M a r k M y Wor d s Wi n ter 2 0 1 3 Keen e State C ol l eg e
Faculty Coordinators â€“ Melissa DiPalma, Kirsti Sandy Printed using MagCloud.com
Introduction designed by R enn Bauhan
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This journal publication began with a desire to find interesting content for a project in my Book and Magazine Design class. I was looking for material that would allow my graphic design students to explore the visual interpretation of characters, events and symbols, while at the same time produce a printed publication. Working with Professor Sandy and students in the KSC English Department proved to be the perfect match. Graphic designers and writers were paired together to create content and give visual form to ideas and stories. Through this effort we learned that the creative process is not unique to any one form of expression, and whether we use words or images, the goal is to communicate memorable messages. melissa dipalma, lecturer, graphic design
All writers want to see their words in print, but there is more that goes into a polished published piece than the words alone. At one time, Keene Stateâ€™s literary journal, Inscribed, was the product of a collaboration between graphic design and English students, but when it became difficult to sustain this partnership, the journal faded away. When I was first contacted about the possibility of submitting the writing of our majors for the graphic design studentsâ€™ journal project, I thought back to the best issues of Inscribed, and to the ways that the graphic designersâ€™ work brought something new to each piece. I am thrilled to play even a small part in this collaboration and proud to have had so much strong student writing to work with. I would like to thank the graphic design students and their professor, Melissa DiPalma, for giving us this opportunity. kirsti sandy, chair, department of english
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CONTENTS MARK MY WORDS
6 10 14 16 22 24 28
Stop Messing Around By Brandan Keenan Designed by Sarah Brovitz
Easter Jacket By Cali Hebert Designed by Renn Bauhan
Apologia By Deanna Caruso Designed by Matt Zuppani
The Reemergence of My Favorite Memory By Caitlyn Carter Designed by Nicole Reitano
Epicure By Kelly Bishop Designed by Matt Moses
Inked By Nicole Bateman Designed by Raven Gill
Dadâ€™s Hands By Brittany Ball Designed by Zach Kelleher
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34 40 44 48 52 56
Table of Contents design by Kelsey Durato Cover design by Zach Kelleher
2:30 AM By Mackenzie Travers Designedby Kelsey Durato
Chasing Gold By Sophie Spiers Designed by Jill Tague
Bridges By Caitlyn McCain Designed by Amanda McKernan
Run By Sam Magee Designed by Vicky Vitale
Letâ€™s Get Outdoors: A Snapshot of Hiking Culture By Jessica Lulka Designed by Arianna King
Evan By Corissa Leonard Designed by Jess Kirchmaier
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Hands by BRITTANY BALL
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ad’s hands had so much potential. I always loved looking at them, tanned from all his time under the hot sun. They were never without cracks, always dried out, bumped up, and calloused from his enslavement to physical labor, burnt up from his reliance on the joint that he held between his fingers, oiled up from spending every day using, breaking, and fixing lawn equipment. Dad’s hands, they were perfect to me. They were hands that had lived, hands the spent their days working and their nights holding rolled papers or tin cans, occasionally floating through the air in sync with Dad’s voice, sometimes flying through the air, propelled by anger and in sync with dad’s reddened face. I especially loved them when dad would drive. On his best days, the steering wheel would become his drum set and his hands would drum along with the blaring music. I could watch him on those days forever, it seemed. Those few days were the best days with his hands. So much bigger than my tiny, unmarked, youthful ones, so much power; they had so much potential to offer me the protection and wisdom that I wanted him to give me, yearning for his hands every moment I spent with him.
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f this were fiction, what would follow the young girl’s description of her father’s hands is a narrative of times her father used them to love her, to hold her, to protect her. It would never matter that his hands were always so rough, because they would make all of the tough things in her life disappear despite their own destroyed appearance. The girl might talk about the time when she fell off of her bike, a new and shaky rider on two-wheels, landing on the sidewalk outside her house, blood trickling down her leg from the fresh scrape on her knee. Her father would be watching her from the kitchen window—maybe he was making dinner for later, or washing the dishes, or making her lunch for school tomorrow—and moments after her fall he would rush outside of their house’s front door to her rescue. Those hands of his would scoop her little body up; they would feel rough against her smooth skin, and their sensation would instantly comfort her. He would carry her inside, sit her down atop the kitchen counter, instantly grabbing a washcloth and holding it under the warm water that would flow out of the faucet. His hands would seem ironic to her—such rough entities doing such gentle, caring work as they washed out her scrape and covered it with a Band-Aid. Good as new, he might say, as he grabbed onto his little girl underneath her arms and placed her back on the kitchen floor with a smile, grabbing her hand and walking her back outside to give her bike a second chance. If this were fiction, this would be a tale of childhood, a tale of how a young girl’s father taught her to never give up by catching her when she fell and guiding her back onto her bike until she learned just how to ride.
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But this isn’t fiction. I did fall off of my bike, bright pink and newly equipped with only two wheels. I did fall onto the cement sidewalk that looped around the house we were staying in. The blood did trickle down from my knee, warm and slow. But Dad didn’t see me out of the kitchen window, because Dad was never in the kitchen making dinner, doing dishes, or making my school lunch. Dad was in the smoke-filled living room with his friends, adding to their pyramid of stacked beer cans. I still have the picture he took of it somewhere, dad’s friend is passed out behind a pyramid that nearly reaches the ceiling, beginning on the coffee table one night and evolving into dad’s masterpiece—a pyramid of empty beer cans. Dad’s hands were busy that day, so he did not rush outside to my rescue. He didn’t scoop me up, and I never felt the roughness of his hands against my smooth skin as he never did clean up my bleeding scrape. My hand was never clasped by his, and I was never guided back onto my bike. I fell. I cried. I looked
around to see if anyone saw—windows empty. I stood up and used the sleeve of my shirt to stop my leg from bleeding anymore. Once it stopped, my tiny, unmarked hands grabbed my bicycle, lifting it back up. I swung my leg around it and grasped onto the glittered handlebars, and I gave it another shot until I could make it down the sidewalk without losing balance. Dad’s hands had so much potential, but dad’s hands were always busy--busy with work under the hot sun, busy with tin cans and rolled papers, busy with his beer-can pyramid. My little hands were all I had, and they worked just fine. On their own they were capable of tending to wounds, catching my falls, and grasping back on to new challenges. I learned quickly how to be without guidance, without my dad’s hands. I learned how to be without the father my dad would have been, if this were fiction.
THEY WERE PERFECT TO ME
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His hands have been blackened from years and years of being a pressman.
