A publication of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars
The Collegiate Scholar
â€œArt is contemplation. It is the pleasure of the mind which searches into nature and which there divines the spirit of which nature herself is animated.â€? -Auguste Rodin
The Collegiate Scholar The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) is an honors organization that recognizes and elevates high achievers. NSCS provides career and graduate school connections, leadership and service opportunities and offers nearly half a million dollars in scholarships annually. NSCS members are deeply committed to scholarship, leadership and service and as a result, are impacting their campus and local communities every day. www.nscs.org
Contents Allison Bovard Ayanna McFarland Caitlin Cavannaugh Dianna Skowera Elanor Dodak Ennun Walker Florence Noorinejad Janel Brubaker Karlanna Lewis Katie Griffith Lucas Carvalho Lucas Carvalho Madeline Friend Megan Oâ€™Neal Patricia Kujawa Rachel Clevenger Srishti Arora Tolu Oduba Zachary Campbell Allison Hildebrandt Allyson Craft Candra Johnson Chelsea Rozanski Christina Harvey Elizabeth Strattan Kathryn Warrender Lily Fein Nick Dial Samantha Wimmer Stella Lee Xavier Burgin
3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 27 28 29 30 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 38
Time Heartbreak Falling and Flying Fertile Mother Why? Mental Injustice The Nature of Fireflies Just A Line Stormcloud Son Untitled The Rise of The Programming Bard The Scholarâ€™s Dilemma Silent Salute The Prince on a Dragon Enjoy the Day! Shine Boxes Because... The Wrong Class Cliffs of Moher at Sunset Self Portrait as an American Monster Afghan Market Embrace Life Lips Lake Pingvallavatn, Iceland Reach The Mundane Lonley Moon Composing Paris Greed Falling Up
Contents Yui Suzuki Yui Suzuki Aaron Jones Alex Sammartino Archana Sareen Archana Sareen Ayanna McFarland Bailey Gordon Candice Lawrence Carol Munro Cathryn Bidal Christopher Darke Dianna Skowera Elena Gabriel Emily Elicker Ethel Grigsby Irene Gentzel James Trapani Kari Fugett Katie Griffith Kendra Minoza Raquel Aleman Roberta Hemmer Shay Quigley So Youn Park Synclair Maye-Key Taylor Hanley Teyla Turkeri
39 39 43 45 51 56 59 63 67 74 76 79 81 84 89 93 95 101 103 105 108 110 113 116 122 126 128 131
Closing Heart Into Iron I Am What I Am When the Debt Settles Blind by Sight Doormat Ephemeral Life She The Lightning Storm Glimpse Notes from an Older Student Docentzilla and the Impudent Child Those Damn Yellow Footprints The Speed of Sorrow How Lucky We Have It Breaking Point Changing My Life for the Better To Remember Reassurance Non-Traditional Student Never Curse the Sun Puppy Love One Phone Call, Many Changes Stephen King Writes More Than Just Horror? Chapter One Memories of the American Night Untitled but True Squirrels Travel in Numbers Living Life Online
“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of
beauty in words.” -Edgar Allan Poe
Time By Allison Bovard Missouri State University He rolled out of bed, dreading the second his feet would hit the icy concrete. One more hour ‘til work, One more winter day making sandwiches, One more month of hoping he could finally pay the rent. His youthful days vanishing like memories of his mother’s voice. Yet the scene of that unintentional death on his hands burning like acid on his mind. He ran his hand through hair, dark as the night that he fled from home, and as long and ragged as the breath of the past on the back of his neck. Still groggy, he sorrowfully departed the basement, it’s shadowy crooks his only asylum. His stomach snarled loudly over the groan of the aged wooden staircase. He opened the cupboard with a creak it’s vacant skeleton taunting him. Scanning the room he saw a week’s worth of dishes filling the sink piled higher than the heap of bills to their right, and the overflowing trashcan by the door. But he’d make time for those later. He walked right by the refrigerator, knowing there was no use in trying. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
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Making his way down the hallway, he looked in the mirror, staring into those sapphire eyes that just peeked out from under his curtain of hair, as if they were playing hide-and-go-seek with the world. Abruptly he averted his gaze, pained by something he saw in those haunted depths. Time drags along â€“ he mechanically goes through his daily routine with each step retracing the previous dayâ€™s. As time fades away into shadows, he desperately hopes this perpetual nightmare will not become his eternal fate.
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Heartbreak By Ayanna McFarland Love don’t come in all sizes. It don’t shrink in the wash. It don’t fade and stretch over time In that way like your favorite shirt, That just don’t quite fit the same when it gets older. No, You know this, but you tried it on anyway. Tried to stretch it and let it fit like you belong In its delicate fabric. But everybody knows. No matter how many times you try on the same love Even in a different color or style, It just don’t come in all sizes.
Falling and Flying By Caitlin Cavannaugh Northern Illinois University As these last few weeks come to a close, I look back at the girl I was last year. I see her speed-walking to class, I see her rejecting what’s-his-name with her well-practiced silence, I see her lost, confused, and static. I see her stuck and frozen. That girl did as she was told. I question and do what I think is right. That girl ran away. I run forward. That girl feared the rain. I dance in it. That girl cried. Well, I still cry. Some things don’t change. And I’m still lost and confused and scared. But I’m not static, Not stuck or frozen. If I’m afraid of something, I hurl myself right into the thick of it, And over the cliff I fall. The wind is my hairbrush. There is gravity in every moment. And maybe I get hurt, Maybe I hit the water and my body is left stinging, Maybe the water is shallow and the leap paralyzes me, But even if people call me crazy, Even if I fail, Even if I die, For a few seconds, I flew.
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Fertile Mother By Dianna Skowera American Military University She takes all men that cross her path, She’s neither snobbish or choosey, But don’t mistake numbers for trashShe’s a lover, not a floozy. She holds you in her arms at worst And fills you up like no other. She never leaves, she’s never gone. She’s a doting fertile mother. Her charms abound in many ways. With lust and wrath and pride she wins. She is all the devil could want, Or men looking for deadly sins. Your best, your worst, your polished chest, Your hollowed soul, your heavy heartShe’ll capture, conquer, and win you; She knows you’ll always play your part. Your tired, your hungry, your greedy, Your evil, your wicked, your poorA deception all consuming That goes by the name of ‘War’.
Why? By Elanor Dodak While I sit and Stare at the sky I ponder the one question And that is why? Why is my life All up and down Why is my world Turned all around Why canâ€™t I find love The one in my life Why cant I believe When I know it is right Too many questions And to them no answers I will continue my search Until it is answered.
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Mental Injustice By Ennun Walker Indecisive decisions, inaccurate permissions A wish list, that’s a misfit, but the gifts sit on the road to perdition Acclimated hysteria with delusions as solutions Propaganda for retail, souls for resale All caught in the scheme of prevail The human condition, psyche inhibitions Mental parole with prohibitions, dignity at a pro-rate, sold for a societal probate. It’s a gold rush for diamonds only to discover blood weight. Presidential elections, more like inner crowd selections, adorned with a crown of thorns and inexperience for their own protection. Blazers worn at the sleeves, from doing dirt above the knees, to suffice for what’s right and each individual lust for greed. Technical warfare with chemical consequence, danced on to a digital battlefield with elegance And the enemy is only monetary, because currency, currently owns itself, and wealth is measured in items rather than human health, or survival, like a pagans worship of idols Political vampires, sucking the world of its resource, with no remorse and as everything dies, its covered up with charades and lies while using Snickers and Doritos as supplies. The people are morally convinced, that its right to obey the prince contrary to major evidence laid in their face, it still becomes irrelevant. Because Kim Kardashian is about to marry Kanye, what can I say? Post modern lives, have become so, “shut up and drive”, like Rihanna said and the only way to touch the masses is to leak graphics on world star hip hop. Dignity has become the only remedy to the remedy which is sickening. Everyday our history is rewritten but a book is not given a look so how easily we are forgetting. This is mental injustice
The Nature of Fireflies By Florence Noorinejad John Hopkins University You always looked best in the sweet flickering haze of June-drunk fireflies. So clean and glowing-warm— the flint of your cheekbones shimmering, glinting as fiercely gold as the coin-bright of your laugh. I tried to catch it once, that golden gleam: tried to cup my hands around the smooth fullness of it and hold on tight— but it slipped out from between my fingers. You watched it go as you nuzzled me close, pressed me against the sharp-curved planes of your body until there was nothing left but an imprint. When you finally pulled back, it was only to show me a closed fist— the shadows of your delicate knuckle-bones rippling in the wavering relief of captured firefly-light. And when you transferred it to me with a grazing of fingertips, that firefly stumbled dazedly around the circle-cradle of my hollowed palms, gleaming with all its might. Later, after it all, I reached for you— found the fading impression of your heart slow-thumping against my cheek and held on tight. Then I grasped about in the firefly-strung night— made a fist and thought I felt a gleam tracing dizzy swirls into the creases of my palm. But when I peeked between my fingers, there was nothing.
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Just A Line By Janel Brubaker Portland State University I sat to scribble down some words, anxious, fervent, ready to be heard. I seized a pencil and a faceless, blank, white page with thin blue lines, horizontal, glaring at me with rage. I was not granted access to their land, to their righteous sanctuary, their holy domain with bland thoughts or ideas or anything less than the unblemished. As my fingers quivered, terrified to touch lead to paper, I recalled the eight year old girl who, in the third grade, fell in love with Haiku and how poetry used to shape her. An empty page was her playground, her stage, where words were friends, devoted and close, obedient to the alluring chime of prose and rhyme; where blue lines were guides who extended direction, not demons demanding perfection; where she was needed in the poetic design. Each stroke of her pen was an imaginative sign, not cowardly words controlled by a line. I yanked and pulled, I kicked and screamed, I fought against the bars they deemed sufficient for my rage as I attempted to gauge the force of their pitiful cage. I sharpened my pencil, touched the fresh tip to the paper, and refused to let my courage taper. Renewed and awake, I shoved through the vapor of lethargic self-doubt. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
One letter formed two, and then a phrase. With each stroke my pencil began to braise my thoughts to the page, while blue lines only frayed like ink. Once back on my stage I continued to wage war on the stubborn blue lines who strayed from the craze, from the smoldering graze of the work they despised, but could only praise. Critics will always criticize and politicize. They’ll take every chance to chastise, but they won’t apologize so nor will I. Haters will always hate and berate. They’ll debate and try to negate any success outside of themselves, but they only tear down, while I create. Critics, hater, both will try to force us down and keep us there until we drown in the murky, unforgiving sea of mediocrity. I will not give in to this blight. As long as I need breath I will write. I will fight for all I know is right. No matter my plight, I’ll not be robbed of what’s mine. Critics and haters can continue to whine, but in the end, they’re just a line.
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Stormcloud Son By Karlanna Lewis Florida State University Oh tempest boy with the summer heart, when your smile was Thursday and I wished the weekend had never arrived. Boy with the summer heart, when we followed dirt roads until it no longer mattered where we were going, and keep driving was all you said. Smile me back to that Thursday, but don’t go outside. Make us shelter our eyes with our hands and stare into your light—kiwis, you once said, are the only fruit that doesn’t bleed.
Untitled By Katie Griffith University of Cincinnati find motives to dominate dark instincts like fleeting moments of rapture that astound perception notions of reality distress the soul fear obedience for submissiveness is unfulfilledâ€” obey history and miss the point. forged varied stories about the creation of the world are a result of struggle between the universe and human life multiply and take command of the world care for it. constitute true action be conscious of others. stability within is not accidental. the human race should keep in mind that the world needs less.
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The Rise of The Programming Bard By Lucas Carvalho Houston Community College Autism has affected me in many ways My social skills have always been awkward I always had to bear through embarrassing days Then Chronic Fatigue settled in Yet I never gave up Like a happy-go-lucky pup, I kept going. With pen in hand, I traveled into lands unknowing. My childhood in Brazil, Which strengthened my quill, Made life easier. I soon realized, America is the land of opportunity. By working on my grades, I found, among my peers, unity. And so, here I stand, Programmer by day, Bard at night. Let my words tremble With all their might.
The Scholarâ€™s Dilemma By Lucas Carvalho Houston Community College After a long day of cramming The scholar needed to unwind. His mind was tired of fact-ramming, And he had a special someone in mind. But alas! The test was in the morrow. He had to prepare, But that would cause her sorrow. He had a decision to make, But his tired mind was out of ideas to bake. He thought long and hard, Only to return to the books. It was the rational thing to do, For that test he wanted to pass through. And pass through he did.
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Silent Salute By Madeline Friend From the safety of the streetlight, ravens mock him. Crows scoff as they scavenge at his feet, strutting in their decadence. Freckle-faced boys stuck in the stuff of contest hurl manicured driveway stones at his raw patchwork face. The battered sentinel cocks his stationary head an inch to the left, amused by their antics. And from across the street, on a creaky porch set back from the road bathed in insect-filled light a veteran of arthritis, dementia, and false-teeth syndrome gives the scarecrow a silent salute.
The Prince on a Dragon By Megan O’Neal A princess sits in a tower at night Alone and lonely, no one in sight She dreams of the day when she will be saved Released from her prison, no longer a slave Every day her hope slowly faded And one day she realized she had enough She knew what she needed, she had to be tough So she took a deep breath and with all her might She jumped out the window and took flight The second she jumped she noticed she was flying Which was shocking to her because she thought she would be dying She had landed on a dragon, being flown by a man The one who came to save her from this land He laughed and said “It’s about time” “I have been waiting years for you to jump and be mine” Confused she asked “why didn’t you make yourself known?” “Well because,” he laughed “the choice was yours, yours alone” “You had to choose whether you wanted to be saved.” “And you took the leap of faith, which was very brave.” “Well now where are we going?” she asked holing on with all her might “To the stars and beyond, so hold on tight!” Together, forever they flew as one And from that moment on she knew that this was FREEDOM!!
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Enjoy the Day! By Patricia Kujawa The sun is bright, Cotton pillows against the blue, A gentle breeze with occasional flurry, The path is clear, yet harks, Two dark eyes among the tall grass Behind are four small ears that scamper away The eyes look intense as one nears Speak softly and the ears reappear, Gently pass by as not to alarm Speak softly as one goes Hope the companion on arm does not shout, The pass has been made and all is well The doe emerges and checks to and fro Slowly she crosses the path with one in tow Ah, the companion sounds the alarm, The doe stops and stares for possible harm Second to come remains behind Until a flick allows it to move Scamper now and follow the other Doe and fawns fold into the woods Companion on arm we continue our way For now, we can truly â€˜enjoy the dayâ€™
Shine By Rachel Clevenger-Gonzales University of Houston-Victoria Dedicated to Ricci Lynn My lace-bordered literature? My silver tongued script? She glows golden warm in her slumber. Deep in a rosy cocoon of fairytales, Dreaming in voiced triplets. Sonnets flicker from her laughter in the early hour. Sparkles romp as Samoyed puppies Round the playroom. Stardust trails the sleeve of her cotton nightgown. I shiver in radiance. Arpeggios thread her walnut hair across an ivory sheet, While a soprano floats her sotto voce, Flawless and regal. Wrapping silken harmonics around my skin, I warm my intentions. Winter shards shatter from my demeanor. Inspiration blooms full from the ice. Magic pours out from my fingers abundant as morning. Pale, perfect, and breathtaking. Oh, little one. Shine. Teach your mother how to shine.
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Boxes By Srishti Arora Fairleigh Dickinson University There it stands. My entire life neatly packed Arranged in boxes. Organized. Numbered. Labeled. My past, my memories being sent on an adventure of their own – They will meet me on the other side of the world, in a couple of months. Now I can reinvent myself, yet again For a new environment, new people, new culture, new country Yet again. But that day comes sooner than expected – The day when you come back and the boxes Are neatly lined up to greet you at the door White cardboard boxes grinning at me. Screaming “open me open me.” But why? Why ruin the neatly categorized, organized version of my life? Looks like a continuing game of tetris. This is the ninth battle. I hate opening boxes. The inside is always a mess. Spring 2013
Because... By Tolu Oduba Because we can start again, On broken knees, Aching below the yellow sun, Crawling to the finish line. Because we can hope again, That even in the midst of disasters, Our misplaced dreams would Find their way back into our hearts. Because we must keep on living, As though we were never shattered beyond grace.
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The Wrong Class By Zachary Campbell Temple University Sirens pierce the night, Filling the sky with their wails. Somewhere a child cries, This is his lullaby. Pain is what he knows, And that’s all he’ll get. All this because he was born, Born to the wrong class. Her lullaby is different, She lives in silence. A silence all-consuming, And demons for company. Money buys her silence, But it can’t get her peace. All this because she was born, Born to the wrong class. His father’s a taxi driver, Hers the company CEO. They seem nothing alike, But both worlds are crumbling. Ahead they see the abyss, And head on they must face it. Hand in hand they should stand, But they are separated by class. Alone they will crumble, Silently they will fall. You’ve never met them, And you never will.
“This world is but a canvas to our
imaginations.” -Henry David Thoreau
Art & Design
Allison Hildebrandt â€œCliffs of Moher at Sunsetâ€?
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Allyson Craft â€œSelf Portrait as an American Monsterâ€?
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Candra Johnson “Afghan Market”
Chelsea Rozanzki “Embrace Life”
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Christina Harvey “Lips”
Elizabeth Strattan â€œLake Pingvallavatn, Icelandâ€?
Kathryn Warrender “Reach”
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Lily Fein “The Mundane”
Nick Dial “Lonely Moon”
Samantha Wimmer “Composing Paris”
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Stella Lee “Greed”
Xavier Burgin â€œFalling Upâ€?
