Page 1

The Best Thing That Could Have Happened a


d i g i t a l

a n t h o l o g y

The Best Thing That Could Have Happened 

(Cover photo: “Identity� by Ashlin Roy of Grant High School)




1. Writers in the Schools 2. Introduction -- Mary Rechner, WITS Program Director 3. The Dreaded Woody Doll -- Annie Rohlf

4. The First Time I Read a Book to Myself -- Phat Doan 5. Never Again -- Kristine Liang

6. My Perfect Summer Day -- Galina Shevchenko 7. How to Go to Jail -- Susan Chen 8. We’ll Find a Way -- Eden Haskins-Dahl 9. Pain -- Will Job 10. Dream Completed -- Fili Quezada 11. Optimist and Pessimist Event -- George Manac 12. Pie Travels -- Marisa Polonski 13. In Trouble -- Brittany McWilliams 14. The Beautiful Tragedy -- Thomas Peacock 15. Bianca’s Story -- Mariko Hunter 17. The Bite -- Autumn Smith 18. Journeys -- Benjamin Veysseire

Writers in the Schools Writers-in-Residence Turiya Autry, Lorraine Bahr, Carmen Bernier-Grand, Carson Cistulli, Chris Cottrell, Nicole Georges, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, Hunt Holman, John Isaacson, Karen Karbo, Jessica Lamb, Amy Minato, Renee Mitchell, John Morrison, Laura Moulton, Alexis Nelson, Emma Oliver, Mark Pomeroy, Joanna Rose, Natalie Serber, Jonelle Toriserva, Matthew B. Zrebski Visiting Authors Gerardo Calderon, Edwidge Danticat, Lydia Davis, Michele Glazer, Rigoberto González, Wally Lamb, Phillip Margolin, Greg Mortensen, Jonathan Raymond, Ruth Reichl Participating Teachers Dana Absgarten, Matthew Boyer, Gene Brunak, Dan Coffey, Patricia Conway, Marie Corpron, Anne Dierker, Bianca Espinosa, Daniel Fredgant, Elena Garcia-Velasco, Stefanie Goldbloom, Kelly Gomes, Elaheh A. Greenbaum, Evan Hansen, Vanessa Hughes, Cindy Irby, Tom Kane, Paige Knight, Steve Lambert, Eric Levine, Amy Lindahl, Colleen Loprinzi, Eve McAlister, Darryl Miles, Anne Meadows, Rob Melton, Brooke O’Connor, Julie O’Neill, Christine Pallier, Arlie Peyton, Karen Polis, Michele Potetsio, Al Rowell, Alicia Smith, Amy Taramasso, Henise Telles-Ferreira, RaeAnn Thompson, Dana Vinger, Lisa Walker, Janice Wellenstein, Elisa Wong, Tracey Wyatt, Jamie Zartler Participating Principals Devon Baker, Ed Bear, Sue Brent, Peyton Chapman, Leo Colegio, Paul Cook, Kelli Clarke, David Hamilton, Cynthia Harris, Shay James, Fred Locke, Joseph Malone, A.J. Morrison, Steve Olczak, Carla Randall, Frank Scotto, Charlene Williams District Liaison Marcia Arganbright WITS Digital Chapbook Staff Riley Johnson, WITS Intern Kelly Thomas, WITS Intern Mel Wells, Executive & WITS Assistant Mary Rechner, WITS Program Director

Dear Reader, We ask the poets, graphic novelists, playwrights, fiction and creative-nonfiction writers who work in the Writers in the Schools program to model the writing life. Many of our students have never met people who place writing at the center of their lives or who spend so much time searching for the right words. During a WITS residency, students develop a writing habit. As one high school teacher put it, “the students developed a new awareness of the writing process, gained self esteem, and were willing to take more risks in their writing.” For professional writers, writing is revision. Each week WITS writers provide students with eagerly awaited written feedback, along with strategies to help students expand and revise their work. WITS strengthens the literary communities within schools and beyond. In addition to coordinating 48 residencies and10 author visits to schools, we coordinated 13 student readings attended by more than 650 people. Along with the digital chapbooks located on our blog W.o.o.t.s ( at, we publish a yearly print anthology, available for purchase in independent bookstores throughout Portland or for purchase here: wits/anthology.php. This year WITS began providing tickets and transportation for students to attend Portland Arts and Lectures events at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Seventy-five students from Roosevelt High School attended Isabel Allende’s lecture. Afterward, one student remarked, “I learned that a great story involves the reader, and that good endings leave the audience with something to wonder about.” Another student wrote, “It was great. It was one of the best places I have ever gone. It was really amazing.” Since WITS began in 1996, we have invested over $2 million in our partner, Portland Public Schools. Our goal is to build relationships that last and grow over time. We are committed to providing arts education even in these difficult economic times. Please visit if you’d like to help by making a contribution to Writers in the Schools. Mary Rechner Writers in the Schools Program Director