Every little crease from his palm to the tip of his middle finger has been taken over by black ink. He will never be rid of his stained creases. For twenty long years whenever he looked down or fidgeted with
his big hands, he was reminded of the fact that he has been stained by the job that is always on the verge of nonexistence, the same job he sometimes wishes he had given up long ago. He will never be like richer men that own pieces of the world. Sure he can dress up, smile, brush up on literature, but he can never hide his hands. They show that he is a hard worker, willing to do whatever it takes to make sure his three children and wife have a place to come home to and a table with food on it. Ink has taken over his hands without his permission. He never wanted to ruin his hands. To him, there is nothing more valuable than taking care of yourself. So, imagine how he felt when I let a man inject ink under my skin. When I had traveled miles and spent money to be forever inked. He didnâ€™t find out what I had done, not right away. I had been eighteen for a few months and the perks and simple rush of knowing how much freedom I had was gone. I was with my friends. We were headed to Burlington in search of new things, for one, a dress and the other, a tattoo. Our voices were sore from screaming loudly over the whipping wind and loud music. Once we had gotten to the bigger city and had gotten the dress,
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the moon was shining bright and high in the sky. The words came out with no caution, just a small little smile: “You should get a tattoo with me.” Just the fact that she asked made me smile. I have always been a do as your parents say kind of girl. “No, I couldn’t. I don’t even have the money.” I wanted a reason to say yes. I did want to. I had been thinking of getting one for a few weeks now. I even blurted it out once to my mother. She nodded and said that I could after high school and once we talked to my father, but that, that was too far away. Not to mention my father would simply yell out “No! Absolutely not.” I’m sure my friends sensed the fact that I wanted to. I was tripping over the word yes. It was on the tip of my tongue so many times, but the natural coward took hold of the word yes, making me swallow it and panic over what might happen. My friend simply removed those safeguards by saying, “ I’ll pay for it… besides your mom already knows, right? So what’s the big deal?” and my other friend smiled. “Okay, I’ll get a tattoo with you.” I finally agreed with a massive smile on my face. Once I said yes, we called and called to see what tattoo parlors
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were still open. When we found one, we filled out forms told them our ideas and waited for them to be ready for us. Some say it’s like being stung over and over. Others say like being scratched a hundred times by a cat. I ‘d say the pain is a mix of being stung, pinched, and scratched. I had to bite down on a phone while the tattoo artist slowly made small curves and lines on my leg. When we were done, we kept on smiling all the way back home while letting out, “I can’t believe we did that!” more than a dozen times. It was late by the time we got back to our hometown and reality. The next day came confession and my mother was my priest. The words stumbled out of my mouth while my eyes roamed. “So last night, I got a tattoo with Amanda.” “I know,” she said. That is the thing about my mother; she knows when I do things I shouldn’t. I showed her and she added “I thought you wanted it lower, closer to your ankle bone,” but she liked it. I went home and convinced myself it would be better if I told my dad. I heard him come in, stomping up the dark wooden stairs. I knew right then and there; my mother had stupidly told him. My father’s anger took hold
of any and all words that came out of his mouth. To him, what I did last night with my friends was what would ruin my life. I would be like him, haunted by ink. It would tell people all they needed to know about me. He thought that the world would mark me as trash. He couldn’t think about what it really meant. What it meant to his daughter. He didn’t see it as a way of expressing my inner self. “It’s trash. Good. You better hide. You’re being a coward!” The words had twisted and turned up the stairs to my room. He spewed these words on a loop, adding vulgar words, to mix it up once and awhile. My father is too tall for me not to be a little afraid of him when his blood pressure rises as well as the anger in his eyes, even if I know it’s all talk. I want to yell back, “A tattoo won’t ruin me. A lack of ambition, however, might.” Instead, I listened, praying my mother really did mean that she would be home right away. My father has always been afraid of us ruining our future because to him, all we have is opportunities and he has done everything he can to make sure we live beautiful lives. He is too afraid and unable to see. My mother arrived home. My heart beat fast, scared she might not be able to wake him from his stubbornness. He was louder, which I didn’t think was possible. I slowly walked towards the stairs leading to the kitchen. I was unable to make out her words, then there was silence. My name was called and I felt my breathing stop. I swallowed hard and moved my feet into the kitchen. “Let me see your tattoo.” My eyes darted to my mother, unsure if I should. I thought back to my adventure to a bigger city only a day ago. It calmed me and gave me a little more strength. I gently folded my right pant leg up to make sure I didn’t rub the new tattoo. I folded my jeans just enough and with my leg raised point it at my father. He eyed it back and forth. “Oh, It’s not that bad. I thought it was a lot bigger.” I felt the anger warm my cheeks and thought to myself, So all that
yelling was for nothing. “No, it wasn’t like a tramp stamp or something huge.” We looked at each other then back at the tattoo, letting silence take over.
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Epicure Kelly Bishop
Macaroni & Cheese
Shake & Bake Chicken
I crack eggs into a bowl with unsteady hands. I am watched by my motherâ€™s careful eye for any stray eggshells falling into the bowl. My eyes barely peer over the green tile kitchen counter. My mother carefully lays the raw chicken legs onto a plate. I watch eagerly as she pours the bread crumbs and spices into a big, plastic Ziplock bag. It always felt so special being her little helper when she needed it for dinner. The kitchen was warm and the lights were soft as we worked next to each other, all alone. Each leg of chicken is carefully dipped into the bowl of runny eggs, and then individually dropped into the bag of bread crumbs. I shake with all my might, bouncing around the kitchen with enthusiasm and vigor as I do. My arms grow tired, but it is my duty to get that whole leg coated with crumbs. Her smile is gentle and kind as she watches, laughing. I shake one by one, until they are finally placed into the oven to grow into crunchy, juicy bones of meat.
Standing in the dimmed kitchen lights, I throw my arms around his neck. We tiptoe from counter to fridge to stove on the tile floor, muffling laughter. The water begins to boil, and he pours in the box of Kraft macaroni. I give him sideways glances as he works, pressing my lips together to stifle a grin. Our eyes sparkle in the hushed moonlight coming in through the window above the sink. I watch as his shadowy arms scrape the pot clean, his tongue being bit on the side of his mouth in concentration. Two white porcelain bowls are filled with perfectly equal servings. Iâ€™m handed a spoon and I return with a peck on the cheek. One last long gaze while my teeth clamp onto the metal spoon filled with steamy macaroni and cheese. We shut the light behind us, and walk sigle-file down the stairs. My stomach grows fulland warm, while I am melting with contentment.
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Sausage & Pepper Rolls
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
On my dad’s front patio during a beautiful summer afternoon. I immediately volunteer to cut up the crisp green, red, and yellow peppers with onions as well. He unwraps the plastic covering of the winding pile of sausage from Turco’s, the expensive kind with flavorful herbs. The patio, the freshly cut grass, sparkling blue pool, picket white fence, and the glinting stainless steel grill look like an image straight out of Better Homes & Gardens. I collect all the cut up onions and peppers into a piece of tin foil covered with golden olive oil, and place it on the grill next to the sizzling sausage. Spicy mustard, fat Dill pickles, coleslaw, all the proper condiments placed onto the table in preparation. The sun begins to set and the air grows cool as the first bite of a crispy, flavorful sandwich is taken.
I set my contraption of two layered pots onto the stove to begin boiling water, the same contraption I had found at an “As Seen on TV” store. The top pan grows hot, and I pour in three bags of milk chocolate chips. The fresh, plump strawberries are rinsed clean and waiting on a stack of paper towels. My Mom moves carefully around me as I make dinner, understanding my intense need for concentrated space. I gently mix the Chocolate with a wooden spoon while each strawberry is expertly dipped and twisted into the gooey darkness. I quickly lick up any chocolate that drips its way down my hand. Each strawberry is placed neatly onto our biggest red plate, until it is covered. My lips tingle with the hope of tasting the sweet, juicy treat, but I busy myself with rinsing the pan before letting myself take one. Instead my lips twist into a smile as my mom reaches swiftly past me to steal one for herself.
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of My Favorite Memory
Written by Caitlyn Carter Designed by Nicole Reitano
A nightly event that we all take part in. We sit around our
island and talk about our days. In high school this is what I looked forward to the most.
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We donâ€™t go out to dinner. My mom cooks and occasionally, when the money is there, we will order in. This is a rare occurrence, but one we look forward to.
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We have a dinner table, but never sit there. We sit at the granite island in the middle of our kitchen. We are always one seat short, so my mom brings up another chair. I wonder if she cares that she has to do that all the time.
