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SIGNATURES

2013

Marquette University High School 3401 W. Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53208 www.muhs.edu (414) 933-7220 3


Contents Iron Horse Night Is A Vessel Sleek and Stern A Night on the Lake The Three Trees Silent Remembrance Something for Someone Peace, Love, and Understanding The Phoenix Woman with Black Dress A Day Past Spent Yellow-Breasted Chat Flight Men Shave Multifaceted Man Paint

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Nick Reit Ted Chisholm

5 6 8 10 10

Dan Barrett Peter Berg Antonio Garcia Jose Medina Coach Michael Glass

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Ben Sanders Hank Bauer

16 17 21 24 26 27

Evan Tobin Mickey Gral Chris Gottsacker Will Guerin Josh Kramer Joseph Hushek

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Title Page, Contents, and Credits: photography and design by Nick Reit ‘15

Encaustic Landscape Secluded Wood Deep Red Suspicion Figure Study Butternut Lake Subtle Stare A Thirst The New Revelation Gideon Belly of the Whale Father Time Musing Mallets Self-Portrait Aphenphosmphobia Puppets Landscape of Symbols Spider Webs and Winking Eyes

30 31 32 34 38 39 40 41 42 44 47 48 49 52 56 57 60 62

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Roman Vassel Hunter Daley Christian Wimmer Tyler O'Malley Duncan Glasford Jack O’Connor Dan Barrett Antonio Garcia David Helminiak Patrick Byrne Joseph Heinen German Gomez Matthew Dries Sean Patterson Nick Reit William McCloskey Frank Geiser Daniel Riley


Night is a Vessel Sleek and Stern Gone, the shower Of day’s light, blinding – Dark, the bower Of willows pining. Grey, the fields Of morning’s gold – Starved, the fields Beset by cold. Dark, the rise Of the silvery moon – Iron, the skies Mired in gloom. Harsh, the reign Of azure air – Lost, the main In the storm’s great lair. Yes, night nips Sailing toward dawn – As hollow ships To Ilion.

— Ted Chisholm ‘16

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A Night on the Lake (Photography) — Dan Barrett ‘13


The Three Trees Autumn is in the air, a beautiful season, no? It does not suffer the extreme heat of summer or the harsh cold of winter nor does the rain fall as hard as in the spring. Warmth and coolness share the air in a brotherhood of comforting wind. Scarlet, gold, and mahogany leaves crunch as I run through these woods, just one of many found throughout our world. Here is the beauty of the Forest. I search for them – those certain trees – in threes because that is how they have always presented themselves. “One, two, three” I repeat as if I might forget without this constant reminder. I had asked my companion to meet me along the way if she would find me. My childhood friend, my best friend, she has accompanied me on many adventures. That is what attracts me to her – I can name and know the influence she has had on me at many specific moments in my life. As we grow older and change, it comforts me to know some stability, much like these woods and this unending friendship. A fallen tree trunk blocks the path ahead. Luckily, not one of the three. The uprooted base resembles an enormous spider web spun from branches and soil, and infested with every plant and insect of this earthen floor. I shift my gaze from these intricacies to the problem at hand. Do I venture over or under it or stray from the path and shape a new one? Dare I turn back? I decide to make a show of it, expanding my chest and booming in a voice that causes several nearby birds to scatter and fly away. “Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the great bounding log-leaper! Many have ventured from afar to witness the genius that stands before you and I promise I shall not disappoint. Here is one to shake the very foundation of acrobatics as we know it! For my latest feat, I will attempt to vault over this very behemoth of an acer saccharinum. Please, try this at home!” The drum roll begins in my throat. I walk backward slowly to give an adequate running distance. “Strength be with me; this is not your average fallen sapling.” One, two, three. And, boom, goes the dynamite. I am on the other side. I hear “ahem” from behind me and spin to see her leaning against a tree, trying not to laugh. A beanie beret sits lazily atop her dirty blonde forest of hair. Jeans and a green sweater, large black boots resembling those of a 17th century buccaneer for her small feet, and a scarf rivaling the beauty of the forest wraps her neck. She is a lively girl, able to make a friend of anyone. Life to her is not a field to meander, but a field to dance about and enjoy. I know exactly what makes her tick – the apprecia-

“. . . a reminder set in the permanent beauty of memory.”

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Berg tion of the life the two of us share, and which has bonded us together. Few words are exchanged, they are not necessary. This is my best friend, after all. She puts her arm in mine and we stride at a quicker pace. We’re off to see the wizard! Never have I witnessed the perpetrators behind such pleasant melodies. I hear the chirp, but do not see the bird hiding in the branches. I feel the wind rush through my hair, but God has given it the gift of invisibility. Try to locate the water stream whose rushing gush gives off an ambience wherein you may just lose yourself. She says she would join me, would be happy to do so. I’m glad. We could make it our home and let anyone join us. I’d be king, she the queen, and the rest our kingdom. It would be a place of peace. It is a pleasant thought, one I will keep with me long after I leave here. My thoughts are interrupted by the sight of some evergreen trees up ahead. I stop dead in my tracks. I rub my eyes to make sure. Smiles stretch across our faces. Just through that dense bunch of evergreen lies our destination – the coda to our long journey. We pass through a wall of prickled, sap-laced fir and come face-to-face with the beauty of these three trees. One, two, three, they stand as a family. She reaches to take her hat off in respect, but I reach my hand out to stop her. “You might catch cold. These ones will understand.” I kneel before them, kissing the nearest visible root as I do so. I place my hand on the trunk. The bark grows deep, revealing its old age. The ancient nature they embody only increases the love I feel for them – a history buff’s take on love. I take out my Bible and turn to 1 John 5:7 and read aloud, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one.” Yes, because that is what they mean to me. They bear differentiated significance to everyone who strays across their path. But to me, they are a reminder of what I live my life for – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are not what many would deem “traditional beauty,” but then again, neither am I. They are gnarled and twisted and dig deep into the Earth. Their roots peek out from the ground and reach for the Heavens. Their leaves cling to the outreaching branches, holding on for dear life, moving toward light, for they too realize the beauty from which they grow. I stand back, mouth slightly agape, and admire in wonder and awe at the majesty of nature. This day is one to remember. I take out and open my notebook as she looks at me questioningly. I smile and respond, “If we grow old, we may one day part ways; it would be, sadly, the way life chooses to guide us. But these woods and these trees will stand as a reminder set in the permanent beauty of memory. This notebook is what I will use to document what has happened here today and before. I will write the story of our friendship and bury it in that part between the roots of the largest of the three. In this way, we will always have a place we can come back to, which will serve as a symbol of the adventures we have shared together. Perhaps

“a story that will be anyone’s, since we all understand and long for the wonder of nature. . .”

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Silent Remembrance (Photography) ´ ‘15 — Antonio Garcia


Berg one day a lucky soul we have never met will be walking along, just as have you and I, and witness a corner of a spiral poking up from the Earth and dig up this testament of a notebook. It will contain a story that will be anyone’s, since we all understand and long for the wonder of nature, the power of God, and the beauty of friendship. Nothing in this world stands as a greater representation to me of those three gifts than these three trees.” I clear an area for myself by the second tree. I take up the pen and drift off, content, yet in some way, sad. For as much as I love to dream, it hurts me to know she is only a wish. The girl I see by my side may very well exist in another life. I hope she does. While she is not present in this world, she is as real to me as the wind in the trees and the chirping of the birds. As I write my story, I smile to myself, and say aloud, “Help me write this one, won’t you?”

— Peter Berg ‘13

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Something for Someone A motionless body all covered in sand; no one can tell whether woman or man. Water nesting beneath its head. No blood on the shore, stale tears on this bed.

A heart of coal, hair on fire for speaking the truth, still called a liar. From your soul you have collected the parts, which, tear by tear, helped heal a heart.

— Jose´ Medina ‘16

12 (Graphite, 9” x 12”) Peace, Love, and Understanding — Coach Michael Glass


The Phoenix John McGregory sat in an old wooden rocking chair on the porch of his one-story farmhouse, his rough wrinkled hands caressing the smooth, time-polished wood of the rocker’s armrests. Another rocking chair sat empty to his left, Emma’s chair. Oh, Emma! How many nights had they sat in those rocking chairs, watching the sun paint the sky as the wheat fields danced in the wind and the birds laughed to one another in the trees . . . She was gone now. It had happened two weeks ago. John woke up next to Emma at about seven o’clock. He would always wake first and make a pot of coffee and read a bit of the morning paper. She would shuffle in fifteen minutes later to join him, bleary-eyed but with a smile. This time she didn’t wake up at all. John arrived with Emma at the hospital at 8:30 that morning; she was officially pronounced dead at 8:37. The doctor said she most likely died in her sleep due to heart failure, a painless death, the doctor assured John, though this was of little comfort to him. He knew what she would have wanted. He built her coffin from an oak tree that had fallen several years ago in the forest just off their property, though they had liked to call the woods their own, since nobody else seemed to venture into the vast expanses of shade-covered comfort when the August sun beat relentlessly on the fields. He dug her grave near her favorite tree, where on long summer days she would read poetry while she swung slowly on the little wooden swing he had built for her. Summer was her favorite season. The universe rejoiced in summer, at the climax of life, providing so much to enjoy, so much to be experienced, to be lived. Spring in turn brought the promise of summer once again after a long cold winter of whiteout nothingness. It was as if the snow mocked her, muffling the world. Sunday came. John pulled his coat on, wrapped a scarf around his neck, and stepped outside. The leaves were falling in a flurry of reds, oranges, and browns. The woods didn’t seem magical; the trees did not hide secrets to be discovered. They were just trees. John’s boots pulverized the fallen leaves as he trudged on into the woods. Somehow his feet guided him to a pond, their pond. Could she still be

“The universe rejoiced in summer, at the climax of life . . .”

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Sanders here? Was she in the water where they had so often swum? John took several steps forward. He was knee deep in the water. It was frigid. “Emma?!” Silence. “Emma!”

* * * * * *

The winter was long and cold, as winters often are in northern Minnesota. John spent it alone, while Emma’s body lay frozen beneath the snow. John had tried to shovel the driveway but had given up. His back wasn’t up to it, and nobody was going to visit anyway. He had enough food to last him the winter and didn’t need to go to town. Neighbors would try to sympathize and people would carry on as if life were continuing as usual. Spring. The snow began to melt in patches, though the bulk of the snowdrifts remained. John rolled up the sliding metal garage door to reveal his beat-up old station wagon for the first time in upwards of a year. John drove to the post office to pick up his mail, which had most likely been sitting in his box since December. “Mr. McGregory! We’d all assumed you had been abducted by aliens! How are you?” said the postman. “Hrrmph,” McGregory brushed past the postman, retrieved his small stack of letters, and left. He made a quick dash into the grocery store before returning home, trying to avoid further confrontations with sympathetic townsfolk. What did they know? How could they pretend to understand his pain at losing all meaning in his life? At home, he sifted through the letters. Five or six bills and other things he really didn’t care about. But what was this? Familiar handwriting on one envelope. John tore it open. Dear Granny and Grandpa, How are you? I hope you are awesome! I’m learning a lot in 4th grade. Last week we went to the zoo and I got to see the elephants (my favorite animal, besides unicorns DUH!) I drew you a picture of an elephant. My dance recital is in one month. Two days after my birthday! Mommy said I could invite you! We put in two tickets for you. Mommy says you should call her for details and stuff. Can't wait to see you! Love you! Emma John remembered when his granddaughter was born. Emma’s mother, Catherine, had been in labor for thirteen hours when the light of her existence entered the world. Emma was, indeed, a light. She had not been sullied by the world; to her, winter was beautiful and all of humanity was an invitation to laugh and dance and sing. Maybe she would learn. At a very young age, when she was still chubby with baby fat, she had taken up dance. It spoke to her. John loved her for it. It was her way of embracing reality, her way of becoming fully alive and purposed.

