me the idea that at this moment in time, something as simple as the way the light reflected into my living room, could be turned into a piece of art. This was no longer just an ordinary living room; it was a canvas for creativity and an extraordinary amount of possibilities. It was taking a simple room, and turning it into a masterpiece that could provoke emotion. It gave me the idea that if you were to look at something through a different perspective, it could completely change your outlook on life. Photography signifies more than just taking a photograph and capturing a moment in time. Photography is a window to the past, a form of ultimate expression, a silent language understood only by oneself, yet accepted and interpreted in an infinite amount of ways by others. It is the medium that gives pattern to life. Moreover, photography changes the way I view things, and inspires me to give even the simplest of objects and ideas a chance to be magnificent. It gives me the ability to consciously connect with the beauty in the world around me, and completely take it in. Sometimes, beauty means going beyond what the modern day society considers to be “beautiful.” Sometimes, all it takes 11
is a chance, just one simple chance, to view the world with a welcoming eye, and create something truly spectacular out of an everyday item or occurrence that we as society tend to oversee. Seeing the potential beauty and sensational qualities in everyone and everything, is something, which I consider to be one of my strengths. Photography means more to me than just a picture on a page. It expresses uniqueness, creativity, and a perspective of life that has never before been captured by another humanâ€™s eye. One photo has the ability to seize and provoke a viewerâ€™s emotion in a mere moment. Photography gives me the incentive to go outside of the barriers of what I usually see. I believe photography is an escape from the ordinary.
The Double Name that Saved My Life by Caroline Lazarus
I was adopted when I was practically a fetus, and ever since then I’ve been an outsider to the Flatt family. Sure, my name is Virginia Flatt, but I’ve never really fit in. I mean, they all dress the same way, like the same things, and talk the same way. But me, I just didn’t fit in. I run instead. Lisa, my “mother,” tells me it’s to “fill the void that my real mother created when she left me.” I know that’s just not true. I don’t think about her much. My real mom I mean. She didn’t care about me enough to stick it out through whatever crap she was going through, so why should I even care what planet she is on? Heel, toe, left. Heel toe, right. Heel toe left. Ugh! This usually works, this time I just screwed up too bad to run it off. Lisa is not going to let this one go. * * * 15 Minutes Earlier * * * “Virginia! Get down here now.” “Umm sure. Listen, Lisa, I gotta,” and just as I was in the same old routine, the screaming began: “I told you, call me mom!” Sometimes I just feel as if I am the adult in 13
this relationship. She pouts every time I call her Lisa. I mean, she isn’t my mom, but if calling her that makes her happy then whatever. “Okay, um mom. I just got umm, sort of… suspended.” “What in God’s name did you do this time? Just wait until your father comes home. He is going to go off on you. I just don’t know what to do with you.” And that is when I start to tune out. As soon as her face gets red with disappointment I run away. I just put on my orange and yellow Nike Airs and run free. I do this a lot actually. I mean get in trouble . . . and run. My life runs like a washing machine. Clean, dirty, clean dirty. As soon as I clean one mess up, the next one just appears on my plate. I got suspended for cheating on my History exam this time. Last month it was plagiarism, and the month before that it was texting during class. I don’t mean to be such trouble, I guess it’s just my natural instinct. I’m a screw up. So anyways, I went running. But this day was different. After I laced up and hit the road I began counting my steps, just like I always do. I can usually just focus on the road, and my footsteps, but this time something kept interrupting me. At first I thought it was Lisa’s constant nagging playing on repeat in my head, but then I saw who I would later know as Sarah Beth. She was humming to the tune of “You are My Sunshine” as she picked flowers in her front garden. Typical down-the-street old lady—yuck. I was so busy staring at her, and her disgustingly happy humming that I ran right into her flowerbeds, screwing up her entire garden. All I was thinking now was: “Oh great, now I gotta talk to her” “Oh, honey! Are you all right? I am so sorry, my stinking flower beds just got right in your way now didn’t they? My name’s Sarah Beth.” That’s just the kind of person she is: apologizing for things that clearly aren’t her fault. After that first run-in, we met everyday at 4:15 for two months. We talked, and hung out as if we were the same age. She was thirty-two and I was sixteen, but I told her everything, and she I. I told her Lisa’s obsessiveness. Sarah Beth, always hear me out, and took my side. I felt as though this relationship was the one thing in my life that I wasn’t screwing up. Things were looking alright for me. I loved those two months and wished they never had to change, but Sarah Beth had to go apologizing again. This time though, it was her fault. “I can’t believe you. Are you crazy? Living down the street from me for my entire life? And not telling me you’re my real mother? You’re a psychopath. Never talk to me again. Right when I was feeling like I fit in. Damn it.” It was December third, the day Sarah Beth told me she was my mother. I can’t believe her. I mean we are nothing alike. She gardens, I stomp on ants 14
as they scamper across the sidewalk. She watches “Nashville” I watch “NCIS.” She runs on a treadmill, I run on the cold, hard, pavement. We are not one in the same, as some people call mothers and daughters. I have blonde hair she has black hair. And need I mention the fact that she practically stalked me? I mean the lady is crazy, it’s almost like she planned that whole thing, me running into her, us getting to talking. Is Sarah Beth even her real name? Crap! And to think I even ever cared about her! I always tell myself that my real mother didn’t care about me, so why should I even give her the time of day. Great, there I no way around this. I either gotta stop running, or, or, NO! I can’t stop running. It’s all I have left now. Something’s gotta change. And just when I was hatching a plan, Lisa gets to screaming again: “Virginia! Get downstairs. You’ve got some explaining to do.” Crap. I forgot about Lisa. During those magnificently blissful two months of friendship with Sarah Beth, I totally blocked out Lisa and the rest of the Flatts. It was just easier that way. Now that they know I’ve met Sarah Beth though, I was gonna have to talk. To all of them. After I explained how Sarah Beth and I met, the Flatts left the room for a while, for Sarah Beth and I to say our last goodbyes. Obviously we couldn’t hang out anymore, ‘cause it would be a violation of the adoption agreement. “Do you want to continue this relationship? I mean, honey, do you want to stay in contact with me?” “I would prefer not to. But I will.”
