Dear Reader, I have created this magazine for my senior seminar final project. We had to create some type of project that dealt with the themes of our class. I choose to go with the theme of foreign culture so that it connected to our class but still was a broad topic for people who wanted to submit. I helped to create The Broken Plate, a small literary magazine at Ball State, and that is what inspired me to do this magazine for my final project. It also helps me to showcase all that I have learned in my four years of college. I appreciate all of the people that submitted and helped me with this project. I hope you enjoy it! Sincerely, Lauren Davis
Table of Contents Prose
The Aboriginal Chant / Molly Miller
Blur / Nicole Massoels
Pondering / Molly Miller
March, 2010 / Heather DiGiacomo
A Greek Vacation / A. S. Haben
Vacation / Melissa Shaw
Big Ben / Rachael Heffner
Holy Trinity / Rachael Heffner
Family / Anna Butler
Belize / Brandy Renz
Cover Design by Rachael Heffner
March, 2010 / Heather DiGiacomo I woke up in a Swiss hotel half dead and dead tired to find that overnight it had snowed, the light of the early morning catching the glint of it on the trees. It snows back home but I’m never met with a sense of wonder seeing it cover roads and trees and cars while there. Being away made everything seem magical and possible. You’re not yourself when you’re not home. I could barely speak and wanted to say so much wanted to share the wonder of the snow covered Alps outside my bedroom window. I knew then that I’d never feel as happy as I did that day on a balcony in Switzerland after a storm.
The Aboriginal Chant / Molly Miller Feet pound against the earth. A cascade of dirt sweeping into the air. It’s a rhythm. Left, right, left, right. Over and over until a cloud swirls around their ankles, slowly rising to their knees. Brown skin morphed with the clay. Becoming one with the earth. They prance around the glowing embers of the bonfire. Chanting as one. “Ay ee ay ay.” Their voices rising above the pound of the drum. The fire crackles and pops, but still they continue their ritual. It’s tradition. In the olden days the tribal leaders did it in celebration. Now they do it to remember. Remember who they are and where they come from. Even though they have progressed beyond the olden ways. Many having jobs in the big city. They still come back, never wanting to forget their roots. Taking pride in where they come from. Waiting for that day when they will be taken up by a higher power. Until then they dance. And they chant. To the trees. To the mountains. To the universe. “Ay ee ay ay.”
Blur / Nicole Massoels It was a crisp Friday afternoon in January when I arrived in England. After spending two nights in the Atlanta airport due to weather delays I was mentally exhausted by the time we started the ten-hour flight to London. After sitting next to a tantrum-throwing toddler who kept me from sleeping for almost the entire flight I’m surprised I had any sanity left when we landed. I slept through the scenic bus ride from Heathrow Airport to the university and woke up to nothing but a blur of handshaking professors and formal tea. A random professor at my welcome tea told me during the handshaking that I would be staying in a new dorm. They had just finished it that fall and no one had ever lived in the complex before. I mumbled something about how nice they must be, but I didn’t appreciate this information until I woke up Saturday afternoon. Let it be known that my new dorm in England was nicer than any dorm I stayed in during my college experience. It’s actually nicer than most of the hotels I’ve been able to afford to this day. I was told that the rest of the flats looked just like ours, but I never saw them for myself. Apparently the entire complex was filled with nothing but international students with our flat containing the only Americans. I don’t know who told me this, perhaps an English student I met while eating diner at a pub, because I never saw anyone up there but us. Looking back I pity anyone who had to be our neighbors. I showered in my own personal bathroom, dressed, and wandered into the wide hallway lined with doors to other bedrooms. My room was farthest from the front door and closest to large square window that looked out into the complex’s brick courtyard. It was a sunny day with a few fluffy clouds in the sky and no snow on the ground, which I thought was strange for January. I walked down the short hallway to our common room. The room was a spacious yet cozy combination of kitchen and lounge area. There was more counter and cabinet space than five people could ever hope to use. The chairs were awkwardly spaced throughout the room as if the seats themselves had a drunken party and then passed out randomly after a few too many pints. The multiple cabinets were empty and the refrigerator contained nothing but alcohol. I stood there for a while, confused about what to do with myself. I thought of exploring the city but the thought of wandering alone terrified me for some unknown reason. The whole point of my semester