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Woman with Black Dress (Charcoal, 9” x 12”) — Hank Bauer ‘15


Sanders He hadn’t seen her for almost two years. A trip from Grand Forks, Minnesota to Madison, Wisconsin was costly and time consuming. At this point, though, John could think of nothing he would rather do than support Emma in her dance recital. So he went. The station wagon had seen better days. He had had the relic since he graduated from high school. He’d driven all over the country in it, from the icy mountain passes of Colorado to the unending cornfields of Nebraska and the Dakotas. The snow melted as John drove eastward to Madison. Emma had been waiting for him to arrive for three hours, playing hopscotch religiously, as if it would, by some divine intervention, cause John’s foot to further depress the gas pedal of the old station wagon. She was already wearing her tutu, with her long hair wrestled into a neat bun at the back of her head. The dance recital was tomorrow. John doubted she would change clothes until a day or so after the performance. The show was titled “Fourth through Eighth Grade Classical Dance Recital,” but Emma decided that a better name for it would be “Prettyness,” because “all the dances are so pretty.” She was one of the flowers. She skipped onto the stage in synchronization with nineteen other fourth graders, all wearing pink tutus and flower hats. Emma was radiant, dancing with all her soul. After the performance, they all went to a restaurant for lunch: Emma, John, Catherine, and David, Emma’s father. It rained as they drove through town to the restaurant. “Grandpa, look, it’s raining!” “You’re right, Emma, it is raining.” “You know what they say about rain, Grandpa?” “What would that be?” “April showers bring May flowers!” “Yes, I suppose that’s true.”

* * * * * *

The world was starting to come alive again. Tulips shot up through the damp spring soil as the trees began to form new leaves. His Emma had loved gardening. She kept a small garden on the side of their house where she would grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, and flowers. It was amazing how many flowers Emma could coax into growing. John and Emma would sometimes joke about simply buying a picture frame and placing it over the window. They wouldn’t need any other paintings in their house; no work of art could compare with the view out their window. As spring progressed, the ground around Emma’s grave began to thaw. John went into town again to buy some flowers. He was not an expert gardener like his wife, but he knew enough to grow a few flowers. The damp earth made a muffled splattering noise as it flew off the shovel and hit the ground. Emma’s gardening gloves were far too small for John’s hands, so he just worked without. The dirt wouldn’t kill him. The flowers would look beautiful sprouting from Emma’s grave; John couldn’t wait to watch her grow. The woods were alive once again. The magic of spring, that after winter life so readily leaps forth in all of its glory. The evening air was brisk, but John didn’t mind as he hiked up a small hill in the woods, hastening

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Sanders his step so as not to miss the sunset. He and Emma used to hike up this hill to watch the sun sink below the horizon. Somehow, each sunset was unique. Sometimes they would set up a tent on top of that hill and spend the night listening to the woods. In the morning they would wake up to watch the sunrise again. The wildflowers had bloomed in spring, dotting the yard of the McGregory house with small splotches of blues, yellows, pinks, and whites. By mid-summer the flowers John had planted bloomed and graced Emma’s tombstone with their perennial beauty. John McGregory died on the fourteenth of August that summer. The doctor determined that he had died of natural causes. Catherine, David, and Emma drove out to Grand Forks to attend John’s funeral and see to the details of his passing. In his will, he left all of his possessions to Catherine and her family, his only living blood relatives. His one request was “To be buried next to my love, and to have a tree planted above my resting place, that I might grow to see the sunrise yet again.”

— Ben Sanders ‘14

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A Day Past Spent (Photography) — Evan Tobin ‘15


Yellow-Breasted Chat I found a notebook about a month ago. I found it in the basement of my grandparents’ house. It was wrapped in old newspaper with twine strapped around it. Before I picked it up I finished my lunch. I was pretty tired because I had just come in from shoveling the lanky driveway that trailed up to the house. They lived on, what I gathered to be, about 20 acres of land. Anyway, this packaged notebook layered itself under my father’s old framed diplomas. The old newspaper is what caught my eyes from across the room. When I finished my lunch, I stretched out my legs to head towards it, as if I was trying to impress Him or something. I tried to act really cool; really interested. I tend to do that when I feel like I might soon experience something that I would be proud to look back on as an adult. I wanted to be cool for that. After fingering through the entire stack with my head cocked on its side, I reached for the package and tried to tear off the twine. My fingers were cold and my clothes were damp so at the time the whole thing had kind of an unfortunate aura; an irritating energy. It almost wasn’t worth it; trying to get off that twine was nearly impossible. Eventually, the strings gave way through my fingers. I glanced at the newspaper covering it and saw that it featured the article with the photograph of my father scoring a touchdown for the school I currently attend. Every time I walk into my own basement I see this photograph hanging above the fireplace; all large and framed. I didn’t even read the whole article, just the caption beneath. So I opened the notebook. Immediately, four photographs fell out. I hate when that sort of thing happens. It ruins the surprise, most of the time, and it removes the context from the pictures. I closed the notebook and looked at the cover. It was one of those really old notebooks; possibly from the 60s; I liked to think so. The binding looked like a paperback book’s. It reminded me of my copy of The Old Man and the Sea my grandfather gave me for Christmas, which I haven’t read yet but intend to soon. I set it aside and looked at the photographs again. I didn’t care if they ruined the surprise anymore; I was still cold and damp. I did, however, keep them in the order that they fell out. The first photograph was black and white. In it were my grandparents sitting down next to each other on a couch, really happy. My grandfather sat back with a cigar and a drink. His legs were crossed over his knee and it looked like his slacks were too short, but they weren’t. The smoke poured upward from his mouth and he looked around it. My grandmother sat on the edge of the couch with her hands in her lap. She wore an apron and had a short haircut and dark lips. The dress she was wearing under the apron was polka dot. Under them was a dog that I hadn’t seen before. Well maybe I had, but I couldn’t tell because it was blurred out. In focus was a boy. He wore a miniature wool suit and saddle

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Gral shoes. He had black hair that was slicked back and he was holding a wooden block and a black crayon. He stood there with one object in each hand. He looked shocked; possibly startled by the flash. This boy must have only been five years old or so. You could tell by the look on his face that his tie was tied too tight. His eyebrows, however, were positioned in a peculiar way. From the outside in, they went down and then curved up towards the middle; it looked as if he was keeping a callow little secret – you could tell he was embarrassed by it. The next picture was in color. It was of the same boy, but older. He looked almost my age; probably a little younger. He still had black hair slicked back and he wore a tight striped t-shirt. It was outside and in a forest of sorts; during the summer. He stood on top of a fallen tree that was almost as wide as he was tall. His hands were on his hips and he was smiling. The sunlight glared on his face. His shorts were cut from old jeans; mid-thigh. What struck me were his shoes. I didn’t believe it at first, but they were the same old off-white Nike Cortezs that my father gave me for my birthday last year; the same ones. He claimed they were his. He told me to take good care with them. In the picture, it didn’t look like him in the face, but it had to be my dad. I haven’t seen too many photographs of him when he was young. This one gave me a warm feeling. I smiled. I scratched my eyebrow and looked up. It gave me a bad case of nostalgia. It was strange because I have never experienced anything like what was pictured there. That happens to me often. It happens when I listen to my grandparent’s old records, or just a good Coltrane tune. By this point, anyway, my fingers warmed up but my clothes were still damp. It didn’t feel like it, though; not even when I thought about it. I tried to remember what it felt like to have moist cloth against my clammy thigh. I couldn’t. I picked up the third photograph. The color of this picture was unsaturated and there were a couple of light leaks and sun flares. It showed a man in a graduation hat and gown. A sun flare landed right on his face. It was really hard to tell who it was. I knew, however, that it was my dad and not his brother, or anyone else for that matter. He had a thick cigar sticking out of his mouth. My uncle doesn’t like the taste. He held a diploma. An attractive woman stood under his arm. She was really attractive. Her long sandy brown hair was thick. It wasn’t in a ponytail or up at all. It was down. It was down on her shoulders. It frizzed over her yellow polo. The wind blew some of it into her face. Her collar was up and the shirt was tucked into these sky blue colored shorts. They matched her eyes. She had both arms around my father with one leg bent up behind her. Her chin was pressed against his chest and she looked up at his face. She looked happy. There were other people posing for a picture behind them; all in gowns and hats. I was indifferent towards this photo. If anything I felt jealous of my dad. She was really attractive – my type, if you would. I put the picture in my back pocket so I could ask my grandparents the name of this woman. I’d always thought that my dad was seeing my mom when he graduated; guess not. I grabbed the last photograph from the fuzzy carpet and examined it. It was printed on instant film–Polaroid–a picture of me in our driveway at home. I was probably only four years old. It was autumn so there were leaves all around me. We were reconstructing our house so there were bits of rocks and gravel mixed in with the leaves. I was holding a toy camera and I pointed it at the person taking the picture of me. I was bent down in a childish photographer stance. This was back when I had brownish blonde hair. I wish I still had it so I could set myself apart from my parents at least somehow. I don’t remember this photo being taken but I do remember the camera I was holding. I still have it

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Gral in my room. I put the picture back in the pile of the others and finally got a chance to crack open the notebook. It smelled old – like dusty books and woody ruggedness – kind of like an old sweater, or the basement carpet. On the inside cover, in the upper left were my father’s initials in lowercase letters; ‘mag’ – green ink. I wasn’t expecting it but my grandmother suddenly called for me. She wanted me to bring up my plate. While I was in the kitchen, I grabbed another glass of cranberry juice. Before heading back down to look through the notebook, I wandered to the piano. I set my glass on the wooden mantel and sat and played a few tunes. I figured that I would take my time. To be honest, I wasn’t really that interested in the notebook anymore. Next to the piano was a pile of old wooden toy blocks. There was green crayon scribbles all over each of them. I then began to think about birds. That is what I was interested in during that moment. I think it was because the way my fingertips bounced over the keys reminded me of a bird’s feet pecking at the ground when it walks. I gathered a pair of old, heavy binoculars and my L.L. Bean boots. I headed out into the deep wood and scavenged for colorful feathers and piercing whistles. A stroke of yellow flew in front of me. My binoculars followed as it landed. There was a leaf that was out of focus in the way of the tail feathers, but I could tell it was a Cape May Warbler because of the tiny beak. They dart around here all the time. I continued. My boots crunched through the wet packy snow and my knees were getting damp again because it was so deep. I searched for more birds but all I could spot were Warblers and the occasional Robin. I figured that most birds would be back by now; it was early March. I was, however, beginning to think that they had the right idea. It was cold and I didn’t have any gloves. I could barely hold the metal binoculars. Occasionally I would set them down in the snow and try to warm up my fingers by breathing on them. Whenever I put them up to my face I smelled iron. When I’d pick up the binoculars, my fingers touched the snow and got wet and the lenses of the binoculars had little water bubble trails on them, which I couldn’t wipe off. I enjoyed the air and the trees and the snow but I decided to head back. My nose was runny. I didn’t wipe it though. I let it drip down my face. I pretended like I didn’t even have hands. It got to the point where I eventually evolved into a bird. I flew over the trees and back to the house and landed at the garage. I walked in and noticed an old bird feeder that was stashed away. I was tempted to eat from it, but I turned back into a boy from the comforting heat. I could feel my palms again; then my fingers. I reached in my back pocket for the photograph. After glancing at it, I turned it over to the back side. This was all instinctual. A well-drawn picture of a Yellow-Breasted Chat was sketched with green ink and a highlighter. I recognized the bird right away. There is a framed drawing of one in my father’s home office that he drew in college. This Chat happened to be the largest North American warbler and it was drawn on the back of this photograph. Under the illustration was a note that read “Thank God you flew with me, Anna.” I slipped the photograph back into my pocket and threw on my Cortezs and left the boots behind. Before I knew it, it was dark outside and I was eating dinner with my grandparents. “Your father

“I wish I still had it so I could set myself apart from my parents at least somehow.”