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We don’t have these very often anymore. Life has gotten in the way and we are all busy. Work, school, no time. The lack of family dinner has impacted us. We no longer talk as much. It’s as if we all live in the same box, but our lives don’t seem to intersect. I
wonder if anyone else misses
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Used to be the part of the day I looked forward to. Now itâ€™s a distant memory
memory will be
in the past. This brought back though.
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Every night I will sit with my husband and my kids. We will discuss that highs and lows of our days. We will make time for this. I will sit there and remember what it was like to take part in these. No longer living in a box with very little connections. Mark My Words
Apologia In the eighth grade it was cool to get dropped off at the mall without adult supervision. It meant that you had finally reached the age of slight independence. And with slight independence comes more responsibility. My friends and I always liked to go to our favorite store (Forever 21) in the mall first so we could gaze at the accessories and try on as many clothes as we desired. As we walked out of the store with our shopping bags filled with the trendiest of clothes, my friend Mary pulled out a silver chained necklace with the letter M encrusted with pink crystals. I remember asking her, “Oh, you did end up getting that?” and she replied, “I stole it.” I was shocked; she had just spent a good amount of money on clothes, and she couldn’t spend another $7 on the necklace? It just didn’t make sense to me. The rest of the time at the mall everything she said or did annoyed me. I was just so distraught that my best friend had done that, but what really bothered me is that it didn’t bother her. After we were picked up from the mall we got dropped off at her house to swim. Our bags were thrown on her bed and when she went to the bathroom to change into her bathing suit I couldn’t stop myself from putting my hand in her bag and throwing the necklace she had stolen into my bag.
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I didn’t even think twice about it and went on about my day as if I hadn’t stolen anything, just as Mary had. Later, when I went home, I immediately dug a hole in the bottom of my garbage can and threw her necklace away. The next day when I was on the phone with Mary discussing plans for the weekend, she told me, “The necklace I took from Forever 21 is gone. I checked everywhere, so maybe it fell out of the bag when we were at the mall.” I was relieved that she would never realized I had stolen it from her. Yet I did not feel guilty because she had stolen from an actual store-- I just stole it back from her because she had been in the wrong. I did not want her to flaunt the necklace if she didn’t rightfully purchase it; we were both taught better than that. I still don’t think that I stealing it back from her was wrong because I threw it out the second I got home. I never reminded her that she had stolen and I never told anyone what she had done, so I felt and still feel as though I helped her--even though I, too, had stolen something.
Design by Matt Zuppani
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E as t er J acke t by Cali Hebert I am being scolded by my grandmother while sitting on the living room couch. I asked her for my jacket, why is she so mad? It’s Easter morning and the whole house is bustling like city streets. The windows are wide open letting the frigid early spring air into the house. My grandmother is yelling and pacing around the living room. My brother is slamming his hands down onto his high chair. He wants everyone to know that he wants more mashed peas. There’s only twenty-five minutes left until we have to be at church. I hope we make it in time. The Easter mass was always my favorite. The church would be decorated with beautiful fresh smelling flowers to celebrate and the fountain in front of the church would be on too. As a way to symbolize receiving the body and blood of Christ, all the children got to line up to get a cracker and a sip of grape juice. Everyone there sings songs, even after mass. We all sing as loud as we can and our voices echo through the tall ceilings of the church. It was all for Easter. I don’t want to miss a minute of it, but I know we can’t leave until my parents are ready. My mother and father are downstairs in the basement, looking for Easter decorations that had been packed away the year before. My father’s face is glowing red, lighting up the basement, and he is furious as usual. He digs through old bins of clothing, trying to find which bin held the Easter decorations. An attempt to please my mother. She is in tears because Easter will be ruined without coloring kits for eggs and silly rabbit-eared hats for the children. 24
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Is Nana mad because Mommy and Daddy are mad too? I sit patiently as her voice fills the room with astonishment and anger. Her mouth lets loose words of disappointment. She is blaming the Catholic school I attend. She is saying mean things about the families my friends must come from. She is telling me how much trouble I will be in once my Dad finds out. I am still wondering why she is yelling at me. I try to think back about what I had done that morning. What could I have possibly done wrong? She is yelling at me while I eye my younger brother, the devil himself, who was sitting across the room glaring at me. He is young enough to be in a high chair, safe from the confines of my hands that otherwise would have been chasing him around the house trying to get a hold of his neck. Little did we know that we only had each other in this world: a world that is much larger than our house and the people in it who feel so central to our entire existence. He knows he won’t get any mashed peas as long as Nana is busy yelling at me. He tries crying louder. He’s such a fat baby. My parents think he is the sweetest child in the world. He is actually a demon. My parents would always tell me, “Cali, he’s just a baby. He doesn’t know any better.” He always knew better. Always. My Nana’s yelling is making my ears numb and I lose track. During the grand finale of my grandmother’s temper tantrum, my father and mother come upstairs with bins of Easter decorations, silly rabbit-eared hats and all. Mark My Words
Is Daddy going to be as mad as she said? I try to disappear into the couch. My mom appears, smiling from ear to ear. Her tears seem long gone. We can finally decorate and go to church and come back and look for Easter eggs as she so desperately wanted. “We can even do it with plenty of time left to get to church,” she assures me. My poor father brings up two or three bins and places them in the middle of the living room. He looks up at my mother and smiles. She picks up my brother from his high chair, remarking about how he is such a messy boy and how she needs to clean those mashed peas off his little baby face. She nuzzles his red cheeks against her own. He giggles. What a suck up. As she turns and walks to the bathroom, he pokes his tongue out at me. I wince. “Cali, why don’t you have your jacket yet?” my father asks as he lazily looks over the egg dyeing instructions, “I sent you up here ten minutes ago. What have you been doing all this time?” He throws himself down on the recliner adjacent to the couch and tosses the instructions on the small table next to him. He turns his attention toward me and sits up a little more in his seat. “I asked Nana for it but-” “Why don’t you tell him how you asked for it!” she howled. I look into his eyes and watch him put on his disappointed-parent face. Guilt sinks down within me. Even knowing that I might have done something wrong by accident kills me on the inside. “I asked her where the fucking jacket was.” I sank my head into my shoulders, waiting to see what would happen next. No matter how hard I try, I cannot seem to sink any lower into the couch.
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My father roars with laughter. My grandmother stands frozen in time with her mouth hinged wide open. He can barely squeeze the words out between each breath. “Mandy, Mandy,” more laughing, “get in here quick!” He bites his lip in an attempt to pull himself together. My mother comes in still holding Joshua, his face now free from the gumminess of mashed peas and his huge head equipped with a silly-rabbit eared hat. He looks more like a prize-winning pig than a baby in my mother’s arm. Their puffy rosy cheeks from so much sobbing matched in color and size. “What is it, Myke?” my mother asks. “When we were downstairs and I told Cali to get her jacket,” he has to stop, looking over at my grandmother’s face only makes him laugh harder. Her eyes burn holes into his purple face, “I told her to run upstairs and ask Nana for her fucking jacket!” I can hear him wheezing from laughing so hard. My mother frowns and picks up the hat my brother threw on the floor for attention, “Silly baby,” she coos, “don’t drop your hat.” He puts his hand into his mouth to indicate he wants more food but my mother only nuzzles his cheeks again. My grandmother is sputtering trying to figure out the pieces of my father’s story. My father continues, “And no shit, she runs up here and asks Nana ‘Where’s the fucking jacket!?” My father sits cackling away as my mother rolled her eyes. She squeezes Joshua back into his highchair and marches into the next room to grab the jacket.