away from everyone and everything I knew was to experience a whole new place. Well, not entirely new since the language was similar, but it was a new country. Why I was suddenly frightened of leaving my flat is to this day beyond me. I went to my room and procrastinated. Perhaps if I did some research I could find a good place to eat without the nauseating task of wandering aimlessly and alone. I sat on my laptop staring at names and menus that meant nothing to me until my growling stomach forced me to venture outside an hour later. As I stood at the top of the staircase I heard them. The American voices floated up to me in echoing familiarity as they walked up to the third floor. “Do you think she’s here yet?” a melodic woman’s voice said. “I think they would tell us before dumping her off here,” a man’s calm voice replied. “I wouldn’t be surprised,” a second woman answered far too loudly before groaning. “These stairs are the absolute worst thing for my hang over.” “Everything is the worst thing for your hang over,” mumbled a second man. “Well, speak of the devil.” The four had finally reached the landing before me. Leading the way was a woman with coffee colored skin and short spiked hair with each lock ending in a graceful twirl. She looked both wild and 4
elegant all at once. Right behind her was a large man with a square face that would be completely plain if it were not for his thick eyebrows and matching black mustache. “What is it?” asked the loud woman’s voice from behind her large friend. “It’s her,” said the calm voice that emanated from the mustached man’s mouth. His eyes slowly looked me up and down as if he was judging a show dog. The second he finished speaking he stepped to the side to allow his two companions a better view of me. The woman was strikingly beautiful, even though she appeared to be completely disheveled. Her short chestnut curls were an un-brushed heap on her head, her chocolate brown eyes would have been gorgeous if they weren’t so bloodshot from lack of sleep, and her heart-shaped lips looked like they could form the perfect smile but were simply too tired to do so. Desperately leaning against the railing was the mumbling man. He had a narrow face, thin nose, short brown hair, and piercing blue eyes. He too seemed like he would be more attractive if he were not so hung over. We stood this way for a few seconds, the men looking at me, the loud woman looking at the man behind her and the first woman looking at her watch as if she was timing something. The first woman was the one to break the silence as if she decided that I had been gawked at enough for the time being. “I’m Jenna,” she said with a friendly smile and a slender hand extended towards me, “Jenna Barnes.” We shook hands. “I’m Ian Hayes,” the mustached man behind her said with a curt wave of his hand. “And these two,” he jerked a thumb at the couple next to him, “are Phil Gaines and-“ “His girlfriend,” she interrupted loudly, “Chloe Sawyer.” She flashed a smile but it did not seem genuine. “What’s your name?” Phil asked as he slowly tried to shift his weight from the railing to his feet. “Diana England,” I replied with a shy wave at the small crowd below me. “Well,” Chloe sneered, “aren’t you clever?” I watched as she brushed past Ian and Jenna and went into our flat without giving me another glance. When the door slammed behind her I turned around to see that only I was confused by what I considered an uncalled for attitude. “What did I do?” “Nothing,” replied Ian as he and Phil walked up the stairs. “Diana England studying in England,” Phil chuckled to himself. “It’s like a bad joke for a fictional character.” The front door shut behind them and Jenna remained rooted on the landing with a smile on her face. “What just happened?” “Phil looked at you,” she answered. “You all did.” “But only she’s dating Phil,” Jenna said as her smile grew. “Relax,” she continued. “Him and Ian look at everyone.” She laughed at my grimace before asking, “Where were you going?” “Find some food. Maybe explore.” “Do you know where you’re going?” “Um…” “Come on,” she chuckled. “I’ll show you around.” “This place, Cosette Deluxe, is the best for groceries,” Jenna said as we walked past a plain white storefront two blocks from the flat. “It’s cheap and really close. But don’t waste all your money
on food there. You’ll eat lunch on campus with a meal card and we usually go out to eat anyway.” “Why?” “English food, no matter what it is, tastes better when it isn’t made by an American.” We crossed a street. “So how old are you?” “Twenty.” “You and I are the oldest then,” she said with a laugh. “How old is everyone else?” “Nineteen. Turn right here.” We turned. “Here’s Floyd’s,” she continued and gestured to the red brick pub to our left. Through the front window a waitress in a white blouse was cleaning a table. She looked up to see Jenna pointing and waved with a friendly smile. “Nice place to have a drink and meal,” Jenna continued as she waved back. “Don’t go there though,” she pointed to a brown brick pub with high, narrow windows on the opposite side