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Gral is coming to pick you up tomorrow morning,” my grandmother reminded me, “You’d be smart to get to bed early tonight. He may very well come before sunrise.” I scratched my eyebrow and nodded. I was exhausted – I could feel it in my eyes. “It might also be wise to eat all of your supper,” my grandfather added. I looked down at my plate and noticed that all I had been doing was forking around my steak. My grandmother belted out, “Dear, he can eat as much as he wants.” She looked at me and smiled, “Oh darling, today I heard you playing that old piano again. You sounded just wonderful. Absolutely lovely.” My grandfather informed me, “It reminds her of our high school days when we went out dancing every night - isn’t that right Penny?” “Oh yes, dear, especially when you played “I Only Have Eyes for You.” That was one of our favorites.” I continued to stare at my plate until I finally looked over and smiled, “I’m glad you enjoyed it, Nana.” I purposely played that song earlier today so she would hear it and eventually compliment me. Even though I try not to, I tend to do those things. There was a silence for a while and then my grandmother came up with another topic. I could tell that they both were trying to diverge from the obvious question that I had. I wanted to ask why I was there at their house so long. I honestly thought that it was to help them with daily chores like I had done in the past. What was strange was that they informed me midday that I was sleeping over. I’ve only slept there once or twice and it was because the house needed taking care of while they were away. I was too tired to ask anyway so I stopped thinking about it. Maybe they just wanted some company or something. I forced the rest of my food down my throat and said, “Well, I’d better get off to bed.” I stretched my arms upward to prove my tiredness. “Okay, my dear. I set up a cot for you in the basement." I cleared my dishes quickly and headed downstairs. I pried off my shoes and sat on the cot. The notebook and pictures were no longer scattered out on the floor. I searched and quickly located them. Everything was stacked back under the diplomas. I grabbed the notebook and threw my body onto the cot. While flipping through the pages, I remembered the photograph in my back pocket. I put it next to my pillow. There were strange journal entries from what seemed to be a thousand years ago. They were long and hard to read. They were all written in green ink. Some lines were highlighted. Where there wasn’t highlighter marks, there was coffee stains. I couldn’t read most of it but there was one entry that had a typed letter stapled to it. Under it, in green ink, was a caption that scribbled “y-b chat” The letter read: “My dear bird, Staged with presence, or without presence, a strange entity collapses my entire body from the inside. Thoughts of uncomfortable need sew a warm patch of butterflies around my heart. My shoulders and knees tremble with your presence; my lips

“I flew over the trees and back to the house . . .”

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Flight (Photography) — Chris Gottsacker ‘13


Gral and throat quake. Without it, I imagine cheek to cheek. If only we could sing away the discomfort. I imagine smooth trumpet mutes that flow from your eyes to mine. Yours are large and brown and they strike me first and powerfully. Beautiful eyelash wings flew me closer. I softly drifted onto a relaxed stare the first time I saw you. Your warm, rosy cheek lifts your eye to form a crinkled nose. Your smile is natural and pure. When you flaunt it to others my world stops and a green field of soft grass surrounds you. To me you are not real, but merely an apparition that haunts my heart. Your presence does not belong in the world, but with me.” The rest was torn off at the bottom. This was a very odd finding for me. I didn’t really know what to think of it. Obviously this letter was written to the woman in the photograph. On the following page of where the letter was stapled, a long passage was scribbled. It implied that this letter was never actually sent. I read on and there were notes that also implied that my father had dated this girl for a time. At the bottom of the page “to p. 176” was written in a black ink. Surprised that the pages were numbered, I turned to page 176 and an even longer passage intrigued me. It was written in the same black ink. My eyelids bobbed and I was ready to fall asleep when I noticed a line in the passage. It struck me like a train. I kept reading it over and over to myself to make sure I was reading it correctly. “Anna; she’s finally the mother to my son.” At first I wondered if my father had another son with this woman. Eventually, after reading through almost every passage, I came across a picture that was stapled to one of the pages. It was a Polaroid print of this Anna lady in a hospital bed with my father sitting next to her with a baby in his arms. The caption below read “4.11.94,” – my birthdate. I looked through the notebook intensely. My puffy eyes flickered back and forth across the pages. I could feel the thick dimensions of my irises scrape against my eyelids. Occasionally I paced the basement carpet. It felt nice against the arches of my feet. I read in one passage that he would tell me that this woman was my real mother on my eighteenth birthday. How ridiculous. Eventually, my eyelids collapsed and I fell asleep. I slept throughout the entire night like a baby, but I woke up early – before my grandparents. At first I was relieved because I thought it was all a dream. I laughed at myself. Soon after, birds began to sing and I stopped laughing. I then looked down next to the cot to find papers and the two photographs spread next to my shoes. Slowly, I set my head back onto the pillow and pulled the blanket up to my chin. I think I was shaking. I felt a warm, sticky tear run down my temple; and then another. My throat swelled up and my mouth tasted bitter. I tried to sleep but the feeling kept me awake. I decided to man up and go about the rest of my day; really cool. I gathered all of my father’s papers and stacked them neatly how I found them. I washed my face and went upstairs to have breakfast alone. While eating my Cheerios I remembered what I really dreamt about. I dreamt about that autumn day when I first received my toy camera – the one in my father’s picture. I dreamt that Anna took that picture of me. Later my father came to pick me up. I didn’t confront him that day and I didn’t confront him any other day after that. On the car ride home he

“At first I was relieved because I thought it was all a dream.”

24


Gral tried to make small talk. He asked if I got a lot of work done for my grandparents. He also asked what I wanted for my eighteenth birthday – it would have been coming up in about a month. I told him all I wanted was to be with him and “Mom.” Yesterday was my birthday. I turned eighteen. He tried to tell me about my mother. He wasn’t good at it. He cried in the middle of it. He told me that he wanted me to stay at my grandparent’s house because he was having an emotional breakdown. He didn’t want me to see him like that. I made him think that I had known for a while. My ‘fake’ mother sat next to me and tried to comfort me. I decided that I wouldn’t ask any more questions. I didn’t ask where Anna was and I didn’t ask why she left. I didn’t care. I could tell that this whole situation was much harder on him than it was on me. So I left it as it was. That night I snuck into my father’s office to find him asleep over his work, and slid the picture of him and Anna taken at his graduation inside the frame of the Yellow-Breasted Chat.

— Mickey Gral ‘14

25


Men Shave The sharp razor pulling against the wire brush of my overgrown beard was an additional annoyance to an already rotten morning. The alarm had sounded 30 minutes prematurely, and I already knew that the loss of sleep would leave me lethargic throughout my long school day. The dull blade tugged the stubble off my face, nicked my lip, and rushed blood to the point of puncture. “Damn it!” I swore loudly, echoing through the second story of the house. A dreadful day turned even worse. The urgency of the grey day had already caught up to me, and I knew I would be late for school. For most people, this would inspire racing to get back on track, but I had made peace with my tardiness. I relaxed. I trudged back to my room, when a picture on the wall caught my eye. Smiling out from my childhood stood my Dad, brother, and I. A younger version of my brother, Sam, and I were planted in front of the mirror, faces painted white with foam, just waiting for Dad’s instructions. The Christmas preceding that picture, Sam and I had received similar presents from Santa. Together we shredded the wrapping paper, only to find identical children’s shaving kits. Why would Santa give us such useless gifts? “We didn’t ask for these!” we pleaded simultaneously to our parents. My mom had snapped back a familiar, silly response she would always give us when we were being selfish. “Hey! You two are lucky you even get presents at Christmas!” We looked at each other, then back to the shaving kits. “At least they have cartoon characters on them,” Sam whispered. “Tasmanian Devil, he’s my favorite!” I chirped, copying my brother as usual. “You boys better love those kits, because tomorrow, the men of the house are shaving together,” my dad barked. As promised, the following morning, my dad woke me, shaving kits in hand, ready to begin. His face, dirty with stubble, actually needed shaving. Sam and I, only six and three, clearly had no need to shave our smooth-skinned faces. But Dad wasn’t going to take no for an answer, so Sam and I complied. Our drooping eyelids had hardly opened to the light of day as we followed our dad to the illuminated bathroom. “Men shave; it’s just what we do.” Unconvinced, my brother and I feigned interest in the lesson. “First, boys, we need to lather our faces with shaving cream, to let the razor glide across the skin.” Clueless, my brother and I smeared huge mounds of cream across our faces. Noses, even eyes disappeared.

26


Guerin “Boys, what are you doing? That’s enough shaving cream for a week!” My brother and I wiped our cheeks. From the corner of my eye, I saw a mound of foam flick off Sam’s finger and splatter onto the front of my Toy Story pajamas. Dad, seeing the initiation of a fight, scooped me up and plopped me down on his other side. With a wall of Dad between Sam and me, the fight was thwarted, for now. “Alright, men, now we are going to start to shave. Press the blade of the razor onto your face, and guide it down the cheek.” Sam and I, bladeless razors in hand, awkwardly followed our father’s lead. We did as we had seen our dad do so many times and began shaving like real men. My dad was attempting to teach a life lesson to his young men, but we perceived it as nothing but an opportunity for entertainment. The bladeless razors did nothing but rearrange the cream on our whiskerless faces, but the action was exhilarating. We had never shaved before and wouldn’t need to for a good ten years; nevertheless, it was amusing. That day after Christmas we wanted to be just like our dad, a feeling of admiration that any boy remembers. Shaving has lost its luster today, but when I pass that picture of the ‘men’ shaving, it takes me back to that day. Still, shaving these days is just a ritual I could do without. The dull razorblade tugs and pulls, snagging every loose hair on my weary face. Dad has already left for work. Sam is a junior in college. But that memorable day in my dad’s bathroom was and will be the only time I have ever had fun shaving.

“Sam whispered. . . . ‘Tasmanian Devil.’”

— Will Guerin ‘13

27


Multifaceted Man (Acrylic on Canvas, 8” x 10”) — Josh Kramer ‘14


Paint His pudgy fingers dipped into the thick paint, coming out drenched in bright color. He giggled and pressed them firmly to the blank canvas. First a sun, a quarter of a circle stuck in the top corner of the page. Then a house, consisting of a square with a triangle placed clumsily on top. Limbs the width of a finger, and about the same length. Heads were clumsy circles, complete with two fingerprint eyes and a half moon smile. “Wow, Benjamin, good job!” The teacher doled out praise often. It was what kids that age needed, what drove them to do better. But Ben’s was good, especially for a kindergartener. They all drew moreor-less the same picture, but there was something unique about this kid’s, something more real, more defined, more beautiful. Gradually Ben grew up. He read books until he realized it made him a nerd, he loved ice skating until he discovered it was feminine, he told his mom he loved her until he thought it made him weak. Instead he lifted weights, wrestled, and played football. What men do. He made his father proud. And he excelled. Starting running-back, varsity wrestler, valedictorian, you name it. He could do anything. The day before the big playoff game he strolled down the hall wearing a confident smile. He dropped three thick textbooks inside his locker before slamming it shut and jogging to catch up with a pack of his teammates as they walked to practice, their broad shoulders taking up most of the hallway. They shoved open the wide doors just as a scrawny sophomore rushed in. The kid stopped abruptly, narrowly avoiding colliding with the intimidating group. “Uhhhh, sorry,” the runt stammered apologetically. He paused uncertainly then tried slipping past them into the hallway. Ben quickly grabbed the kid’s shirt and thrust him against the metal lockers. “Watch where you’re going!” he threatened. “Sorry,” the kid repeated, clearly frightened. He ducked out of Ben’s grasp and hurried down the hallway, his head lowered in disgrace. Ben let him go. “Loser.” His friends laughed. After practice he showered and collected his stuff. There was no rush. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and started down the hallway. Halfway down he heard movement and stopped to investi-

29


Hushek gate. It came from one of the art rooms. He had never been in one, partially from a lack of interest and partially from fear of ridicule. Inside the room sat the same scrawny sophomore as before, his back to the doorway. He sat on a wooden stool, his shoulders relaxed, his brush hovering hesitantly above the canvas. With a sudden movement, the brush swooshed downward lighting up the canvas with color. He gently cleaned the brush, clouding the clear water with dye, then dipped it into another color and continued. Again and again and again. The strokes seemed random at first, uneducated twitches of the wrist leaving behind a confused trail of color, but Ben watched as they gradually grew more exact and detailed, eventually giving way to a majestic image. It was a bird. A beautiful bird with thick feathers the vibrant green of a lucky clover and a royal tail of deep purple. It stood perched on a long branch overlooking a wide valley covered by a tangle of dense tropical forest. The bird gazed out into the clear sky, its wings held tightly to its side, as if afraid to fly. Ben stood in the doorway mesmerized. The kid kicked back his stool as he stood to scrutinize his work, jolting Ben back to reality. What am I doing, he cajoled himself. He continued down the hallway, irritated by his own interest. Eventually he left behind the football games, the girly cheerleaders, and the foolish charades of school and became a lawyer. No surprise, really. It was what his dad had been and his grandfather before that. It was a respectable job, one that offered large amounts of money and power to the man willing to put in the work. At first he reveled in it, he took pride in the pressure, in the fine suits, and in the phrase, “I’m a lawyer.” But eventually, like many things, it lost its appeal. He soon rose to a point where he was stuck in his job, a promotion was improbable, and he would likely spend the rest of his life in the same position. It was a depressing thought. He found himself daydreaming of a different life, one where he had taken a different path, where he had a different job. A fun, fulfilling job, which he truly enjoyed. He yearned for more, and even considered switching jobs, trying to find something more interesting. But it was too late. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, much less expect him to make money doing them.