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“If your friends told you to jump off of a bridge, would you do it?” written by, Brendan Keenan design by, Sarah Brovitz
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It was a steamy Thursday in late August, one of those days where summer is still very much alive, but is starting to lose her edge to the clouds and breeze of autumn. The dark sand was cold and damp under my bare feet. Thick woods at the peak of their annual growth created a mural of mixed greens and browns all around us. The sound produced by the flow of water into the improvised swimming pool filled the air, mixing with the faint noise of wildlife to create rustic and natural sonata. Looking over the edge, the water in the pool appeared as a large dark mirror reflecting a slightly distorted image of the clouds and surrounding trees. I relaxed my mind, clearing it of all thoughts of failure.I replaced these thoughts with visions of myself pulling it off, flipping through the air and sticking the landing perfectly. I felt confident, despite the absurdity of what I was about to attempt. Still, my toes shifted around nervously and my palms were getting damper by the minute. I’d been thinking about it all summer, but for some reason I felt more prepared and sure of myself that day than any other. Nobody could offer me a certain technique for this feat, they claimed that it only took an unabridged sense of self-confidence and complete lack of hesitation. Hesitation, they said, would kill you here. Now it’s clear to me, however, that insanity and an absence of self-preservation is also crucial. My friends there told me that I was crazy, and claimed they would never attempt what I was planning. But they still implored
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me to try, and urged me to set off sooner than later. I’m sure that in their minds, they expected to see their friend either back flip successfully, or see him fall harmlessly into the water below. We had all seen what happened when people failed; bruised sides or arms akin to a severe belly flop were the worst of the damages. Sure, it was possible that more severe injuries could be sustained, but we were young and had that feeling of invincibility that youth often possess but rarely admit. “If you’re going to do it, then do it and stop fucking around.” My friend was right. The longer I waited the more hesitation would build up inside of me, and I had learned that hesitation was lethal here. I took a final deep breath and began running at full speed towards the edge, towards the great dark mirror below. What sticks out in my memory here is the expressions on my friend’s faces. As I ran past, they appeared as excited and assured as I was. I leaped off the edge and threw my legs up into the air just as I had been told, doing everything to rotate my body around. It worked flawlessly until I was upside down, at which point I suddenly stopped spinning. I panicked. Time seemed to stand still. My position in the air allowed me to see my friends looking down on me, and even in the chaotic moment I could see that their expressions had changed. No more excitement, only terror and concern. The fact that I was able to process all this in such a quick and sudden moment amazes me. I was free falling head first, and I truly thought that I might be
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it would be a lie to say that i donâ€™t regret what happened that day
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dead upon hitting the water. As the back of my neck crashed through the surface of the cold dark mirror, everything flashed. It was a great white flash, like one of those old fashioned cameras that reporters used, the kind that would blind people and leave colored dots in their vision. The chill of the water all over my body was one of the best sensations I’ve ever experienced; it meant that I was still living and feeling. I came out the water and tasted blood. I rubbed my face and saw that the blood was pouring out of my mouth. It felt like someone knocked my jaw a couple inches to the left with a bat. I had no idea the extent of my injuries, and I was admittedly scared to find out. I was extremely dazed, but my intense fear of drowning subconsciously got me to shore. “If your friends told you to jump off of a bridge, would you do it?” It’s a cliché expression often used by parents to deter their children from dangerous activities. Of course not, the child will respond. But more than likely, if all of your friends are jumping, you will be quick to follow. Something about seeing friends and strangers attempt this daring maneuver made it incredibly appealing to me. I had a mysterious confidence in my ability, despite having no experience with front or back flips. All it took was a few words of encouragement from three friends to send me over a cliff to a possible watery grave. The x-rays showed that I had cracked two of my front teeth at their roots, meaning that they had to come out. The next
three months proved to be dental hell, I was at a dentists or oral surgeon’s office every couple of weeks. At first it was a big joke and I was proud to tell people what had happened to me. But after I went through surgery to get my roots replaced by metal screws and I had a gaping hole in my smile, reality set in. My temporary false teeth were a pain and I was embarrassed to talk about them, and my permanent ones feel strange and alien in my mouth. The concussion I received kept me from playing soccer for a month. I have had to return to surgery twice already to repair complications from the false teeth. It would be a lie to say that I don’t regret what happened that day. It made life quite unpleasant for a long time and I would never again attempt the maneuver that I did on that August afternoon. But I do believe that for the first time in my life I was truly able to appreciate the value of life and how fragile it is. I don’t think that the events of that day will impede me from risky business in the future, but I do think that I will consider the possibilities more intensely. I haven’t tried any stunts since then, not because I’m afraid but simply because the opportunity has never arisen. I’m unsure how I will react, whether the fear or the confidence will surge through my body. Perhaps next time I’ll take the responsibility of being the one telling my friends to hurry the fuck up and jump. From a safe location, far away from the edge, of course.
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Vodka had never been my drink of choice. Yet, here I sit drinking it being
reassured by a muscular Russian man that this is all he drinks.
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He is sitting next to me at a bar that I have never been to until now.
My stool has become slightly dangerous from the shots.And at this point I cannot figure out if he is mixing English and Russian together because he is drunk or because he isn’t fluent. Either way he is speaking in a thick, slurred accent that I can barely understand regardless of the language. But I am not really paying much attention to his words anyway. He has the body of a man that has seen a lot of work outdoors. His arms are BIG and defined and I keep watching how his bicep moves as he reaches for his drink. His arms are dark from the sun. Tonight my body burns and I feel vulnerable under his gaze. I feel like he can read my mind. He knows why I came to this bar. This bar with its neon sign. I can still see the lime green light reflecting in the front window as it flashes “Bernie’s”.
I can’t see his face very well. I think he has blue eyes. You would think they would put some lights in here. They probably don’t want to draw attention to the fact that almost everything but
the alcohol is covered in dust and grime. Every
time I attempt to steady myself on my stool I have to wipe my hands off on a napkin
keeps on talking with that thick Russian accent. The words sweep over me and all I can think of is the man that should be next to me. I feel a hand on my thigh. It starts at my knee and slowly moves up. Tilting my head back I remember.
I remember the way he used to place his hand on my thigh and just move slowly back and forth. He would always gently squeeze and then smile. He knew he was driving me crazy and he loved it. His touch made my heart STOP and I would have to remember to
I look up and see his eyes looking over me. His eyes meet mine and I feel like he has gained the power of
vision. Feeling completely naked in front of him I look down to make sure I was still wearing my little grey skirt and my pink tank top. I shouldn’t be here. I
he keeps putting his hand on the back of my neck and I want him. He squeezes my neck a little to hard.It hurts and I like it. I try not to make eye contact with himbecause I am afraid
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of what I will see. I want to see love in his eyes but I know I wonâ€™t. I miss that look. It makes my heart ache. I look up and all I see is lust.
There was no gentle in this man.
The urgency of his touch brought me back to this bar, with its stale smell and LOUD music. There were a lot of people here for a Wednesday night. Men in leather jackets drinking beer and laughing were gathered by the pool tables. Every once in while someone would say something off key and I would hear raised voices that would soon simmer down as they eased the tension by poking fun at one another.
People sat on both sides of us
and no one seemed to care that this manâ€™s hand was dangerously close to
disappearing under my skirt.
The world around me started to move in slow motion. So I leaned against his body and closed my eyes. The surreal feeling of spinning and floating took over. I told myself to just let the feelings take me over. Just let this happen. I can feel his against my side its like leaning against a wall. He repositioned himself so that I was leaning against his chest. His other arm went around my small waist and he began to run his hand along the top of my skirt. All the while the diligent hand on my thigh kept testing the waters.
feel it in his body, in the way the touched me like he wanted to break me. I could see it in his eyes. He had 36
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stopped talking at this point and was working his way tomy upper thigh.