The Dreaded Woody Doll Annie Rohlf, Wilson High School

Santaland, the essence of fun and innocence, ringing with laughter…. Or so I thought. Full of excitement and energy, my brother and I plowed through the throngs of happy children and frazzled parents. Our Mom and Dad chasing after us at top speed. Then it came into view: The monorail, perched on its platform suspended from a rail that ran around the perimeter of the ceiling of the Myer and Frank store. Its white sides glimmered with gold- painted stars. Yes, I thought today will be the day. Then a terrible thought hit me. What if I’m still not tall enough to ride?! That stopped me cold in my tracks. I gulped and advanced slowly toward the candy cane painted measuring stick that would announce the fate of my childhood happiness. My eyes focused on the horrific inscription at the top reading: You must be this tall to ride the monorail. “Tall” repeated over and over in my head as if dooming me forever. Tall was something I had never known. Even at the age of six I could tell that height and me would never happen. Then I was there. My dad arrived just in time to give the verdict. Slowly I turned around to face him my back straight against the stick. I sucked in my breath and stretched my spine as far as it would allow. My father squinted at the measuring stick, trying to make out the blurred numbers without the help of his glasses which he had forgotten at home. Then he announced, “Good news Annie, You’re tall enough to ride!” It was a dream come true! I rushed up to where my brother stood in the front of the line to murmurs of “cutter”, from unhappy kids stuck behind us. I could vaguely hear my dad shouting safety warnings at us. “Remember to stay together..” Then Mom found him, and the two went to wait underneath the monorail where they could wave at it as it passes overhead. A disgruntled “Elf” slunk down the stairs and opened the gate. He then motioned for us to follow him as he led us up a narrow flight of stairs. My excitement mounted as we continued higher and higher up the stairs. Then we stepped out onto the loading platform. The monorail was so close I could reach out and touch its sleek white side. My tiny finger traced a golden star. Tweet! The first whistle had blown, it was time to board the train. Then, a miracle happened! I could hardly believe my eyes when the “Elf” led me and my brother to the very first compartment! This was the most revered spot on the entire train. The long line of children waiting their turn to board watched through envynarrowed eyes as I slid across the red painted bench as if it were a velvet cushion. I remember thinking, I will remember this day for the rest of my life! And so I would but not for the reason I thought. It would not be the image of me gliding over my parents waving to them with an angelic smile that would be forever imprinted in my memory. No, instead it would be a leering cowboy doll that would haunt my nightmares for weeks to come. With a shutter and a shrill whistle, we were off. No sooner had the monorail pulled away from the loading dock and all adult supervision, was the Woody assault launched. What we didn’t see as my brother and I talked excitedly in the front seat was a lone boy behind us clutching a hard plastic Woody doll. You know the cowboy action figure from “Toy Story.” As he listened to our happy babble about our stroke of luck to get the front seat, his face grew darker and darker. His chubby face not only darkened to the shade of a strangled plum, but also scrunched up into a mask of pure rage. Not moments after the monorail had begun its journey; when he could take the “injustice” of the situation no longer, he exploded. “ WHY DO THEY GET THE FRONT SEAT.. IT’S NOT FAAAIR!!!” He started to scream. We turned towards him, our faces masks of sheer terror. He brandished his Woody doll at us like a club. Then with a malicious look ,he brought it down hard on our innocent craniums.. SMACK. SMACK. After the first SMACK everything was lost into a confusion of screaming and wailing. We turned the corner to see a crowd of happily smiling parents waving at their cheerful serene kids beaming down cheerfully at them. Our parents were frozen with their arms half raised in what was going to be a wave until the spied us. At the time I believe the scene was something like this: WAAAAAAAAA!!!!!(from us), holding onto the mesh wire covering the windows, screaming bloody murder as the feral boy from behind thrust the upper half of his body through the window between compartments to smack at us with renewed vigor, shouting “NO FAIR, NO FAIR!!!” Our parents were standing helplessly below wearing shifting expressions between concern and amusement. And this is what will be forever in my memory: The image of Woody, the extremely hard doll, leering down at me, as a boy driven wild with jealousy wedges more of his body thorough the window in order to reach us and properly beat us with Woody, as we cower in the farthest corner of the compartment screaming for dear life. Not surprisingly after the ride finally stopped and I was safe in my mother’s arms working my tear ducts into overtime, my desire to ever ride the monorail train in Meier & Frank’s Santaland had evaporated along with any pre-existing love of “Toy Story.”