“The bird gazed out into the clear sky, its wings held tightly to its side, as if afraid to fly.”

And besides, now he had a family to support. His lovely wife, Amy, and their comfortable suburban lifestyle relied on his income. And now his daughter, Elizabeth. He often sat on his patio in the sun watching contently as she laughed and drew pictures in the sand. He wanted so much for her, just as his father had wanted so much for him. He signed her up for kindergarten a year early, sent her to all the specialty summer camps, put her in every advanced class possible. He wanted her to be extraordinary. He hadn’t let them put him in a nursing home. He would stay in this house till he died. He simply refused to let some foolish youngsters tell him what to do. Although, he was getting old, there was no denying it. His lung cancer, which he had brushed off so casually before, was getting to be more and more of a problem, and he knew he didn’t have much longer. It was a comfort knowing his family name would live on. His daughter, Elizabeth, had married and given birth to a son, Thomas.

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Hushek “How old are you now, boy?” Benjamin inquired of Thomas. Although he had actually forgotten, he remembered how much the boy loved showing off his knowledge. “Five,” the child stated proudly, holding up all the fingers on his right hand. Ben smiled. “Ok, Thomas, now run along, Grandpa and I have to talk,” Elizabeth said. Thomas smiled and darted off, eager to return to his dinosaurs, Legos, and arts and crafts. Elizabeth sat down. They talked and talked and talked. About his house, his disease, his family, his will, his funeral. It was a depressing conversation, but one they both knew was necessary. Ben could pass away any day. He thought about his life. His triumphs and his failures. All the things he had done. He had lived a good life. He was content. Sure, not everything had worked out as he planned, but if he had to do it over he would do it the same. He didn’t regret a thing. Finally Elizabeth got up to leave. She grasped Thomas’s pudgy hand as they stood in the doorway. A tear hung to the edge of her blue eyes. “Goodbye.” He gave her a comforting smile. “Goodbye.” He closed the door slowly and walked to the living room in a daze. Suddenly a harsh fit of coughing pounced, forcing him onto the couch. He sat with his head in his lap, waiting to catch his breath. Finally he composed himself and lifted his head. In front of him sat Thomas’ toys, neatly packed into an oversized bag. On top lay a painting depicting Thomas and Ben throwing a football in a grassy field. He felt his eyes water. Next to the bag, a blank sheet and a thin brush with a set of watercolors. He picked up the brush. It felt weightless resting in his wrinkled hand. He dipped it into the paint. He paused. Then he painted. The colors spread onto the sheet effortlessly. The brush swept across the page, filling it with vibrant imagery. He didn’t stop. The colors fused, swam, jumped, spun, twisted. His heart beat with an exhilarating thrill. Finally he set the brush down. He smiled. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He lay back on the couch to savor the feeling. An unrecognizable feeling, one that opened his mind and filled it with excitement. He knew the word, but his memory wasn’t so good anymore. What was it? Then it came to him, a perfect word, seven letters put together just for him, just for this. Passion. He felt passionate. For the first time he was creating. Something no one had thought of before. Something new. Something beautiful that the world had yet to experience. He wasn’t learning old ideas, solving other people’s problems, or following instructions. He was creating. No rules, no high stakes, no stressful decisions. It felt so good, so natural, so peaceful. He was free. His smile faded as the realization came to him. Moments ago he was content with his life. Now he wasn’t so sure. It was the first time in his life he had felt so relaxed, so comfortable, so happy. But it was too late. His breath grew ragged. He struggled for air. His chest constricted into a hard knot of pain. His heart refused to beat. Fear crept into his vision. For years he had prepared for this moment. He had thought he was ready, that there was nothing more for him in life. Thought he could let go easily. But now he clung, desperate to enjoy a life he had so desperately missed. “I’m. Not . . . finished. Please,” he whispered. Life wasn’t so kind. The brush slipped out of his hand, the thick red paint dripping from the soft tapered bristles onto the couch. His calling, his passion, his life; over before it had even begun.

— Joseph Hushek ‘14 31


Encaustic Landscape (Photography) — Roman Vassel ‘13


Secluded Wood Walking the overgrown pathway, I feel brisk morning air on my skin. A cool breath of air fills my lungs and gives way to an earthy aroma. The cardinals chirp and sing their love songs. City life adapts one to the noise of cars honking and people jeering. Returning to the forest, familiar as my own mother and where I would play hide-and-go-seek and other children games, had now become a foreign place. Every step I take through the wood feels as though the eyes of some creature watch my movements from its elevated perch in one of the surrounding trees. The voices of birds fade; a dead silence creeps in. Gusts blow the autumn leaves from their branches; oranges and reds swirl down like a swarm of locusts. I have to cover my face to protect myself from the onslaught of leaves as they make their descent from the sky. I look up to see the morning spotlight beam through the spaces between the trees as if they were distinguishing me as an intruder. The maples and oaks I have lived with all my life have grown into the glow of the horizon. The brown bark has now turned purple, green, and light gold. The wind whistles past the trees and now whispers secrets of the past. Whispers turn to growls and become ever more threatening as if fending off a predator. The forest touch that would welcome me with open arms now grips me as an unwanted guest. I had abandoned my beloved wood when I walked abroad, and now she has forgotten me. Dry leaves crackle beneath my feet, undermining any attempt not to perturb this angry forest. Regaining the pathway to my family’s log cabin, I spy a single evergreen hidden by red maples and oaks. The branches of the pine tree motions towards the trunk as if in invitation. I reach up and feel its soft bristles. Beginning to climb, a sense of nostalgia rushes my veins as all memory of imposing branches and fluttering leaves flood back into my dreams.

— Hunter Daley ‘14

33


Deep Red Every house on the block was the same except for one. The homes that lined Bishop Drive, built in the Colonial style, of course, created a community halfway between the Stepford Wives and A Brave New World. The cop cars were somewhat of a nuisance but their presence was more of an eyesore than anything else. As yellow caution tape draped from oak tree to oak tree surrounding the brick residence, the street awoke to a very unusual November Sunday morning. Detective Tom Bayern lived only a few blocks away, as did most of his colleagues, so when the dreadful order came in he knew it was better him than any other man on the force. A mere break in the inner city crime, he thought. This case was different. These were his people. “Good morning, Detective,” said Officer Dominic Vilentti, “Got ya a cup of Joe.” Vilentti, a newbie, was known for kissing ass to the higher ranking officers. What was frustration to his peers was a breath of fresh air for the Detective. Hell, who doesn’t like a free cup of coffee? “Thanks, Dominic,” he said taking the cup from his subordinate. “Give me what you’ve got thus far.” “A neighbor found two dead in the garage about an hour ago.” “And . . .” “Well, that’s it, sir. We’ve got no idea what happened,” Officer Vilentti replied. “That’s all that you’ve got?” Detective Bayern questioned. “Well, that’s all that we can get, given the evidence. There are only two corpses,” retorted Vilentti. “Well, then we’ve got our work cut out for us now don’t we?” Mason Forrester had guts. He didn’t have any a week earlier, even he would admit that, but three days before Saturday night Mason Forrester had guts. As he waited at the table in O’Barnaby’s, a popular local joint, he continued to replay the moment in his mind. It all began while he was leaving school late after tutoring freshmen in algebra. As he was exiting Red River High’s main hall, heading towards his car, she caught his eye. This was definitely not the first time that Vanessa caught his eye nor was this the first time that he went over to talk to her, but it was the first time that he caught one of the most beloved girls in his grade alone. A conversation ensued, jokes were cracked, and a mutual anticipation for an upcoming film led to a Saturday night get together. Not a date, Mason was quick to point out to his parents, but a shared experience of dinner and a movie. This explanation, though rather odd, satisfied his parents who would be gone that eve-

34


Wimmer ning. Returning the next morning, Mr. and Mrs. Forrester were traveling to an alumnus event at his Dad’s old college which was on the opposite side of the state. “Anything to drink?” the O’Barnaby’s waiter asked. “Just two waters, please,” Mason replied. He reveled in the night’s successes thus far while anticipating Vanessa’s return from the restroom. Picking Vanessa up at her home, getting through the awkward initial chitchat, and driving her in his busted up 1971 Station Wagon to the restaurant. The deep voice in his head just kept saying don’t blow this one, Mason, this is your one shot. “So tell me something new about yourself,” Vanessa said as she sat down. She was dolled up with a deep shade of red lipstick. Oh God! Mason thought, how did she know that I’m a sucker for red lipstick? “Kids?” questioned the detective. He was in the garage, staring at the parked and dated vehicle. More important were the two bodies inside. “Yup, kids. We’ve identified one of them as Mason Forrester. We’re still trying to get an I.D. on the girl,” Officer Vilentti replied. “No need,” said the detective. “The girl is Vanessa Daniels. Both are seniors at Red River.” Officer Vilentti chuckled, “You’re one hell of a good detective if you were to ask me.” Detective Bayern scolded the man’s ignorance, “She’s a friend of my daughter’s and the Forresters are parishioners at my church. Is that funny to you?” “No, sir. Sorry for the loss, sir,” replied Officer Vilentti. “Now let’s find out where Susan and Steve are – they’re Mason’s parents. As for the Daniels, I’ll bring them the news after I do some preliminary investigation.” “We could not find our way back down, we were completely lost in the Rockies and night was setting in. I’m pretty good with directions and so are my two older cousins, but for the life of us we could not find the trail,” Mason was telling Vanessa. “Oh, my God! Didn’t you guys have a GPS? Or a phone?” Vanessa replied. “Our phones had no reception!” exclaimed Mason. “No way!” “Scout’s honor, we had no form of communication with the outside world, whatsoever,” said Mason. The two had delved into raucous laughter with each other. “That’s funny, that’s real funny. What did you guys do then?” In a mild and reflective tone, Mason replied, “We found a clearing in the woods and watched the stars in the July sky. It was gorgeous. Apart from the world, in the wilderness, we just laid back and witnessed what was always present in front of us. What we spent our entire lives trying to ignore.” “That sounds . . . well, that sounds beautiful,” Vanessa replied. “It truly was. And the next morning we discovered our encampment was only yards away from the trail itself!”