Resting against his chest the voices of the bar slowly faded to a hum around me. I concentrated on what my body was
doing and I did not realize someone had walked up to us.
“Hey man. When you are finished over here you want to play? The dumb ass on my team keeps scratching on the 8 ball.” I jumped up in my stool realizing that a man was inches from where I was sitting and he pulled me back down to him. His accent wasn’t as
thick and I could under-
stand what he was saying. I started to relax into him again and realized our intruder had on Harry Potter glasses and was dressed in a
punk rocker kind of style.
He looked out of . Then again I probably place looked out of place.
“Sure,” the Russian replied never removing his eyes from me. He continued to work his way under my skirt. The man walked away as quickly as he appeared and disappeared into the crowd of larger men that were hovering near the pool tables.
“Eh so …. What is name?” He
over the words and
with a look seeing if I understood his question.
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“Amy,” I replied even though he had asked me twice already. He leaned in close and started to bite on my ear. I leaned into him and let him. After a few seconds he then whispered one word, “bathroom”. It wasn’t a question but rather a statement. I knew the topic was going to come up but I thought it was going to involve an invite back to his bedroom. Not necessarily an invite to an awkward position in a public restroom. The kind of bathroom in which I would squat over the toilet to pee rather than sit down and risk getting crabs. I nodded in response and told him to give me a minute. He then moved his hand all the way up my skirt and I couldn’t help but moan. He
smiled and walked aw
towards the back of the bar where I am going to assume the restroom was. At that moment my head felt heavier and
my neck and I placed my forehead against the bar, I closed my eyes.
My purse began to
I let it vibrate all the way to voicemail, a few seconds later it started
I peeled my forehead off of the bar and rubbed it making sure the sticky surface didn’t remove my skin. Reaching in my purse I pulled out my across phone and saw “Home” the screen. I waited for “Home” to turn into, “2 Missed Calls”. I sighed and went to put my phone back into my purse when it started again. Sighing I got off of my stool and began to make my unsteady way outside away from the With every step it felt like the heel to my polka dot shoes were just going to slip out from underneath me. So I concentrated on placing down one wobbly heel at a time until I found
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myself outside in the warm summer air. I leaned up against the building and let myself slide to the ground. My mom’s voice, sit like a lady, popped into my head and I crossed my legs in front of me. I opened up my phone and before I was able to call the number it was lighting up, again. I regrettably slid my finger over the green phone sign and put it to my ear.
“Where are you? I put the little man to bed hours ago and he really wanted to say good night.” “I’m just out. I’ll be home soon. Is he sleeping? I’ll come in and tuck him in when I get home, okay?”
“Hunny, you really need to stop doing this to yourself. I don’t know what to say except that time heals all wounds. Think about your son, he needs you. You need to come home. I will come get you. Where are you? I’ll be right there.” “I’m okay Mom. Really. I am with him all the time. We are fine. I will be home in a little while. Kiss him for me.” I hung up as the tears started flowing down my face. That salty taste ran into my mouth as I hang my head in between my knees. The dog tags came out from under my shirt and fell, dangling above the ground. I watched them swing back and forth with the shutter of my tears.
. Stop and get the hell up. Jesus. Grabbing the metal I pressed it to my lips and tucked it safely back under my shirt. I
the weight p u l l i n me to the ground.
I braced myself against the building and attempted to shimmy back to a standing position without tipping over. I was half way up the wall when the Russian walked out. I held up my phone to explain my absence and he nodded. He p u l l e d me to the standing position and pressed his body into mine pinning me between the wall and his muscles. His mouth found mine and I let him. I looked into his eyes searching for what I had lost. Leading me back inside I could still feel the
weight. Mark My Words
Letâ€™s Get Outdoors: A Snapshot of Hiking Culture
by, Jessica Lulka Designed by, Arianna King
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“I wanna be out of here in one half hour!” I overhear a dad telling the rest of his family in the parking lot. It’s clear to me that while this dad brought his family all this way to enjoy the nature around them, it’s not going to be a leisurely walk in the woods. I chuckle thinking how this family would be able to fully enjoy the Flume in only 30 minutes. The day is sunny yet cold, the essential New England fall day. As I gather my things in a small pack and put on my hiking boots, the wind begins to pick up. I glance at the piercing blue sky and can’t help but smile. It’s the perfect day not only for hiking, but people watching. Even at 10:53 a.m., the parking lot of the Flume Gorge is filled with plates from all over the nation. It’s surprising that something this far north is still a popular attraction. I see cars from close states such as Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island. Apparently more adventurous travelers from Illinois, Louisiana and Texas decided it was a perfect day to explore too. There are leaves on the trees but they are slowly falling to create skeletons of the foliage that Franconia Notch is famous for. My mom and I walk over to the main lodge and visitor center, trying to distinguish what type of people we’ll see today at the Flume Gorge. It’s clear that this is a family destination; the majority of people here are in groups of 3 or more, in a wide age range of visitors. The majority of visitors seem older, and many of them have little children. This family destination is abuzz with energy this morning. People are collecting their groups together, looking at maps to figure out the trail or enjoying a coffee. I conclude that the people here certainly aren’t accustomed to spending a lot of time in the woods, as I spy an Aldo shopping bag and one woman wearing ½ inch heels. The majority of people also bundled themselves up in puffy winter coats, mittens and hats while I simply wear a fleece jacket. People are mostly wearing sneakers instead of hiking boots; a few don Uggs for their experience in the woods. I look around the massive visitor’s center, which includes all the tourist basics: coffee shop, souvenir place, and plenty of information about the area. In one corner is a display case dedicated to the memory of New Hampshire’s famous icon, The Old Man of the Mountain. I see a pamphlet rack with information about attractions like the Cog Railway, Santa’s Village and other attractions I visited as a child. After spending some time looking around the center, my mom and I purchase our admission tickets. “When I came here with my aunt and uncle there was no charge” I overhear a woman discuss with her husband. Well times have certainly change., I mean $15 to walk around? Most of these forests I could see for free, not even 20 minutes from my house. After exiting the center, I notice there are people waiting for a shuttle to bring them part of the way to the Flume. This is a fairly tame hiking
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experience. I begin to walk along a gravel/partially-paved path in the woods. At this point, once we’re on our way to the main attraction, it becomes a lot quieter. The amount of people near me has become less condensed and I am listening to muted conversations of the few pairs near me. “Excuse me, would you happen to have a tissue?” I turn around to see a woman and her friend, both carrying iPhones, presumably to take photos. “No, sorry” I reply and continue on the trail. I am passed by a woman wearing brand new hiking boots and a faux-fir trimmed coat and notice that down by the river, someone is walking along the bank, deciding on where to place a tripod to get a photograph. Making our way down the manicured path, there is a building that looks pretty empty and a sign outside, designating it as a shuttle stop. It’s a miniature museum inside with various photographs and paragraphs about other natural parks in the region and some memorabilia from past decades, such as commemorative plates and souvenirs. The building is also a place of rest with benches outside, restrooms and a vending machine. It’s increasingly becoming clear to me that this is more of a tourist attraction rather than somewhere for serious hikers to venture. I look around at the information for a little while and continue on the path to the Flume. “Let’s go!” a father says to his young daughter, who is running along behind him on the trail. As we reach closer to the Flume Gorge, the people become a little more apparent and I spy a group donning Coach designer and dress shoes. It seems that staying stylish in the wilderness is a priority. At 10:55 a.m., my mom and I finally reach the Flume Gorge itself and are met with a slow moving crowd. I note that it didn’t take too long to get to the main attraction, considering I left the lodge at around 10:30. I suddenly hear the sound of rushing water that drowns out all dialogue or talk. People walk along the designated pathway through the cool, high walls of the Flume pausing to take photos of no only themselves but the nature around them. All the tourists shuffle up the boardwalk , stopping every few minutes to take pictures of the water, moss and other neat wildlife growing in the Flume. I slowly notice that a camera seems to be the staple of many groups. One woman is snapping photos on her iPhone, a Nikon Camera around her neck. I made my way up the walkway and found myself behind a group of people who suddenly became fascinated with the icicles along the rocks. They were a group of four, probably about mid-20’s donning peacoats, jeans and sneakers. For whatever reason these icicles were somewhat of a novelty, because they snapped them off the rock and took photos holding the icicles, eating pieces of the ice. Haven’t they seen ice before? I’m assuming wherever they come from it gets cold. They should also realize that they can’t take those with them. As I continue walking down the gravel path, I notice that the people along the trail are not dressed as flashy and aren’t taking pictures every five minutes. These seem to be the more local people, who are accustomed to seeing the fall foliage in New England. I leave the Flume with a completely different interpretation of it, than I had as a child. I’d remembered a long, wild hike in the woods, not the tourist trap that I visited that day. This made me realize that there are different types of exposure to nature; while some find the gravel paths of the Flume a way to immerse themselves in nature, I knew that if I wanted to truly research hiker culture, I would need to get farther off the beaten path. Mark my Words
RUN Needless to say, this is not how my wedding day was supposed to go.