The First Time I Read a Book to Myself Phat Doan, Pauling Institute

Every night, my parents read to me short stories when I was a small, small child. My father’s voice was deep and my mother’s voice was soft. Their voices made me interested in the books that they were reading, even the books that did not interest me very much. They also explained to me what words, idioms, and phrases I did not know. If the meaning of these words were animals, name of cities, plants that I could not image, they would show me the pictures of those things. They were the best readers in the world. Even when I was eight I still liked my parents read to me before I went to bed. They said, “Phat, you are old enough to read the books by yourself.” But whenever I held the book and read just a few sentences, I can tell you I would be asleep in minutes. I am the worst reader in the world because my voice doesn’t interest me. Sometimes they told my brother to read to me when they were busy, but I didn’t like it because he didn’t explain the words, nor did he show me pictures. He just held the books, and read smoothly, his voice flat not up and down, like the radio. That was why I always waited my parents to finish their work. If they did not read books for me, I would not go to bed. One day, my parents had to stay at their office until very late. They called home and told my brother to read a book to me before I went to bed. That was a terrible thing. I looked waited by the window, watching for Mom and Dad. It was rainy and so dark, with only vague light from the streetlights were trying to light up the dark night. Suddenly, I heard footsteps approaching, I knew it was my brother. I quickly jumped into my bed, turned the light off, and when he opened the door, I breathed smoothly like someone asleep. He turned the light on, and said: “Get up, I know you still awake.” Once, when I was five years old my parents were too busy like this night. They told my brother came to my room to read book for me before I went to bed. When he came to my room, I feigned sleep. So he told mom and dad that I was asleep. After he left to my room I opened my eyes and waited. Finally footsteps and my mother gingerly opened the door. I quickly feigned sleep again. Of course, I wanted mom to read a book to me but I wanted her to insist and say she was sorry for being late. “Which book do you want me to read to you?” Mom asked me. I still didn’t answer her yet because I was punishing her. I knew what I wanted her to do. She kissed on my forehead and left the room. I quickly get up, trampled the blanket and fell down on the floor. I gave her the book and my mother read to me until I went to sleep. But that happened three years ago and now I could not trick my brother again. “Oh, come on, wake up. Become a good boy.” My brother hurried me. I didn’t have anyway to hide so I opened my eyes and said: “I don’t like when you read to me because you read like a reporter on the television, you don’t explain the words for me, and don’t show me the pictures.” He shrugged. “You can wait mom and dad, or you can read book by yourself.” Then he left to my room. I got up and looked out the window. It was still raining and I didn’t see my parents. I turned back to my bed, sat on it, and held the book to wait. I opened the book, read some sentences while I was waited for them. I just read sentences one by one, turning the pages. Suddenly I heard a voice so very familiar. “So, now you can read a book to yourself.” It was my mother and my father. I didn’t know when they came home. Maybe I was paying so much attention when I was reading, I didn’t hear my parents’ car when it came, didn’t hear the garage door when it opened, and didn’t heard my parents’ footsteps approaching. “You can read a book by yourself, it means we are free.” said my father. And my family was full of laughter that night.