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Yui Suzuki Yui Suzuki “Closing Heart Into Iron” “I Am What I Am”
“You fail only if you
stop writing.” -Ray Bradbury
When the Debt Settles: A Call to Contentment By Aaron Jones After seven years of frustration and uncertainty, the time was finally here. The time when I paid off my last debt I owed to creditors. While sitting in my darkened office late that evening, I couldn’t help but feel just a little emotional. It was only a year and a half ago when I was buried up to my neck in $30,000 worth of debt and sinking. I was living in a house in Colorado Springs that I could barely afford, sitting on furniture that was paid for with a loan that I had been chipping away at for four years, in front of a computer that I charged on my credit card which was maxed out, with my head buried in the very hands that created this mess to begin with. Now, after forceably unwaivering patience, tears and sadness, personal sacrifices, begging my family and friends for financial help more times than I cared to remember, I was one simple click of the “Pay Now” button away from being debt free for the first time in my adult life. The feeling was everything I imagined it to be, at least at first. I remember sitting back in my chair, my hands intertwined comfortably behind my head, and taking a deep breath for what seemed like the first time in months. It was over. But as with most things in life, I achieved what I considered to be a tremendous success and the internal elation was quickly replaced by the next objective I had lined up for myself. Looking at my freshly depleted bank account, I felt that familiar fear and uncertainty start to rise again. “What do I do now?” I remember thinking to myself. “Do I save? Invest? Do I try to repay my family and friends who were there for me during my darkest financial times?” Joy turned to inquisition, relief turned into impatience and longing for even more. I acknowledged this within myself almost right away, “This is a time for you to be happy,” I thought to myself, “why do you insist on beating yourself down in the midst of success?” But the pessimist in me continued to take root. Sure, I had accomplished a great thing. But it was only a fraction of my overall goal of financial independence. And there was the underlying thought process that even though I was no longer indebted to Spring 2013
creditors, I was still indebted to everyone who helped me get out of that place. Contrary to everything that I considered rational, I didn’t sleep very well that night. The lesson wouldn’t come until several days later, when my wife asked me how my debt conquest was going. With very little emphasis, I told her that I paid off my last debt a few days before. So little emphasis in fact, that it prompted her to ask me if I was even being serious. “Yes,” I replied, “I finally did it.” It was at that moment, somewhere between hearing the words come out of my mouth and seeing her face light up with pride, that I felt like I was waking from a trance. The truth was, I really did do it. Seven years of struggles and anxiety, gone in an instant. I was more financially independent now than I ever had been before. It didn’t matter if I chose to save, invest, or just let it sit there, the simple fact was that I could do whatever I wanted without concerns about how much to pay on this credit card, or how I would make the minimum payment on that loan. I was free. Since then, my savings account has been growing exponentially, and I am beginning to invest my surplus into both mutual funds and the stock market . Instead of facing this new reality with too much eagerness or conceit, I have rather chosen to simply enjoy life while I still have it. Having money is necessary to survive in this economically-driven world, but it truly isn’t everything. It’s only a fraction of my new overall goal – finding happiness exactly where I am.
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Blind by Sight By Alex Sammartino The shrieking alarm forced his eyes open. Despite his receded eyelids, he looked into ubiquitous darkness. After three anxious blinks, light began to permeate the previously opaque blackness. The light increased from what remained of his right field of vision. Is this for the stairway I am to climb or the bright sign for the elevator I am to take down, he wondered. His assumptions proved incorrect. With each scream of an alarm desperate for attention, he was able to discern more of the figures that compose his room. Once only a few black holes remained in the room, he gave the alarm the reassuring pat on the back it had waited since yesterday for; it immediately quieted, content with the compliment it had received the alarm knew it would make it through another twenty four hours. Raphael could not say the same about his vision. For the past six years doctors told him it would be day to day. He had the option to undergo surgery, but it certainly had a downside. The operation would either be a success, which meant his vision would be sharper than before the accident, or a failure, causing immediate blindness. Initially, Raphael decided if he was to loose his vision it would be on his own time, so he eschewed from surgery. However, the uncertainty of when he would lose his sight got the best of him. After a six year fight, the ambivalence time brought was the deciding factor. Raphael picked up the phone and told it to tell the doctor he was ready to go under. His surgery was scheduled for tomorrow. In the past, Raphael told the members of his family countless times that if he went blind he would kill himself. This was a difficult statement for his eleven year old daughter and eight year old son during their quotidian fast food dinners they ate in front of a television, which Raphael felt was never big enough, to handle. Neither comprehended what their father was saying; from the way their motherâ€™s head dropped as if reading her thighs they knew it must be bad. Spring 2013
The brusque man was infamous for his lugubrious comments. He had a sixth sense, as most of his species does, to locate possible negative aspects in everything he saw and constantly remind whoever was around about them. As he sat upright in his bed and looked around, he wished someone was awake to hear his complaints. He perused his sleeping wife’s figure. Should I wake her, he thought. He proceeded to cough a series of heaping woofs, hoping he might have someone to join him in misery. The dejected prefer company. To his dismay, she snorted and rolled to her opposite shoulder. Bored, alone, and dreading work, Raphael made his regular walk to the only window he looked from in his room. He pulled back drapes that he once compared to used sheets, and gazed at landscape from his second story window. Camels composed of rock lied alongside each other, exhausted from the torrid climate. Their jagged humps provided privacy from onlookers as the blue sky met the hot ground for their morning kiss. The sun peered over a camel’s hump to catch a glimpse of the action. “Why does it have to be so damn bright this early?” Raphael asked the window. The window gave a transparent gaze back saying, “how am I supposed to know.” Nothing was irregular as Raphael ate his bowl of cereal that morning; his head down, only rising up for a derisive comment, the other family members looking on in silence. When he finished his breakfast he looked up at his offspring and legally bound partner to give his version of daily words of encouragement. “Madeline, what is that stuff around your eyes? You look like you got beat up by a clown. Oh, don’t forget I need you to TiVo the game for me tonight, it starts at five. I can’t wait to see them lose, I just know they are gonna blow it. And Madeline, for the last time, I hate when you put sugar on my cereal. How many times do I have to tell you that? After eight years of marriage you’d think you’d know by now.” Madeline ate oatmeal in silence, not acknowledging her indignant spouse that had a similar complaint every morning. At this point in their relationship, she put sugar on his cereal every other day; giving him an opportunity to complain to prevent stress searching for another object that upset him. Love knows no limits. Raphael then spilt an entire glass of water while he yelled asking why someone would give him an empty glass when he is in a rush. He continued, “Thomas, what are you wearing? You look like some derelict. Madeline! The hands on the clock are stuck again. When are you going to get that fixed?”
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Before Madeline could rejoin, Raphael was nearly out the door; slowing down to curse it for being too heavy. When the remaining members of the Borgnino family heard the door close, Thomas looked at his mother and said: “These Frosted Flakes suck mom. I told you I wanted Fruit Loops. What gives?” Madeline began to search for words in the middle of her quadriceps. Today is going to suck, she thought to herself. “This sucks”, Raphael said after looking at the schedule on his desk. The work for today was similar to yesterday, and the day before yesterday, and the day before the day before yesterday. If Raphael was not getting surgery tomorrow, it is safe to say it would be eerily similar to the rest. Appraising antiques for a used furniture store can be monotonous. Raphael is the store’s leading appraiser. His colleagues revere him for his fastidious eye, capable of finding an object’s non existent fault. The majority of the antiques are brought in pristine condition, but the censorious Raphael always finds a way to convince the owners to settle on a diminished value for their product. This allows the store to buy antiques for less and sell them for a much higher price. Raphael is a hell of a entrepreneur. He had three appointments today, all for clocks. The three appointments were much later in the day, so he went to chat with his fellow employees at the water cooler, although they discussed nothing currently happening. “Did you see that wide receiver drop the ball?” Ryan asked Steve, Craig, and Raphael. It was now Thursday, Ryan was referring to a football game played the previous Sunday; the same topic arose throughout each previous day’s discourse. “Boy, his teammates must want him dead.” Raphael chimed in, reiterating this comment for the third time in two days. The other men became completely silent; one even stopped texting to hear the rest of what Raphael was saying. “How can you be considered a professional and make such a stupid mistake? I would never drop a ball like that. Back in my day, I used to snatch those things out of the air. If I didn’t get hurt I’d be playing in the pros right now, ask anyone.” “Didn’t you play on the line in high school?” “No, Craig! I played tight end, I’m on the line but they throw me the ball. Damn you’re stupid.” Everyone except Craig found that comment hilarious. Craig was extremely sensitive to the word, which stemmed from his childhood where his father beat him for being “stupid,” and Spring 2013
was inclined to slip into deep depressions when he was now referred to as such. But, none of his friends knew this. In fear of being left out, Craig let out a laugh that drowned out the others. After a successful day at work, Raphael returned home. The remainder of his night consisted of consuming a Big Mac with fries, watching the football game with his son, who he reminded myriad times that he could catch better than anyone on that field and if he hadn’t suffered an injury would be playing now, telling Madeline to drive him to the hospital in the morning and pick him up, and climbing into bed to sleep before surgery. He fell into a deep sleep with ease, worn out from the day’s endeavors. During this night’s sleep, Raphael had a dream that changed his life. In this dream, a bass voice that made his bed rumble woke him. The voice continually shouted his name, but he saw nothing. A brick wall of blackness was erected. Raphael thought he was blind. “Who’s there?” He called out quizzically. “I-I cant see”. “That’s a problem Raphael”, the voice responded. “Wh-what do you mean? There was an accident. I’m getting surgery. I’m--” “When’s the last time you really looked at something?” the voice interjected. “Well, I watched the game tonight with my boy. I examined three clocks today at work. So--” “When’s the last time you looked into your children’s faces?” the voice asked. “What color are your wife’s eyes?” “Uh, well, they--” “I will spare you any further embarrassment and move on. Your anger has created a veil making you unable to see. While you can see the outline of a figure, you fill its substance with your own insecurities. Your vision is empty; you are already blind.” “Wh-who are you?” “For the sake of time, call me Lucius. I came to tell you, Raphael, that he was very mean to you in the past, but you must let go of your odious feelings towards him. If you let go of the past you will see in the future.”
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“Wh-what do you mean. Who was? I can see--” “They can’t hurt you anymore, its okay. Don’t punish those who are present for a past they had no involvement in. Raphael, if you remove this veil, you will see everything completely different. If you let go of what hurts, you could see something, like me, for example.” Raphael felt himself gasping for air. His chest began to distend; it felt like he was being resuscitated. The pain subsided. He could breathe better than he ever remembered being able to. It was as if fallen bricks were removed from his chest cavity. His eyes opened wider than he ever knew possible; he worried they would sprint out of their sockets. He felt the skin on his face soften. Suddenly, beams of light percolated the blackness like water thru a broken dam. Raphael could see a figure’s silhouette. Colossal wings capable of making a pterodactyl shudder extended from each of its sides. The light was unveiling the figure to him. “Beep! Beep! Beep!” Raphael’s eyelids ripped open so fast they suffered whiplash. He looked at his alarm. He hugged the black rectangular prism until it quieted. He stood from his bed and looked onto his wife. Hair the color of golden hay was losing a battle to uncertainty’s grayness on her head, her face full of wrinkles that Raphael had watched form. She slowly opened her fleshy lids, exposing blue irises like fresh denim. She is so beautiful, Raphael thought. He dashed to the window opposite his usual viewing point, and slid back vermilion drapes. He looked onto rock formations as rigid as shark’s teeth, cactuses waving hello, sycamore bark that remained in the dark from its thick head of leaves, a clear sky free of clouds but holding a few quail, and non indigenous palm trees that made their way out to join the desert’s circus; their beauty too much to not be deliberate. Raphael looked at the sun, perched on a mountain’s acme; the glowing orb was the light bulb feeding life in the seeming desolate desert. His eyes, overwhelmed by the sight, dripped like an overturned bottle’s last drops. At breakfast, Raphael rejoiced about how full his glass of water was. On the way to the hospital, his family baffled by his attitude, he pointed out the desert’s unique features. Both children could not understand why they accompanied their father to the hospital instead of going to school, but neither complained. They watched as their father checked in, and was moved to a bed prior to surgery. When the clock approached the time set for surgery, Raphael engaged in his daily words of encouragement.
He first took Thomas by the face, his hands on each cheek as if his head was a steering wheel, and told the boy: “I can’t wait to see you after surgery. To see your blue eyes, like your mother’s, and your happy face. I’m so sorry for never seeing you, a boy who wants to be just like his father, before now. I’m going to be a better man for both of us. Leah”, he now grabbed his daughter, “I say the same to you. You, just like your mother, are a woman who loves but forgets she deserves love too. For you, I will be better too. And Madeline, my Madeline.” Raphael took his wife by the hands from his bed. The other patients and doctors looked on in silence. “I’m looking at the same woman I met seventeen years ago; one whose oversized heart gives her chest pain, the one who loved me unconditionally even though she never should have. I see now what I was blind to before. That it’s always been me that’s so lucky to have you. I love you more now that I can see you, and after this surgery, I’m gonna see everything. I promise”. After a kiss wetter than a salivating dog’s mouth, Raphael was wheeled into surgery. Under anesthesia, the figure that spoke to Raphael in his dream reappeared. He was obfuscated when the darkness lastly faded from its face, revealing familiar features. The figure was Raphael; it had the same eyes, mouth, aquiline nose, tiny ears, and hair that ran away from his forehead. It did not speak, but stood with the Borgnino family and waved. When he woke, light struck him so sharply he thought it had broken his nose. He looked to his left and smiled at Leah, Madeline, and Thomas. Their incandescent figures waved and smiled back. The children hugged their father, but Madeline remained talking to the doctor. The doctor slowly turned towards him. “As I just finished telling your wife, we did everything we could, but we were not able to save your vision. On the contrary, your eyes appear fine physically. But, you are blind.” “ Doc, ha-ha what do you mean?” Raphael chuckled. “You say I’m blind, but I can really see. I tell ya, I can really see.” Raphael was restrained as he began ripping at his IV. The doctor turned to Madeline and told her like most people who loose their vision, he was experiencing mild insanity and denial.
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Doormat By Archana Sareen University of Texas at Arlington I’ve always been a non-confrontational person. I’ve never been the one to go off the handle and scream in someone’s face no matter what they’ve done to me. That’s always been more of Brianna’s job. She’s always been one of my fiercest defenders, more so than even my parents. We first met when we were four. Our parents had taken us to the playground in the nearby park, and Brianna and I met while playing in the sandbox. Even then, I was pretty shy; I didn’t feel comfortable asking her to play with me; so, we were each playing by ourselves. I had this cherry red bucket with a sunshine yellow shovel that my parents had gotten for me the day before. There was a six-year old boy named Keenan who was in the same school as me. Even in school, he was the playground bully. He stomped up to me and said, “Give me your toys.” I clutched my toys tightly to my chest. Turning red in the face with anger, he reached forward to snatch my toys out of my hands. Brianna, who had at the same time been watching Keenan carefully, darted forward and shoved him away from me. “Leave her ‘lone,” she demanded. “No!” he yelled stomping forward again, but Brianna was too quick for him and she speedily shoved him again, but this time, her shove was so forceful that she ended up shoving him clear out of the sandbox. At first, he lay on the ground, stunned from the fall, but once the fall registered in his mind, he got up and ran away crying. Brianna sat down close to me while glaring after Keenan. I shyly offered her the shovel to play with. She smiled at me, and we began to play together, cementing our longstanding friendship. She has always been the protector of the two of us. The second anyone even looked at one of us wrong, she was ready to fight in an instant. I Spring 2013
was the quiet one, quick to smooth things over when it looked like Brianna’s protectiveness and fighter personality were going to get her into trouble. I was the first one to brave Brianna’s temper and keep her from doing anything too extreme or from fighting too much. Brianna liked to joke and say that I was her version of Jiminy Cricket. Brianna was the one to comfort me when David Thomas stood me up for our date, which was supposed to be my first. She was also the one to break his nose Monday morning before school started. She was the first one to threaten Damien Calloway (my first boyfriend) because in her words, “He may be a friend, but you’re my best friend, and you’ll always come first.” She was also the one to hold me while I cried when at sixteen, I suffered a double blow when Damien left me and I learned that I had cancer. It’s been about 2 years since I was diagnosed, and it’s been a year since I went into remission. I’m eighteen now, and Brianna’s been insisting on giving me lessons on not being a doormat. Doormat lesson number one: When someone says something or does something you don’t like, stare them down, don’t be the first to look away. Doormat lesson number two: Stand your ground, don’t be the one to back off even if the situation gets heated. Doormat lesson number three: Fight back. You don’t have to punch someone in the face to fight them-you can verbally fight back too. She also signed me up for defense lessons too because she said, “It’s high time that you stop being a doormat and letting people wipe their feet on you. Instead, these lessons will help protect you from being pushed around.” Instead of arguing, I just smiled and quietly said, “Thanks.” Because what else can you say when someone does all that just because they’re looking out for you? At school, the first day of senior year, Brianna came running up to me in the hallway. “Here,” Brianna handed me a printout, “I typed up my Doormat Lessons, just in case you forget them.” I laughed and put it away in my backpack, “I don’t think that I’ll ever forget those lessons after you practically seared them into my brain, but thanks anyway.” Brianna grinned, “You’re welcome.”
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“I can’t believe we’re seniors!” I squealed happily, hugging her from the side. Her smile grew wider, “I know, right?” Then Brianna caught sight of something that made her smile slide away instantly. I looked around trying to spot what she was looking at that was making her scowl, when I spotted Damien. After I was diagnosed, Damien took off and left me in the dust. This is the first time that I’ve seen him in two years. “Maybe if we leave fast, we can get away before he sees us,” I whispered to Brianna, but it was too late. He saw us, and he made his way over. “Hey Bri, hey Rory!” he greeted us. Neither of us bothered to respond. His smile faded, “Now girls, don’t be like that,” he began, but he stopped when Bri growled at him. He turned to me instead, thinking that I would be easier to talk to. “Rory, I know that things went wrong between us, but I’d love to start over with you. Let me pick you up for a date this Friday.” “No,” I said firmly. “I can pick you up at 7,” he continued, not even registering that I said no. “NO!” I said again, loudly and firmly. He looked at me with wide eyes, “What?” “When the doctor first told me that I had cancer you bolted. You took the car, and you left me at the hospital by myself after I had heard earthshattering news. You left me there to deal with it by myself. I had to get a cab home when all I wanted was for someone to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be okay, and I know that that isn’t something you could promise, and that it’d most likely be a lie, but I needed to hear it anyway. If you had apologized then it would’ve meant something because I knew that you were scared, I was too, but you didn’t come back. You took off with your friends and traveled around the world while I was stuck in a hospital bed dying. I found out from your blog that you were seeing other girls. You didn’t even have the guts to break up with me before seeing, no sorry, I meant sleeping with other girls. While I Spring 2013
was puking my guts out from chemo, or getting surgery because I got a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop, or when I couldn’t eat or swallow without agony because my radiation therapy left me with burns in my throat, you were gallivanting across the world without a care.” I took a deep breath then continued, “Now, you decide to come back, why? You haven’t even apologized, and you want me to take you back? You know what? You’re an ass. I get that you were scared, but I was too, and I needed you. We were friends before you became my boyfriend, and even if you couldn’t be with me as my boyfriend I still thought that you’d be there for me as my friend. Honestly, there’s nothing that you could say to make this better because it won’t change the fact that you ran away when I really, really needed you. Leave me alone Damien; just leave me alone,” I told him brokenly. Brianna grabbed my hand and squeezed it comfortingly. “Rory-” he began. “Don’t. I mean it. Don’t say anything because a long time ago you could’ve said sorry and things would have been okay, but not now. Even if I did take you back what would happen if my cancer came back? Chemotherapy and radiation therapy aren’t cure-alls for cancer. There’s no guarantee that it’ll be gone forever. It could never come back, but I could get it years from now, or worse, I could get it next month. What’ll happen then? Could you handle it?” I asked as I looked at him searchingly. “No, I don’t think that you could. Honestly, I don’t know if I can even give you that chance. I’ve been hurt so many times, and I don’t want to let you back in my life when I know that it’s just going to end in heartbreak. I don’t want you in my life, not as a boyfriend and not as a friend because you were pretty crappy at playing both of those roles. I need people in my life who are going to be there.” “Rory, I love you,” he said desperately. “If you ever loved me you’ll leave me alone.” I replied quietly. “Rory,” he tried again to say. Brianna let go of my hand and stood in front of Damien. “Didn’t you hear her? She said get lost!” Brianna yelled into Damien’s face. “She doesn’t want you here, and she doesn’t want you period. If you don’t take yourself out of this picture you’re going to get taken out of this picture, do you understand me?” She leaned back and crossed her arms while glaring at him. He looked from Brianna to me a few times before he
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turned around and walked away. That crowd of people that always seems to gather whenever life gets remotely exciting dispersed, leaving Brianna and me to stand alone in the hallway. She looked at me then slowly smiled. I looked at her oddly, “What?” I asked. “I guess you don’t need those doormat lessons anymore. In fact, I’d say that you passed with flying colors,” she said, laughing a little. I slowly smiled too, “I think that I did great too.” I elbowed her gently in the side, “It’s all thanks to my teacher.” “Why thank you, thank you very much,” she bowed gracefully. We both laughed, linked arms, and then we walked toward our next class, ready to start what seemed like would be a good senior year.