Mark My Words
Written by Sam Magee Designed by Vicky Vitale
I was beginning to regret the ball gown decision.
The majority of the white material was gathered in my arms as I sat on the crowded bus heading anywhere but there. Needless to say, this was not how my wedding day was supposed to go. The driver mumbled something over the intercom and I decided to get off. I needed air. As I made my way to the front of the bus, the stares from the other passengers ranged from sympathetic, to confused, and all the way to pissed off from being hit in the back of the head by my wedding dress. I stepped off the bus, heels in hand, and decided that my childhood dream of being a princess was way off mark. This sucked. I limped along the sidewalk, and began the horrendously long process of removing the ludicrous amounts of bobby pins that kept each and every hair perfectly in place, while simultaneously causing me intense discomfort. How did princesses run away from anything? This heel thing was no laughing matter. I found a bench in a nearby park to figure out my game plan, a girl in an enormous, sparkly ball gown can only make it so far unnoticed. I needed comfort and I needed it immediately. I was also in a position where I would sell my soul to the devil himself for a freaking burger. I rifle through the silver clutch I managed to grab from my dressing room in the mad dash to get away, and retrieve my cell phone. I open the GPS app and find that Iâ€™m at least four blocks away from the nearest anything that will make my life easier. I hike up my dress and continue barefoot down the Mark My Words
disgusting city sidewalk because I will be damned before I put those heels back on. The people who pass by don’t even bother to pretend not to stare. I don’t even blame them, I look crazy. My first mission is to find me some new clothes. Eventually I find a store and walk in. I search around for a decent outfit and settle on a pair of dark washed skinny jeans, a light yellow polo, and a pair of black flats. I walk up to the register and the unamused cashier barely glances at me despite the fact that I’m still in my wedding dress. “135.64 please.” she says, chomping on her gum. I hand her my credit card and she runs it through the machine. Then came the jaw drop. “Heidi Spencer? Like the Heidi Spencer?” she stares at me wide eyed. “Yep, that’s me.” I sighed, not wanting to deal with this at the moment.
leading into the beaded corset that hugged my professionally trained curves flawlessly then bloomed wonderfully into a full ball gown with enough sparkle to just see, but not enough to make it tacky. But I hated it. I hated the whole stupid wedding. I stared at the reflection, and for the first time since I ran out of that church, I cried. I slid down the wall of the fitting room to the floor and I cried because I didn’t want to be “Miss Spencer” anymore. I didn’t want the custom wedding dresses, the five hundred person wedding, the designer clothes, the paparazzi, the living under a microscope. I hated having every choice scrutinized by millions, being forced to live a life that I never asked for. I just wanted my old simple life back, before my family became The Spencers, before my mom married the stupid governor and we became part of one of the most popular families in America. And I hated myself, for not crying because I just left a man at the altar.
Aren’t you supposed to be getting married right now? “Aren’t you supposed to be getting married right now?” the girl asked. I looked at her then down at my enormous ball gown then back to her. “Oh, right.” she responded. “Do you mind if I use your fitting room to change.” I asked her. I wanted to get this horrible monstrosity off my body as soon as possible. “Of course, Miss Spencer.” she responded. I smiled as kindly as I could manage, grabbed the new clothes, and walked to fitting room. I closed the door behind me, and looked in the mirror. The dress was beautiful. Custom made just for me by one of the world’s leading wedding dress designers, and anyone could tell. The sweetheart neckline dipped perfectly 46
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I went into my clutch, grabbed a tissue, and began to wipe away the tears and make up that ran down my face. I picked myself up off the floor and I reached behind me and unlaced the corset of the dress. As I peeled it away from my body I took a deep breath and finally realized how constricting it was. I let the thirty thousand dollar wedding dress fall to the floor, and stepped out. I slid on the jeans and polo and sighed in relief at the comfort. Then I stepped into the flats and promised myself I would never wear heels ever again. I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and turned from the fitting room, leaving the dress on the floor. I walked to the front of the store and the cashier followed me with her eyes.
“What about your dress.” She asked. “It’s yours if you want it.” I responded looking over at her and seeing she was about my size. “Are you kidding me? That’s a Julie Mason wedding gown.” This girl definitely kept up with her gossip magazines. “Yeah, I don’t need it anymore.” I said as I walked out. “Uh, thanks!” I heard as the door closed behind me. I stepped out onto the busy city sidewalk and joined the bustle. I looked at each building I passed, desperate to find something to eat. Due to my mother being incredibly nervous about me not fitting into my dress this morning, I had not eaten for about
food on it. It must have been pre-made. Great. “Have a good day.” I chirped as I took my food. He just looked at me. If looks could kill, I swear I’d be dead. I turned from the counter, most of the tables in the place were empty and I chose one in the back corner. I took a bite of the burger. I don’t know if I was at point where just about anything would taste incredible, but it had to be the best burger I had ever eaten in my entire life. I plowed through it, and then moved on to the equally delicious fries. It felt so good to eat. It felt even better to eat food I knew I shouldn’t be eating. Since becoming a part of The Spencers I was only allowed to eat what my nu-
I guess it was time to face the music, or maybe I could wait just a bit longer. twenty-seven hours, except for snacks I managed to sneak past her. Eventually I stumbled across this whole in the wall burger joint and walked in. “Welcome to Burger Bonanza, my name is Johnny and I’d be happy to take your order,” Johnny’s tone definitely said otherwise as he babbled the pre-written script. I smiled at him and he proceeded to stare through me. “Could I just have a burger and fries please?” I asked as he pushed the buttons on the register, never taking his eyes off me. His teenaged face seemed sunken and miserable, his greasy, black hair cut over one eye. He was a bit scary. “Eight dollars and thirty-one cents, please.” He mumbled, almost inaudibly. I handed him my card and he ran it through the machine, then handed it back without another word. I guess he didn’t keep up with his gossip magazines, thank God. He reached behind him and grabbed a tray with my
tritionist told me. God forbid I gain a pound. I cleaned the grease off of my fingers, and pulled out my cell phone that had been on silent since that morning, and saw I had thirty-two missed calls and forty-seven text messages. I guess it was time to face the music, or maybe I could wait just a bit longer.