Never Again

Kristine Liang, Grant High School

Normality. Something that a person needs to be to be like the rest of the world, to be accepted into the world. Something that is essential to live a happy life. You need it to be able to make friends, to not be made fun of because you’re different, and not be a burden to your parents. But it’s something that I do no possesss. All that I have ever known is everything but normality. The this is, I wasn’t always like that. It all started when I was just four years old. I was out playing with my friends and it was pouring down rain. Then I got extremely ill with a 106 fever. It wasn’t even clear whether I was going to survive or not, and in a way, I guess I did die a little. The next day, I was unable to get out of bed or even move. I eventually slipped into a coma and did not wake up until about a month later. The doctors did a bunch of tests on my, and I was moved in an out of my room at least 3 times a day for a week. My parents were then told that because of my high fever, a part of my brain was unable to function properly anymore. I would have trouble speaking, keeping up with the other kids in school and my body was likely to grow at an unexpected pace. To put simply, I was mentally retarded. Early in my childhood, it really did not affect me me all that much. My friends never noticed that I had trouble paying attention to the teacher during class because we were all too busy goofing off, my undeveloped body remained unnoticed even in 5th grade, and people only joked about how I could never hold the fork steadily to eat the peas. But as soon as middle school hit, my world seemed to have isolated itself from everyone else’s. Summer was coming to an end and the sun did not set at 9 in the evening anymore. Signs of Autumn were arriving as yellow-green leaves fall from our tree in the front yard and the breeze was growing colder. It also meant that school was near too. “Hailey, don’t you think we should go buy some school supplies soon?” My mom asked as she was twirling the big spoon in the pot of tomato soup she was making. “Only five days left of summer now,” she added as she glanced over at the calendar. “Mmmhmm…” I replied, not really paying attention to my mother’s words as I walked around the kitchen in circles barefoot. I noticed I did odd things, but I could never stop myself. I was aware of my ‘disability” but couldn’t do anything about it except watch myself be made fun of by others. Kind of like a bad habit, I guess, only about 100 times worse. I always hung around my little 5 year old cousins, Kelly and Jake. They were the only people that made me feel welcomed besides my mother and father. Everyone else saw me as an alien, or some unknown creature that’s unapproachable. When you attempt to join a conversation with some people as they laugh hysterically and goof off, only to be rejected by a cold stare and an uncaring “no, you can’t,” it hurts. It really hurts. Sometimes, I got so frustrated with myself that I just started crying. And it’s random. I would be smiling and laughing one minute, and suddenly it would change into tears of frustration. Just like that. Thoughts of people making fun of me, my parents’ worrying about me and trying to find a doctor that could “fix” me, and how I can’t do anything to stop it. All I can do is watch. Watch as I was laughed at, watch as my parents cried, and then back to me crying. A paradox. A cycle of never ending pain and despair. continued...

(Never Again, cnt.)

The five days flew past like the wind and soon it was Monday morning. My first day of middle school was here. I walked into the bathroom sluggishly an stared at myself in the mirror. Dark, dull, brown hair, thick eyebrows that almost met in the center, flat nose, chapped lips, and acne all over my face. It couldn’t get any worse.

Stepping up the stairs to my school, I can already see people staring me down. I clutched my hands and walked faster, hoping that it would somehow make me seem less visible. In class, no on talked to me. In fact, everyone avoided me whenever possible. It was like I was contagious. A deadly disease that must be evaded at all costs. One day, some girl in my class just crossed the line. The teacher was out of the class to get some papers and I had accidentally knocked over a tube of chemicals on her feet. “Hey! What the hell was that for? Apologize to me right NOW!” She demanded, standing over me with her hands on her hips as I picked up the broken glass.

“S-sorry…” I said quietly.

“What did you say? I can’t hear you.” She looked over at her friend and laughed.

“Sorry,” I said, this time looking at her straight in the face.

“What’s that face for?” She asked. I stayed silent. “Aw, did I make poor little Hailey angry?” I still didn’t say anything. She was getting irritated. “I asked you a question, Hailey. And I demand an answer. What are you, deaf?” I continued picking up the glass. Then she stepped on my hand. Everyone in the classroom gasped.

“Ow!” I yelped. Tears formed in my eyes and I glared at her.

“I hope you know that I was being nice just for not slapping you in your damn face when you did that Hailey. But no, you just had to make me show you my ugly side,” she sighed and continued. “Listen up, Hailey. No one ever said this to you, but I certainly hope that you know that you are the ugliest piece of crap I or anyone here has ever seen and that you don’t belong here. If you know what’s best for you, do us – no, do yourself a favor and just get your little ugly self out of here, understood? At that moment, everyone fell silent. Not one person stood up and said, stop. But this time, I wasn’t going to just stand there and watch myself be laughed at. I wasn’t going to let myself get abused and yelled at anymore. Since no one will stand up for me, I will stand up for myself. I stood up.