Ephemeral Life By Archana Sareen University of Texas at Arlington It seems like yesterday that I met a woman outside of the Arlington DPS office. Dad and I were there because my sister was taking her first driving license test. I never did find out what that woman’s name was even though we had been talking for quite some time. The woman was maybe a little taller than me with hair that was what I think was a light strawberry blonde. She was wearing big sunglasses for the most part, but when she took off her sunglasses to clean them I saw that her eyes were tiny, blue-colored eyes. She had very pale skin, which makes sense considering what she told me later on. The first thing she said to me was, “Wow, you’re tiny!” I blushed a little and awkwardly said, “Thank you,” then smiled at her. She started telling me about how she can’t be out in the sun for very long, and she said that she can’t be standing for very long either so that’s why she took her blue chair (the outdoorsy type you use during camping) and set it up underneath the tree Dad and I were standing under to get away from sun’s glare. She guessed that I was older than I looked because she asked me if I was old enough to drive, and of course, I said yes. She asked me, “Do you get mistaken for 11 or 12 a lot? “Yes,” I replied again. “The reason you look so young is because you’re so tiny, but that will be a good thing when you’re older,” she reassured me. Then she asked me, “Are you sixteen?” I said, “No. I’m nineteen.”
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She said, “Gosh honey, I’m so sorry,” because she felt badly for assuming that I was younger than I actually was. “So, you’re in your second year of college?” “Yeah,” I replied. “What’s your major?” “I’m majoring in business.” “Very good!” she said with a pleased smile. “I majored in business too.” I can’t remember the exact order we talked about everything in, but we talked quite a bit to each other so that doesn’t surprise me. She told me that she had cancer in her spleen and in her liver, which is why she can’t be out in the sun and standing for so long. It’s funny how you can talk to people you’ve known for forever and not really connect with them, but you can meet someone once and find a kindred spirit within them. We talked about many topics during our short conversation. She told me about her sons. She mentioned that one of her sons dropped out of college. She told me about her sister who is in forties, but she still wants to have another kid. We both agreed that forty is a little too old for another child because of the complications that can occur. We had a lot in common actually, which is part of the reason why it was so easy to talk to her. We both agreed that television shows aren’t what they used to be. We both don’t like a lot of vulgarity in shows we watch on T.V. or watch in the movies, but it wasn’t until near the end of our conversation that she told me that before she was told she only had two to five years left, she didn’t talk much at all. Then she joked around and said that now her husband wishes she would shut up once in a while. She told me that the most she got out these days is for her fourteen doctors’ visits, and she’d be so bored if she never talked to anyone. In that moment I thought to myself, here’s a woman who is so bubbly and light, who managed to brighten up my day just through a simple conversation, and I was sad that a woman like her wouldn’t be around for very long because of her cancer. Yet, what struck me the most was that she didn’t start opening up and really living her life until she didn’t a whole lot of life left for herself, and I thought to myself that I don’t want to wait until my days are numbered to live my life. I don’t want to keep myself in a cocoon for so long that when I’m finally released I can’t enjoy Spring 2013
it as much because in a heartbeat itâ€™ll be gone. This one conversation with this nameless woman helped spark my determination to break free from the safety of my cocoon and spread my wings, taking each day as it comes and jumping on every opportunity because you never know when your life will end.
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She By Ayanna McFarland “Give me your money.” The masked face approaching her said. She was lost in the sounds of John Coltrane’s Soul Eyes, suspended in a moment of bliss, and had forgotten. She had forgotten that she lived in a world that surrounded her choked her of all happiness because she did not deserve it. If she did, then she would not have been born into the concrete conflagrations of hell. She is force fed pain and scarcity, and in a split second that musical notes drop on her ear drums in the form of happiness, She has it threatened. “Give me your money!” The masked face man screamed, hovering close enough for her to smell his clothes. She thought that it had such a distinct smell; the smell of his home. She laughed for a second, imagining the dark hole he may call home or apartment. The odor of moth balls and dinginess filled his immediate air. Not a dirty smell, but one found frequently in the ghettos where several children occupy a small living space and a single parent is too busy to clean continuously. She does not look at him while she thinks. She does not have to. She knows his life without knowing his story. “Give me your money! Don’t you hear me?” He presses, grabbing her arm with urgency. She removes one of her ear pieces with the sound of Coltrane still humming in her left ear and finally looks up. “No,” She said. “What did you just say?” he spat back, irritated and confused. “You want the dollar fifty cents that I have left? After the government takes, my family takes, my church takes. You want the dollar fifty cents I Spring 2013
got? No.” With that, She replaced her earpiece and continued to walk. Her short legs did not travel far before the 5’11 limbs of the masked man caught up. He pounced on her, for a split second thinking of taking more than just her money. Then he thought of his mother and the hormone driven possibilities disappeared. He put the 44 caliber pistol to her chest as he admired her body. In other circumstances, he would’ve loved to have pursued her. Refocusing, he asked, “Now, I know you have more than a dollar fifty. Is the little money you got worth your life?” “Is it worth your soul?” she asked, staring intently at the road. Chills ran through his body. The masked man had never had a job so difficult. If he didn’t get the money soon, he would surely be caught and arrested. Even worse, he would be unable to pay his debt. “Give me the money! Now!” He cocked back his pistol and waited. He needed this money. If he did not pay, he didn’t know what would happen to him, or more importantly, his family. She moved her hand to her back pocket and took something out. “You know, it used to be a time,” “Shut up! I don’t need to hear your story.” He grabbed at her hand, but she moved it under her. “There used to be a time that I would tell you that you would have to take my property from me. But I’m tired. I see that gets you nowhere. To fight gets you nowhere. So I ain’t giving you nothing. And you won’t take nothing from me. It’s mine.” “You have five seconds. Five!” She took a deep breath. Since he had tackled her, she had watched the road. Not for a savior, because none of those existed on 40th and V. She wondered how her name would look in the news, in an obscure corner on page 9- her only shot at fame. She wondered how her blood would look
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plastered on the ground. Would her blood grow roses from the concrete? “Four! ” The masked man’s hand shook. He had never killed a person before. He had never met a woman so strong, besides his mother. That strength is only found in the mothers of his world, who are hardened to hurt and despair. For that moment, he felt for her children if she had any. “Three! You got kids, lady? Don’t you want to see them?” She shrugged the best she could under his massive weight. “It ain’t nothing left here.” She finally looked from the road into his eyes. In those moments that they shared, he felt her stare into his soul. He saw only an abyss where it seemed that nothing ever existed. Those black holes held on to no hope, no compassion, nothing. “Why you keep counting? Just pull the trigger. It ain’t nothing left.” She moved him. Something in his heart jumped. He, a petty thief had more life than She. She had nothing but beauty. A tear formed in the corner of his eye that fell onto her chest. She watched the tear fall as she gazed dispassionately into his eyes. She laughed, an empty, hard laugh. John Coltrane had finally stopped playing. He closed his eyes and tightened the grip on his pistol … “One!” He pulled the trigger and felt the impact. His hands shook uncontrollably. He was afraid to face the carnage that lay below him. Opening his eyes, he still saw hers locked intently on him. Her lifeless eyes were forever stuck staring at him, until she blinked. He quickly jumped off of She, all at once remembering that the gun was never loaded. “God saved you. God save your soul.” Something within him whispered. He ran into the back alley by the carry out on the corner and peaked out to watch her. She, lying on the concrete sighed, readjusted herself and got up. For a split second she revealed what was in her hand while putting in her back pocket. It was a sheet of paper. She rubbed her stomach, Spring 2013
smiling. “Nobody will ever take anything away from us. You’re mine.” She pressed play and again fell into a melodic ecstasy between She and John Coltrane, but this time she remembered. This time she didn’t care.
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The Lightning Storm By Bailey Gordon Western Washington University In the middle of the night, nothing brought more relief than when the fan finally pointed in my direction. The little blast of air was a welcoming reprieve for us poor souls without air conditioning. Oh, how we suffer... It was barely ten o’clock. I was in a t-shirt and shorts lying in bed without any sheets on, and I was drenched in sweat. I rolled over and pressed myself against the wall, hoping to absorb some degree of coolness. “Bailey?” My eyes cracked open. “What?” I whispered venomously. “Bailey, look out the window.” I turned over to face my sister in the opposite bed. I couldn’t see her face until a flash of light illuminated the room. A few seconds later, a low rumble rolled over our heads. I sat up in bed and pushed aside the window curtains. Sweet, cool air met my face as I looked outside. My grandparents’ front yard was relatively clear, save for a few trees at the house across the street. Looking upwards, I could see enormous, black thunderheads leering above. My eyes searched for a patch of clear sky, but the stars were hidden from everyone in this heat-struck town. “Move over, I can’t see.” “Karly, it’s too hot,” I whispered, “watch from your own side.” “Too late,” she said, and squished herself next to me at the end of my bed. I sighed and made room for her. She was just as sweaty as I was. We looked up at the dark sky until we saw a streak of light dart across the clouds. “Whoa,” we both whispered. Back at home, lightning storms were a rarSpring 2013
ity; the conditions were never right or there were too many trees in the way. This was the first time we had seen a real lightning strike. A few seconds went by before another burst of light jumped from one cloud to its neighbor. This time, we could see the classic zigzag shape before it disappeared. Almost immediately, another strike of lightning burst overhead. “This is so cool,” whispered Karly. We both inched closer to the windowsill to get a better view. Suddenly, a lightning bolt touched down right in front of the neighbor’s yard. The light branded into my eyes and for a few seconds, all I could see was the image of the strike. I rubbed my eyes, until I could see again. Karly did as well, giggling quietly. “Did you go blind too?” she asked. “Yeah,” I said, relieved when my sight finally came back. “Isn’t it weird that there’s no thunder? Do you think we went deaf too?” I rolled my eyes. We sat silently and continued to watch our private lightning show. Sometimes we could see distinct streaks and then times where all we could see was the silhouette of the clouds. The strikes didn’t stop – there was always one every few seconds in our sight. “This is just like Zeus from Hercules,” I said, not taking my eyes off our “screen.” Karly smirked and glanced sideways at me. “Who put the ‘glad’ in gladiator?” she sang. “HERC-ules...” I sang back. I grinned as I remembered our favorite movie from when we were young. We used to romp together on the floor with pillows, blankets, and popcorn and watch one of our Disney films for the umpteenth time. I could still remember all the lyrics and lines... A part of me twinged over that. This was probably the first time in months Karly and I had done something special together. When I left for college last September, we were forced to do the impossible: live without the other. Every other day we called, but it wasn’t the same. No
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matter how many hours we spoke or texts we sent, it didn’t feel right. I needed to be near her – she was other half. She still is my other half. The clouds shifted and a small patch of sky could be seen nestled among the blackness. We watched the bolts of light bounce off the clouds as they slowly moved away toward the hills. “When I have my own house, I’m going to put a lightning rod on it,” declared Karly. “A lightning rod?” I asked. “What, so you can be Dr. Frankenstein?” “No,” she said, impatiently, “to look cool. I’m going to have a Victorian house with a revolving bookcase, a slide, and a secret Batcave.” I smirked. “Anything else?” “Oh, and a teacup pig.” I laughed at that. For the longest time, Karly had always wanted a pig. “So, will I get to visit you in your lovely mansion, Master Wayne?” Karly turned toward me with a serious expression. “Dude, you’re living me. End of story.” “Oh, really?” “Yeah,” she said. “I’ll let you live in my basement with my butler. We can grow old and wrinkly together.” I smiled. Even if they could never happen, it was nice to pretend about our future – making grand plans as if we were kids again to avoid reality for just a bit. “Deal,” I said. After some time, the perspiration from our legs began to bond; meaning it was time to get off my bed so we could both sweat to death in peace. We were sleepy and stupid from the stuffy room. It was past midnight; we had been watching the lightning storm for several hours. I closed the curtains and lay on top of my sheets. Every once in a while, Spring 2013
the window would flash and light up the room. I smiled and engrained the memory of the storm in my mind. Something about seeing my first lightning strike and believing in the silly dreams we had made me feel warm and happy. I never wanted to forget that feeling. I glanced over at Karly, who was already curled up on her bed. I couldn’t tell if she was asleep over not. I rolled over again and faced the window with a smile on my face. “Goodnight, Karly.”
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Glimpse By Candice Lawrence Columbus State University My grandmother sat on the porch in her rocking chair, looking more asleep than awake with her thin, crinkled eyelids sagging into her bottom lashes. It was chilly that night. As usual, Grandmother was swaddled in three or four blankets while I used Mother’s arms to shield my five-yearold self from the cool North Carolina night air. Mother sat out in the yard with me folded into her lap, plucking strands of grass. I leaned my head against her long, warm neck, feeling her throat vibrate while she and Grandmother hummed. As their chant grew softer, my restlessness faded away. Mother began whispering a story passed down to her when she was five. She told me stars were angels. “Anidawehi,” she translated. She said they’d follow me, guide me through life’s darkest nights, and when the clouds, lights, and sunshine became too blinding for my weak eyes to see, I had to have faith to believe they were still there. Even though I had never heard this story, I had heard Grandmother tell me something similar to the angels Mother was describing. I thought she called them yunwi tsunsdi’. “Like the little people, Unitsi?” I asked Mother. “Precisely,” she answered. “Except if you anger or upset yunwi tsunsdi’, their evil side will surface. You must always be cautious of that, Ayoli. Have faith and you’ll always be protected.” “Don’t forget to tell her about the svnoyi ehi nydo, Winona,” Grandma chimed. “Ah, yes, the moon,” Mother said. “Sometimes when your faith is too weak and the lights are too dark, you have to rely on the moon. In those times, all of the angels combine together to form a full moon. Sometimes the clouds seem to overtake the moon, but they can never permaSpring 2013
nently block the light.” I squirmed farther into my mother’s arms as she pointed to the glowing sphere surrounded by the angelic creatures, and the clouds backing away like cowards from the angels and the sphere. The only sounds were my mother’s heart beating against my ear and Grandmother rocking away. When I turned five, Grandmother said that she passed her sight onto me and that’s why I had to be her eyes. That night, I started to see and feel things far beyond what I was expected. That, too, was a family trait, or so I’ve heard since then. In our tribe, once one had fully grasped their faith they didn’t need to look for the stars or the moon because they already believed in their existence, even on the cloudiest of nights, on the lightest of days. Those who had become experts didn’t see what the rest of us saw. They just knew. That night Mother was halfway there, balancing between unstable and unwavering faith. She could almost see what Grandmother saw. Almost. “Ayoli,” my grandmother called out to me in Cherokee, “Take me inside.” “Yes, Ulisi.” Grandmother didn’t like to be approached in silence; she said it sent her bad vibes. I had wondered if it was really because it frightened her or if she thought it was rude. I placed my small hand into Grandmother’s extended, cold palm. She shifted her weight from the chair onto my shoulder. Her long black and silver hair waved down her arched back to her hips and spread to cover her short, round body as she stood. I led her inside our small house, holding her hand while she felt along the walls, fingering Grandpa’s prize hides to get her bearings. We stopped at the third deerskin—the one most worn away by Grandmother’s fingerprints. “We’re here, Ulisi,” I said, settling her in her favorite chair and re-wrapping her in blankets before going back outside to my mother. I’d started mindlessly fidgeting with the grass again. Mother combed through my hair with her fingers occasionally slipping in deep enough to gently message my scalp. I tilted my head in her lap to see her face. She smiled. The height of her cheekbones under the moon’s silvery light cast a shadow on her skin’s red undertone. Her hair was a cascading stream
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of blackness flowing past her shoulders. As I looked up, it seemed like the stars where dancing around her in the distant sky. No matter how much I tried to hide from it, the sleeping winds finally crept around me. The winds came for me as if I was its prey, and it, my hunter. I closed my eyes. I’d barely drowned in unconsciousness when it happened. Mother’s body tensed instinctively as mine did. I also heard it: a coyote. Mother tried to hide the fear that now echoed from my eyes. Coyotes weren’t good omens around here. They were normally warnings to be cautious, wary, and suspicious; but the last few times someone in our village had spotted a coyote, one of our members disappeared. Since then, we all agreed to alert each other of any signs of coyotes. Mother’s face had exchanged its warmth for a look of poorly subdued panic. Within seconds, we were inside our house. Mother and Grandmother hurriedly discussed what should be done. “I will go,” Mother told her bravely, but her voice didn’t match her troubled face. I tugged on her hand, silently pleading with her. “Ayoli,” Grandmother called out from her chair. My jaw trembled; I managed a nearly inaudible, “Y-y-yes?” She turned her leathery face towards the sound of my voice then spoke, “Anagisdi gvdodi nasgi ageyv.” She’d said go with her. I didn’t understand. She explained that she wouldn’t be able to keep pace with us and that Mother couldn’t go by herself. And that I had to have faith and use her eyes now. I cried against my mother’s arms as we left Grandmother. “May the stars guide you,” Grandmother added in a strange voice. She didn’t sound afraid; but, I couldn’t see why. Mother and I made our way to the village, stopping every now and then to judge the coyote’s whereabouts in relation to its howling. It was at Spring 2013
the edge of the village. By now, the clouds had covered the moon and I could barely see. I squeezed my mother’s hand for reassurance and prayed to the stars to keep us safe. I thought of Mother’s story; remembering that my faith and the angels would be enough protection for the both of us. I caught Mother’s eyes as they returned from glancing at the stars, she must have been praying as well. I stumbled often as we ran. Each time I tripped over tree roots, my grip on Mother’s palm loosened until I was empty handed. Frantically, I searched for her grasp but I only found my fingers intertwined with chilled air. “Unitsi?” My body ached with adrenaline as I listened for Mother to answer. “Unitsi?” The only answer was Mother Nature blowing in my ear, followed by distant howling. I was never allowed to be alone in the woods, especially at night. Somehow, my tears found the moisture to replenish themselves as they made their way from my eyes to my inherited cheekbones to the ground, where the dirt greedily sucked them away. Pray. A voice chimed against the wind. I obeyed. The voice sounded familiar but I couldn’t tell who it belonged to over the sharp sounds of my heartbeat pounding through my body. Believe. I couldn’t understand what it was I was supposed to believe in; but I remembered Mother promised I would always be protected if I had faith. I believed that. Look. I looked upwards. I could see through the treetops again. There were thousands of small, bluish specks of twinkling light falling from the sky. As they drifted closer to the ground, I saw small faces, arms, legs. Undoubtedly, these were the creatures Grandmother told me about—except they had wings like angels. One hovered a few inches from my eyes; she was the one who had spoken to me, I recognized her voice as she instructed me to run. Hundreds of the angelic little people came together, forming a moving ball of light. I followed, trusting that they’d lead me to safety and protect my mother as well. I reached out to touch my guides, but the wind from my finger’s movement pushed the dainty ball forward. I ran faster. Again, I heard howling, but now it was closer. I saw a faint hint of rusty-red belonging to the longhouse where the council stayed. At first, I didn’t notice the angel people’s light dim-
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ming, but soon, small groups of the winged figures gradually turned into glittering specks floating back towards the sky. I kept running until the only light left was the sight of the fire outside the longhouse. I sprinted past one of the watchmen and darted inside. I searched the alarmed faces, none belonging to my mother. I had all of their attention yet only Adohi, one of the members, approached me. His brother was the first member who had gone missing, and since then, Adohi spent most of his time in the forest searching for him. I tried to speak but my lungs failed me. All I could force were broken phrases. “Wayaha,” I whispered, “The edge of the forest.” Adohi turned to the chief. “Wayaha, on the edge of the forest,” I repeated. The chief nodded once to Adohi then called for some of the councilmen to signal the warning to the village. Once more, the stares returned to me. I imagined the messengers swiftly giving out warnings while searching for coyotes throughout the forest. Then my thoughts shifted to my mother. I panicked, and my eyes filled again. What if she was the next one to disappear? “Have you seen my mother?” I asked. For the first time since I arrived at the council, the chief walked up to me, squatting to my eyelevel. He stretched out his muscular arm and placed his hand lightly on my shoulder. “All will be well now,” he said to me. He turned to Adohi and instructed him to take me back home. While I was grateful to have him lead me home, all I really wanted was to find Mother. Had she made it to the council already? Had she vanished like Adohi’s brother? Adohi ran in front, guiding our way. He knew the forest well and it was hard to keep up. As we sprinted, I pictured the coyotes at my heels. Out of instinct, I turned and saw three coyotes really were behind us. I could hear the closest coyote panting behind me. Adohi turned around at the sound of my scream. My fear soared painfully through my body. I thought I’d been bitten until I heard Adohi commanding me to escape while he fought them off. Suddenly a sliver of the moon emerged from the clouds, and I could see the coyotes and Adohi wrestling on the ground. Their vicious grunts echoed in my ears as I ran. Spring 2013
The clouds had scattered into thin, fluffy strips framing the moon; but, I didn’t see any signs of movement in the stars. Perhaps it was enough for me to just believe in their protection than to experience it firsthand. I prayed that the angels would lead me to Mother. Her sight was better than mine, but nowhere near where Grandmother’s would have been had she still been in her gazing days. At home it was clear what she meant by me being her eyes, I always guided her here and there; but out here, they guided me to have faith. As my feet carried me forward, I used the dim silver moonlight to see my path. Once more, I prayed to the invisible angels and once again, I heard that familiar voice chime in my ears. Follow me, the little angel whispered. This time when she glided down to me, she was alone. She guided me until we reached the edge of the yard then disappeared. I hadn’t stopped running since I’d left the council with Adohi. My body was ready to collapse. I felt my heart thrashing, begging to escape my chest as I skipped every other porch step. My sporadic breathing had become its own chant. I raced inside, accidently slamming into my mother’s stomach. “Ayoli!” She squeezed me tighter against her. “You made it back—and by yourself.” I took her by the hand and pulled her into the den where Grandmother was so I could tell them about the angelic little people. “Ulisi,” I called out, ripping around the corner of the room. “Ulisi!” I shook Grandmother’s shoulder, but she didn’t seem to notice. I figured she was either asleep or in one of her trances where she connects with the spirits of my father and our ancestors. I left Grandmother alone and turned to tell Mother about the creatures. Her black hair covered the sides of her face so I didn’t see the tears immediately. I heard the broken breathing and saw her trembling. I turned to Grandmother to see her reaction. She wore the same expression that she had when I came running in, calling her name. I didn’t understand what caused my mother’s tears and why Grandmother wasn’t responding to them. “Unitsi?”
