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Winter 2013

RSVP Issue 36, Volume 1


Ranney School Verse & Prose Literary Magazine Winter 2013 Issue 36, Volume 1 Ranney School 235 Hope Road Tinton Falls, New Jersey 07724 (732) 542-4777 (732) 935-1602 (fax) The editorial staff uses Microsoft Word, Publisher, and Adobe Photoshop programs to complete their layout work. The cover is printed on 80 pound White Cover Stock. The pages are printed on 60 pound Skytone Parchment White Paper. Papyrus font is used to reflect style and content and Blackadder ITC is applied to the titles. Omega Graphics of Shrewsbury, New Jersey is the printer used for the final production of this publication. Both written work and artwork are voluntarily submitted to the R.S.V.P. staff during the school year. The staff critiques all submissions and selects the best for publication. Writing prompts are provided to each student through their respective English classes. The front cover was created by the staff of the magazine. The publication is provided to every student in the Upper School as well as each member of the faculty and administration. Copies printed: 250. RSVP Winter 2013 1

R.S.V.P. STAFF Editors Rachel Burstiner and Casey Wolfe

Staff Samantha Chiarello Alana Grieco Danica Lenge Kathryn Lionetti Elisa Stavola Ilayda Takil Franki Toto Amy Winkler

Advisor Mrs. Joan Fernandez

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FOREWORD Dear Reader, A fairytale is a type of fable or folktale. When reading a fairytale, we encounter all kinds of enchanting creatures: witches, giants, elves, princes, dragons, ogres, talking animals, princesses, and fairies. Fantastic and magical things happen to these characters in each story. A girl can become a deer. A wizard can turn a prince into an elf. A giant and a dragon can have a great battle. Objects too can undergo magical transformations. We on the staff of RSVP focused our first edition on these imaginative, and often mystical, stories in order to allow our readers a bit of respite from all their hardships, specifically the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. It is through literature that one is able to transport themselves to another world. As you sit down and read this collection of verse and prose, we hope that you will find a moment or two of escape from the woes of everyday hardships. We also hope to stir your imagination and inspire you to create your very own world of enchantment. We would like to thank Mrs. Warren, Mr. Felter, and Dr. Martone for asking all of their students to submit their creative writing to RSVP. We really appreciate their willingness to spend some of their much valuable class time promoting creative writing. We would also like to thank Ms. Greenberg and Ms. Walwark for allowing us to display their students’ artwork in this magazine. And to our staff, we are eternally grateful for your tireless determination to make every issue of RSVP as meaningful as this one. Finally, we would like to recognize our remarkable advisor, Mrs. Fernandez, for her unparalleled dedication to this magazine. As you move through the pages, let the magic and charm of these stories elevate your mind and alleviate your care. Sit back, have fun, and let your imagination soar! Yours truly, Rachel Burstiner and Casey Wolfe “Child of the pure, unclouded brow And dreaming eyes of wonder! Though time be fleet and I and thou Are half a life asunder, Thy loving smile will surely hail The love-gift of a fairy tale.” ~ Lewis Carroll RSVP Winter 2013 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS ~ VERSE ~ “The Tower” by Erika Serhus……………………………………………………………………………..9 “Sepia” by Veronika Fischer……………………………………………………………………………….10 “The View From My Window” by Roey Hadar……………………………………………….11 “Briony” by Kendall Torpey……………………………………………………………………………….12 “Everlasting Night” by Jesse Zucker………………………………………………………………..12 “Lunch with a Sea Turtle” by Julia Palecki………………………………………………………13 “A Chest Full of Childhood Memories” by Maddie Young………………………….14 “5:45” by Ashleigh Shay……………………………………………………………………………………...15 “I Remember” by Molly O’Neil……………………………………………………………………………16 “Hugo Cabaret” by Rachel Patel……………………………………………………………………….17 “Feather” by Whitney Kelly………………………………………………………………………………...18 “Dear Princess” by Shawna Singh…………………………………………………………………….19 “Is It Almost Over?” by Christina Kalinowski…………………………………………………...20 “Where?” by Alex Seneca…………………………………………………………………………………...20 “Waves on the Bay” by Samantha Chiarello…………………………………………………...21 “The Sacred Tower” by Sabrina Palazzolo…………………………………………………....22 “Secret Holder” by Briana Richardson…………………...……………………………………….23 “Completely Wrong” by Melanie Scopellite…………………………………………………….24 “What a Smart Prince Would Do” by Brandon Flynn…………………………………...26 “The Tower” by Brynn Bresnahan…..………………………………………………………………27 “The Rescue” by Mollie Tobin…………………………………………………………………………..28 “Strength” by David Longo………………………………………………………………………………..28 “Happiness (Or Lack Thereof)” by Giulia DiGuglielmo……………………………..29 “Locked in a Tower” by Alex Murphy……………………………………………………………….30