“Stop that!” I said shakily.


“And who’s going to stop me?” She laughed, glancing around, and the others joined continued...

(Never Again, cnt/)

“I – I will!” I yelled out as I punched the girl in the face with all the anger that was locked inside of me. Everyone stopped laughing and there was a brief moment of silence that filled the room. The creaking sound of the classroom door opening told me that I was going to be in trouble – big time. The girl pretended to sob. “What on earth is going on here?” Questioned Ms. Fanner, scanning the entire classroom. “I would like and explanation.” She put her hands on her hips and looked at me straight in the eye, as if she could find the answer just by staring at me.

“Well, uhhh…” I stammered.

“ – She punched me! For no reason at all!” the girl interrupted. She had one hand on her face and pointed at me with the other. I pushed her hand down. I disliked the way she pointed me out like that. It wasn’t like she didn’t do anything. I waited for someone to point her out. “Well then, Hailey, you think you know what you might want to do?” Ms. Fanner asked.

“What?” I asked, confused.

She looked a bit puzzled and said, “I mean, do you think you ought to apologize to Shayla?” “N-no.” I said. “It w-wasn’t entirely my fault. S-s-she had p-pushed m down first before I s-slapped her. See?” I showed her my wounded hand. She looked and sighed, “Let’s not turn this into some kind of riot now, okay? Just apologize and we’ll move on with our lives.” But I refused to apologize. If I needed to say sorry, Shayla needed to, too. It wasn’t entirely my fault and she knew it. The entire class knew it. And yet no one said anything. And Ms. Fanner. She was the teacher. But because of the fact that I was…retarded, she didn’t care what I had to say. To this day, I am still rejected by society, but I no longer look for anyone’s help or pity except my own. Never again.

My Perfect Summer Day Galina Shevchenko, Franklin High School

The hot summer morning wakes me with the suns bright beams. The slight breeze of warm air through the window feels cool against my soft skin. As my eyes open and my body stretches I hear the birds outside the window chirping in their little nest. In the kitchen downstairs I hear pots banging and the smell of pancakes brings me to my feet. The room is messy as usual, but there is not much space to clean as the four beds take most of it up. My sisters are already up and their beds are made, I am once again the last one out of bed. I take my time doing my bed and changing. As I exit our room to wash up, I pause at the mirror to brush my long, brown hair and put it up. The walk down the long hallway and steep stairs is familiar, yet it seems like it took all my 14 years to accomplish this. The white bare walls seem to have gotten bigger overnight and the hallway and stairs stretch out yet again. I’m not sure how long it takes to wash my face, but it feels refreshing and my stomach makes me rush. In the kitchen everyone is eating and calls me to the table. I take a seat next to my brother, Veniamin, and snatch a plate of pancakes from my sister, Valentina. Through the morning rush of words, I am finally able to receive the golden syrup and ooze it onto my plate of coins. Dishing the pancakes thoroughly into the syrup I gobble them up. The chores have been done yesterday so today we can have some fun. Under my careful supervision, my younger sisters Yulia, Eleanora, and Kristina plead with our mother for a water fight in our large backyard. With her permission we run to change into clothes that we can get wet, including shorts and tank tops or just swimming suits. As we run outside each is met with a blast of cold water. Looking up we find Veniamin laughing from his window holding on to his water gun for protection. “You sissy!” we yell “get out here and we’ll show you a thing or two!” My sisters hide by the side of the house with bottles of water and I hide behind the car holding a bucket. As the prey comes down the stairs my sisters attack from one side and he runs towards me not knowing I am there. So the chase begins! Veniamin is screaming for us to let off. “All against one?” he asks “that’s not fair.” That whiny voice is so antagonizing that I toss some water his way and achieve in getting his leg wet. “You got us wet first!” I say reminding him of his mistake. I continue to chase him around the sidewalk until he runs back towards the house. As Veniamin enters the back yard Yulia awaits him with the hose in hand. Upon her command Kristina turns it on and a protesting boy is now being soaked. We all laugh as he sputters in anger: “I didn’t use the hose on you guys!” His angry shouts bring our mother to the window and she tells us to dry off not wanting to hear the story. Reluctantly, the five of us move out towards the sun rays and find a place to sit, lie, or stand and dry off. The warm sun rays feel nice against my cold skin and I close my eyes in enjoyment. Wrong move, Veniamin seizes this moment to take revenge and I am cold all over again.