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My mother freed her hands from her face to look at me. “Yes?” “Why are you crying? I’m okay now.” She held me for a moment. I looked at my Grandmother sitting motionless in her chair, only her face was free from the blankets. I tugged at my mother’s arms until she dropped her grip around me. I walked over to Grandmother, calling her again and again. “Ulisi?” I shook her then climbed into her chair. I touched her leathery cheek. Cold. I poked her baggy eyelids. Mother told me to come away from Grandmother. She said that Grandmother couldn’t see us anymore, that she was now a star. A little person. An angel. And we had to have faith that she would protect us, guide us. And when the nights got too dark, like they were tonight, we had to look to the moon to see her. Even if it was just a glimpse.
Notes from an Older Student By Carol Munro One year from my 50th birthday, I decided it was time to take up the challenge and resume my studies at University. I had attended a Polytechnic in England for a year thirty years before and had studied Modern Studies. I managed to squeak by the first year there. Life intervened and my studies were put on hold while I worked, married and had my family. Although I regretted not going back sooner, I thought I didn’t have time to fit in studying with everything else. Now that I was almost at half a century and my kids were old enough to look after themselves, I decided it really was time to go back part-time. I had no pretensions of doing anything other than passing my exams, this was going to be for fun and interest and if I kept it up I would finally receive my degree. I decided to major in History, a life-long interest, at Portland State University, here in Oregon. I was given credit for my year in England, (the first of many surprises) and I began my American university experience a sophomore. I eased into my studies, my first two History classes were at the 100 level and before long I found I had enough credits to move up. The more I did the more I was extremely surprised and happy to find out that I might even be quite good at this. This was a complete surprise as I really wasn’t so good the first time around! The more my grades have improved, the more I have become determined to finish this degree. Being an older student I think made me more determined, perhaps the intervening years have taught me something, maybe doing a job well has become more important, having good brains is one thing, knowing the value of that and the value of quality work is probably something I learnt a little later. Life experiences too made me more determined as this really is the last chance I’ll have to achieve this goal. The whole year has been fun. Being with people younger than myself has kept me young, as well as attending such a multicultural and inclusive university. I have found it all invigorating and exciting. My only regret is that I can’t do more at the University as I live 30 miles away. I have been to seminars in the evening, but would like to be more
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involved. Anyway, even the reading has been a pleasure, writing essays have been a pleasure, waiting for the results, not so much. I have been tickled pink that from my first term result at the end of the Fall term 2011 to the end of Spring term 2012, I have received â€˜Aâ€™s. My sophomore year has resulted in a 4.0 GPA, and I have the honor of being on the Presidents List at Portland State, something I didnâ€™t even know existed, and of course the honor of being invited to join the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. All these facts I find amazing. I know it will take some time to achieve the degree but I am now looking forward to part two of my sophomore year, roll on Fall Term, and to enjoying lots more interesting classes, making more personal discoveries, hopefully getting a few more good grades and even more important, keeping up with the reading! It has been an extremely satisfying year!
Docentzilla and the Impudent Child By Cathryn Bidal University of New Mexico Expecting to enter a hushed, peaceful atmosphere, I was astonished to hear a loud argument in progress. “Why do I have to take them on the tour, Helen? You know I’m not good with children.” “Their teacher called a month ago and requested a docent tour,” Helen replied. “We’re shorthanded today and you are the only one available to take them, Anne. Besides it’s your turn and they are not little children. I spoke to their teacher last week and told her that only high school kids could go on the tour.” When I heard that, I held my breath. I was twelve and the youngest in my homeschool co-op Art History class. My teacher winked at us and whispered, “Don’t worry; today you’re all in high school.” “That’s just great,” Anne continued sarcastically. “This is exactly the way I wanted to spend my retirement; leading a bunch of loud-mouth kids around who don’t know anything about art and don’t care!” Anne’s disdain was evident. She expressed a sigh of resignation that seemed to come from deep within her shoes. Hearing their private argument was making me uncomfortable, but I tried to concentrate on the artwork. Helen realized that our group had arrived and turned to greet our teacher and welcome us. “Glad your class could be here for a tour today. I’d like to introduce you to Mrs. Anne Wilson, who will be your tour guide. Please feel free to ask any questions.” I had been looking forward to my trip to the Kimbell Art Museum for weeks, but found myself not totally prepared for the wet weather that came upon us unexpectedly along the way. The sound of the rain beating on the van windows and the water falling onto the soggy grass and empty flower beds gave the day a dreary feeling. We were a disheveled, chattering group as we piled out of the van and ran into the museum.
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Our squeaking shoes tracked thick, black Texas mud onto the hardwood floors, much to the docents’ dismay. I tried to look beyond the weather, but I wished I had worn my jacket with a hood, or at least put my long blonde hair in a ponytail because it was sopping wet and hanging in my face. Fortunately, my notebook had stayed dry and I had several pencils ready. My green eyes were ready to drink in the art. Mrs. Wilson began her guided tour by reading the exhibit cards aloud in a patronizing tone of voice. She asked us silly questions: “Do you children know the difference between oil paint and watercolor? Can you homeschoolers tell if a sculpture is marble or bronze?” In between questions, she nagged us not to touch the paintings or get too close. I felt as though she thought our goal in coming to the museum was to destroy the priceless paintings and sculptures. We were all frustrated by the time we got to the Picassos. Mrs. Wilson seemed annoyed that we were able to answer her questions intelligently. Our teachers had taught us thoroughly, and we knew the backgrounds and symbolism of most paintings we viewed and their artists. We were angry that we were being treated like five-year-olds. “This is a cubist painting. Do any of you possibly know what cubism is?” Yes,” one of us replied. “Cubism breaks with realistic tradition and uses geometric shapes and lines in somewhat unusual ways to convey figures and ideas.” Someone else added, “Picasso was one of the most famous cubists.” “Oh,” Mrs. Wilson exclaimed, clearly shocked. “You know who Picasso was. Well, this painting is clearly influenced by his work.” I could not remain silent any longer. I decided to stop rolling my eyes and say something. “It is his work!” “What do you mean it is his work? I have never seen that documented; and anyway many artists use his style.” Mrs. Wilson was red-faced and obviously very angry. I could see why. Who wants to argue with an impudent twelve-year-old over a painting?
“Yes, many artists use his style,” I continued. “But not his signature.” “What!” Mrs. Wilson was even more upset now. “That’s his signature in the upper right.” I was trying to be matter of fact, but this was getting tiresome. “You certainly can’t prove that.” She had a triumphant ring in her voice now. “How can you be so sure?” “Not only is the signature clearly visible in the upper right corner,” I said, “but it is written on the card as well.” I confess my tone had a touch of condescension. I was mad and temporarily forgot about having been warned many times about seeming like a know-it-all. I was on a roll now and finding it a little too easy to ignore my teacher’s ever tightening hand on my shoulder. Mrs. Wilson’s eyebrows rose straight to her hairline. The tour went downhill from there. The rain was still coming down as we left the museum, but we were feeling cheerful because our teacher had released Mrs. Wilson from her tedious task and had finished the tour herself. Whenever I see a Picasso, I will be reminded of Docentzilla and smile.
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Those Damn Yellow Footprints By Christopher Darke American Military University It was nearly 2 a.m. as the bus neared its final destination in the dead of night. It had been almost two hours since we loaded the buses at the Charleston, SC airport. No one spoke as we drove along. Many had succumbed to the sands of Morpheus and many more were fighting his grasp to a fitful slumber remaining half awake. I had been up nearly twenty hours, but somehow the excitement, the wonder, and the fear kept me wide awake. It only intensified as the bus was ushered through a gate and those sleeping were rustled from their dreams. We had arrived. Where so many countless young men and women had travelled before us, we now began our own journey into the United States Marine Corps. A gentle whistle of air breaks and an opening door momentarily replaced the quiet. Then, without warning a Marine dressed in what later I would be taught were called “Charlies” burst onto the bus screaming at the top of his lungs “Get out, get out, get off my bus! Line up on the yellow footprints!” If your mind has conjured up images of a Kansas schoolgirl following her destiny along a yellow brick road, let me assure you, dear reader, this was one place even the wicked witch would not set foot upon willingly. In a flurry of activity we all scrambled over seats and each other to get off the bus as quickly as possible as if we just found out a bomb was going to explode. No one knew what he meant by yellow footprints until we saw them. Rows upon rows of yellow footprints had been stenciled on the ground. All were in perfect order and parted at a forty-five degree angle. We each stood at attention, a sloppy band of kids fresh out of school who signed up to serve their country. We came from all walks of life, all races, and all economic backgrounds. The only thing we had in common was that none of us had any clue what was really in store for us. The next thirteen weeks were the most grueling days of my life. It was Spring 2013
the most physically taxing, mentally draining, emotionally wrecking, and spiritually uplifting time of my life. So many times I wanted to quit; so many times I wanted to change my mind and instead go to college like my friends had chosen. In fact, I turned down a full scholarship to join the Marine Corps and many times I wondered if it was still an option I could take. But I persevered one day, one hour, one minute, and sometimes one second at a time. I didnâ€™t understand when I joined, but soon came to learn I wasnâ€™t merely signing up for a military service. I had joined Americaâ€™s warrior culture. Sure, other services boasted of being warriors, but after experiencing them first hand later I could easily tell they were not. I had eschewed college and the fraternity experience to replace it with a true brotherhood that had lasted over 200 years with no end in sight. I had chosen a way of life few could ever comprehend and even fewer could join. Everything about life I ever learned came from my time in the Marine Corps. And no matter how many times I thought it was a horrible experience and wanted out when I was in, I now look back with the wisdom of adulthood that has replaced the folly of youth. Nearly twenty years later I still remember the names and faces of every drill sergeant and officer-in-charge I ever had. I remember the forged relationships of comrades through the trials of life, celebrating the milestones of adulthood with my peers, and the deaths of friends. For some, adulthood starts when they get their high school diploma, their first job or their graduation from college. Mine started the moment I stood on those damn yellow footprints.
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The Speed of Sorrow By Dianna Skowera American Military University When we’re happy, we’re happy. That particular sensation in the spectrum of human emotions doesn’t have a delayed response. When happiness is called upon it races to the line and is out the gate the second the shot is fired. The epitaph of happiness will read, “a solid contender”. Sorrow, on the other hand, should never be gambled upon and absolutely never neglected. I learned the most powerful of lessons when I discovered the speed of sorrow. I was raised by a mother who is the veritable version of the fictional character John Henry. This woman never complained of anything and I have seen her master physical challenges that would make Olympians cry ‘uncle’. My father also seemed some kind of robotic superhero who fueled his work only with…more work! From these two guardians I learned that crying did not eradicate pain, complaining wasted time, and as a general rule people underestimate the physical burden their bodies and minds can bare. I grew into a being that never truly absorbed pain and I enjoyed being strong for others, so I joined the Army. My parents had taught me logical lessons and to appreciate physical labor. The Army supplied me with much of the same. I thirsted to continue saving lives and returned to Iraq for a second time as a civilian and then to Afghanistan. I have seen the ugliest sides of people, both ally and enemy, during the course of two wars. There are little moments in life where your feet seem to be slightly knocked out from under you. Each time I lost someone I cared for, each time the enemy triumphed, each time political maneuvering broke my heart I know I lost my footing a little. However, as the child of giants, as a former soldier, I knew how to dust off the rubble, shake off the hobbling, and continue down the path I needed to be on. Yet somehow war ended up not being the final straw that made me completely lose my stance. I arrived home from Afghanistan the day my sister and brother-in-law, Spring 2013
who lived with me, had their first child. I happily settled into being a nanny and aunt instead of wrangling terrorists and breathing dust storms. Although baby Jocelyn was not my daughter, I learned the all-consuming lesson of what it is like to be a parent. It was the most exhausting yet equally rewarding task I had ever endeavored and I suddenly had as much respect for every parent in the world as I did for my fellow soldiers. This tiny little baby was the General in our household and we followed all of her orders unquestioning. She dictated our schedules to a tee. One day, without explanation, she gave no orders. I put my new favorite person in the entire world in her bassinet to sleep on the night of my sister’s birthday. My gift to my sister was that she didn’t have to get up that night when Jocelyn fussed at her usual 0430 feeding time. I lay down in my bed, three feet away from the bassinet and closed my eyes knowing that my pension for sleeping lightly would make me rouse instantly when Jocelyn was ready to get up as was our routine. When I awoke, the sunlight was streaming through the window and the speed of sorrow showed one of its first tempos in an instantaneous eerie feeling within my throat that told me something was wrong. Sunlight meant it wasn’t 0430. Sunlight meant that Jocelyn had not woken up that night. I rocketed off the bed and was at the side of the bassinet in a second. I looked down to see what seemed like the cruelest joke anyone could play on a person-a lifeless baby lying in the spot where I, her assigned caretaker, the person she depended upon, had last placed her. I picked her up, not wanting to feel what she looked like she would feel like, in my arms. I picked her up and the joke became crueler. She was gone, long gone. After foolishly giving her breaths that I knew she wouldn’t respond to, I looked up knowing the next thing I had to do was to tell my sister her daughter was dead. I wanted to know why God had given me two such horribly daunting tasks in the span of minutes. I could fill a book with the emotions I felt in that moment and since then, but telling you them is not the point of this story. The point is that I’m telling you I felt something. Three months later I sat on a beach in Europe surrounded by friends, in an effort to find the ‘piece of mind’ everyone said I needed. I heard myself really laugh for the first time since Jocelyn died. In the middle of a laugh it felt like someone injected me with a gallon of caffeine. My heart hammered, my throat closed up and I couldn’t swallow or breathe, my legs went numb and my muscles began to spasm. I felt paralyzed,
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frozen in time, while everyone around me kept laughing. Over the next few months this happened every few days. The doctors told me I was having anxiety attacks. After years of thinking I was being strong by pushing myself physically and not stopping to talk about my emotions, I had become a prisoner in my own body. I was humbled to learn that stress, something intangible, could have such physical effects on the body. I donâ€™t know how many unspoken feelings or unshed tears it took for me to have this emotional crisis, but I learned an important lesson. Sorrow is as slow or fast as each of us is willing to acknowledge. Sorrow may not be the first out the gate, but it will eventually remind you that it is still in the race.