“Echoing down Bishop Drive . . . was Susan’s earthshattering shriek”

35


Suspicion (Graphite, 13” x 12”) — Tyler O'Malley ‘15


Wimmer Vanessa erupted in a torrent of giggles only gaining enough composure to ask, “Why didn’t you find the trail the prior night, then?” “I don’t think we wanted to.” Their plates and silverware had been removed quite some time beforehand. The melted ice watered down their refreshments. The only food left on the table was an empty ice cream sundae dish with two tongue-licked spoons inside. It was Vanessa’s idea to get the ice cream. She hadn’t been in the bathroom when they first arrived; rather, Vanessa was in the back telling the waiter that it was Mason’s birthday in order to get free ice cream. Although his birthday was a good four months away, the whole wait staff approached their table singing “Happy Birthday,” bringing a dessert topped with candles. “You’ve got the wrong –” Mason began before he was kicked in the shin by Vanessa who simply stared at him with a wide grin. She’s a rebellious one, Mason thought. And he liked it. “We missed that movie, didn’t we?” Vanessa said. Mason chuckled, “Yes, yes we did.” He had an idea but he didn’t know how to put the words together to articulate it without sounding too bold. “Well, we could, I mean, I guess we could watch a movie at my house?” “That’s a great idea!” she said to Mason’s delight. A black car pulled up to the curb of the house but the woman in the front seat was already exiting the car as it rolled to a stop. “Honey, wait –” exclaimed the voice from the car but it was no use. “Mason, what happened to Mason!” screeched the woman as she sprinted across the lawn to the first officer she could get her hands on. “What has happened to my son? Where is he?” she demanded. “Mam, please, I think you should talk to –” “Do you know?” she asked another officer standing nearby. “Mam, I think it would –” he pleaded with her. “Tell me! Tell me!” “Mam, I think you should take a –” “Why won’t you people tell me? What happened to my son?” she asked. The woman’s partner had left the vehicle and sprinted to her location, now standing at her side. “Mam, I think it would be best –” the officer continued. “Stop Mam-ing me! Just tell me what happened to my son!” “Susan? Steve?” Detective Tom Bayern asked. “Oh, thank heavens you’re here, Tom! What happened to our son?” “Let’s talk out back by the garden, Susan. This sort of thing warrants some privacy.” The woman wiped her tears and was escorted by her husband and Detective Bayern to the backyard where the family’s prized possession, their famous garden, rested. The detective made sure to go around back the porch side, opposite the garage. Echoing down Bishop Drive and reverberating through the well-kept Colonials came Susan’s earth-shattering shriek, followed by Steve’s howling, “Oh, God! Oh, God!”

* * * * *

37


Wimmer “I can’t believe that you’re the one responsible for the missing books. Never in a million years,” Mason said. “You bet I am and I have the seven other copies of the book in my bedroom to prove it!” she retorted. “What are you going to do with those seven The Catcher in the Rye books, then?” “I have no idea. All I know is seeing that book in a high school library seemed so improper, for that particular book that is, that I just couldn’t stand to see a book about unconformity cooped up between textbooks and dictionaries,” she replied. The two were parked in Mason’s garage in deep conversation. Warm air pumped through the four-decade old vehicle as the car worked overtime to combat the chilly atmosphere. “You sure are something,” Mason replied. “What something?” “Pardon?” “You said I’m something. Well then what something am I? Something good?” Vanessa said. “Something special,” Mason said. The two reveled in the silence, taking in the moment, the space, and the time. They stared at each other. Apart from the world, Mason and Vanessa were inseparable. The garage was a sauna but neither of the two occupants cared. Their focus, their hearts, were on each other. By no means in a physical manner. Men and women touch hands and limbs all too often, in a purely physical sense. Only in the rarest of moments do two souls meet and become one, taking all seven senses by storm. In the front seat of the Station Wagon, the two youths experienced this kind of passion. “Tell me your story about being lost in the wilderness one more time,” Vanessa said closing her eyes in complete absorption of the tale that was to come. “But I already said that one,” Mason said. “It was beautiful, please tell it again.” “From the beginning?” “Yes, from the beginning,” she replied. “Okay then, well, a few years ago I was hiking with my cousins in the Rockies. Now I didn’t know where I was going but my cousins were convinced that they knew where they were going, despite the risk. So we hiked all day and well into the night . . .” and so the story was told, well into the night and into the night it would remain.

“. . . so the story was told, well into the night and into the night it would remain.”

“Odorless.” “What was that, Detective?” said Officer Vilentti. “The gas is odorless,” Detective Bayern said inspecting the garage minutes after giving the news to the Daniels. They were devastated, to say the least, but like the Forresters they were thankful that a family friend broke the news instead of a stranger. This was why Detective Bayern took the case.

38


Wimmer He was proud of it even though the emotional toll was overwhelming, more so than any case in his twenty-three year career. “I don’t follow,” Officer Vilentti responded. “Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas yet it’s a poisonous gas as well,” Detective Bayern said. “So you’re saying that –” “What I’m saying, Vilentti, is that the kids hung around in the car while the exhaust pipe pumped toxins down their lungs as they sat without a care in the world. Alive one minute and gone the next. Just like that,” the detective said, snapping his fingers. “When did you come to that conclusion, sir?” “Right when I got here, Vilentti, right when I got here. Pretty rare nowadays but in their time these late sixties and early seventies automobiles were infamous for their dangerous carbon monoxide emissions. In an enclosed area like this, these kids didn’t know what hit them.” “A damn shame if you ask me,” said Vilentti. “A damn shame, indeed,” agreed the Detective. The two men stared into the glass windshield. In the car laid two beautiful children, placid in appearance, with slight grins on their faces. One’s stunning face flaunted a deep red shade of lipstick.

— Christian Wimmer ‘14

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Figure Study (Mixed Media, 11” x 15”) — Duncan Glasford ‘13


Butternut Lake Applejacks; orange juice, no pulp; wheat toast; and freshly picked berries in a silver mixing bowl rang with a metallic pitch when gyrating on the driftwood table. The six a.m. wake up felt more brutal every day. The Coast of Butternut Lake ousted any demand for modern entertainment. An 88 yearold man lived adjacent to the small secluded cabin. Collected scraps of antique logging equipment, sailboats, and rustic knick-knacks scavenged from throughout the uninhabited areas of Eagle River lay scattered around his house built generations ago during the emergence of logging camps in the mid-19th century. Pulling into the driveway for the first time more than 150 years later, it seemed as though the construction of the neighboring house had flawlessly fossilized. The virtual portrait of peeling red paint draped behind the skeletal frame of a once-was tractor looks as though it should be a black and white photograph. The urge to examine every inch glued me to it yet I was hesitant to touch any part as its internals could be suspended by a single rusty nail, potentially collapsing from my curiosity. Never in my life have I felt more overwhelmed with the discovery of music than the six days and five nights I spent in Eagle River for the renowned local hockey camp. Anything from Simon & Garfunkel and Bruce Springsteen, to modern artists such as Bon Iver were constantly playing all throughout the cabin grounds. The echoing sound of steel guitars and bending acoustics produced a background harmony that paralleled my surroundings. Personally, my most favorite perk that most cabins didn’t have was the five-foot wide, eight-foot tall wooden sauna adjacent to the maroon picnic table at which we ate dinner every night. After eight hours of hockey, nothing was more enjoyable than shedding off the grungy layer of filth. Heated by a small stove, the balsa-wood room, small enough to be considered a closet, reached its temperature at a very slow pace. The anticipation of watching its temperature rise while playing a card game at the table next to it – while watching the sun set – made it even more enjoyable. Sitting on the top tier of the room and feeling the dirt and sweat melt off my skin was only the beginning. The sauna door opened as the dark summer air hit my skin, sending goose bumps to every inch of my body. I passed through the flexible screen gate, down the gravel trail, onto the sand, and finally aboard the grainy deck that jutted out into Butternut Lake. At the end of the dock were two oil lamps that projected glowing rays of light across the black crystal surface of the water. Jumping from the dock, time seemed to slow – I could not control my senses and could not help but let out a squeamish scream as my feet hit the water. Once I emerged from the water, I sat down on the bench between the two kerosene lamps in order to

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O’Connor dry off. Bon Iver came on the radio tucked below me. Being freezing cold never felt so comfortable. The authentic metal-string guitar ambiance sedated me into a cocoon of contentment. My friend, who had been doing this for years, did not find the cold very enjoyable so he headed for the cabin. I sat alone for half an hour on the dock with a newfound appreciation for living. In a silent trance, I simply observed and absorbed my surroundings. The melody echoed off the opposing shoreline and reverberated back in an even more powerful manner than had been coming out of the waterproof RCA radio at my feet. I probably looked crazy for wanting to sit in the cold but the tranquility reigned over the cold. Eagle River, a very small town with a very large feeling of belonging, has evoked the same serenity in recent years that I experienced my first night on Butternut Lake.

— Jack O’Connor ‘14

Subtle Stare (Graphite) — Dan Barrett ‘13 42


A Thirst This is my Legacy. This, my Fate. We go our daily lives . . . For what? Looking for an answer, a direction, a connection, even a non-existent illusion. The answer waits within a life we have yet to live. Such a quest for purpose as engulfing flames within us, an unquenchable thirst . . . I seek the same objective, through a different perspective. The one most silent may have the greatest thirst and so must rise, even if amid the shattered remnants of perpetual battles within the continuing Melodic Present, before the Everlasting begins. This is my Legacy. This, my Fate.

— Antonio Garcia ´ ‘15

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The New Revelation Sleep, oh bitter sleep, my love – The night is ever young. Sunlight a daylight rose, Thaw ice, with perfect smile. The world shines forth in gloom. Ease of dawn, edge of dusk, Reality’s sword strikes my heart. Autumn burns into fiery strands This fresh green scene, Visions turn to truth – Avert this gaze. Trembling tip to toe Form iron core of desire. Souls now an heir create. Awaken sensuality. Lips softly enclose.

Sleep my child, Discoveries await. Sleep, new one, upon our lonely moon. Revel in night’s dreams, Day’s vivid colors – Red sensual berry trees burn, Orange trees blossom, Yellow tints fade, Green morphs gray, Blue music takes hold, Indigo rides away, Violet blood rushes within veins. All passes – Solace, peace, even loneliness of spirit. Demon horns harvest human crop. Evil thoughts turn upon themselves. Love now lost.

Embrace, passionate ones. Bend forth desire’s elemental fire. Observe me with starry brown eyes, Silken brunette hair, Graceful crown. Savor this exotic fruit. Enjoy immortal joy, Divinity’s gift, Spring’s new life.

This deepening ever-ruby stain, Ink to cover matrimonial words, The Holy Writ’s buried beneath soil. No faith . . . tender sweet Love. I never said, “Goodbye.” I never said . . . “I Love You.” * * * * *

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Helminiak Goodbye, Love, to endless chasm. Break my curse. Cry ancient sorrows into life. Remove this indelible seal. Sorrowful remorse releases anger. Ardent spirits drain shining smile, And draw a circle round old oak. Now mysterious apocalypse Impaled on willow’s dampened branch, Stretch blackened angel’s wings. Make shadowy path, for one alone. Fade into the world beyond. Her actions, from sour rage, Rid the world of all reminders. Innocent blood drips. Warm scorched scarlet blood. Passion ends, a lifeless child Whose eyes never saw guilt-laden hand, Piercing through this breast.

What hides behind Death’s hood? Agonized, nailed through divine mortal frame To the tree of endless life; Resurrected – seek diamonded waters. Death’s inexorable cycle, Time, crumbles slowly away. Exhale one final breath. I, devoured by carrion crow, Yatagarasu calls my final hour. Surrender myself to loneliness, For hope’s shining light lies ahead. Hell’s sweet tongue beckons, But oh, love appears, Soul’s gushing cry Bursts forth from dark prison. Shatter solitary fetters, Burdened with guilt no longer. Sun shall shine across flowing love. White wings rise from hellish depths. She smiles again.