of the street. “Why?” “They kicked us out once and they probably won’t like you either.” “What happened?” “Well, it’s a pretty old crowd there. I’m not sure if they think all Americans are too loud, or if they just think we’re too loud. It doesn’t really matter either way I guess.” I felt my eyes widen. “In their defense,” Jenna said, “what you heard on the staircase was Chloe’s indoor voice. She gets louder when she drinks and she drinks a lot. There are plenty of other places to go though. There’s a great Indian place a block that way.” she gestured behind us. Suddenly she stopped. “Still hungry?” “Yes?” A pleased smile crossed her face. “We’re getting you a pasty.” Without another word she marched across the street into The British Bakery. I ran after her. “A what?” “Two Cornish pasties, please,” Jenna said to the plump woman behind the counter of baked goods before turning to me. “It’s like a British Hot Pocket. But better.” We ate our pasties as we walked down another street. “Cheeks is down there,” Jenna pointed to what looked like an oversized alley. “What?” “Go left down this street.” We turned in the opposite direction of the oversized alley. “Cheeks?” “It’s one of the nightclubs here.” “Why do they call it-“ “Because of your reaction,” she giggled. “It’s not the worst here though. There’s a real skank place called Bed.” “Skank?” “It means gross. Don’t wear open toed shoes to Bed because drunk idiots always drop their glasses. Shatters everywhere.” “Why do they call it Bed?” “There’s beds in the back room in case you just can’t wait to take someone home.” Jenna burst out laughing when she saw my jaw drop. 6
We came to a four-way intersection with one street blocked off. “This is High Street,” she continued walking and gestured to the would-be road that was crowded with people. “You can walk around the streets or sidewalks or wherever you please. Most of the shops in town are here.” “The shops?” “Don’t worry,” Jenna laughed, “you’ll pick up the phrases soon enough.” As we walked along various people greeted Jenna with a friendly smile or a brief greeting. It was not until our last week in England that I realized how impressive this was. We were all out drinking our sorrows away as finals were approaching and the thought of leaving was becoming real. “Have you ever noticed how people treat me here?” Jenna asked me once we were alone at our table. “Um…” “I’ve seen one other black person in this tiny town.” She took a swig of beer. “He’s a professor here who commutes from some neighboring village. Doesn’t even actually live here.” I sat there in drunken ignorance. I had never realized that everyone we ever encountered was white. Why would I though? They looked just like me so I just saw them as normal looking without giving it a second thought. “We’re going home to a melting pot of a country that’s given me more racism than this incredibly white island.” We continued down High Street with everyone greeting Jenna like a dear friend. “You do drink, right?” “Um…” “You know it’s legal here, right?” “Oh, um, yeah…” “Do you go out often?” “I guess?” “Good,” she said with a smile. “You’ll fit right in.” “What do you mean?” “The guy whose spot you took was twenty-two and seemed to be over the whole party scene. I don’t think he ever went out with us.” “Do you guys go out often?” “Every night,” she said with a devious smile. After a few weeks I was approved by everyone in the flat. They thought I could drink as much as them when really they couldn’t count as well as I could when drunk. By this point I was desensitized to what initially seemed like insanity. While Jenna’s wild hair and mischievous smile seemed to be a ruse to disguise her maternal nature, the exact opposite could be said about clean-cut Ian, Phil, and Chloe. One night, which night of the week it was doesn’t matter, we all went out to Floyd’s. The place was fairly busy and the amount of pitchers we had with every alcoholic combination made the entire building seem like a madhouse. One minute we were all sitting together and the next we had abandoned our table in pursuit of different forms of entertainment. Jenna and I were downstairs learning British drinking games from a few students she knew, Phil and Ian were flirting at the bar and Chloe had run after them. Eventually it was my turn to get another pitcher for Jenna and I to share. I found the boys sitting at the front bar flirting with the bartender twins with Chloe nowhere in sight. The bartender twins were Jordan and Ashley Cole, two University students with thick accents 7