How Lucky We Have It By Elena Gabriel Fairfield University I twist the copper doorknob in my right hand while struggling to balance my notebooks and textbooks in my left. The door is locked, which is unusual. My grandmother always leaves her back door unlocked until it gets dark outside. I step away from the door, waiting for her to come open it for me. The bottom left pane of glass has a diagonal crack, splitting the glass in half. My mother has offered to have it fixed but my grandmother doesn’t like to ask for help from others; she’s too proud. The door creaks open. “Hi Mema,” I say stepping through the door and into the kitchen. I’m hit with the overwhelming aroma of fried peppers and onions. The only light in the kitchen is coming from the overcast sky through the window but I can see that she has begun to set the table for the two of us. “Don’t get too close,” Mema says, holding an arthritic hand up by her shoulder. “I don’t think I’m contagious anymore but the woman who did my blood test today said she could hear something in my lungs so until I get that checked out I don’t want you getting too close.” I laugh a little. She’s always worried about something. “You still have a cough?” I ask, leaning over to kiss her cheek anyway. She coughs as a response. “Did you bring homework to do?” she asks. “I’ll go turn off the TV if you did. I was just watching the news but it’ll be on again at 8 and 10.” “No, Mema. Leave it on. I can do homework with noise.” “Well, why don’t we eat first? It’s getting late,” she says. I look at the clock. It’s barely 5:30. I put my books at the edge of the table closest to the door and I take my seat at the head of the table. “Are paper plates ok, Elena?” Mema calls to me from the pantry in the
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hallway across from the table. “Yeah, Mema, that’s fine.” She sets the white and blue patterned plates down, one in front of me and one at my right where she always sits. She then shuffles over to the stove and grabs the pan off the burner. She brings it to the table and sets it down among the other food she has already set out: a loaf of bread, a container of chicken salad, sliced cucumbers, and a bowl of chopped tomatoes drizzled with olive oil. She coughs into her arm as she sits down. “I wish you weren’t sick, Mema,” I say. I know she gets scared when she’s sick. She shrugs at me and coughs again. “I was sick this week too. Did you know that?” “No. What was wrong?” she asks, taking the lid off of the pan. There are red and green peppers mingled with potatoes and onions. The smell hits me again. “I just had a cold, you know,” I say, trying to be sympathetic. “I was congested and my throat hurt.” “What did you do to get rid of it?” she asks, scooping some of the mixture into a container that she’ll have me take home to my mother. “It went away on its own after a few days,” I say. Mema sighs and picks up a pill bottle. “I’ve been on antibiotics for ten days now and I still feel the same!” she says, raising her voice which makes her cough again. We both serve ourselves from the pan. Mema takes a deep breath. “Have you ever had this kind of food before? It’s peasant food. This is what we used to eat when I lived in Italy because it was cheap and it all came from the garden. It was what we could afford.” Mema dips a piece of bread into the olive oil and slips it into her mouth. She stares out the window as she chews. She always stares off at nothing when she reminisces. “I fried the peppers and onions and peeled and boiled the potatoes. Then I chopped the potatoes up and fried them with everything else. Put a little olive oil on too. Here, do you want some tomatoes? They’re from the garden. Very good. This would taste better if it was hot but I just didn’t feel like heating it up again. I hope you don’t mind.” Mema takes a bite of the peppers. “Like home,” she says. Spring 2013
Mema had always been passionate when she spoke about her home in Italy. The amount of times that she had told me stories of her life there were countless. She told me so much that I often felt I had lived it alongside of her. As I looked at the dinner we were having, peasant food, I realized I knew what night she would have eaten this dinner when she lived in Italy. She would have eaten it on Wednesday. Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday were pasta days, so her family ate vegetables and potatoes on the days in between. “We didn’t have a lot of money then and you couldn’t get much in those days,” Mema always told me. Most of what she ate was grown in the gardens around her home. Mema cared for the two gardens they had where she raised tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and escarole. Everything they grew in the garden was eaten fresh or preserved by Mema’s mother for the winter when the ground was frozen. “Running water wasn’t common in those days, Elena,” she would say to me with a tone that made it seem as if it was my fault. “We had a well that we watered the plants with. My brother and I shared that chore. He would always pull the rope up and give me one bucket to carry while he filled another.” Mema would always move her hands when she told this story, as if she were back in Italy pulling the rope. When Mema and her family moved to America, her father built a well in their yard on one side of their house. For years after she moved to America, Mema still used the well to water her plants, even though she had a hose for that exact purpose. Some habits are not easily out grown. Some habits do not want to be outgrown. The only time Mema ate meat was when her mother decided to kill one of their chickens. The visual was all too clear from the many times she described, in detail, the memory of her mother snapping the skinny neck of the chicken over the kitchen sink. “She thought it was kinder to break his neck before she chopped its head off,” Mema would say, smiling at the sentiment of her mother still trying to be nice while butchering an animal. The smell that she would describe as she told me how the dead, headless chicken would then be placed in a pot of boiling water to make the task of plucking the countless feathers easier was almost enough to turn me vegetarian. Mema, sensing my discomfort, would always defend this practice. “What else were we supposed to do? Go buy a steak from the supermarket? We didn’t have that choice. This was all we could do.” Even though she spoke about the difficulties of living in Italy, I always secretly thought she preferred that life to her life in America. If Mema could have it her way, she would still be snapping the necks of her chickens from the coop instead of buying already killed and plucked chickens
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from the grocery store. Although living in America meant her life would be easier, she found more comfort in her old ways. She missed her home in Italy and this was how she kept her memories with her. When Mema would talk about her move to America, her passion would fade slightly. She says she cannot remember exactly how old she was when she came to the United States but I would assume she was in her younger teenage years. She moved with her mother and brothers; her father had already been living in America in order to make enough money to bring his family over. They moved to the small town of New Canaan, Connecticut, which had a large Italian population at the time. Although New Canaan was not a big city, it must have felt like it to Mema in comparison to her small mountainside home she left. “Moving to America made things easier,” she’d say. “But not too much. We were still poor, we were discriminated against, and we only had one garden.” The move to America meant that she didn’t have to depend on the garden anymore, she could go to the grocery store, which she did every Monday with her mom to buy groceries for the week. They walked to the store, which was about a mile away, and walked back home, carrying two bags each. “My mother always carried the heavier bags,” Mema was sure to add every time she recalled this memory. I think Mema liked to remind me of how good of a woman her mother was and how hard working she was. Although Mema’s life was difficult, I assume it was easier than her mother’s life, just as my mother’s life was easier than Mema’s, and my life has been easier than my mother’s. As generations progress, life appears to become easier, but the younger generations might not always realize how easy they have it. Thankfully, I have always had Mema around to remind me and to make sure I appreciate the ease of my life. Mema’s experiences gave her strength and pride. Her pride was apparent in the number of times she retold her stories with more satisfaction than the time before. And while she always made it a point to emphasize how difficult the times were, she never complained. After all, dignity was all she had when she was labeled a peasant. If she complained about her upbringing, her dignity would vanish and take her fond memories with it. All of her hard work is what gave her pride. She preferred her life in Italy because it was more work than living in America. Suddenly, Mema turns her head back to me. I continue to remember these vivid stories of her past but her sudden movement brings me back Spring 2013
to reality and to the present moment. For a second, it was as if she had been remembering the exact scenes that I had. I imagined what she must have been thinking, reliving her memories of a more difficult life that she left behind. I look at Mema. I look through her and I can see what she has been through. I can see her strength and her wisdom. I wonder if I have been lucky enough to gain any of these traits from her. I know that I have inherited her tendency to worry over trivial things. I have inherited her long fingernails, her short stature, and her once dark hair which is now grey from age. I feel pride that I have inherited physical traits from her so I can always see her in myself, a constant reminder of our bond and the love that I have for her. However, I still yearn to be more like her. I want to be stronger and prouder. I want to live how she lived and feel what she felt. I want to know her life inside and out. I want to know what it feels like to have to rely on myself and only myself to live. I want to know what it feels like to grow my own food from the soil, nurturing the seeds with well water as Mema did. I want to know what it feels like to have to work hard for everything I want and need without complaining. “You know,” she says, looking straight into my eyes. “You kids today don’t know how lucky you have it. And that’s the truth.” This was a line I’d heard from her often. And my only response is to nod in agreement. “Everyone today takes advantage of how easy everything is. No one works hard anymore. My father built our house with his own two hands.” Mema holds her hands out in front of her, palms up, as if she thinks I need more clarification. “He laid on his stomach to dig a cellar and all he had was a shovel. And he never complained once. That is just how it was in those days.” “I know, Mema,” I say, feeling guilty that her life was so much harder than mine. “You don’t know how lucky you have it,” she repeats. Mema shakes her head and looks back down at her plate. We finish our meal without saying another word. I am still distracted from recollecting her stories. I don’t have an answer for her silence.
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Breaking Point By Emily Elicker The College at Brockport It is happening again. If you listen carefully, you can hear the faint whisper of a woman’s scream. You force yourself to glance out the parlor window and into the house of the young couple across the street. Evelyn is cowering before her husband Frank. You feel your chest constrict as your heart aches for her and her unborn child. She is on her knees crying, pleading, for her husband to be merciful as she receives blow after blow. After almost five grueling minutes, her husband stalks out of the house and jumps into his Duesenberg. As it roars down the block, Evelyn lies shaking on the floor. It is common knowledge throughout the neighborhood that Frank is a drunk. Long days at the office bleed into long nights at the speakeasy, and finally end when he comes home to a terrified wife who simply takes the beatings. She emerges the next day with black and blue bruises covering her arms coupled with scratches across her face. No one asks about the blemishes that have become a permanent part of her delicate frame and Evelyn never tells. Her quiet personality is enough to hide the emotional scars, but if you look close enough you can make out the cracks in her façade. Smiles falter on occasion. Eyes always hold a twinge of fear. Each night you lie in bed next to your husband and wonder how someone like Frank can exist. Your husband is gentle and treats you with respect. He would never lay a hand on you and rarely raises his voice. You look at your baby daughter’s sleeping form across the room and wonder if she will one day end up like Evelyn. The Volstead Act has been in effect for some time now, but that does not mean Frank is unable to find someone who is willing to sell him the booze he so desperately wants. In a neighborhood like this, it is safe to assume money is no object. After all, anything is available in Atlantic Spring 2013
City for the right price. A sickly fascination keeps you peering out your window day after day. The neighbors choose to be none the wiser. Society tells you it is wrong to meddle in another couple’s marriage, but your heart tells you that woman needs help. Last week, the beatings became so intense you could no longer stay silent. After Frank left for work that morning, you crossed the street and knocked on the door. Evelyn, complete with a black eye half hidden by eye shadow, answered. “Can I help you with something Alice?” she asked sweetly. She was wearing a henna jersey frock that made the faded brown bruises on her face blend in with her skin tone. The thin sleeves were pushed up, exposing the black and blue fingerprints that lined her arms like freckles. “Evelyn, what can I do to help you?” you responded. “What are you talking about?” “You don’t have to try and hide what he’s doing.” You reached out to touch her shoulder, but she stepped back into her house as her face became pale. “Get out of here. Frank is a good man. He doesn’t do anything to me I don’t deserve.” She yanked the sleeves of her dress down. You put your hand on the door to hold it open just a moment longer. “You don’t deserve to live in fear and neither does that baby. It’ll be here in just a few weeks and it’s going to need-” “This isn’t any of your business Alice,” Evelyn said quickly. “If he finds out about this…” She lurched forward and peered up and down the block. Satisfied in seeing no one, she returned inside and whispered, “You’d better pray he doesn’t find out, or we’re both dead.” Then she shut the door. The one thing no one can tell you is what to do. Battered women never accept the fact that a temper is not an excuse to beat your wife. If you follow Evelyn’s wishes and let this continue as though unnoticed, there is a possibility he will deliver a fatal blow in the coming days. You decide you can no longer hold your tongue and must speak with
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someone. After your husband returns home for the night, you pull him aside and discover that the words you dared not whisper before are suddenly spilling out. You speak of your worry for Evelyn’s life and her future child. By the end of your speech you find your cheeks wet with tears. Your husband listens quietly before telling you in a calm voice that this is not your problem. He mentions that even in the workplace Frank cannot escape his family’s reputation. When Frank was a young boy, his mother shot her husband before killing herself. He was the one to find the bodies. He asks that you leave the couple to their business as drawing more attention to the man would be improper. You sit in the parlor for a moment longer and watch as Frank return home. The blows begin flying from his fists once more and you know your husband is wrong. Then, it finally dawns on you. The answer has been staring you in the face the entire time: call the police. They make a living helping people, so it makes sense they would help Evelyn, right? While your husband is upstairs preparing for dinner, you pick up the phone. Your voice shakes as you ask the operator to connect you to the Sheriff’s Department. You quickly relay what you are seeing but hang up before they ask for your name. You figure it is better to remain anonymous. Within fifteen minutes two policemen are across the street, knocking on the door. Frank leaves Evelyn on the floor and steps onto the porch to talk with the men. What you see next leaves you speechless. The men begin to laugh together and Frank shakes hands with each of them before stepping back inside his home. He waits until the officers drive down the street to continue the beating. You made the wrong choice and that realization settles like a cinder block in the center of your stomach. You have made everything so much worse than you ever could have dreamed. Frank then picks up the lamp off a nearby table and proceeds to beat his wife like the men building the new convention center on the boardwalk. You reach to close the blinds, but find your hands unable to move. What surprises you the most is how much this woman can take and still cling onto consciousness. It is not until Frank delivers the final blow that you scream in outrage. He uses the lamp as a bat and swings at his wife’s belly as though he were trying to hit a home run. It is this blow that finally tips her over Spring 2013
the edge. Afterwards, he spits on her face and stalks out of the house. That night you lie in your bed and weep. You are ashamed at what you have seen and done, but are terrified that women like Evelyn are everywhere and no one can help them. The Volstead Act was supposed to be the answer, but simply because the ignorant men in Congress passed a law does not mean people are going to follow it. Hell, you are willing to bet most of them still drink. Judging from the meetings downtown, a majority of the temperance movement supporters are widowed women who no longer feel the effects of their drunken husbands. Your husband wakes you around 4 in the morning, throwing on a jacket and speaking about a fire. You quickly slip a robe over your nightgown as you grab your daughter and follow him outside, shocked to see Evelyn’s house engulfed in flames. The crackling blaze is a stark contrast to the darkness that surrounds it. Minute embers hover in the dark clouds that are swept down the block, lightly singeing your sleeves. The smoke that is blown in your face burns your eyes and smells sickly sweet yet putrid. The heat is enough to create a buffer between the house and remainder of the block. There are men running chaotically through the street but Evelyn stands calmly in the center of it all, her eyes locked on the inferno. Frank is nowhere to be seen. Her white premet frock is bloodied from the waist down and seems smaller than during the previous week. It sways gently in the breeze. “What happened?” you ask her earnestly. “He didn’t get out in time,” she says quietly. She turns to face you and her features are flickering like the flames behind her. “It all happened so fast.” Her face is a canvas for terror and worry but her eyes have lost their twinge of fear.
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Changing My Life for the Better By Ethel Grigsby Throughout high school my teachers always talked about furthering our education so we could make a difference in the real world. To be honest it went in one ear and out the other. In high school I didn’t take the future seriously. I figured everything would fall into place when the time was right (almost like something in a fairy tale). When things didn’t turn out like I had planned I wished I had listened to my teachers and got a head start on my future. My family has always been supportive of me and the decisions I have made. My father was the main person that helped me see things through. He always said “you can do anything if you set your mind to it.” Becoming a forensic scientist has been my dream since the 8th grade. When my father died in 2007 I gave up on everything. I figured there was no purpose in me fighting for my dream if the one person I wanted to share my accomplishment with wasn’t here. I later realized that he wouldn’t be happy that I was willing to give up so easily and settle for anything less than my dreams. I attended two other universities before landing here at Kaplan. I was looking for the right forensic program that fit into what I was going for. What can I say, I’m only 20. Working in the forensic field as a CSI (Crime Scene Investigator) has been something that I have wanted for a long time. I finally found the university that offers just that. Achieving my goal and getting into the career of my dreams is only three years away. I just became a Kaplan student but I plan to do everything in my power to be an excellent student. My inspiration to go after my dream came from my son. He will be two months old on the 29th. I want him to have things that I didn’t growing up. Neither of my parents went to college. My father dropped out of school in the 7th grade and my mother got her GED. Growing up needing help with school work was hard because my parents really couldn’t help me. I don’t want that for my son. Being able to help him work out Spring 2013
math problems or a simple question is something that I look forward to doing. Gaining my degree in criminal justice will allow me to work in my career field as well as live a stable life with my husband and son. The cost of living is outrageous and I know what it’s like to live on a budget. My mother does what she can to make ends meet and I don’t want to struggle or live paycheck to paycheck. I had to work in order to get the things I needed for school from the 10th grade till now. Being me isn’t easy but with the help and guidance of those around me I have become who I am today. I know I can make a difference in my son’s life as well as others if I am given the chance. I plan to do just that after I graduate from Kaplan University!
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To Remember By Irene Gentzel The Ohio State University The clock tower was solemnly ringing the hour of ten. The snow crunched under my feet as I walked under the yellow glow of the streetlights, my shadow gliding along the buildings as I breathed the crisp night air. I came to the solid wooden door of my destination and let myself in. A warm blast of air greeted me as I stomped the snow out of my boots onto the homemade rug. “You made it, comrade,” said the man sitting at the table by the fire. I went over and sat down opposite of him. “Yes,” I replied. His hair was white now, as was his beard. This was the man who thought himself invincible, and now he was old, I thought to myself as I looked at his face. The fire made a loud snap and we both turned our heads to look, even though we had heard that sound many times in our lives. We sat in silence as the flames cast dancing shadows over the room. “Why don’t you take off your coat?” he asked me. As I began to unbutton it, he said, “The third one is missing, my friend.” Sure enough the button was gone, with only the thread hanging there. “You haven’t changed any, Nickolas,” I said. He turned from the fire to study my face. “Did you think I would? White hair doesn’t mean a man has lost his faculties.” Spring 2013
“I wasn’t sure. A man can never be sure in these times.” “Ah, but he can. A man can be very much the same.” “How is Sonya?” I asked, glancing at the portrait of her on the wall. The old man examined his weather-beaten hands a moment before responding. “Sonya is no longer with us.” My heart felt as if it had totally stopped beating. “Why?” I whispered. “The sickness took her. We must rely now on the memories.” “Memories!” I exclaimed angrily. “Don’t be bitter, it can’t be helped.” “I know.” “Memories will either sustain us or drive us mad. We must be wise. We must be very wise.” “It is easy for you to say that, but what about me? I have no long years of experience to guide me.” “You have my advice.” I stared at the picture on the wall and then at the staircase where I had last seen her. She had stood there with a quiet expression on her face. I felt that I could never forget. The old man quickly glanced at me and then turned his gaze towards his shoes. He leaned over to scratch his shins; almost a sign of grief. The picture showed her in an ordinary frock. Her hair hung loose in ringlets around her delicate face. As I looked at the picture, it seemed as if it began to swirl; I could even begin to see color amongst its shades of gray. A ringing overtook my hearing. I could vaguely hear the old man speaking. In my frustration and grief, I moved slowly up out of my chair and grabbed a tin plate that was on the table and struck him on the head with it. He uttered a grunt and slumped in a stupor over the table.