Lost wind’s gentle caress Turned away sea’s rough surf, Reality’s found within blood lust’s cry. Gouged eyes fear not their own fate, Sorrowful, stumped arms reach – The reaping shades come home – Silence drifts through. A perfect tear descends, Sliding from her eye, Upon the dead’s face, loath to go. It was there she died, Self-delivered to cold embrace, Under the shadow of Death.

Two souls merge as one true soul. Bless us, O Lord. Sleep, oh sleep, my Love. Together we shall stay. Distantly, or close, You remain my Love.

— David Helminiak ‘13

Gray in twilight, she will wait for me Without name, face, or true spirit.

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Gideon Gideon’s shoes scuffled on the damp concrete, their whisper echoing off walls near identical to the floor. Incandescent bulbs flickered overhead, struggling like weakened sailors trying to bail light into the black of the corridor. His steps brought a mural into view on his left, spread from floor to ceiling. Once splendid, time had eaten through it till only the barest vestige of the original image remained. The hint of a leg, the outline of a ball, a lonely shoe, all of which had dimmed to a roughly uniform blue-green. Gideon walked on; it melted slowly into the shadows. He stopped in front of a rusty metal door, its only distinguishing mark, the word “HOME” sprayed in black. He pushed into the room beyond. He flicked the grimy switch next to the door and the same yellowed light filled the room, not quite reaching its farthest corners. A single tiger centipede screamed across the floor towards cover. The scent of mildew from the hallway mixed with the faint bite of old sweat. Rows of lockers gazed down at Gideon, solemn in the wan light, cold and uncaring iron. The walls were covered in a coat of pink paint, too faded to be hot, yet not tasteful enough to be salmon. The years had not been kind to it. Old wooden benches jutted from beneath the lockers, designed for someone half Gideon’s height. Gideon dropped his bag on the floor, sank onto the worn surface of the wooden bench, and stared at the wall across from him. Five seconds passed. Ten. Twenty. The door creaked open again, and Vic walked into the room. She slid onto the bench opposite him, uncannily placing herself so that she locked eyes with Gideon. Vic regarded Gideon coolly, hands folded jaggedly in lap, radiating indignant frustration and anger. He was barely able to keep her gaze. Her eyes unnerved him, with their faint yellow quality that hissed of something feline, something foreign, something wild that touched deep inside him. They tore through any pretending he mustered, boring right down to the naked and uncomfortable truth. Victoria’s eyes were flaming mirrors where a man could see only himself. “I figured I’d find you here,” she said flatly. “Sorry. I got . . . restless, I guess.” “No note? Decided you’d leave early, and just let me figure it out once I got there?” Gideon vaguely nodded his head. “Are you ok? You seem really distracted.” “I’m fine. Just . . . nervous, I guess.” “Is it your head again?” “No. Honestly. I’m fine.”

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Byrne Though looking thoroughly unconvinced, Vic said nothing. Taut seconds passed, until Vic could contain her words no longer. “Why?” “Why do you keep doing this? Why? I feel like I never see the reward, except when the ref raises your limp arm above your head. Otherwise you come home bruised and battered. When you come home and can scarcely talk, when you’re broken. God, I hate it when you’re broken. Even though there’s barely a bruise on you, it’s your heart, it’s your spirit that’s broken. I lose. Me. Who only watches. Yeah. I’m selfish like that. But you mean too much to me to do that to me every single time.” The venom in her voice surprised and comforted him. Vic leaned forward intently, the shadow of her hair veiling her face. Her eyes still shone from the dark, brimming with tears of anger and frustration and hurt. Gideon met that gaze, and in that moment he loved her more than ever before. He knew that without her, he was not seeing clearly. And as much as he squirmed, he could not look away. He owed her this much. “I don’t want to see you hurt again. Last time was bad enough. And it’ll be even worse next time. I’ve tried over and over again to tell you, but I can tell you aren’t really listening. This has to end at some point, Gideon. And I can only hope to God it’s you making that decision. You’ll either walk away, or they’ll carry you off. You’re gonna have to choose, Gideon Clancy. Because I won’t do it for you. I can’t deny you this.” She rose abruptly, eyes still locked upon him. He stood as well. They regarded each other in deafening silence. The moment stretched and broke as Vic reached forward and unlatched the thin silver chain around Gideon’s neck before coiling it around its cross in her palm with a small smile. Holding his chin between two fingers, she tilted his head down and brushed her lips to his brow before turning and striding from the room. He tried not to watch her go. Gideon pulled off sweatpants and sweatshirt, stripping down to bare fighting gear. A large pair of resistant shorts. Taped hands. Taped feet. He stood, carved from granite, beneath the flickering bulb. Absentmindedly, he ran his hand through the gray hairs he knew winked near his temple, feeling that creak in his shoulder and collarbone. He had heard this ultimatum before, in subtler terms, and had long since felt its whispering breath on his neck. Every time he saw that look of pain etched upon Vic’s face, Gideon knew he had taken a week off his time. And he had known as well which path he would take. He would follow Vic without question. He threw punches at thin air, pummeling foes only he could see, while his mind fought on beneath a clenched brow. Gideon’s thoughts drifted back to the day before last, or the flashes he remembered, at least. That awful feeling of weightlessness. Seeing the ground rushing towards him. Crashing headfirst into the floor. Then the piercing brightness of the doctor’s office. The doctor had sighed as he removed his glasses. “Look,” he muttered resignedly. He paused while massaging the bridge of his nose. “I know you shouldn’t be out there this weekend,” he said, pointing his glasses at Gideon. “But I also know you won’t listen to a damn word I say. So yeah. Fine. Go right ahead.” Gideon ripped himself from the depths of his mind to find himself with his back pressed against the wall, chest heaving. He strode over to his bag, and pulled out the item that lay cradled just beneath the surface. A pair of boxing gloves. Old and supple leather, they were smooth as silk on the outside, fitting like a second skin. Gideon slid his hands in and laced them slowly and deliberately. Pausing for

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Byrne two breaths, he tapped them together. Once. Twice. Five times, so quick only he could have heard each beat. Gideon abruptly broke into a sheepish smile, and instinctively glanced over his shoulder. He hurriedly unlaced the gloves and laid them on his sneakers before turning back to the bag. Reaching deep within, he pulled out another pair of gloves, bright red this time. Shining and stiff, they radiated aggression and confidence, a sense of brutal purpose. Taking the gloves by the string that bound them together, Gideon hung them from his neck and stood. With a clap of his hands, he strode to the door and pulled it open. The concrete cooled his bare feet with damp embrace. After a moment’s pause, Gideon spun and began the walk. He had tread this course countless times, and it was the same as ever before. He was the prisoner and the warden, the servant and the king. He was a mighty David, trying not to become Goliath. He felt the supreme confidence, bordering on hubris, that he would emerge the unquestioned victor. At the same time, he wriggled beneath that nail-biting fear, the fear that turned his insides and drove him to head-spinning nausea. It was that fear of what could await him at the end of the hallway. Man’s greatest fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the dark. As Gideon walked, he recalled a day long since passed. On hands and knees, gasping for air around a mouthful of blood, while a voice spoke calmly overhead. “C’mon, Clancy. You’ve got two options here, way I see it. You can either crawl right out of this ring like an animal, or you can stand and fight like a man.” To which Gideon coughed out, “But what if I manage to stand and fight like a beast?” The voice had no answer. And here Gideon had found himself ever since. Gideon’s walk had come to an end. Before him stood another door, as worn as the first, marked “GYM.” He stopped. The murmur of voices reached his ears, worming its way under the door along with a faint strip of light. Barely pausing to attempt to collect himself, he pushed the door open. The florescent lights blinded him, and he raised his hand in a feeble attempt to shield himself from their oppressive harshness. In the air hung the tang of ammonia, and the waxed hardwood was smooth, nearly slippery. He strolled to the scorer’s table, situated in front of the hulking bleachers filled with spectators. A hint of dread gnawed at the back of his skull as a disinterested man peered up at him through horn-rim glasses. “Gideon Clancy?” Gideon nodded once. The man shuffled through a stack of official-looking papers, barely giving each a once-over. He paused with his mouth slightly open, slowly scanning one page. Lifting his eyes, he gave Gideon a long, meaningful look, before returning to the page. “Looks good to me, son.” Gideon gave an internal sigh of relief. He hadn’t even noticed he was holding his breath. With a grunt of thanks, he turned back to the ring. Yet again, Gideon’s mind had fled the scene. He scarcely registered his trainer lacing up the gloves he had slipped on without thinking. The mindless relentless anticipation had returned, but now with an iron focus formed in the first rush of adrenaline. You, your fists, and the man across from you. Nothing else. With short steps, he climbed the stairs up to the ring.

“they radiated aggression and confidence, a sense of brutal purpose.”

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Byrne Gideon tilted his head back, eyelids smashed shut, to offer up a silent prayer for deliverance. For protection. For mercy. And then he returned to earth and opened his eyes to find Vic’s, her hands clasped in her lap as if in the mirror of his own plea. Which will it be, Gideon Clancy? Beast or Man? He stepped into the ring.

— Patrick Byrne ‘14

Belly of the Whale (Digital Design) — Joseph Heinen ‘13 49


Father Time (Photography) — German Gomez ‘15


Musing Mallets “Look, Mama, the sun! I can see it! Papa, look! Right behind the bakery!” “Lara, shhh, let us sleep. This sunrise is the same as every one before it. Sleep, darling, and enjoy it.” “I’m not tired anymore, Papa. Can we go to the bakery like we used to?” “Sweetie, don’t be ridiculous.” “I miss their kringle very much.” “I do, too, and so do Mama and I. We all know what would happen to both Mr. Hoffman and us if we were to go outside and be seen by the soldiers.” “But can we ask Mr. Hoffman? He can go outside.” “He has been very kind and courageous for us already, we must not ask him for any luxuries. Sleep, Lara, the morning will go by quicker if you are asleep.” “I’m too cold, Papa.” The white-rimmed evergreens gently bobbed. She could not hear any birds outside, not one chirping bird. The wind pushed snow off the ruins of her synagogue. From this vantage point, she could not see the frosted bell of the Catholic Church, or the furniture store. The young girl broke her gaze from the freezing Frankfurt air. Her warm breath fogged the small basement window, and the high-pitched screech from her finger startled her father as she swiped the fog off in the shape of a crescent on the glass. She stepped off the chair and cuddled into the open arms of her half-awake mother, underneath her favorite quilt. She stared at the aged red bricks of the wall and tapped the fingers of her left hand on the floor next to her. She softly hummed a tune as she continued to tap to her memorized movements. Liebestraume, her very favorite, by none other than Franz Liszt. She too, dreamt of love. She dreamt that Mr. Hoffman would buy her the kringle that remained out of reach from her. She dreamt of the warm blast of delicious aroma that would engulf her as she opened the bakery’s door. She wanted to go outside and play with her school friends again. Despite this, the snow still fell, and the Nazi soldiers still marched. She craved her black Bechstein piano more than kringle. Her father began teaching her the beautiful art when she was five years old. She despised playing scales and arpeggios, but he demanded that she learn them in every key. At family gatherings, she would be the main attraction. Her aunts and uncles sat in astonishment while her father held his incredible smile. His little star! The artist