Susan Chen

We’ll Find a Way Eden Haskins-Dahl, Franklin High School

Alex How are we supposed to get this trampoline over the fence guys, really? Devon We’ll find a way. Just keep pushing. Alex C’mon how ‘bout we just go home, like Tim said, how are we going to get that over the fence? Devon Man up! Tim Maybe Alex is right, Dev... Devon How about we try picking it up instead? Yeah, that will work. Ok... Alex, would you grab the other side? Alex Tim, you just hurt your back at the last football game, remember. I don’t think you should be lifting anything, you know, ‘cause Coach will be mad. Devon Well, he won’t know, will he, Alex? It isn’t heavy anyway, both of you are wimps. Tim, come on. Alex is just too scared. Tim All right, I guess. Alex I swear I just heard a rustle inside the house. Devon This is a flippin’ sweet trampoline, hurry up. Alex I’m gone. Tim Uhhh. Devon Don’t let him influence you! Tim Maybe... ok, let’s get this done with. One, two, three, heave! continued...

(We’ll Find a Way, cnt.)

Devon It’s over the fence. Now what? Tim Me, I don’t know. Devon Do you hear sirens? Tim What? Oh no. Devon Go, go, go push. Tim Are you crazy? Devon Push! Tim Is that Alex’s truck? Devon Yep, move, move, move. Tim This thing is heavy, ready hoist. Tim and Devon Uggg. Tim Is the trampoline secure? Devon Who care, shot gun. Hey Alex, you’re not as big of a wuss as I thought. Alex Thanks. You guys have fun? Sirens move closer. Alex Because I have a feeling it just started. Tires screeching.

Pain Will Job

It was fifteen years ago, my first memory and first horrible experience with pain. I went with my brother and my mom to Lloyd Center. We ventured to Sears and my mom led my brother and I to the up escalator and I refused to get on it. I was playing an annoying, two year old type of a game. I would do my best to avoid my mom and go down the up escalator, trying to get to the bottom. My mother had enough of my ridiculous game and grabbed me by the wrist, but I kept refusing and tugged as hard as I could to get my arm free. Then all of a sudden POP! I was in the most indescribable pain I have ever experienced. It was excruciating and I couldn’t comprehend the situation. All of my senses at the time were disabled because I was so confused. I didn’t realize that I had dislocated my shoulder. My mom heard the pop and was baffled as to why I was crying and screaming. I was upset for a very, very long time. My mom and brother took me home and had my dad look at me, but he was just as baffled as my mom. A few hours after my shoulder left its socket, my parents decided that I had to go to the hospital. I remember that at this point it was dark outside and I was eager to get my shoulder fixed. It took too long to get to the hospital, I was too eager. We finally arrived after what felt like an eternity, but I jumped out of the car and scraped my hands and knees, making the pain even worse. I ignored the burning, irritating sensation in my hands and knees and ran into the hospital, after that I can’t remember much, except for a soreness in my shoulder and my dad saying with relief, “Oh thank God you are ok.” Actually, I forgot this experience for twelve years. Then one day my mom reminded me of it and this memory flooded my head. I didn’t realize until well after she told me, how guilt-ridden she was. I knew she was feeling guilty because of the tone and expression on her face. Her face said everything; I could see that she felt horrible. When I was two, I experienced the worst physical pain I’ve ever had, to this day. But recently, I have experienced an equal or greater pain although this pain is emotional, not physical. Along with the emotional pain, I feel disappointment. Even worse: anger. I have been fortunate enough to have found a wonderful, beautiful and all around great girl to have a relationship with, but I’m perplexed about why, unlike all my other friends, a very good friend of mine is angry with me and my new-found girlfriend for being together. I have suspicion it’s because she is lonely and she is surrounded by couples. She is jealous because she is the only lonely person left within my group of friends. I’m very disappointed with my friend and angry at her for her nonsense. I’m angry and hurt by the fact she is letting her anger kill our friendship. Teenagers experience a lot of physical and emotional pain; it’s natural for us to get hurt. We are irrational in many ways and end up hurt. I have two experiences of strong pain, one over a decade ago and one as recent as last week. It is hard to take either of those kinds of pain, but life will move on, therefore, I will have to as well.