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“You’re nothing but a crazy old man! You say you haven’t changed, but I see that you have,” I shouted to him. I stared at his still form. Suddenly I let the plate slip from my cold fingers. It crashed onto the wooden floor and rolled over to the wall, clattering noisily. The old man stirred and rubbed his head. “Sit down, my boy. You have much to learn yet. It won’t help you to destroy the ones with the experience you hope to gain.” I sat down on the bench again. The wind had picked up and created a howling in the chimney. I had always hated that sound, even as a young boy. It sent chills up and down my back. “You are hungry. I can see it in your eyes,” said Nickolas as he reached for a pan of brown bread. I accepted the piece he tore off from the loaf and ate it thoughtfully. “How have you survived without Sonya?” I asked. “It has not been easy,” he said slowly. “I have sat here many a night and thought just about her, how I missed her, how lonely I was. It has not been easy.” I brushed the bread crumbs off my pants. I felt a pang of regret as I noticed that Nickolas no longer had a dog to lick the floor beneath the table. “Where is the dog? Did he go also?” I asked. “He was an old dog.” We again stared into the fire. The flames were not as strong so we were sitting in a continually darkening room. “I do not have to ask why you are here for I already know,” he said, barely above a whisper. “I, I came for…” I spoke with effort, my voice cracking. “You came for her,” the old man sighed, slamming his fist on the table. “Well, she’s gone, I tell you!” he burst out. Spring 2013
I took a deep breath. “All the way from the far country I walked. For three years I worked in the factory, earning money to pay for the wedding. Now there is nothing to live for!” He rose and stood by the fire. He held out his gnarled hands towards the dying flames. “She spoke of you often.” I eagerly went over to him and searched his face. “Did she?” “Yes.” “What, what did she say?” I asked him. “That you were a good worker,” he said, his deep voice becoming louder. “That you showed promise; that you were a good man.” My throat hurt. He placed a hand on my shoulder and smiled. “There are others, my comrade. Do not fear: there will be someone else.” The infidel dog. He himself was a widower and I saw no other woman taking his deceased wife’s place! He shuffled over to a small cabinet and extracted a half-full bottle of vodka. He set it on the table and looked at me. “You have one?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied, pulling my smaller one from my pocket. His eyes were bloodshot, I noticed, even in the darkness. His hands shook as he reached for the bottle and lifted it up in the air. “What are you doing, old man?” “To remember! To remember!” he wailed. As he struggled to drink the fiery liquid, I walked past him and up the
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wooden stairs. The walls were covered with ancient, yellowed newspapers and the air was musty and dank. As I opened the door to the room at the end of the hall, I could hear heavy footsteps on the stairs. I burst into the room. There was a woman dressed in faded muslin kneeling on the floor by the bed. She gasped when she saw me. “Sonya! You, you are alive!” I stuttered, unable to believe my eyes. Her eyes were sorrowful as she whispered, “You must go. Father…” She suddenly stopped. Nickolas was standing in the doorway. “Comrade, I have kindled the fire. We must talk more. Being up here will not settle the pain in our hearts.” I hesitated, staring at Sonya’s face. She pressed my arm for me to follow him. As her father disappeared down the hall, she spoke softly. “I pray for him every day. He is not well. His mind has not been the same since Mother died. It is as if I no longer exist, as if I went with her.” “Is there any hope?” “The doctor told me to let him alone. The end is near.” “And you?” She smoothed her apron. “I don’t know.” “You will come with me?” “I…” “Sonya! It has been three long years! I have worked and worked for this day to come. You must come,” I said. “I must stay with Father. He cannot live by himself.” “Is there someone else?” I asked, my heart beating faster. She walked over to the window. I could feel the cold wind from outside coming through the thin walls of the house. There was no fire in the Spring 2013
room to take out the chill. “You could not hear us talking? Our voices were loud, Sonya, and yet you did not come,” I shouted. “I was praying.” “Why?” I asked sharply, going over to her. Her eyes shifted to avoid mine. “I wanted you to go away.” “Then there is someone else!” “Yes,” she said, her voice shaking. I walked briskly to the doorway and stopped. Sonya’s face was ashen and she clutched her worn Bible as if it was keeping her alive. Her lips moved but no words came. “Your prayers have been answered!” I said icily, slamming the door. I walked down the stairs and past Nickolas. His head was bowed. “Goodbye, my comrade,” he croaked, barely audible. As I stepped out into the frigid air, the clock tower pealed out the eleventh hour.
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Reassurance By James Trapani Middle Tennessee State University There are numerous times—too many to count—when I begin to question why I chose to attend college in the first place. Each time, I come up with a different answer, but then I begin to feel as if that answer still is not sufficient enough to keep me satisfied. I have only completed two years of my undergraduate studies, and these feelings of regret are becoming stronger each and every day. The real question I have to ask myself is if my doubt only originates from the fact that I have been in college for two years and I feel like there is nothing to show from it. I have to admit that I could be one of the most impatient people that I know of. Knowing that college can last for at least four years—plus the possibility of graduate school—makes me cringe. There are times when I don’t know if I can last much longer. Sometimes I think about dropping out, moving away, and settling for a job that pays just enough to get by. The thing is though, I don’t want to settle for just getting by. I want to be happy working in the career field of my choice, even if that means waiting years for this moment to happen. Now, apparently I’m not the only college student who feels this way. Rumor has it that this thought of wasting time crosses the minds of many others as well. Some persevere through this troubling question of whether or not they are making the right decision. Others, however, cannot seem to muster up enough reassurance to stay for the reaming years. How does one convince themselves to continue studying at the hopes of it eventually paying off? Even after two years of attending college, I feel as though I have learned a valuable lesson—the lessons outside of the classroom are some of the greatest you will ever learn. College is more than just going to class—it’s preparation for the real world. When people ask about my time spent away studying, I usually don’t talk about the books I’m reading for class, or the research studies I participated in. I tell them about the fun times Spring 2013
I’ve had with friends, about how now I actually feel comfortable talking to people I don’t know. Most importantly, I tell them how I feel different and how attending college has made an impact on my life. It took me a while to realize that college is the right choice for me. Not only is it preparing me to work in the field of my choice, it is giving me preparation for life. When you sit unsure, wondering if college is paying off, or even if it was the right choice for you, ask yourself one simple question—are you the same person you were when you started this journey? Very few people can say yes. You learn and gain more than you signed up for when you attend college. You can become a completely different person, with a completely different outlook on life. If in years to come, the degree you obtained is no longer valuable to you, the experience you gained always will be. That’s something that you can keep and use forever. It will never lose value in your life. So, for those who feel as if there is nothing to show from their time studying, they have to realize that there is. You’re not working at your dream job, or making your dream salary yet, but you have learned a lot of lessons—many of which you could be using at this very moment. When frustration occurs, it wouldn’t be smart to leave because a process is taking too long. If you leave too early, it’s possible that you will never finish—which is another lesson in itself. Hopefully the realization that you are growing and changing as you venture towards obtaining this degree is a sufficient answer as to why you are still in school. College IS worth it—what you learn along this journey is irreplaceable.
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Non-Traditional Student By Karie Fugett I was 20 years old the first time I applied to go to college. I was newly married, my husband was deployed to Iraq, and I had recently realized that my current career, flight attending, did not fit in with my new life. I needed something more stable – something that gave me a better paycheck and allowed me to be home every night. I knew the only way I would be able to get what I wanted was to go back to school – so I applied. Not long after applying, I received my acceptance letter. I took my math placement test and applied for financial aid. Everything was set for the Summer semester. I was beyond excited and proud of myself. Until this point I had never thought of myself as a college student, but with it so close to my fingertips I realized I wanted nothing more. On April 1, 2006, a week after being accepted, I received word that my husband had been injured in Iraq by an Improvised Explosive Device. I threw college to the side and I went to Bethesda, MD to start my career as his caregiver. Over the next four years I filled out numerous college applications. I’ve lost count of how many. It was always the same story. Each time my husband seemed to be doing better and life seemed to be more stable, I would find the nearest college and submit an application. Each time I would be accepted and soon after I would have to resign; usually for reasons pertaining to my husband’s injuries, sometimes due to my inability to cope with our new, crazy life. Going to college, it seemed, had become an unattainable goal. I took that as a challenge. It became an obsession. Obtaining a degree became my ultimate goal in life. It has been seven years since my love was injured - seven very long years. It has also been seven years since I applied for college for the very first time and was shot down by life’s unpredictable and unavoidable circumstances. It’s been a long journey – but that’s ok – because today, I write Spring 2013
this as a student (thank you….thank you). In fact, I’m about to finish my first semester with better grades than I imagined I’d ever be able to make with my old lady brain. I finally did it. Though I am much older than I would prefer to be as a college freshman (it’s odd having teenagers as peers), I am proud of myself for making it here at all. I’m proud of having the guts to do this after not seeing the inside of a classroom in nine years, and for continuing to chase my goals even after becoming a widow two years ago – an event that taught me I can overcome any situation. And if I’m being honest with myself, I have a lot more to offer at this point in my life, anyway. I know exactly what I want to do in the future, I’ve experienced things that have helped me succeed in college, and I truly appreciate the ability to have an education at all. Yesterday, as I was running to my next class – positive that I was going to be late – I suddenly felt the urge to cry. Not because I was afraid of being late, but because I was so happy to be having that problem. I was a student late for class. What an amazing gift! It’s never too late to tackle your goals, regardless of your age or circumstances. It’s never too late to create a new life for yourself. For the first time in a long time I am looking forward to the amazing future I have ahead of me.
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Never Curse the Sun By Katie Griffith University of Cincinnati Today I noticed the trees more than I usually do. Maybe it was the way the wind blew the dead leaves or the way the twigs hung for their lives, barely attached to the thriving branches. Kids across the street were climbing the old Oak, breaking branches and crunching leaves. I felt a tear on my cheek and raised my hand to touch it, only to prove that it was wet and real and really there. It was one of those tears that don’t come very often, one that flows without warning from the depths of intangible sentiment. I laughed at my uncertainties and there arose an even more undefined state of emotion. It was better than the nothing I’d been feeling. I heard the kids laughing, saw them pointing, speculated about what could be so amusing until I realized where they were aiming their fingers. The fingers that broke those branches and crunched the leaves seemed to have a similar impact on me. I figured I should probably keep walking, focus on my steps. The fingers were bound to go away eventually, as everything else does. It’s been a month since you went away and I’ve decided to live for myself again, so I took a walk. What a new big step in my life, I thought metaphorically as my step fractured the blades of grass below my feet. I studied the trees and their loyal bark, attempted to wrap my mind around the immensity of their trunks. The enormous lifeline led my eyes to the grass and I suddenly felt remorse for treading with the soles of my shoes. Careful not to take another intrusive step I raised my right foot to reach my hands. I stopped wearing socks after I kept finding mismatches with yours. I stepped slowly and lightly trying to feel each blade caress the arch in my foot. I saw individual pieces poke through the space between my toes and giggled at the feeling. It was then that I learned I was walking in a whole new world, or on a whole new world— whatever way you want to look at it. Something so great about the world is that you can look at anything ‘whatever way you want to look at it.’ I haven’t looked at anything like this before. My appreciation grew as I lowered myself to a Spring 2013
laying position. You know how grass is supposed to make you all itchy? Well, it doesn’t once you learn to treat it right. Just the way trees never seem to be in the way once you realize their beauty, more importantly, their worth. My eyes followed a rather large ant. He was so dark brown he almost looked black, and he was carrying his dead brother. Where do they go with the bodies? How do they carry that dead weight and balance on a single sliver of grass with such poise? Never slipping or stumbling, made me think of the worries I carry, the ones that add to the disproportion of my posture. I was then stuck pondering what I could hold there, in place of the worries— something equally as heavy but with greater significance. The ant was headed straight for the tallest dandelion in a cluster of three. I’ve always thought dandelions to be lovely, especially before they become what they are. Or is that after? You know, when you can pick them up and blow so the seeds scatter in the wind. How can you call that a weed? Sad how the world works, placing worth on things because of how they appear. Just because it doesn’t grow as tall or smell as pleasant as the other flowers doesn’t mean you have to leave it out. Just because I’ve lost you doesn’t mean there’s no one else. I’m glad nature has learned to thrive the best it can, if only we didn’t get in the way. The soil is not selfish; it takes what the sky gives and only that. Sometimes the grass can be yellow but it always returns to its emerald beginnings. The trees grow to their potential and gracefully let go of their fallen leaves. They reach for the sky, who wouldn’t? And upon realizing the possibilities of blowing in the wind they willingly let go of life. We hang on and on until we’re squeezing so hard there is no life left, not ready to accept what comes next. After this realization of acceptance I let myself look at the sky. I saw that it was what you might consider ‘gloomy.’ Not a day to be deemed beautiful by any means. But why not? The clouds so subtle their cotton edges blended with the blue, not holding any shape in particular. It played tricks with my eyes, what was a cloud and what was the canvas? A chilly breeze brought a darker sort of cloud directly above me; heavier looking, darker, and more round. It was obvious then, which was the canvas. I saw you in that cloud, I imagined you speaking to me and what you might have to say— until my eyelids met and my thoughts consumed me. I wished the clouds would teach me to let go.
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I tightened my hands and limbs and eyes and face. I pressed all of my weight into the soil until I was sure my impression would be left forever. What felt like a tear, but could have been a raindrop poured freely down my neck and dissolved there. Sharp pain stung my thoughts, down to my arms all the way to my feet, resulting in a tighter clench. The lighting. A frenzied gleam of pictures and memories, poems and movies, songs and streams, voices, lists, blades, surging in every direction, too fast for comprehension but slow enough for recognition. The thunder. Then tears. This time I was sure they were tears because of the swelling in my eyes. Itâ€™s like they linger and wait their turn to fall, like a gathering of school children up the ladder of a slide, two hands and two feet per rung of the ladder. Do tears wait in anticipation, like children? Do they swell like a rain cloud? And what ever prevented them from falling all at once? At times a harder rain falls, but the drops are always racing at different frequencies. I imagined what it might be like if a cloud were to up and let go, forgetting its regulative capabilities. It would be something like a natural disaster, washing people away, disrupting everyday life. My tears and the falling rain were enough to disrupt my life, they mixed to filter and drain me of my worries. The voices, lists, blades, songs and pictures faded with the last of the lightly falling drops. Joints creaked as my limbs untightened and granted relaxation to my body. Fresh rays of sun stretched from behind a cloud and they reached for me. The sensation became more intense as the sun shown entirely and extended its longest gleam, engulfing me. Once again I sank into thought, this time more tranquil. Try to never curse the sun, be sure only to return the warmth it provides, be the brightness it emits, it will no doubt rise tomorrow to enflame the quarrels nightfall brings. Absorb it, let it heal you. Confide in the sky and the trees, the flowers and soil, for they are the only constant with mending abilities such as these.
Puppy Love By Kendra Minoza Houston Community College By and large, there is only one event I consider significant enough for it to be able to indelibly engrave itself upon my ebbing childhood memories: succumbing to attraction, nearly killing myself in the process, and being reprimanded by my parents for my lack of judgment. Less than pleasant was the fatal adversity I had to withstand while fate taught me the consequences of my impulsive actions. On the condition that I never let go of my lifesaver, my parents allowed me to go swimming. Unfortunately, such a condition was not met, for there a cute boy stood, from across the pool, his hair glistening with drops of water, and his eyes speaking to my yearning soul in many intangible ways. He was seven years old, utterly cute, and undeniably charismatic. Meanwhile, I was six, innocent, and completely convinced that it was love at first sight. In my head, I was able to come up with a thousand ways to get his attention, and yet it took only one to nearly cause the death of me. All it took was one question, just one measly request, and I, without any hesitations whatsoever, gave him my lifesaver, which later on proved to be a huge mistake. Scrabble was the only form of exercise I engaged in, so whether or not I could swim was out of the question. Furthermore, all the adults were on the other side of the pool. Hence, should I need the aid of grown-ups under any circumstances, it would take time for them to reach me. Nonetheless, whenever his eyes seemed to wander about elsewhere, I seized the moment to fix mine upon his. Not long after, it occurred to me that I should be the one to initiate a conversation with him. However, television and other forms of media had given me the impression that girls who made the first move were frowned upon. Destiny then, this being our would-be espousal, seemed to be more elusive than I had thought. Unexpectedly, he shifted from his position and advanced towards me. Dazed with infatuation, the depths of my soul were shaken with immense excitement, partial anxiety, and a smudge of disbelief. The promise of forever emblazoned his eyes, his every step echoing my every
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heartbeat. In a flash, he was right in front of me. He politely and very eagerly asked for permission to use my lifesaver; his eyes, the color of milk chocolate, turned me into a pile of mush. Moments later, he was gone. With anticipation for the unknown, I continued to eye him as he splashed through the still waters of the swimming pool with my lifesaver. Bliss enshrouded me. Along with the aforementioned happiness, which proved to be ephemeral, struck a tinge of guilt. Then, as abruptly as occurred to me the impulse to marry that sevenyear-old chap, and for whatever reason that I cannot identify to date, I forgot why I let him take my lifesaver. The feeling of ardor vanished, and was replaced by remorse. Confusion flooded me as my thoughts collided against each other. Regardless, a decision had to be made. That lifesaver that clung snugly to his body was not his, and justice had to be served. Equipped with a new sense of bravado, I quashed the immobility brought about earlier by his presence. Boldly, I tried to swim to get to him, leaping repeatedly in the water in the belief that doing so would keep me from sinking. Alas, I miscalculated; things went from pitch black, to incomprehensibly blurry, and back again as I struggled for air, persistently trying to keep a firm grasp on what seemed to be a quickly declining longevity. Straight ahead, I saw a light. No, I wasnâ€™t dying. However, I do vaguely remember seeing a glimmering orb edging towards me. Like an answer to my wordless plea, someone came to my rescue. This stranger grabbed me, grasping my fragile body and pulling me away from the waters that had sucked me in. Later, after what seemed to be a dim eternity, I opened my eyes and faced my rescuer. Judging from the wrinkles that splayed across his face, I assumed he was about forty years old. Proudly he stood, his bald head glistening in the sun, as he acknowledged his glorious act of heroism. Beside him were the two people I was most afraid to confront: my parents. Needless to say, neither of my parents were pleased with my careless pursuit of affection. While they were relieved over the fact that I was safe, they saw to it that I get a better grasp on the importance of life. A revelation--indeed, not having access to chocolate for a year as a punishment taught me to know better than to listen to my hyperactive hormones. After all, sharing my lifesaver did anything but save my life. Ultimately, the experience reminded me to give greater attention to three things often taken for granted: the importance of obedience, the love of my parents, and the value of life.