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Dries that factory owners and factory workers would some day listen to on the radio. The rich and famous Lara from Frankfurt! His dreams might remain in the crowded basement, yet he still imagined Lara receiving applause from a crowded theater. Lara understood his dream because of his vigor and attention when he would teach her. She would practice her scales until she perfected them, so that her father could continue to dream. The large crack in the middle of the frigid, gray basement floor sparkled with water. From the patch of carpet on which her family of three slept, she placed her small hands over the miniscule puddle. She rubbed her hands together and placed them on the back of her neck, underneath her dry, brunette hair. She had not showered since the storm before that tragic morning almost a month ago. The lightning flashed in her memory, and so did her brother and beloved stuffed white bear that together perished in the flames that engulfed her house. Her father rose and dressed. He kissed his sleeping wife and climbed the loud, wooden stairs. They creaked and moaned, and Lara ground her teeth. Her mother always told Lara what great hands he possessed. “He can clench your hand until it breaks, yet play the prettiest, softest melodies on the piano.” He could no longer play, but his hands brought the family to safety. Aware of the stranded and vulnerable family, the father of a former classmate of Lara’s saw an opportunity in her father’s house repair skills. They attracted the lonely, widowed Mr. Hoffman, whose depression brought laziness and heavy drinking. He missed his own daughter’s company, so he brought in the cold, vulnerable family. “Good morning, Mr. Hoffman.” “Good morning. I can’t hear myself think with that dripping sink.” “I’ll begin right away. May I please bring my wife and daughter some breakfast before I begin?” “Yes, take the half loaf of bread on the counter. There’s also a half a pint of milk left. Take them and get going.” “Thank you, sir.” He swung the door open and began to descend the stairs. “Hold on mister, come back up.” “I’ll give it to them and be back, sir.” “No, no. I know that. You play the piano, right?” “ Once. I could play Bach, Chopin, anything. I had to give it up after I injured my hand.” “How’d you do that?” “On the job, back at the old factory.” “A shame. My wife played. One of her favorite songs plays over and over again in my mind. I don’t remember its name, but it was beautiful. She played with such grace and elegance. She would finish, then show me her precious smile. Anyway, the piano has many broken keys, so maybe you could fix them afterward.” “Of course, sir! My daughter plays very gracefully as well.” “I’d like to hear the piano again. I miss the gorgeous music that I would hear everyday after I awoke. If she can play, then I’ll let her come up. I’ll be out for a few hours; please do not touch anything that is not yours.”

“He could no longer play, but his hands brought the family to safety.”

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Dries “Goodbye, sir.” He smiled as he once again heard footfalls on the hardwood stairs. A perfect birthday present for little Lara. He remembered the music during long mornings when Lara could not sleep. The music of the damp wind blowing through the cellar door was replaced by the music of his daughter’s pursuit of musical excellence. The taps on the cold floor had no precise order or rhythm that he could decipher, but they held the resemblance of the pitches and flow of the hammers hitting the strings. He could not tell her yet. He knew she would awaken on her birthday with small expectations. His and her dreams would come true that day; the piano would hum and vibrate to the sound of graceful playing. But for today, the milk and bread would suffice. The sink ceased to drip after a few minutes. He moved on to his main mission. The burgundy piano sat agape in the corner of the white-walled living room. He walked towards it and breathed in the dusty ivory. The magnificent Förster was worn, but easily capable of producing art’s sound. The faded emblem was covered in a coat of dust. The white coating of three keys was partially chipped, yet the rest remained perfect. It stood upon three sturdy gorgeous legs, two in the front, one in the back. He made sure not to test the keys too forcefully; a disturbance might alert his music-deprived daughter. He poked his head inside the belly of the piano, but shot right out after his first gaze. A small crowd of spiders crawled between the mallets. They were beefy, and had a small red streak on the head of their yellow bodies. They had short legs, but a menacing strut. He had no fear, but did not want to be tickled or bitten when partaking in such a delicate project. He counted about twenty-five of these despicable creatures. He maliciously battered about eighteen of them with his pocketbook, the remaining squirming away in pandemonium. He eliminated four more with the edge of the book and accidently plucked a string with its binding. He could see two more hiding under the strings. He softly played a IV chord in the key of C and watched them squirm into the open. He splattered them, then began his planning. He could tell that the mallets had been replaced several times. The sticks protruding from their hammers had originally been made with nothing but a soft wood, and the selected five each had a crack on the underside. Each one held on by a thread when played individually. The whiplash from the movement of the stick caused the mallet to softly tap the string. It would not last a bar of a Beethoven piece. He stood, scratched the fresh spider bite on his left wrist and looked out of the window. The sun now rested behind a thick storm cloud. He knew how he would fix it. He sawed the mallet completely off at the crack. The pins he had found in Mr. Hoffman’s toolbox were plenty sharp enough to wedge in the middle of the soft wood. His eyes fixated on the thin stick and the even thinner pin as he carefully but forcefully lodged the pin inside the stick. He stood back from his work. The effort left him sweating. He again scratched his reddening wrist, and took the mallet with a protruding pin from the stick. He aligned it with the fragile, headless wood inside the piano. The needle slowly connected the two parts until it vanished within the stick. One down. By the end of the day, the mallets obeyed the commands of the keys. The piano had been restored. He thoughtlessly rubbed his wrist against his coarse pants and joined his family in the basement. The day ended. Lara rested on the carpet, and her mother sat against the left-hand wall. “I have a birthday gift for Lara.” “Don’t joke around. All we can do is sing for her this year.”

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Self-Portrait (Mixed Media, 18” x 24”) — Sean Patterson ‘13


Dries “Mr. Hoffman wants to hear the piano played, and he’s willing to let Lara play. I fixed it today.” “He will? I thought he hated the poor girl ever since she shattered and ruined the picture of his family.” “He desires the music his wife would play for him, and Lara can do that.” “I know she can, how excellent! In two days, too! I can hardly wait to go upstairs again to hear her play.” “It will be like it is in my dreams.” “Except the audience will be a crowd of three.” “Not in my mind. I must go to bed now, my head throbs horribly and I am very tired.” “Honey, your wrist looks very red. Is that a bruise from the piano? Why does your head hurt?” “I was bending over for a very long time, I just need rest. My wrist feels excellent, just a spider bite. I am feeling fine.” “Please let me know if anything is wrong.” “Everything is a dream, sweetie.” Lara woke at the same time the following morning. She found her father staring outside in the same position as she was in the previous morning. The man rarely woke before her daughter, so the sight of him slightly startled little Lara. She joined him. “One more day until your birthday, Lara.” “I know Papa. Can we please eat some kringle to celebrate?” “I told you earlier, Lara, it is impossible for us. You’re birthday may not be like the others, but I still have a surprise for you. “Ok.” “Lara, what is the matter? I promise you it will be a great birthday present.” “What could it possibly be that could make me happy? I miss home, Papa. I know you can’t give me that. I miss how we all used to be together for my birthday.” “Lara, look at me, do not cry. You will be happy. I am happy and your mother is happy. We may not be the same as before, but we still have each other, so we can never be sad. Now sleep, and dream about your surprise.” She hugged her father, and stepped off the chair, this time snuggling next to her mother and closing her tear-filled eyes. She dreamed about her house and the entire family. She remembered birthdays in the past, when her family happily celebrated with her. The brightly colored cake that rested on the dinner table attracted the eyes of everyone sitting around it. Her brother demanded the largest piece complemented with a tall glass of milk. She could still taste the vanilla frosting of the beautiful cake. When she opened her eyes hours later, the room glowed, and her mother had prepared a plate of toast for her, but her father had vanished. She occupied herself like she always did when her father left to work. She played with the small rubber ball, and talked with her mother. They periodically created a new game to play, but when that game lost its color, they would simply create another. The day would eventually end, and tired Lara would sleep, and her mother would wait. Her father finally came down when the darkness had captured the light. “How are you? You look dreadful.”

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Dries “Thank you, darling.” “You are so pale and that is not just a bite on your wrist. What kind of spider bit you?” “I don’t know its name. It was beefy and had a yellow body.” “Oh, dear. We must do something, it could be poisonous.” “There is nothing to do. The spotlight will be on Lara tomorrow, not me. Go to sleep, and do not worry. I will wake up with you tomorrow.” “Yes, but what about after that?” “We will see.” She looked at him hopelessly, then obeyed. They snuck into bed, careful of not disturbing Lara, and prayed until their words became lazy fragments. As the shivering man pondered death, Lara dreamt about her surprise. She thought maybe he had found her favorite doll. Or had he finally convinced Mr. Hoffman about the kringle? Within minutes, she turned to her left side and greeted her dreams. Sleep did not come easy for her parents, however. The man could not accept the idea of leaving his wife, but more so, Lara. Would she continue playing? Would his dream ever become true? She had been his comfort during the horrendous tragedies of the past month. He buried his eldest son and brother in a matter of days. But Lara remained. “Lara, wake up. Happy Birthday, sweetheart.” “Thanks Mama! Where’s Papa? He said he had a surprise for me today.” “He does, he does. He is upstairs getting your surprise right now.” “He is?” “Yes, be patient, he’ll be down soon.” “I hear him! Mama, he’s coming.” “Happy Birthday, darling! I have your surprise upstairs.” “Well, go get it, Papa.” “You’re going to have to see it yourself.” “Is Mr. Hoffman gone?” “He has forgiven you. Please, Lara, speak no more. Follow me.” The creaks and mumbles of the staircase felt and sounded so clear now. She watched her father slowly walk up the stairs in front of her. He breathed hard, and a coating of sweat rested on his back. She looked into the room. White and black on burgundy, burgundy against white. The mirage of colors formed a piano, and the small girl choked on her emotions. Had her dream ever ended that morning? She grabbed her father’s hand, and it was alive. She noticed the involuntary shake and sweat of his faltering grip. She looked at her father with tears streaming down her face. Her father stammered as he spoke to her. “Wha . . . What do you think, Lara?” “Papa, is it real? Does it work?” “Yes, swee . . . sweetie. Thank Mr. Hoffman, it’s . . . our gift to you.” “Thank you, sir, I’m sorry about your picture.”

“As the shivering man pondered death, Lara dreamt about her surprise.”

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Dries “Quite alright, please play. We are all anxious to hear you.” Lara looked at her mother and her father. She noticed her father shaking from head to foot. As soon as she turned away, he sat in the wooden chair next to the dining table. The pain was excruciating. His wrist swelled purple, and a fever scalded his body. He had difficulty breathing, and his lungs felt like bricks. Lara sat, and her mother cried. She held onto his quivering hand tightly, tears flowing from her blue eyes. She did not know how she would live without him. The rich and famous Lara from Frankfurt! His little, illuminated, saving star! She stretched her fingers and they cracked one by one. She glanced back at the adults. They tearfully surrounded the crying, weak man in the stiff chair. She had seen the bite the previous morning, and knew something was wrong. Her worst fears had been confirmed by this dreary glance, though she could not fathom it yet. With tears in her eyes, she turned and spoke her final words to him. “Do not worry Papa, I will always remember my scales and arpeggios. I will practice everyday for you, and I will make you proud. You do not have to cry.” He joyfully sobbed as she tearfully played for him. The keys obeyed, the strings vibrated, and Liszt filled the air. The sound sweetly sung, and each note rung rhythmically in his ears. The melody mingled with his dying thoughts, as his vision deteriorated. Dizzily watching the Earth disappearing under his feet, the faltering father panted and cried. The music of the burgundy piano mused his cosmic ascent and the bright light of the stars enveloped his earthly eyes. His efforts would not be muted, and his little star would develop and succeed. Her peaceful playing would long outlive the vicious likes of the Third Reich. She perfectly completed her song and was greeted by a slow clapping. Her father lay motionless. His blue eyes were shut, and his body slouched in the chair. Lara’s mother sadly looked at him and kissed his hand. Lara stood and walked towards her fallen father. Her tears dissonantly collided with her steps. She cried on his shoulder as she lovingly embraced him. She just finished saying “I love you, Papa” before she turned and saw the bright piano, masked by her tears. She would play for an audience larger than just the two other living people in the room. Her mother wept disconsolately, and tried to console the crying Lara who had already sat on the bench. She knew of no other way to say goodbye than to continue playing arpeggios on her precious piano.