Dream Completed

Fili Quezada, Roosevelt SEIS

In 1990 in a pueblo, a kid was born. His arms were really strong. He wanted to be a professional goalkeeper. People always talked about him because he was always playing soccer. He made his own goalie box and played there every day. People thought that he was not going to make it because he was in a pueblo and there were no opportunities for him. He never cared what people said about him. He was always there playing soccer not matter what. One day a recruiter found him. He was recruiting for a professional team. The team asked him if he wanted to play with in a minor league team and of course he said yes. The kid started playing with them more and more and they always won the games because the kid always saved the shots from the other teams. The team made it to the finals and they won. They were really happy with him because he was a really good goalkeeper. One day the recruiter took him to another team where he was going to play and practice more to become a professional goalkeeper. The new team was almost a professional team. The kid played with them for two years. Then he was ready to play for the big team. He knew he was ready. He started playing professional soccer with a team called Atlas. After playing with the Atlas he started playing for his favorite team called Morelia, which was the team he had always wanted to play for. Finally his dream was completed. The people in the pueblo who thought he was not going to make it were surprised when they say him on TV playing soccer.

Optimist and Pessimist Event George Manac, Wilson High School

Bad Gymnastics I had just gotten home from school, when I remembered I had to go to gymnastics. I didn’t want to go and I had a bad day at school, but I had to go. When I got there, it was Jake, Oliver, Mithri and I. We started out stretching which we always do so that part was not much different than the other days, but after stretching we went to rings. On the rings everyone did well since we started off the day with the hard, muscle-tiring event first, so we were happy when that was over with. Next we went to the pommel horse we did our routines pretty sloppy, and afterwards we did the bonus, the mushroom (a dome-shaped apparatus, which you spin around on your hands), this was where things started getting bad. No one in our group can do the requirements of 3 ½ circles around, the best anyone can do is 1 circle, so that was a something that brought our motivation down, we all felt like crying. Next we had the parallel bars, we did our routines and on my dismount I scraped my foot on one of the bars, so my foot was slightly bleeding. Next we went to the floor, we all exercised and practiced our routines and when I did a back handspring I hit my head on the floor. My day was getting worst and worst by the moment. After that we went to the high bar and swung on the bar, on my hands my blisters popped and I couldn’t’ do them anymore, because my hands hurt too bad. I was relieved to go the last event of the day, the vault. This is when things started falling apart. Jake started crying because he got elbowed in the head, Mithri started crying because people blamed him for Jake’s accident, Oliver started whining because people accused him of swearing in front of young children and I was whining because today was just not my day. Everything was just turning against me. Lastly we found out that practice was over and we were all relieved to just go home and relax. Good Gymnastics It was a Sunday morning and I had woken up early, because today was the day I would have my first meet. When I had arrived there I saw a lot of other kids ready to compete. The coaches/judges addressed the start of the meet and I was ready to compete. The highest score you can get is a 16. My first event was the vault, I was ready and I ran my hardest and jumped my highest and I got a 15.1 this was a great score to start me off. Next I had the parallel bars, I had touched them on accident before I went so they deducted me for that, and I ended up getting a 12.5, not the best score, but since the judge was harsh, nobody got higher than 13.8, so I didn’t exactly fall behind. Next, to make up for my bad parallel bars routine I scored a 15.3 on the high bar, which brought me up a lot. My best event was up next the floor. On this routine I scored a 15, which was good because I just learned the bonus for that routine 2 days prior to the met. That score brought me up as well. Next was my worst event, the pommel horse, because of the mushroom, and not being able to do it very well, I got a 11.2, but luckily since many could not perform that skill as well, they got around the same score as me. Lastly I had rings, I gave it my best shot and got a 14.8, a good score. This meet showed me what I needed to work on and what I did well on. In the end I got 1st out of my group of 11 gymnasts, and 5th to 8th (not sure) all around in the competition. In conclusion, I think I started my gymnastics career fairly well.