Mark My Words
Mark My Words
by Caitlyn McCain
She carefully undid the rivet on her jeans then paused to slip her sheer blue blouse over her shoulders. He watched as her white bra emerged into the cold air, her skin rising in small bumps as the autumn night caressed her. He couldnâ€™t help but feel his insides pumping as his eyes ran over her where she perched beside him on the bridgeâ€™s edge. She glanced his way and grinned this mischievous grin that told him she was risky without being dangerous. Her brown hair curled in dizzy knots, falling over the side of her face and shading her from the moonlight. He stood with his hands in his pockets, waiting for her to tell him what to do.
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“Trust me, it’s fun.”She giggled
as she shimmed her pants off her hips. She revealed the edges of a pair of black underwear that hugged her curves and contrasted against her pale skin. She tossed her pants to the side, flicking them with her toes until they rested alongside her shirt. She reached a hand towards him but he shied away from it, hoping his stubble would hide the growing redness on his face. “You don’t trust me, do you?” she snickered. “No, I can’t say that I do,” even though he did. He trusted her more than anyone. She observed the gentle way he spoke, as though he measured each word precisely as he wanted them to impact the receiver. Yet he spoke in this soft voice that made you really listen; she wondered if he did it so as to truly be heard, or if despite all the precision he was still hesitant to put thoughts to words. “If you trust me on anything, ever, trust me on this.” She reached out and dared to rest a hand against his fabric-covered wrist. She pulled his hand from his pocket and ran her fingers along it until she held only his fingertips; the products of a nail-biter if she’d ever seen one. Chewed upon and pushed at by pen caps in class when he tried so hard to evaporate if the teacher posed a question.
He observed his fingertips in hers and slowly ran his eyes up her arm until it connected to shoulder and neck, pausing before traveling up to her brown eyes. His own eyes were larger than he liked, as though he was constantly gaping at the world with them. They felt like child’s eyes to him, and he no longer felt like a child. Not on this bridge in the middle of this fall night with this girl. “You’ve done this before…?”
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“Yeah,” she lied to him, but he wouldn’t know the difference. There was something about taking the leap that she hadn’t been brave enough to do on her own. She’d watched her friends jump into the waters churning below with screams and whistles and laughs, shedding their society skin on the bridge before bathing in the river foam. But this was different. She wasn’t one of many, she was one of two; a two she would do anything with. “Okay….” His voice was like a whisper, feeling out the corners of his confidence in her. He begrudgingly pulled back his hand and tugged at his sleeves, dislodging his shirt. The air rushed in on his chest like a thousand snowflakes and he shivered a little as he let it drop to the wooden planks beneath his feet. He felt so exposed before her, his pattering of chest hair rising to the cold. He could feel her eyes exploring him and he tried not to notice it as he undid his zipper and listened to his buttons hitting the bridge’s face. Standing before her in his shorts he felt as uncomfortable as he ever had and he fought the urge to cross his arms on his chest and protest against her eyes. He wanted her to see him the way he saw her, but the air was so tight against him and he couldn’t think of anything besides it. “Ready?” she tilted her head as curl fell over curl like the river below them. “I suppose so.” He breathed out a cloud and she giggled as the words tickled her nose. She took a step towards him and his arms instinctively folded over his ribs. She smiled at him and how his thin shoulders slouched forward and his stomach tucked in to warm his insides. His thin face was defined by the prickly hairs of his beginning beard and his eyes darted around to see anything but her. She noticed his knobby knees and how they tilted towards each other free of his jeans, like a child’s might. She raised her hands and wrapped one around each of his, prying his arms away from his chest. Their fingers flirted between them in the air and she wobbled their arms a bit like she used to when playing London Bridge. She glanced towards the railing that
separated them from the jump and let go of one of his hands, pulling him along behind her towards the wooden barrier. She didn’t let go until she took the first step onto the rail, and even then his fingers hovered by her lower back, too hesitant to touch her but ready to protect her; to catch her if she fell. She swung one leg over the railing and clung to it as she set her toes down on the half foot of board between the railing and the river. She faced him, arms wrapped around the railing, and he stared back, eye-level with her on the other side. She leaned her lips close to the wood, pressing them to her fingers, and smiled at him over the top of it. She whispered, “Come on.” He silently complied and climbed the railing. He descended beside her, facing the barrier with his chest but leaning his head against the wooden bars so he could look at her. Their upper arms brushed each other, invisible hairs rising to the touch. She glanced down at the bridge and then carefully angled her eyes up at him as a breeze caught hold of her hair and whipped it away from her neck. His eyes stared back at her, looking for some signal. She was waiting for him to act first. Slowly he reached for her and enclosed her hand with his. Their entwined fingers dangled between their bodies like vines and together they turned their backs to the railing. They stood in stunned silence for a long moment, tethered to the world by each other while floating above the rushing uncertainty of the river. They could feel their apprehensions rise in their stomachs, but pin pricks of excitement tickled their throats, and the cold night air heightened their sense of urgency; the world was begging them to make a move.
For a moment they were alone with themselves and the whole night was on pause as they stood at the precipice of a decision; whether or not to jump.
“One….” She felt it escape her lips as they trembled against her teeth. “Two.” He whispered in the quiet way he did, his real communication coming through the tightening of his fingers around hers. They looked into the swirling waters below them. The promise of mystery awaiting them as the water curved around imaginary rocks and twisted in nightmare snares, like liquid fear pouring over its banks. “Three!” they said together. For her, she screamed and forced a smile to come across her face as though the jump was too much fun. As though the thought of tumbling through the air into the darkness was something she’d looked forward to for as long as she could remember. Even in this vital moment she was lying to herself, lying about how this made her feel, hiding all the fear and pushing aside the apprehension and hesitance she dare not display. But her fingers told him the truth as her nails dug into his knuckles. For him, he let the word shiver. He let his silent voice raise to a pitch that it usually only reached during fleeting seconds in horror films or the rare moment when he laughed. To him, his life was varied forms of silence, but this second was somehow different. Somehow as he felt her fingers grab for his, his relaxed in hers. She was anchoring him to something he shouldn’t fear; the uncertainty and the hesitance was always haunting him, but in this moment, there was no time to calculate, no time to be careful, no time to hide himself. Because when the moment hits you, it takes you. Their feet left the bridge together and they cut through the air feeling everything they thought they would and wouldn’t feel and when they broke the surface of the river, the world stopped rushing at them and took a step back to let them explore uncertainty freely.