who always lied about where they were originally from. It took Ian and Phil nearly two weeks to figure out that the twins were toying with them every time they tried to flirt at the bar. “Oh, here comes anovah one!” said one of the girls as I stepped up to the bar. “Whatull ya haven?” “Something fruity.” They both gave me a wink before they made my surprise order and charged me. Ian began protesting when I pulled out my money. “I insist, I insist!” “You just want to impress them,” I replied. “Put your wallet away.” I handed one twin my money and took the pitcher from the other. A simple “thanks” was all I could give since I had no idea who was who unless I saw Ashley’s tattoo. Tonight both girls were wearing tight green sweaters that perfectly hid the faded daisy drawn over one Cole’s heart. “Well fine then,” Ian snapped and began to replace his wallet. Phil grabbed his wrist and stopped him. “What about you ladies?” he asked. “Care for a drink yourselves?” “Lissen to this un!” one twin said to the other. “We’re workin, luv.” “Yeah,” replied the other, “Mummy an Daddy don’t give us an allowance like you lot.” Phil and Ian exchanged hurt glances as Phil released Ian’s wrist. I merely smirked. “Where’s Chloe?” As the twins walked down the bar to tend to other customers Phil and Ian turned to me to respond. By the time they were facing me they were two college boys looking horrified at the entrance behind me. I turned to see Chloe greeting her Men, a group of male students she had picked up at various places on campus and turned into her adoring fan club. They fell in love with her designer labels and bottomless bank account that she loved to spend on them when she needed a compliment or twelve. Some were gay and just wanted her style, some were straight and just wanted a sugar mama, and a few just seemed incredibly lovesick and oblivious to the truth. “What took so long?” Jenna asked from her seat in the middle of a new group. “The Men are here.” “Poor guys,” she said with her glass held up for me to fill. Jenna and I often debated whether or not the Men knew that Chloe was just pretending to be their friend to upset homophobic Phil and Ian, who believed all the Men were gay no matter what anyone said, whenever they chased after other women. I thought they were innocent victims while Jenna held the opinion that most of them knew her purpose and were simply taking advantage of a stupid rich girl and her money. When Jenna went up to get us another pitcher both Ian and Phil and Chloe and her Men were no longer up front and they quickly left our minds for the time being. Later in the night I returned from the bar with yet another pitcher and to find that everything had gone to hell in a matter of minutes. One of the Men had broken away from Chloe and began an entertaining conversation with Jenna. This caused the rest of the Men to trickle over from who knows where and eventually Chloe was left alone in some other part of the pub. She confronted Jenna, in nothing short of what I was told was an ear-shattering scream, for stealing her Men, which the Men took offense to. The sound of her voice brought Phil and Ian rushing over to do nothing but yell at Chloe that this is what you get when you hang out with queers. The Men took offense to that as well. Chloe ran off into the pub while Ian and Phil stomped off past me towards the exit. “I’m so sorry about that,” Jenna cooed as one of the Men seemed to be on the verge of tears. “Here,” Jenna took her glass, “have a drink.” She looked up at the rest of the Men, their glossy British hair shining even in the dim pub lighting. “Stay with us and have a few drinks.” “No, we couldn’t-“ one began. 8
“You really should end tonight on a good note,” I said. “It wouldn’t be any trouble?” a third Man asked. “None at all,” I answered. We all toasted ending nights on a good note and continued to drink. Not even ten minutes later I made my way towards the restroom to find three girls quickly walking away from the door. “Hey!” one called out to me. “One of you lot is in the loo goin’ mental!” I stared at her completely confused. “Damn Americans,” another groaned. “Get piss drunk and useless every bloody night.” I stumbled into the restroom to find Chloe hunched over the sink. I stopped dead in my tracks as I stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her eyes were bloodshot and puffy and her mascara had tracked black lines down her face. “I’ll show her,” she muttered. She looked up and saw me in the doorway. “Oh, I’ll show her!” She left the restroom bumping into my shoulder so hard that I almost toppled over into a drunken mess on the floor. Jenna apparently found me in a bathroom stall fifteen minutes later vomiting. How we got home is anyone’s guess. My first night trying absinthe was a few weeks later on a random Saturday in April. “You’ll be fine,” Jenna kept assuring me, “just don’t drink water.” “Don’t ask why,” Ian said as he jabbed his finger in my direction. “Just do it.” Chloe had been in a strange mood for over a week at that point. She avoided Jenna and I with cold attitudes and stayed far too close to Ian and Phil for anyone to be comfortable. Jenna suggested that Chloe would simply hate us for all eternity for “stealing” her Men away and I didn’t give it much thought after that. On Saturday we sat at the kitchen table huddled around the absinthe equipment. The small dark green bottle sat next to five shot glasses, five strange flat spoons with decorative holes on the bottom, and a box of sugar cubes. We each took turns pouring our shots. Place the spoon over the shot glass, put a sugar cube on