— Matthew Dries ‘13

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Aphenphosmphobia (Photography) — Nick Reit ‘15


Puppets Your feet carry you through the dark lonely side streets of the city. Looking downward, you admire the regular plod of each foot. Right. Left. Right. Left . . . Directionless, but not purposeless. Walking for walking’s sake. The blanket of blackness stifles everything. Your footsteps are silent. You can’t even hear yourself think, and you don’t need to. Contentment. Your gaze lifts towards the street. The light hits your eyes for what feels like the first time. They snap shut, flutter, and then slowly open garage-door style. The world takes shape once again. The street is lit only by a few flickering streetlamps and the glow of the rare building whose inhabitants remain awake. All else is darkness. Benign darkness. Getting darker. The houses catch your eye. They overlook the sidewalk with friendly acquiescence. You admire their grandeur, how they give structure and uniformity to the environment. They have the feel of sitting in a firm, wooden chair. Right. Left. Right. Left. You continue on and on until the last signs of life disappear from the earth. All the houses are dark and silent and dead. Ghost town. Your stride quickens. The sharp pangs of paradox hit your stomach. Or is it nothing? But a void is still something. You feel the somethingness of nothing. The sound of silence. The sound, the sound! It’s killing you; you need something, someone, anything. Stop. Stand still. Searching, you strain your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, brain, body – to no avail. All that exists is the luminescent bubble surrounding you, the grey sidewalk, the stalwart houses, and another dirty, yellow lightbubble a hundred yards further that looks like a cone. Yours probably does, too. Bubble by bubble – cone by cone – you make your way downroad. The lights have lost their significance. Demystified. 1192. 1193. 1194 . . . Yet there is nothing else: the once friendly darkness now forebodes the distance. You can’t go out there, you mustn’t. What if you don’t make it back? State Street. Holly Avenue. Boulevard Dead End. Looks familiar. Straight. 119th. Straight. 118th. Straight. 117th. Seems promising. 108th. 107th. 106th. Suddenly, the loud sputter of a car engine in the distance penetrates the impenetrable silence. Your mouth opens, a heavy thud pounds in your chest. Your lungs stretch to the breaking point. Your feet throb. 20 mph. 30. 40.

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McCloskey 75th 74th 73rd. More vehicles in the distance sound their beckoning call. Lift-off. You fly through the streets. Mach 1 2 3 4 5! Fireworks of sensation explode in your mind as you burst through the viscous surface of that ugly black blanket. Oh, sensational fireworks! All at once the downtown air, caked with salt you can taste, reminds you of scraping off the ever-present excess salt of soft pretzels; the headlights of turning cars dance tantalizingly at each intersection; tires squeal synchronously in a long, drawn out symphony; and the frigid, silvery breeze nips at your face, stretching your mind towards the back of your head. Out of breath and tiring quickly, you begin your descent, finally landing in 41st and Washington. You slow to a halt in front of a sign that reads The Four Cords Pub. Seems promising. The bell jingles as the door closes behind you. Darkness and emptiness once again. You barely make out two figures on the far end of the bar. Tall men wearing trench coats, deep in conversation. You’d best not bother them. You take the seat closest to the door, left of a short balding man wearing a navy blue vest and jeans. You can imagine him in his prime – a full head of black hair and the smiling swagger of a salesperson. He could probably sell a rock to a caveman. Or a caveman to a rock. Now speckles dot his beard and what’s left of his hair. The silver age. “Hey.” A raspy voice – no surprise. You smile and nod slightly. “What brings ya to The Four Cords on a Tuesday night?” he growls. You try to remember. “Oh this and that, you know . . . It’s cold out.” “Yea, no shit.” You avert your gaze and pretend to study the wood on the bar. “Well, this seems like the place to be,” you wonder to him. He breathes out through his nose. “Yea, I’ll say.” “Do you come here often?” “Very." “Yeah?” “Oh, yeah. Best pub in town.” You hear someone audibly, intentionally, clear his throat to your left. The bartender. “Hey, whaddaya want?” You scramble for a menu. The stranger to your right laughs. “Um . . .” A rushing river flows into your mind, flooding your thoughts. “Gin and tonic, please.” The bartender turns brusquely away. You lean forward and cross your arms on the bar. The cold and unfeeling bar. The wood shines with an impressive yet alien sheen. You run your eyes back and forth, back and forth along the finish. You miss the houses. Home. The small man punches you forcefully on the arm. Backsnap to reality. You pivot on your stool to face him. Face-to-face. “Y’know there’s something not quite right about you.” The alcohol on his breath tickles your nose. You frown. “What do you mean?”

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McCloskey “Yer an oddball. Scum.” The tension in the room plucks at every fiber of your being. Especially your stomach. He stands now. Too close. Why? Something you said? His fist connects with your jaw, twisting your head back. Staggering, you try to regain your balance. The pain feels warm and round like when you stick your tongue into your cheek. Finally upright. The tree survives the storm. Oh no. Through the darkness, you see his faded silhouette barreling towards you. The bartender shouts from the other side of the room. Distant. Close. Toro, toro. You sidestep his Napoleonic charge, leaving only your left foot in his path. His momentum carries him crashing into the wall. You hear a thud as he hits the floor. There he lies, an inert heap of disjointed limbs. Hands on your knees, panting. He isn’t getting up for a while. Eyes closed. Ahhhh. You stem the tides of guilt that wash up against the levees. It was his fault. He started it. He had it coming. Self-defense. Justice. Karma. Relief. Smile. Eyes opened. World reentered. Creaking wood to your right. Back turned, the shadowy bartender is kneeling on the floorboards. He’s fiddling with something. Four cords. He connects them with a cackle. Maniac. White light fills the universe. Heaven burns everything. Your retina. You overcome it before it overcomes you. Everything is revealed. The thin wires attached to the small man in the corner are now evident. Upwards, they lead forever upwards. The bartender, the men in trench coats. Puppets. All of them. Trapped in a giant, dangling spider web. The dancing wires mock you. “Justice? Karma? You killed him! You killed the man who could nothing else!” The levees give way. Waves of guilt and tears crash around you as they drip down your face. Your eyes are buried in your hands. No. You thrash your way up to the surface once again, sputtering and gasping for air. Breathe in. Out. In. Out. Your shoulders rise and fall with the waves. Your head rises from your hands. You feel the puddles of tears in your palms. You see the wires in your reflection. Your own wires. In-Out-In-Out-In-Out. You hold your right arm out in front of you. Wires attach to your elbows, forearms, and hands. You flex your muscles and move the arm around. It feels like you, but you know it’s not. J-ust part of the script. Your choices are the choices of something above you. Melancholy. Meaninglessness. Despair. A puppet of the heavens . . . ? You watch as the other puppets slowly levitate off the stage. Dangling from their cords like hung men. Head down. Exhale. Eyes closed. Finally, you succumb to the ocean. Lungs fill with water. Your will to carry on is extinguished. You see the ruins of the levees as you slowly sink to the ocean floor and ascend to the puppeteer. “There’ll be a five minute Intermission before Act II,” announces a disembodied voice. The audience applauds.

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— William McCloskey ‘13


Landscape of Symbols (Oil on Canvas, 48” x 23”) — Frank Geiser ‘14


Spider Webs and Winking Eyes Time slowed, moving like cold molasses across a chilled plate. The amber disk blinked shut and the chartreuse eye above blinked itself awake, telling everyone in its gaze to halt. John, the driver first caught in its stare, was in a mad rush to get to work. Already fifteen minutes late, he knew that once he reached the pulsing heart of the city, his journey would slow even more. Fed up with the number of red eyes that had already told him to stop, he pressed harder on the right pedal. His car purred and nudged its nose upward, gently pressing him further back into the cracked leather seat. His vision narrowed, focusing on his goal of crossing to the other side of the intersection only twenty feet ahead. Left and right no longer mattered. Only redundant familiar worries ran through his head: “My boss is going to be pissed. This is the third time this week.” The car rolled forward, slowed by the hindrance of the sticky molasses called time. The black tires forcefully gripped the asphalt, oil, and litter and pulled the vehicle onward.

* * * * * *

Sue was not far off from the same intersection, but she approached from the cross street. An identical red eye commanded her to stop. Every morning she took this route, and every morning she received the same forceful glare of red. She knew that the red eye will take a brief nap as green awakens. Presumptively, she eased off the gas, her foot hovering above it, waiting to reapply firm pressure upon the right pedal. She focused her eyes on the red one, which stared back at her. “C’mon, c’mon, you can do it,” she pleaded, trying to coax the light into her bidding. Meanwhile, the speedometer began its counterclockwise trek toward the slim, embossed white tick mark slightly to the left of the large silver 45. The eye answered her bidding at last and blinked shut. Its counterpart resting two positions lower, awoke. “Thank you, traffic control!” She, too, entered the intersection’s asphalt, oil, and litter.

“The eye answered her bidding at last . . .”

* * * * * *

Perched atop the traffic light, a sleek obsidian raven cocked its head to the right. The beady eyes twitched towards the glistening windshield, admiring the way the light caught the beveled corner and reflected back. The shiny chrome outlining the windshield also shined brilliantly. The shadowy scav-

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Riley enger would have carried the chrome fixture back to its nest to rest among the other shiny collectables, but the chrome moved too fast and was too big.

* * * * * *

The two cars inched toward each other, their drivers’ attention otherwise captivated. The front right of Sue’s car joined with the front left of John’s. Plastic splintered and cracked, spreading across the surface of the cars like spider webs. Paint chips dusted the air. The warm bulbs encased inside the headlight burst along with their shells into brilliant shards of glass and plastic. The cars continued to move forward towards each other, but the force of the impact veered them onto a new yet common path. The tires collided, each one gripping and tearing at the other, fighting for traction and the upper hand. The axels bent and the rims deformed. The softened butter which was once the frame caved inwards toward the engine, rupturing the radiator in John’s car. White steam wafted from the cracks and spread throughout the engine cavity, curling around the edges of the buckling hood. It continued to spread like the eerie rolling fog on a cool Halloween night. John was thrown to the right, his seatbelt straining his skin and popping blood vessels, causing splotchy purple bruising. The seatbelt knocked the wind out of him as it compressed his puny chest. His daily dose of steaming caffeine sloshed out of the synthetic cup as the cover popped off. The hot liquid landed on the wiry carpet fibers, staining them a dark brown. The center of the steering wheel flew off and the white airbag began to unfurl, releasing powder into the air, appearing as if the dusty, long forgotten sails of a merchant’s ship caught the wind for the first time in years. The airbag billowed outward, connecting with John’s face and bruised chest, saving him from breaking his neck on the steering wheel or dashboard. It stopped his momentum and reversed it so that he once again returned to his cracked leather seat, slouched and in pain. Ten feet to his left, Sue was thrown at her driver’s side door. Her head snapped towards the window and connected with a sickening crack. A spider web, likened to the one near her headlight, spread across the window, giving it an almost frosted appearance. On the other side of her auburn hair, beneath her scalp, yet another spider web expanded. Spreading outward across her ivory skull, it conformed to the roundness and slowly tapered. Sue’s world plunged into darkness.

* * * * * *

The raven flew down, picked up a tiny piece of chrome, and flew away. Red and green eyes watched it disappear.

— Daniel Riley ‘14

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Credits

Editors-in-Chief

Jordan Sylvester Kieran Fendt Hasaan Munim

Moderator Queen Bee

Ms. Ginny Schauble

Production Consultant

Editors

Ben Sanders Nick Reit Christian Wimmer

Mr. Gary Skinner APLUS Graphic Resources gskinner.aplus@gmail.com

Cover Design Nick Reit

Signatures Homeroom

Jordan Sylvester Kieran Fendt Hasaan Munim Christian Wimmer Ben Sanders Nick Reit Will Brodd Antonio Garcia Daniel Wiensch

Cover Art

Front Cover: Study of Fulling Mill on River Alre (Oil on Canvas 12” x 16”) - Hank Bauer ‘15 Back Cover: Study of Nebraskan Sky (Oil on Canvas 24” x 20”) - Hank Bauer ‘15 66



Signatures 2013