One Phone Call, Many Changes By Raquel Diaz Aleman Who do you admire? The first person who comes to your mind may be your sister, brother, mother, father, grandma, or grandpa. What would your do if, at this moment, you received a phone call giving you the news that the person you admire has a terminal illness and only a few months to live? I look back to the day when I held the phone to my ear and struggled to take in every word that the doctor was telling me. “Your mother has liver and gallbladder cancer. There is no cure.” I think about who I was then and who I have become. I have become a goal oriented, self-determined individual with clear objectives in life. Cesar Chavez, a famous leader of a farm worker’s union, once said, “Si Se Puede!” (“It Can Be Done!”). The dramatic event of my mother’s terminal illness and my ability to cope with the challenges, faced during and after this event, have strengthened me and prepared me to face the challenges to come. My mother’s terminal illness changed many things in my life including my role in the family, my family’s financial status, and my educational and career goals. In times when I thought about quitting, I told myself “Yes, it can be done!” My mother played an important role in our family. During her illness and after her death, I had to take on some her role. Being the only girl in the family, I had to take care of the house and cook for the rest of the family. My mother’s death was the first loss that any of my family had experienced. It was difficult to comfort everyone else because I, myself, struggled to mourn. My family member’s tear-stained faces gave me hope and told me, “Yes, it can be done!” Only then, could I gather enough strength to give them a hug and comfort them. Throughout my mother’s illness, my family had financial difficulties. After her illness, my father was the sole provider for the family. Even though I had a job, my mother required at-home care; therefore, I quit my job. After her death, my family had to pay for the funeral expenses. Since her burial occurred in Mexico, my family also paid for the trip
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expenses. After returning to school, I took Advanced Placement and Early College courses that required large fees to be paid. The cost for these courses was a burden for my family. With the help of scholarships, I was able to pay for those courses. Even though the financial struggle continues, resources are available and those resources tell me “Yes, it can be done!” My mother was a motivator toward my education. When she arrived tired from sorting potatoes for eight straight hours a local potato fresh pack warehouse, she would say to me, “Get an education so that you never suffer like me.” Instead of asking me to help with chores, she had me focus on my homework while she took care of the house and cooked for the family. Her illness required me to stay home during the first trimester of my junior year. Even though this put me a full trimester behind my graduating class, I knew the time I spent with her would be worth it. Toward the last phase of my mother’s illness, I promised her that I would graduate from high school and go to college. After returning from Mexico following her burial, I returned to school. On days when I felt the weight of the books that I used to do my homework, I told myself, “Yes, it can be done! The additional effort proved to be worthwhile. Regardless of my emotional state and new responsibilities at my home, I earned a 3.4 grade point average for my junior year. My mother’s cancer had no cure; yet, many cancers can be cured. For that reason, my educational goal is to obtain a Master’s of Science degree in Medical Physics. My career goal is to work with St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. With my degree, I will research radiation as a treatment for children’s cancer. My next career plan is to become a sponsor for a professional’s mentor program. By becoming a sponsor, I will have the opportunity to motivate high school students in my community to continue their education. The program will offer scholarships and focus on high school student’s educational struggles, such as English or math. I will be a resource to motivate high school students to believe in the words, “Yes, it can be done!” It has been two and a half years since my mother passed away. During the many times of diverse struggles, I have experienced the true meaning of Cesar Chavez’s words: “Yes, it can be done!” The experience that I have had with my mother has made me believe in those words to their fullest extent. The words, “Yes, it can be done,” have taught me that success does not have an end, success is a continuous challenge. It is difficult to receive a phone call where you find that the person you Spring 2013
admire has only a few months to live. We have the power to overcome challenges that come our way. Yes, there will be struggle, sacrifice, and effort needed. When the thought of quitting comes to your mind, listen to the words, “Yes, it can be done!” If I could speak with my mother, one of the things I would say to her would be, “YES, it can be done!”
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Stephen King Writes More Than Just Horror? A Review of The Drawing of the Three: Dark Tower Part II By Roberta Hemmer University of Vermont When people hear Stephen King’s name, they think of the horror novels which made him famous: Carrie, Cujo, The Shining, Misery, Pet Sematary, The Green Mile — the list goes on and on. This prolific best-selling author, recipient of 59 literary awards, has been highly praised for his painterly attention to detail and his creative, genre-hopping style. Also, Stephen King has a knack for infusing his nightmarish stories with hefty doses of suspense, keeping our eyes wide and our breath swift. Yet there is more than King’s aptitude for the macabre that makes his writing irresistible. Glimpses of complex themes resurface again and again, and a haunting sense of connectedness permeates most of his work. Restricted by the confines of the horror genre, in the Dark Tower series King is able to blend genres and reveal more of his creativity, values, and theology. Fans of Stephen King will be fascinated—and newcomers will be intrigued—by this unusual departure from the norm. King blurs the line between literary genres with his book The Drawing of the Three, the second in the seven-book Dark Tower series. The series follows Roland Deschain, the world’s last gunslinger, on his epic quest to the mysterious Dark Tower. No one knows exactly where or what the Dark Tower is, not even Roland himself. All he knows is that it is his destiny to journey to the Tower, perhaps in the hope of healing his dystopian world. Describing King’s fantastical style is a Herculean task, even with a horror book that fits neatly in its genre. Think of Roland Deschain as Clint Eastwood in one of his Westerns, but saddled with a medieval knight’s sense of duty and stuck in a crumbling, post-nuclear world. Add to that a bizarre mash-up of parallel universes, tangled backstories, and coincidences ripe with meaning, and you’ve got yourself a compelling epic as Spring 2013
delicious as a Lord of the Rings and Lost hybrid. Sounds involved and rather exhausting, doesn’t it? Not at all. Unlike Lost, where if you miss one episode you might as well give it up entirely, the Dark Tower series is like a chain of tales told by a master storyteller around a festival bonfire. Stephen King writes for the love of writing, and you can sense the pure enjoyment he finds in fleshing out the lives of interesting characters. As a reader, you get caught up in his enthusiasm and his wonder, but turn a corner and you stumble upon a little tidbit of the suspense for which King’s famous. The Dark Tower series is a meandering epic, a swirl of genres, characters, and stories that spans several genres and 22 years of his career. (Interestingly, King is releasing an eighth Dark Tower book, chronologically set between the fourth and fifth volumes. It seems that even eight years later, there are more stories to be told about the world of gunslingers.) As the second book in the series, The Drawing of the Three plays a unique role. Not only does King begin to sketch out the plot arc of Roland’s quest, but he fleshes out some truly remarkable characters that encompass new themes of destiny, addiction, strength of character, and human complexity. The novel starts with a sudden, violent attack; mutant lobsters devour two of Roland’s fingers, leaving him unable to fire his twin guns. Sick with infection, Roland reaches a door hanging in mid-air over the deserted beach. It’s a portal to another world and another time, and Roland has no choice but to go through and hope to find his sorely needed medicine. The title refers to the process of recruiting companions to accompany Roland on his journey to the Dark Tower. Using these mysterious doors, Roland recruits Eddie Dean, a charismatic heroin addict from the 1980s; and Odetta Holmes, a crippled black Civil Rights activist from the 1960s. Although the third member of their group isn’t “drawn” until the following book, there are some tough problems to solve: Roland’s illness, Eddie’s addiction, and Odetta’s split personality. Let’s not forget, either, that Roland must overcome radical culture clashes to convince Eddie and Odetta to join him on his quest. Also, Roland must use his gunsling-
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er training to keep them all safe in worlds teeming with the unknown. Stephen King sets us up for one hell of a ride, that’s for certain. The Drawing of the Three runs the gamut from all-out gunfights and adrenaline-pumping action to an emotional exploration of Eddie’s relationship with his brother Henry, a fellow junkie. King also infuses his story with humanity, showcasing the growing trust between Roland and Eddie, and the fragility of a budding romance between Odetta and Eddie Dean. As the second book in a series, The Drawing of the Three serves as a foundation for themes and characters, but it can also stand alone as a welldeveloped novel in its own right. King appears more comfortable now in this vivid world of mixed genres and parallel universes than he was in his premier novel, The Gunslinger. To help illuminate the story’s vividness, King enlists the help of Phil Hale, a renowned American illustrator. Stephen King’s unusual choice to include 10 full page illustrations seems strange, until you notice that Hale has captured the tension and dynamic movement of the gunslinger, bringing Roland’s badass attitude to life. Through the kaleidoscope of backstories, plots, and characters of The Drawing of the Three, Stephen King offers us a fascinating glimpse into his unfettered creativity. True, it may be overwhelming at first, but King’s vivid characters and imagery dispel any dreamy confusion. Fans of Stephen King may be startled by this radical stylistic shift, but I believe that the combination of genres allows King to stretch his imagination; and the result is an epic rich in detail and creativity that rivals even the best of King’s horror. For those unable to stomach the macabre, this Western-infused fantasy/sci-fi is a perfect fit for any book-lover looking to try something new.
Chapter One By Shay Quigley ******************** Evangeline “You know it’s true,” Luci shot back at me, shaking her finger in my general direction. We were situated in her posh living room, where I was stretched out on her couch, all five foot of me. I have a knack for fitting perfectly onto couches, as if they were all crafted with my minuscule dimensions in mind. Then again, I still fit into those tiny wooden chairs made solely for children. I am small and I am quiet, but Luci has a way of riling me up about topics I didn’t even know I had an opinion about. Luci was currently on one of her rampages about the detriment of television on children’s brains. She was convinced staring at a screen turned brains to gray, wrinkly soup. “No, I don’t,” I retorted, only half jesting, “I think all you’re doing is giving Alyse a grim childhood by outlawing Barney and Mr. Rogers.” Luci wiped her hands on her ruffly pink tutuesque skirt and stood, unfolding her full 6-foot frame plus heels. One of the things I absolutely adored about Luci was her style: she dressed only for herself, and didn’t give a second thought to peoples’ opinions of her wardrobe. Take today’s ensemble for instance--a bubblegum pink tutu-looking skirt complete with tulle, a sweater covered with some sort of dead animal’s fur, a rusty red beret, and stilettos the color of seaweed. In an ordinary world, one would not be caught dead in Luci’s getup, but she felt the same way about a matching pantsuit. Once you look past Luci’s exterior and manage to gather the courage to talk to her, the second thing you would notice is that she is strongly opinionated. Maybe stubborn and exasperating are more accurate. In another life, she would be the tiger, the one that never surrenders. I would be the forlorn little sparrow. “Pathetic childhood or not, I have to get to work. Plus, who asked you?” “If you feel that way, then, don’t come to me for free books anymore, Luce.” She knew I would never follow through with that threat. I loved
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books far too much to keep them all to myself. I put on my solemn face, though, in a feeble attempt to seem serious. Luci just smiled her toothy, catlike grin and voiced my thoughts: “You would never.” She crossed the room in two long strides and pulled her coat from the closet. Just when I think her garb couldn’t be anymore horrifying, she proves me wrong. Her coat looked like something Nancy Drew would wear, or perhaps Sherlock Holmes: a musty-colored tweed button-up. I had to wrench my eyes away from the ghastly thing when she spoke. “Plus, you and your little behind need to skedadle so I won’t be late to Hell and Yvette won’t scream like a banshee at me for the fourth time this week.” She punctuated her words by pulling a strand of my unruly strawberry blonde curls taut, then released it, sending it bouncing back into what I endearingly call my bird’s nest. She secretly adored working for the antique shop just a few blocks from her apartment. Only in New York could you be so lucky as to work a short walk from home and be employed by a charming--albeit slightly plump-woman, one of those ladies who seems like a universal grandmother. I sighed a deep, highly theatrical sigh. “Fiiiiiine. Go. I should go, too.” I remained lying as long as I could, savoring the opulence of the overstuffed, burgundy velvet creation Luci called a couch. I threw on my somber-looking black pea coat and walked out Luci’s front door ahead of her. “You know, Eve, you should consider letting me give you some fashion lessons,” I shot her a deadpan, not-in-your-dreams-look. “I’m serious. That black does nothing for your complexion except make you look vampiric.” I happened to think I looked fine. “Maybe that’s what I was going for. I hear the vampire look is all the rage these days.” I had to half jog to keep up with Luci and her fantastically long legs, and it left me puffing little clouds in the frosty February air. I stopped outside Luci’s antique shop as she opened the dazzling chrome door and waved my goodbye like a mother leaving behind her child at school, not quite ready to leave and let go. My fingers were beginning to turn a frosty pink, so I turned from the store, shoved my ungloved hands into my pockets, and walked at a much slower pace to my bookstore. As I walked on the crowded sidewalk, I thought about my spot in life. My thoughts cleared as I stopped below the sign of my bookstore, “Chapter One.” The name filled me with hope every day, even now, after Spring 2013
five years of seeing it almost daily. I felt optimism leaking into my pores, drenching my organs and massaging my muscles. I grinned, filled my lungs, and channeled my hopes for the day into a shove of the door. ******************** Colette Colette was what her teachers called “an imaginative girl.” It’s not that she wasn’t bright, because she was. It was more that she had better places to be, better things to think than the school work in front of her. Colette never understood why people--especially adults--would prefer to be unimaginative. Why would people rather type on a computer, read the newspaper, or all the other mundane things it is that adults do, when they could be in their head, living as a princess, riding into the sunset with a knight in shining armor, being the hero in a conjured up tale. Maybe it would be clear when I’m old, too, Colette thought. Maybe tenyear-olds are not allowed to understand the grown up world. Colette was also a squirmer. She wasn’t the type to fidget all day long at her desk, though. It happened more when people touched her. Colette hated touching. Hugs were the worst. Colette thought of hugs as a physical manifestation of a promise, and she had had too many promises broken in her one decade of existence. A chill ran down her spine just thinking about a hug, a pat on the head. It made her squirmy. “Colette? Colette! Are you with us?” Colette’s head snapped back from her daze and focused on Ms. Attison. Colette hated the “Ms.” She didn’t hate many things, but the way that word made her mouth taste all metallic and angry, she knew it was hate. Colette thought it made unmarried women like Ms. Attison sound snobby, like they thought better of themselves, that they were stronger somehow because they were without husbands. Colette didn’t understand why anyone would want to brag about being alone, since “alone” was one of those words that makes you feel like you’re wrapped inside a gray cloud, all soggy and grim and isolated. “Y-Y-Yes, Ms. Attison.” Colette couldn’t stop herself from grimacing at the “Ms.” Ms. Attison shot Colette a look of mild annoyance mixed with pity, radiating from the top of her partially gray hair to her purple velvet clogs. No, no, not that look, Colette brooded. Anything but that look. It was the look her mother gave her the day her father left. It was the look her father had given her the night before that day, although Colette didn’t realize that until much too late. It was the look that meant some-
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thing bad was happening, had already happened, and she was the last to know. Again. At least she knew it wouldn’t be her mother or father, since they were who-knows-where. Colette spent the rest of class brainstorming catastrophes and watching the second hand on the classroom’s clock tick slowly by. When Colette felt her brain on the verge of bursting with anxiety a fifth grader has no business feeling, the bell rang. Ms. Attison shot Colette the look again, making her grind her teeth with fear, and beckoned her over as the rest of Colette’s classmates made a beeline for the door. “I received a call from your mother this morning.” Colette stared at the purple shoes. “My stepmother,” she whispered. “Not my mother.” Ms. Attison either chose to ignore the mumble or genuinely didn’t hear. “Your mother explained that you will be leaving us after this week. I’m sad to hear that.” She fixed an even more pitying look on Colette. “I just wanted to wish you the best of luck.” Ms. Attison nodded, indicating the conversation’s end. Colette raised her eyes to meet her teacher’s, and nodded her own unsure nod. She stood there for a quiet moment as Ms. Attison turned and walked away, drinking in the look of her classroom, the way it smelled of freshly sharpened pencils and the subtle stink of boredom. Colette started when she realized she would miss it here. Not here as in the classroom, but here as in this place, this town. What she would miss most of all was the bookstore. ******************** Evangeline She was in the bookstore again. Every day at 3 o’clock sharp, as if she had an appointment to keep with the bookshelves. I often invented stories about her, but I was sure that a girl almost my height but years younger, a girl with an angular jet-black bob and glittery shoes, had a story no one could guess. I saw her every day but never approached her. I guess I’m what you would call timid. I call my self pusillanimous, though, because when I use that word, it doesn’t sound as if I’m saying I’m a coward. Maybe it was the Emily Dickinson pin on her baby blue bag--when I was that young, did I even know who Dickinson was?--that did me in, maybe it was the injured expression on her face. Whatever it was, my heartstrings gave a pull, a tug, and then shoved me toward this familiar little stranger. I walked from behind the bookcase I was peering through like the true mouse I am and approached the black-haired girl tentatively, Spring 2013
like one would approach an untamed lion. I took a deep breath, assured myself she wouldn’t bite, and stepped closer. She was so entranced by the book, swallowed into the story, that she didn’t sense me lingering. I saw an opportunity to escape at that moment, but I gathered myself and stood firm. I cleared my throat. I was not prepared for the girl’s big emerald eyes to turn on me, and I’m afraid I gasped in surprise. “Hi. Hello. What are you reading?” I don’t blame the girl for eyeing me suspiciously, as it was obvious by the cover of her book what she was reading. What an idiotic question. “James and the Giant Peach,” she squeaked. Why was I even attempting to hold a conversation with this child? Ah. A lightbulb snapped on in my head: she reminded me of me. “When I was your age,” I began, settling on a comfortable, familiar topic--myself--“I would spend every spare moment in the library across from my house.” She looked at me in such awe I had to chuckle. “It was so bad that at times my mother had to drag me home from the library for dinner. She thinks that if I had my way, I would burrow inside a book and make friends with the characters.” “What book would you choose?” Finally, she speaks. I considered her question, mentally skimming the bookshelves. “Alice in Wonderland, if only to challenge the Queen of Hearts to a game of croquet.” The girl was so serious, but gave me a nod of approval. I felt like I had passed an initiation of sorts. “My name is Evangeline,” I finally felt compelled to reveal. “I’m Colette,” the dark beauty of a girl returned. We shook like civilized people, and I remained seated across from her, waiting for her to speak. Colette’s name suited her. She had a dark, cluttered air around her--something a young girl should not have just yet-that always reminded me of the French. After many silent breaths, she spoke. “I come here everyday,” I nodded as if this was new information. “I walk here after school because the bus doesn’t stop at my house.” “What about your parents?” That pained expression snuck its way back
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onto her face, and I knew I had struck a vein. “My mom is a writer. She’s going to be famous.” Colette said it with such genuine conviction, as if it was a fact that her mom would soon make the bestseller list. “I like the library. I would rather stay here anyway.” Her chin jutted out, daring me to criticize. The desire to escape into books was a familiar one for me. In school I was always the quiet girl sitting alone during recess, too introverted to join any of the groups having fun. I always wanted to be on the swings or running around barefoot playing soccer with the boys, but every time I would think about talking to them, my heart would thunk in my chest, my throat would instantly become dry, and my cheeks turned a putrid shade of crimson. The clicking of heels on the store’s old linoleum floor pulled me from the depths of myself, and Claire from her perusal of my far-away facial expression. “Lette-baby, let’s go. Now. We’re already late.” The first image in my mind after I saw the woman was Cruella De Ville. It must have been her black polka-dot skirt and red heels, although the menacing air she had floating around her like a foul perfume didn’t hurt. My eyes ping-ponged between Colette and this woman during a very pregnant pause. A mask dropped over Colette face as she scooped her books into her bag and followed the woman, head down, looking at her toes. I got one more glance and a half-hearted smile before she was whisked off in the woman’s whirlwind of urgency and annoyance. I smiled to myself, convinced that if Colette really was anything like me, she was a tough soul who could survive with or without her fiendish mother. After all, I had made it this far with only thousands of books and hundreds of shelves to my name.