I am a beautifully dark accidental creation I exist to thrive for more I will preach and not follow Do as I say and not as I do Because I will do what I want I will not do it for you I need to do things We need to be things We all have a trait We all bite our bait And that is what I hate I am an accident with a purpose I am purposefully mistaken I will live until I die I will die when I am done living I will sit in a dark room I will lie on my back and think about me And want to be with others And want to help the world I will want to be something But I am so much of nothing I will reach for an activity But all activities are too much I am an exhausted nuisance I am a map with no directions I am a dying birth I will succeed if I can I will analyze myself I am a modest model I am a pretentious failure I am a self absorbed concern This is not for the reader Though it will be read It is not to be judged Though it is a judgement I am one person I refuse to work with a crew Now that we have settled this Tell me something about you.
The Ramblings of a Lonely Narcissist by Ethan Thomson
The End by Evan Schwartz
The conspiracy theory thriving picket sign protestors who know nothing else but how to yell, “You’re all wrong, you’re going to die,” and can’t get a job or a life or an anything because of their deranged world views, are right when the world isn’t. The world says, “No, we reject you,” but the Earth says, “I accept your visions; perhaps I am ending in a matter of months.” The Earth idly accepts. The world (the world being every inhabitant (as a people) of the Earth on which I write this half-assed account of February 30th) simply denies. I work with one of these people at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. He’s a good guy, he really is, but when I see him strutting outside sporting a cheaply made sign (a small scrap of lumber that he holds which leads up to a poorly cut piece of cardboard), I wish I had never met him. His signs are never very convincing; I don’t subscribe to doomsday conspiracy theories, and the words on his signs don’t arouse any new philosophies within me. “You’re all going to die!”, “God tried, but you ignored!”, and “Doomsday is soon, February 30th arrives!” are just some of his genius pieces of propaganda. I’ve seen him picketing in groups of people who all had better signs than him; I carry a reluctant belief that he either doesn’t actually believe the world is going to end, or that he’s retarded. Whenever I go off on him about how ignorant he and his picket friends are (and I try not to go too hard—I don’t want to hurt his feelings, much), he responds with a fretful, “Dude, I don’t need that from you.” He says it as if someone is watching him and he doesn’t want said watcher to hear my nonbeliever ramblings. I resent his disgusting and free use of the word “dude.” It exemplifies his social class level, which is far less than mine. It only makes me want to pity him and scream at him at the same time, and I hate him for giving me such conflicting feelings. Once I was changing the reel in the projection booth, and he came up to me and said, “You don’t need to do this for another 5 minutes” and I responded with a snappy, “Please leave right now, sir.” I refused to have a barbaric col17
league of mine tell me that overachieving is unnecessary. His intentions are golden, truly golden, but I cannot find it within myself to accept his deadly presence. I suppose what I feel for him is sadness, since he is just a poor janitor who cares more about telling the world that it’s going to end rather than making a living for himself. I feel bad about the fact that the only thing I can say to him is, “You’re wrong” and, “Go away.” I woke up this morning as I always do (something I will not have the fortune of experiencing within a matter of years, as I am ill). I walked to work— San Francisco allows you to do that. I passed the thousands of rainbow flags they hang up with too much pride, and got to the Castro Theater. I still don’t know why I work here; I’d much rather live and work in a quieter area. I saw the usual morning “end of the world” picket rally (how could I not see it, they were marching within feet of me), but this time there were more people than usual. On any other day I would count there to be about ten or eleven expendable people, but this time there were about forty or fifty. They were all driven by passionate anger. I wondered why they were so angry. This whole time I had thought they wanted the world to end, but this time it looked like they fear it—they appeared mad at the Earth. I went up to one of them and said, “I hope you clean up after this” (the frequent messes they make embarrass and disturb me). I know I’m not responsible for cleaning up, or for that matter, the appearance of this god-forsaken theater, but I felt the urge to display my indifference towards their cause. As I began to walk into the theater, I noticed my nameless associate janitor was standing on what looked like a stool. He was much higher than the rest of the crowd—everyone was surrounding him like flies to a moldy chewed lollipop. He was chanting nonsensical things about God and the world and the Earth and the planet and the Doomsday. The crowd was so loud that I couldn’t handle my own thoughts. The only thing I remember thinking was, “How can he be so powerful?” The little nothing of a man (I wouldn’t have described him as a man until that day) was leading an army of people. He was their cult leader, and I was the outsider trying to ruin their plan. I felt an unbearable pain in my chest and I fell to the ground. As I look at my freshly carved tombstone, the only thing I see (or care about) is the line below my name: “Loved by many. Missed by many.” I hate that epitaph. I wish I could have chosen it because I hate it. I wish I could come to life and chisel in my own creation of a sentence right now. It would say: “His world ended when his Earth didn’t.” 18