top, pour the absinthe over the sugar cube, take the shot. Just like the bartender twins said. For most people one shot is enough, but at this point we all had such a tolerance that we believed two would have to be the minimum. We poured a second shot and put the sugar cubes in our mouths. “Jordan told me the sugar helps crystallize the absinthe so you get the best effect,” Phil told me with a smile. “Oh shut up!” Chloe yelled. “It does not!” “Don’t listen to her,” Ian said in a whisper, “I told him that.” He then winked and stood up to put the equipment away while Phil and Chloe argued with glaring glances. Jenna smiled at me and then walked out of the kitchen. After moments of silent bickering Phil stood up forcefully and walked over to Ian at the kitchen sink. A few more moments and the sugar cube had dissolved and I was sitting alone at the table with Chloe. I was about to attempt small talk with her when she angrily stood up and left the room, slamming the door behind her. Ian, noticing that it was just me, Phil and himself, flashed what I can only assume was supposed to be a seductive smile my way. I quickly excused myself to go to the bathroom. That’s when the absinthe hit me. I came out of the bathroom to yelling. It was all so confusing that I barely recall who said what. “Admit it,” she said. “Admit what?” she replied. “You know damn well what!” she shouted far 9
too loudly. She gave a musical laugh in response. “Oh dear god,” he groaned. “Do not start now! Don’t even think about starting now!” She cried. “No one started anything but you!” he hollered. “Oh shut up!” she retorted. “Quit bitching-“ he began. “If you don’t butt out, I’ll tell Lizzie! I will tell her everything you did here behind her back!” Her screams rang through the flat. “You wouldn’t!” he replied. “I would!” she shrieked before addressing a new individual: “Admit it!” “That they like me better?” she mocked an innocent tone. “Liar! They don’t like anything about anyone!” She cried. “No, you don’t like anything about anyone!” he replied for her. “I don’t like anyone? I don’t care about anyone!? I would care if the world didn’t give me reason not to!” There was no way she could be this loud all on her own. “Oh what are you-“ She cut him off. “What was her name!” “Her what?” he asked dumbfounded. “You don’t even know! HAH! He doesn’t even know!” She laughed hysterically. “Are you surprised?” she asked. “You should never get a girlfriend while you’re in a new country. You’re stuck with her here and stuck with her there. No freedom,” I heard him whisper. “I heard that!” she bellowed. At that point I apparently left them and their yelling for my bedroom. I woke up the next day in a blanket fort on my floor from a dream where every letter in Shakespeare’s sonnets put on a play where they professed their love for me. Everyone else acted like nothing had happened that night. In May we took our exams and finished our programs. After several last hurrahs, goodbye parties, and periods of drunken mourning, we left for home. One by one we were gone. Ian went on a brief trip to Spain with his parents over the summer before returning to DePaul. Phil and Chloe returned to Chicago to begin their junior year of college, he at DePaul with Ian and she at Northwestern with no Men. Jenna went back to St. Louis for the summer before returning to Tulane for her senior year. I had a relatively boring time in Indianapolis before I began my senior year at Indiana University. It’s been almost a year now and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve lost contact with just about everyone. The American friends lasted for most of the fall semester and the English friends didn’t even make it through summer. Thanks to social media sites I have kept up with their lives, though a real conversation with anyone would be painfully awkward, even with Jenna. Ian and his girlfriend broke up and he seems fine with that. Phil gave Chloe several promise rings before she accepted the gaudiest, most expensive one. They’ve broken up at least once since then. Jenna has taken up theater and swing dancing as her new hobbies. Every now and then I see a status update from someone in England and I cannot believe I lived there. That entire semester was such a blur that I’m not even sure I got one complete story out of it.
Big Ben / Rachael Heffner
Holy Trinity / Rachael Heffner
Family / Anna Butler
Belize / Brandy Renz
A Greek Vacation / A. S. Haben (Casey) Our family of four Woke ungodly early. Flying for hours Over and in a Vast blue scene. Two weeks of Greece That’s all we have… Two weeks to Embrace A culture that Has been For centuries Of a time. (Katie) It’s nothing At all Like Mama Mia. Sure people sing in the streets But the happiness is gone It’s all just a front. Casey can’t you see It’s all gone. (Greek Native) Here comes another group I can tell they’re American. Get out those crap white Flowing dresses And the useless Greek trinkets. The house of Zeus You say? Sure Go down the left Then a left, then a right. If they turned around They would have seen The columns Holding it up.