Memories of the American Night By So Youn Park Arizona State University “Get into the other car, NOW!” I could hear my dad shouting across the seat. The water. Sinking my ankles, climbing my knees, quickly made its way up, as if it were some vein trying to wrap around my body. A sea of thoughts flowed through my mind. ‘Where’s my house, what’s happening, how did this happen’ and most of all ‘Why am I here?’ While sinking into these thoughts, asking myself unanswerable questions, I felt the water rise higher and higher. Now. Above my hips. With no doubt I was going to drown in any minute. *** I even changed my name. From the only ‘Soyoun Park’ I have ever been, there I added myself an American name – Brenda Park. I was the only one in my kindergarten who had two names. All the other kids envied me. “Why do you get to have a Korean name AND an English name? That’s not fair!” From jealously, they made themselves their own English names. ‘Of course no one other then them amongst themselves would be called that name.’ I thought to myself. American people were going to call me ‘Brenda’; my nametag, my bag, my lunch box, everything that belonged to me will get a new name. Dad told me about his new life in the US. Everyone had cars. Everyone lived in houses with a front and backyard. Every night, we would anticipate the phone call from my dad, of course to hear his voice, but also to hear about the US.
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Finally. It was the day! We packed our last belongings, gave our house key back, said our last goodbyes and headed to the airport. It was the last drive on the street, the highway, and the last capture of the scene of Korea. After 14 hours, there will be a brand new landscape greeting me. The lemon ray of sun beamed down our car window, past the marshmallow clouds as if to show its last face of existence. We got off the car, shut the door, and headed inside the airport. ‘Wow!’ A word of exclamation came out of my mouth. I had never in my 4-year life seen anywhere as crowded or as large and sophistically structured. There were multiple gates, maze-like entrances, and many objects that looked completely new. We went through one of the gates, past the security and finally into the duty free stores. Being young, all I cared about was sweets. Candy, candy, and MORE candy! I was excited. With a handful of candy grasped in my small fists, I cheerfully passed the last gateway. Seated, as well behaved as I could be (even though I felt like running down the long aisles), I ate candy. I chewed and chewed …but as time passed, still…I started feeling a headache. “Mom, I thought chewing candy was supposed to make you less dizzy…” Then, an announcement came over the speakerphone. “Attention passengers, due to bad weather the plane will experience frequent turbulences during our flight.” ‘That’s weird’ I thought. The weather was bright till now, what do they mean bad weather? How can the sun suddenly hide itself and let the clouds of storm take over? With a balloon of curiosity, I started asking my mom questions. After all, I was only 4 years old. “Is the weather in America always bad? Will I keep on getting headaches? What does ‘turbulences’ mean? Can we get there safely?” My mom, distracted from her honey-filled sleep, told me in a soft yet drowsy voice. “Honey, just, lets go to sleep now. That way you’ll get less headaches.” I let out a silent sigh, laid my back against the chair, and put on the earphones. To the rhythm of the soft music, I felt my eyes closing, getting drowsier and drowsier… from the lingering music around my ears. A fade volume of announcement woke my deep nap. Faintly I could hear. Spring 2013
Our plane was being delayed from the weather. I don’t know how long it was for, a few minutes? A couple of hours? Our plane kept hovering in the air until the storm had settled. ‘Stupid rain’ I thought. It’s the rain’s fault that I got a headache, couldn’t watch a movie on the plane, and got delayed in landing. I resented the rain. Finally! After circling the sky for such a long time, the plane finally made its arrival. We went out the arrival gate. Our dad was standing at the front, greeting us with a smile. Next to him was another man, someone new. Being slightly nervous, I shyly put out my hand for a handshake: an American style of greeting. The mysterious man turned out to be a colleague of my dad, who came here earlier to the US than my dad. He was going to lead us to our house. Inflamed with excitement, I readily followed my dad to our car. The windows had sheer drops of raindrops still hitting against it. Drop... drop…drop… The crystal drops made disturbing sounds causing every bit of my senses to reach the climax of sensitivity. As if it wanted to penetrate through to our car, the rain beat harder and harder, violently against the window. With no further delay, dad started driving. He was following his friend’s car. The front was dark and blurry. The light beaming from the highway stands reflected on the glass raindrops, but still, sight over 5 feet was blocked. All we could rely on was the headlight from our front car. We caught up closer to the front car so we wouldn’t lose it. The highway had so many exits. Pass…passes...and passes again. Which exit were we going to take? We were passing virtually every exit. Then my dad’s phone rang. “Hello?” I could hear over the phone. “It seems we took the wrong directions. We missed an exit. We’re in a neighborhood that looks unfamiliar. I think we have to take the next exit and take a U-turn.” My heart pounded fast. What if we get lost? In a country that we’ve never been before, and it raining too! What were we going to do? But my dad kept his calm voice. “Okay, lets take the upcoming exit and ask the local people for directions.” So we did. We took the next exit right away and reached the local road.
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Everything seemed to be perfectly fine. Just as when I was starting to feel relaxed… ‘SPLASH!’ I felt the front of the car sinking into something. I didn’t know what. Just the front of the car fell into something. I undid my seatbelt trying to get up from the back seat. I stood up trying to look at the front to see what had happened. The whole front part of the seat seemed slanted. The tire was stuck. Water. The road, the intersection was full of water. We drove right into it. Suddenly. Silence. Something wet started soaking our feet. Water was snickering under our feet trying to fill in the rest of the space. I started screaming. My sister was crying. My mom was looking around. My dad was on the phone. The water was rising. Already up to the ankles I felt it. I moved my leg vigorously trying to kick the water back out. But it didn’t work. It was useless. The water kept continuing coming in and in, higher and higher rising up to my knees. There was no way to stop it. I was helpless… I then heard my dad shout. “Get to the other car, get out! Get out! NOW!” I didn’t know what he was talking about. Get out to where? Then, I realized what he was talking about. The other car; it was safe. There was less water filled up in the car, bigger, it would take longer for that car to be filled up. One by one, we all cruised through the big puddle of flood. Our knees half under water, we carefully made our way in order for our survival. As I stepped a feet forward, I could feel my toes sinking in. Deeper and heavier, it was getting harder to move even a small step forward. Like a bag of sand hanging down from my ankles, the water tried to push me down. I tried resisting the force hanging down on my legs. Slowly and carefully, I tried to make my way to the car on the other side. I felt the water getting shallower. Was I near to getting saved? Then, in a distance, I could hear a faint siren coming towards us. Its red and blue light was blinking with its ear-bursting siren. The police. Then, alas, I felt some sort of security. Someone was there. Someone to save us; someone will take us out of this miserable pool of water. That, a memory I would never forget still remains, of the first American night.
Untitled but True By Synclair Maye-Key University of North Carolina at Greensboro A toke a day keeps the pain at bay. Bleed now, she used to say. Don’t worry, it will heal and if not, there will be no more pain, no more anger, no more dealing, coping, crying, no more. A toke an hour, calm as a flower. Keep digging her eyes read, down, deep to the solid bone, by past the flesh and let the floor soak in this new texture, a thick new texture, a bold red texture. A familiar texture of relief, warm to the core, one that will send you to places you could only dream about. A toke on the dot, the brain will rot. Let it flow, cover everything you know, need and, let past be past, accept the pain. Let it bleed out until none is left. Forget what they told you. Who are they; they don’t know what you havebeenthrough,done,anything. Inhaleitaway,swallowitwhole,finishthe bottle,the bag; the scars fade and more arise. How do you deal with your life and your problems? So the story begins, I sat quiet, motionless, still, as if inanimate. In the corner of my bed, the coldest spot, the one by my window, balled up. Tears rolled down my face as if I had lost my best friend, but that was far from the case. For twenty minutes I sat, waiting for my phone to ring, waiting for something, anything to let me know she was ok. See, she was what the dictionary called a drug abuser, what society called a user, druggie, pot head, drunk, a cutter, what I just called normal. That’s how we, me and her, clicked. She was the yin to my yang I guess. At the time I never thought I would feel for her like I did. Her memory brought tears that night. The rain fell and I just sat, waiting for anything. I just needed a sign saying that she was okay, that she was coping and dealing. I remember how she dealt last time. The time when her ex-girlfriend cheated, or when she almost got raped, or when her uncle died, or when her so-called boyfriend put his hands on her, or when she ran away, or when her plan became an attempt; I mean, how would you deal? Would you let it go, would you cut, drink, inhale your problems away?
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Thinking of my other half made the tears roll more than the rain; my emotions now harmonized with the sounds of the Earth. That time in my room was me coping with her. She was so quiet, kept to herself, held it in, and dealt silently; we were alike and complete opposites all at once. She never talked and always cried, not from the pain itself, but from the idea that the pain would always be there. I always listened when she did talk when no one else would. That’s when I first found out she cut and used. That’s when I found out she was, what the dictionary called, suicidal. When I found out her outlet to dealing, I saw the reason behind the way she was and how she acted. She expected me to do what everyone else in her life did; judge her and her actions without going deeper hiding it behind a mask of happiness. I glanced down at my phone, still waiting, it was almost three o’clock, and my eyes could barely squeeze out anymore tears. My head throbbed, and my body needed rest but I stayed awake, waiting and waiting. I closed my eyes for a couple of minutes and realized that she was never going to call. She was already dead inside me. That part of me was gone, a past I would have to accept no matter what the circumstance. I couldn’t cry anymore because there was nothing more to cry about, it already happened. I realized in those few minutes that crying wouldn’t change anything that happened; acceptance was the only way out. That night, I coped with my past, those who judged, those who hurt, those who failed to see much deeper, and I forgave, accepted and moved on, because you can never change what already happened, only what will.
Squirrels Travel in Numbers By Taylor Hanley University of Wisconsin-Madison If any species of animal decided to revolt and attack the human race, the scariest would be squirrels. Squirrels are insane. They could lash out from anywhere; darting out of a tree, springing out of the bushes or merely a ground attack. Their sharp teeth and pointy claws would damage a person of any size, their ratty fur and mangled tail could work perfectly for suffocating victims and lastly, they are freakishly fast. I have had nightmares about this happening. Trust me, it is terrifying. My childhood is full of weird happenings involving squirrels and this was because of two reasons. First of all, a huge black walnut tree sat in the center of my backyard. Those black walnuts are like crack for squirrels; when the time was right they would collect as many as they could, risking their lives as they fought off other squirrels and then eventually they would smuggled them across the Mexican border. I’m just kidding about Mexico; that would be ridiculous. This black walnut tree attracted all the squirrels in the town of Menomonie, and my family had to deal with them year after year. The second reason was because the squirrel population was trying to avenge the public humiliation and death of one of their fellow squirrels. This humiliation happened when I was seven years old. It was winter time in Wisconsin and so there was about 4 feet of snow on the ground. My sister and I were in our backyard. We were playing some type of role playing game; she was the king of the jungle gym and I was her slave. As she posed on the top of the slide, she ordered me to dig a pool. So I started digging, no questions asked. I grasped a handful of snow in my hand and threw it behind me, then another. It was about the third or fourth ball of snow that I picked up when I uncovered a claw. I started screaming. “Ahhh! Help Alex, It’s a porcupine! There’s a porcupine in the snow!”
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Of course I know now that it wasn’t a porcupine in the snow, it was a squirrel. I thought it was a porcupine because that day in school we learned about porcupines and how they can shoot their spikes out at people. I did not want that porcupine inches away from me to shoot its’ deadly thorns so I ran to my sister shrieking, “Alex! Don’t let it hurt me!” When I wrapped my arms around my sister’s waist and sobbed into her snow pants; she didn’t protect me, instead she took ahold of my shoulder, pushed me off of her, and walked to the house leaving me completely alone with what I thought was a deadly porcupine. She was my sister, someone I had looked up to all of my life, and she had left me to die. My dad walked to me moments later; he was calm and I was sobbing. “What’s wrong Taylor?” I lifted my shaking finger slowly to the claw that was sticking out of the snow. Unlike me, my dad wasn’t afraid of the porcupine. Without hesitation he unburied the creature. The squirrel was frozen solid and it was dead. It had gotten a yogurt container stuck on its’ head. Squirrels are stupid animals. My sister awoke me the next morning for the squirrel’s trial. “Why does the squirrel need a trial?” She confidently responded, “We have to find out who to blame for his death.” Without further explanation I put on my snow pants, hat, scarf, gloves and jacket and walked outside. The trial was ready to start. I took the seat my sister had assigned for me, while the dead squirrel sat in the seat to my left. “Taylor, take the stand.” In this trial, my sister was Judge, jury and the prosecution. I was the defendant. “How do you plea on behalf of the murder of the squirrel?” she asked as she pointed to the squirrel’s limp body. “What, I didn’t kill him. I would never do that; you were there, you saw what happened.” I could not understand why I was a suspect. Spring 2013
“Order in the court! Ok the jury has decided you are guilty. Your sentence is to spend an hour in the downstairs bathroom”. Tears started forming in my eyes. How could she blame me for this? She was there, she knew what had happened. She forced me into the bathroom as I begged for her to stop, to reconsider and to be a loving sister. For the next hour I thought about how much I hated her. That was the first time I looked at Alex with anything but admiration. This event set off two recurring themes: an inferior feeling brought upon by my sister’s actions and many messed up squirrel happenings. The next ten years of my life were filled with parallel instances much like this. The day Alex ratted to my parents about how I ate some chocolate in their new car occurred right after a squirrel had fallen in between two of the fences posts. After gnawing and scratching these wooden boards for an entire day, he finally gave up and died. A couple years later my friend and I caught a baby squirrel and secretly tried to keep it as a pet. The day it passed away was the same day my sister taunted me, in front of her friends, about my breast size. More recently, during Christmas last year a squirrel had gotten itself stuck in the vent above our stove. As my dad put up post for days, aiming his bb gun towards the opening, my sister went out with a boy that had dumped me not even a month before. My dad did finally catch that squirrel; after luring it out with some food he grabbed it with a plastic trash bag and beat it against the wall. It may sound nuts for me to think that these bizarre squirrel happenings were results of the first but I swear to god that this idiot squirrel’s friends and family promised to avenge his death and they pegged me to be at fault. I will admit that it was probably my family’s yogurt container but it was the squirrel who had gotten the thing stuck on its’ head. I refuse to acknowledge this as a coincidence because ever since that day my house had become a place where squirrels came and shortly died. Perhaps my sister also blamed me for the squirrel’s death and maybe she vowed to hurt me in return. Every time she punched me, every time she insulted me and every time she ignored me, I grew to despise her more and more. Living with her became intolerable because making me feel close to nothing became a common occurrence, much like the squirrel appearances. Every squirrel that came in honor of his friend’s death marks a time when my sister struck out at me. Every time a squirrel died; I died a little with it.
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Living Life Online: The New College Student & How to Avoid Becoming the Dorm Hermit By Teyla Turkeri Arizona State University Looking around a typical university campus, you would be hard-pressed to find someone without a phone in-hand or a computer in-tote. Long gone are the days where students would spend hours in a library doing research for a paper, and typewriters have become just as archaic as the VHS. Todayâ€™s society has become one that evolves around an electronic culture. It has become so easy to do everything on the computer that we are oftentimes missing out on opportunities to meet new people or try something new. Everything from movies and books, to friends and even classes can be found online. We have become a generation that is plugged-in to everything and everyone. The modern college student is at the forefront of all this technological innovation with professors and friends just a click, swipe, and touch away. With this constant access to information, how do we keep ourselves from becoming hermits in our dorm rooms? One of the best ways to keep yourself from social isolation this semester is to join a club or organization. The majority of universities have dozens of clubs for both on and off-campus students that offer a variety of activities to suit anyone. Everything from major-related to sports-related clubs may be offered at your school. Clubs are a great way to meet new people that share your interests and offer opportunities for face-to-face interaction, rather than just sitting in front of a computer screen. Another way to get out and meet new people is to volunteer. Oftentimes, there are opportunities to volunteer through organizations on-campus with other students. Volunteering is a great way to socialize and give back to your school or community. Youâ€™ll feel great about helping others while also improving your own quality of life whether itâ€™s on-campus or not. Spring 2013
A third approach to living life outside the computer this semester is to be the one to take the initiative. Go to events on campus or start your own. Invite everyone on your dorm floor to a movie with BYOMP (Bring Your Own Microwaveable Popcorn), arrange for a study session on the quad, or a back-to-school community breakfast with your friends and roommates. The opportunities can be endless, if you can manage to be offline for a few hours. The simplest way to keep from becoming an Internet addict however, is to just log-off every once and awhile. Shut off the phone and don’t check your email every ten minutes. With all of this free time, you can meet with your friends at the coffee shop, or explore that part of campus where you’ve never taken a class. What makes college great are the opportunities that you have to develop and expand yourself. Don’t be limited to only communicating with others or doing things online. Take an active role in your college life and you will have the chance to meet new people, and you can learn something new about yourself in the process. Sometimes we just need to remember to shut down the computer and go outside because no matter how many times we look at that screensaver of a tree, nothing beats the real thing.
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Not all great minds think alike. The Collegiate Scholar is a publication of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) that showcases the poetry, prose and art of our members. NSCS is a college honor society that not only recognizes the academic achievements of our members, but also the dedication and innovation put forth by our members skilled in the arts. The Collegiate Scholar will introduce you to a few of these writers and artists.
The Collegiate Scholar, Spring 2013 The National Society of Collegiate Scholars 2000 M Street, NW Suite 600 Washington, DC 20036
2013 Collegiate Scholar