In Trouble

Brittany McWilliams, Roosevelt ACT

There are different ways to be in trouble One can be the kind in which you Do something you shouldn’t have, and The other is when you are in danger. This is a story of danger… One day my friend and I had decided out of the blue to go to a movie. As you know this involves travelling on the bus for majority of the young teens living in Portland. It was a usual bus ride until we caught the eye of a creepy old man. A gut feeling made us decide to just go home! Strangely the stranger had the same stop as us. Praying that he would be catching a different bus, and he did. Phew! Right? That wasn’t the end of it though. As we continued on our way home, this man arrived once again on our bus and to make worse he sat directly behind us. Uncomfortably we waited and waited until finally we were one stop away. As I began to reach the stop string, the old man darted his arm up as well as exclaiming, “What a coincidence!” Our hearts dropped and our minds grew completely aware of this creeper, and nothing else. In order to get home we had to walk through an alley, so when he began following us, Bamb I took off on a run only to run into another problem at our friend’s house. I hav no idea what happened to this man that day. This trouble is being in danger On the way to the movies A stranger caught our eye. Something said go home. Getting off, the stranger followed Our hearts dropped. He got on a different bus Once again our hearts dropped He got back on our bus Waiting and waiting to get off.

The Beautiful Tragedy Thomas Peacock, Open Meadows

If I could relive that day I would change nothing Save for they broke the news They told me she took a few too many pills That it caused her to pass out I would rather they had told me I would rather I had known That my mom wanted death I would not change the event For while it was a tragedy The sad truth is It was the best thing that could have happened That day opened our eyes It made us see mom was suffering We saw that she needed help It was because of that day My mother found sobriety I would not change that day Because it would take away All the good that came to follow I would rather take away The events that led to that day I would give my mom a brand new past The drugs and the alcohol The violence and fear Would all be erased

The Bite

Autumn Smith, FOCUS

“Where are we going, Everett?” My heart starts to flutter inside my chest when he grabs my hand and walks me through the ballroom. The brightly colored masks watch us while we make our way to the oak wooden doors that lead outside. The masquerade ball rattles with noise. Feeling the fresh air on the back of my neck makes me shiver, we went outside, to the back of his grandfather’s estate. Moss hung on the trees. “I need to show you something.” His deep voice is calm but when his dark green eyes look at me, I can feel something is terribly wrong but I let him pull me along anyway. We keep walking down the wet grass. I stop; he looks down at me, pulling me against him tighter. “Trust me, Angie.” I struggle to make my legs move and that’s when I see it, a white gazebo hidden in the darkness. I touch the structure of it, feeling the smooth wood against my cold fingers. Just knowing someone made this with their own two hands makes me understand something can be beautiful. The full moon shines on my blonde ringlets. “Thank you for showing me this,” is all I can let out as I gaze up at his wonderful face. “Do you trust me?” he asks as he runs his strong hands through his pitch black hair. “Why?” “Because you’re going to have to.” His eyes quickly turn a blaze red and his fangs burst out. I’ve heard of my many myths my parents told me as a child but never in my life would I believe that vampires were real, not until today. I did what I knew best, I screamed. He covered my mouth, grabbing me. “Stop that now, I told you to trust me. I was born this way. I showed you this because I want you to be mine forever.” “N-no! Leave me alone!” My words scrambled like a harsh melody. “Angie, this is the only way we can be together.” “Then I don’t want you!” I tried to push his face away as he bitterly smiled, his bleach white fangs showing. Everett forcefully bent my head so he could get a close look at my neck; I fought him as he bit down. I woke up to the sounds of my own sobs. The long ago ringlets that later turned into my withered curls today were stuck to my moist face. Not that my body had stayed the same. I touched my neck, feeling the marks he had tattooed on me so many years ago. Today, I still have the nightmares as I relive the day my life changed forever.


Benjamin Veysseire, Lincoln High School

I used to live in the sun, but played on the ice. I lived on the east and west of the Atlantic. I speak, but think in a different tongue. I traveled the path of Magellan, but with the birds and clouds. To digest a good book is an enjoyment. To dissect a good book is torture. I’d like to walk the journey of Marco Polo. I sit as an alien in a country full of them. My domain lies in the nourishment of others. The idea of being an American is not a concept I get. I fell in a hole where I believed my life would end. I was not born whole. I’ve been on a plane far more times than I can remember. I cannot recall a moment on a boat. I moved from country to country then state to state. I’ve set foot on every continent except for the one where civilization began.

Literary Arts 224 NW 13th Avenue, Suite 306 Portland, OR 97209

The Best Thing That Could Have Happened  

A WITS digital chapbook