(Casey) There’s fire In the street. A girl laughs Hysterically, Grabbing my arm Leaving her fingers Marked on my skin To bruise For later. Dragging me to a side Street. My parents don’t see They’re too busy getting directions. “Fight the Union! Save us from this turmoil.” Speechless Staring into This girls Wild, frantic eyes. Yet there was a Calmness Of someone With a plan. “Katie psst Katie, I’ll meet you at the Hotel for Dinner.” “But, can’t I come?” “Stay with mom & dad.” This was not the Vacation I had for seen. This had Purpose. This had Meaning. This was something Real.
(Katie) Stuck. No adventure here, Just parents. And columns after columns Marble statues, Olive trees, Sandy beaches That reek of fish And their fisherman. No adventure for me. (Greek Girl) Burn it To the ground. Listen to our Demands. Money Smuggling Must end. Hear our cries, See our pain. Help us Stay free. No outside Ruler Dictating What we do. Blockades, Burning cars That fill the air With their toxic fumes That engulf your nose And swell your throat. Classes canceled Walls crumble. No more death. We need to bail Ourselves out Bring the right people To power Listen, Learn, Live.
(Casey) Suppressed culture Bent to its knees Scraping to surpass Their indiscretion Digging themselves Out Protest Let your Voices Reign out. Give my words Meaning. Helping hands That’s what I am Helping hands. To lift them up Bring this culture It’s thriving lifestyle Singing Dancing Wine and Warriors. Gods and Goddesses Look out For your people. (Katie) My performance Is my adventure A tragedy at Delphi Theatre, An act of God at the Meteora. I hang by a rope. Where is Casey? The Parthenon, Mykonos for dinner and shopping. It is beautiful. In a whirlwind of sights sort of way. Two weeks isn’t long enough. I wish I could stay forever.
(Greek Girl) Picket signs Check Spray paint Check Car Blockade Check. Chanting Deafening. Itâ€™s easy to Ignore one Hard to ignore Hundreds But hard to hear the Words. The city pulsates With the Rage Of the People Of the hurt Within the soul Of the Nation. Yet we still thrive. Still succeed To Please. To share our History With outsiders With a special Touch. Goodbye friend.
(Casey) We fly home. Leaving a little Piece of ourselves Behind, Broken To help what Some do not wish To see. The glistening blues, The glaring white And the blazing red Of change.
Pondering / Molly Miller “Why are you here?” I sit and I ponder. I arrived in London three weeks ago. But to this day I am still uncertain of why I am here and how I got here. I have no memory of a plane ride or a boat trip. I don’t remember getting a passport. So how did I get here? And why? That is the question I repeat to myself every day. Why? I love my home back in the States. I love my family and my friends. Why would I choose to up and leave them to come here? To the city that I always dreamed of visiting but figured I would never see. None the less I am here, in the city of my dreams. Maybe looking for a future I was too fearful to hope for. Maybe here I will find the love that has avoided me back home. But again I can’t help but wonder. Why am I here? This isn’t me. I never do things on a whim. I don’t just up and take off, especially not out of the country. I don’t go to new places on my own. Yet here I sit where I have sat for the last three hours. Alone in a coffee shop, 4,000 miles away from everyone that I know. Unlike those around me with their noses shoved in books or eyes glued to their laptop screens. Here I sit staring into space, lost in my thoughts. The uniqueness of my situation draws the eyes of the busy baristas. “I don’t know. Why are you here?”
Vacation / Melissa Shaw An aroma invades my nose, noises blend with fleeting images, and my eyes surrender to the harsh light. Fluttering lids and foggy brained, my vision snail-crawls to adjust to the surrounding darkness. This is a new place. Nothing is familiar. Where am I? Becoming frantic, my heart races and I fall to the floor. I rush to the window only to find a balcony facing a street scattered with early-risers. I came to Italy to escape my nightmares, and almost rebirthed the flame that held me captive for so many years. Letâ€™s hope that here, I am free â€“ at last.