Mark My Words
Model: Siobhan Roche Photographer: Zachary Stone
Mark My Words
It was the day that I get up early for my bike ride, which I try to do regularly as a way to stay fit and also avoid the costly gym bill that comes with living in London. That was when I saw her. She was dressed in a black trench coat and dark sunglasses, with a bright red scarf draped loosely around her head and shoulders. Yet her disguise could not compete with all the times I had seen her glossing the covers of Vogue or Cosmopolitan. It was Goldie all right. She was sitting at a table in front of a cheap imitation of a French café, sipping from a giant cup and saucer. My heart raced as I saw one of her famous gold curls fall from the red scarf and
dance freely in the early morning breeze, only for her to quickly brush it away self-consciously. A waiter came out of the café entrance, balancing a black tray on the palm of his hand. He took a pastry off the tray and placed it in front of her. Goldie responded by simply raising her hand—a gesture that if anyone else was to attempt, would appear rude. But she did it with such grace and elegance, that it seemed as if she and the waiter had a mutual understanding on why she never spoke. Goldie began to nibble on the pastry; however I could see that she was not enjoying it. Every bite appeared to be causing her pain, and she would pause
Story Written by Sophie Spiers Designed By Jill Tague
after every ten seconds of chewing to rub her cheek. Toothache? I wondered. I watched her do this for eight minutes, and then all of a sudden, she shot up from the table with an irritable impatience and strode down the street, leaving the pastry half-eaten. I did consider walking in the opposite direction, as I am aware it is the standard convention that normal people would commit to. But at that moment I was gripped with a fascination so strong that I needed to pursue it. I was star stuck, spotting someone who had been voted one of the world’s most beautiful people by People magazine, and I thought by following her may-
be I would get a glimpse into the life of someone who was so admired, so untouchable, they were almost subhuman. I was careful to always be fifteen paces behind, trailing my bike carefully so it didn’t squeal. Luckily, despite her disguise, she was easy to spot amongst the crowd with her red headscarf and stilettos that made clopping noises like horseshoes on the cobblestones. We reached Mayfair, where workers like robots attired in business suits marched into the grey cardboard buildings, some talking into their mobile phones, others just staring stonily ahead. She descended down the staircase leading into London’s tube
Every bite appeared to be causing her pain, and she would pause after every ten seconds of chewing to rub her cheek. Toothache? I wondered. Mark My Words
stations, the ends of her scarf floating behind her like a bride’s veil. I whipped out my Oyster card as she fumbled in her Prada handbag for spare change. As we boarded, I received the same scowls and tutting that Londoners cannot help but express when someone brings a bicycle on an already-crammed train. I leant against the doors, acting as if I was staring out of the window rather than at her. Goldie was seated, tapping her foot anxiously. She took a compact mirror out and touched up her look with a beige Chanel lipstick. She applied the colour expertly, despite her shaking hand. When the train halted at Hampstead she got up and pushed past the other passenger. We walked out of the station and back into the daylight, greeted by a building with a clock tower attached. Goldie trekked briskly, unfazed by the five inch stilettos on her feet as if they caused her no agony. We passed the old houses that, although once upon a time were the homes of business men and doctors, now housed takeaways and delicatessen shops. I wondered why she had come here.
Suddenly, Goldie took a sharp turn and, when I reached it, saw that she had ventured down a side road between a Chinese supermarket and a butchers shop. The road was long and narrow, but in the distance I saw what the goal of Goldie’s destination was— The Montgomery Dental Surgery. I leant my bike against the wall of the supermarket and as I tread lightly to avoid my footsteps echoing across the road, I structured what my story would be. I was simply another patient coming for a dental appointment, that’s all. And when the receptionist couldn’t find my name, I would just slap my head and exclaim that I must have got the wrong surgery, and laugh at my feigned stupidity. It was fool proof plan. I waited thirty seconds after Goldie had stepped inside to enter the building myself, walking up the small stairway to the entrance and freezing when the door creaked as I pushed it. Inside the Reception office, I saw the scarlet back of Goldie’s head. She had not heard me open the door, as she was preoccupied with yelling at the young, nervous-looking receptionist seated at the main desk.
I was star stuck, spotting someone who had been voted one of the world’s most beautiful people by People magazine.
Mark My Words
“What do you mean I can’t see him? This is an emergency!” Goldie demanded. “I’m sorry Miss, but Dr Montgomery is with a patient right now.” The receptionist stuttered. “I don’t care if he’s with the Queen of England!” Goldie cried. “I paid a lot of money for these teeth, and he told me they would cause me no more pain. Well, I couldn’t even eat a pastry earlier!” And with one, dramatic gesture, Goldie raised her arm and crammed her fingers into her mouth. I heard a wet, sucking sound and then a clatter on the desk. The receptionist looked up at her, gaping in horror. I backed away slowly through the
door; only this time when it creaked there was no mishearing it. Goldie span on her heel to face me. “GO AWAAAAAAAAAAY!” She screamed. This woman now looked far from the catwalk goddess I had seen on magazine double spreads. Her once voluptuous lips were now sunk into her face, making her mouth a desolate cave. Flecks of saliva sprayed my face and, during her outburst, had also started dripping like wax down the corners of her mouth. I slammed the door shut and ran up the street as quickly as possible. I then picked up my bicycle and dragged it back to the station, the bitter taste of disappointment still
sharp in my mind. wax down the corners of her mouth. I slammed the door shut and ran up the street as quickly as possible. I then picked up y bicycle and dragged it back to the station, the bitter taste of disappointment still sharp in my mind.
“I don’t care if he’s with the Queen of England!”
Mark My Words
2:30 AM Mackenzie Travers
Mark My Words
2 30 am. And this is approximate timing. Walking home alone, scurrying down Main Street in my rubber flip flops, flipping flopping, flipping flopping. Arms crossed and looking around fanatically at the dim lit emptiness, welcoming me into itâ€™s cold embrace. Sadness boiling wildly inside of me, blazing with anger and betrayal. He left me at the corner, and I pretended I was okay. Unlike me. Unlike me as in I am usually one to speak my mind and tell people how I am feeling, before my emotions come spilling out of the burstin seams, flooding the streets and picking people up by their feet, carrying them away in fear of my madness. In this particular instance, which I still find extremely frustrating, I chose to act against myself, and be mellow, act like I donâ€™t care. I did care, and I walked home slapping myself.
Mark My Words
A few weeks earlier my tie-dye tank top lit up the dark sidewalk, walking down Blake street through the rain puddles and he told me what he really thought of our friends. He really liked to gossip, and while I found it absolutely boring, I listened because he seemed so upset and I enjoyed the fact that he was opening up to me. But what did I owe it to him? Nothing, but that is just the person that I am, to want to listen to console. And he came upstairs to dry off from the rain, lingering in my room and creating small talk from my Lennon poster, resting his back against my doorway and holding those dangerous eyes on me. Always staring at me, before he leans in. And I remember thinking not to fuckup. “Kenzie don’t fuck up.” But my insides had hold of my heart, pounding it up against my chest, like a basketball against the court, my breath caught in my throat, smoke and beer, and within seconds it was over.
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It’s 7am Approximate timing of course. And I’m somewhere new, a patriots fleece blanket wrapped around my aching body, contacts dry against my eyeballs, one flip flop left. Standing up, walking to the next room over where he is sleeping on the couch, perfect black hair swept to the side. Now remembering the previous night, looking for his black hair across the crowd. Making eye contact in our silent agreement. Everything that I see, as he laughs with me, putting sour patch kids in the flaming candle, for some reason it was so funny. 2am sitting at McDonald’s and he told me what he was like in middle school. 11 30 pm and the TV is on but we’ve been talking for hours in front of the fan and he asks me if we’re more than friends.
Mark My Words
Mark My Words
But what I don’t mention here is that I woke up in his bedroom with a note by my face telling me to have a good weekend in childish handwriting, that could have only been him, lying in the opposite room on the couch too coward to sleep in his own bed with a friend. He woke up and offered a smoke. I said no and we left to go meet my parents. But his summer ended with bad habits, leaving his broken promises to crush me. She showed up at the parties we were at, and she showed up on his phone again, and me, just the friend. The ground he stands on cracks with lies, and me, straddling the broken pieces, trying I stay above ground, craving honesty questioning the fundamentals of friendships. And whenever she’s not there, those dangerous eyes are on me. And by bad habits you must know I am referring to his ex girlfriend, who I find absolutely captivating in her look and the things she says as we run down Elliot street at 12am, as he lingers behind us and I act like we have been best friends. But I remember at the corner of Main and Marlboro, “I can’t walk you home anymore” and every dream inside my soul crumbled and sliced my heart and foolishness waved through my blood like a tidal and those dangerous eyes haunt me every morning around 2am.
Mark My Words
Stories and Design by Keene State College Students