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“Transcendentalist Haiku” by Brandon Flynn………………………………………………..30 “Dumpty v. Kings County, NY” by Hunter Pearl…………………………………………...31 “The Tower” by Jenna DiSalvo……………………………………………………………………….32 “Lincoln Tunnel” by Madison Boyan………………………………………………………………..34 “The Train” by Grant Parker……………………………………………………………………………..35 “Everything Happened for a Reason” by Samantha Samuel……………………...36 “Exam Day” by Noah Goldstein……………………………………………………………………….37 “Mistake” by Erika Serhus………………………………………………………………………………...38 “Life is a Battle” by Rachel Burstiner……………………………………………………………….39 “Everything Happens for a Reason” by Jessica Nicholson………………………….40

~ PROSE ~ “Little Red Riding Hood” by Marc Owitz………………………………………………………..43 “Looking Backwards” by Steven Jacobson…………………………………………………....44 “Childhood Memories” by Quin Berger…………………………………………………………..50 “The Low Standards of Standardized Testing” by Jake Bassinder………..51 “And Then There Was…” by Sarah Blanche Klein……………………………………...52 “The Modern Day Fairytale” by Elisa Stavola……………………………………………..54 “Dance” by Montana Pflaster……………………………………………………………………………..56 “Is Jay Gatsby Truly Great?” by Maddie Fabricant……………………………………..58 “The Murder of Gonzaga” by Omar Hozayen………………………………………………..59 “Evacuation” by Grace Economou…………………………………………………………………...60 “Trapped” by Jake Bassinder……………………………………………………………………………64 “A Children’s Story: Some Kids are Different” by Madison Price…………...65 “The Return” by Vincent Morano……………………………………………………………………...66 “The Pixelated Future” by Paul Park…………………………………………………………………67 “The Real Snow White” by Katie Gill……………………………………………………………...69 “The Beast

Triumphant” by Elinor Haney……………..……………………………………...70 RSVP Winter 2013 5

~ ARTWORK ~ “Magic Kingdom—Disneyland” by Danica Lenge……………..……..……………………….6 “Hidden” by Monish Rachuru………………………………………………………………………………..8 “Soldier” by Katie Mullally………………..………………………………………………………………..25 “Blue Eyes” by Katie Gill…………………………………………………………………………………..33 “Self-Portrait” by Maddie Young……………………………………………………………………...43 “Circles” by Peter Bontempo……………………………………………………………………………..49 “Identity” by Briana Richardson………………………………………………………………………….57 “The Shadow” by Julia Palecki……………….………………………………………………………….63 “Self-Portrait” by Charles Ingulli………………………………………………………………………..68 “Magic Kingdom—Disney World” by Danica Lenge.……………………………………..72

Magic Kingdom—Disneyland, California By Danica Lenge

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Hidden By Monish Rachuru

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Oil Pastel

The Tower By Erika Serhus Brick by brick had they built it. Secret by secret had been hidden. Light illuminated it for centuries, But then all was forgotten. Dark it stands now. Alone. Forgotten majesty. Brick by brick it falls. Secrets exposed. The tower is crumbling. Where are the kings? The queens? The princesses? No one knows. They have vanished like dust on the wind. No more letting down of hair from the highest window, Poisoned apples given by witches, Or magic glass slippers. Though whispers of them can still be heard by the keenest of ears. And by those who are really listening. It is crumbling. All the keys were rumored to have been lost. Still one key remains, But we must take care To preserve the magic and the tower. Before all the lights go out. RSVP Winter 2013 9

Sepia By Veronika Fischer Look what you’ve done, Leaving me with everything you couldn’t handle. Have I told you that it was breathtaking? The way that you could so easily leave me slack-jawed, Complaint this vastness to everything I’ve ever hated? It I haven’t told you, it was, in fact, Breathtaking. I stood, suspended in time, Your words arched before me, Strung together like a tangle of stars Waiting for interpretation But, conclusively, too complex for understanding. The perfection of your absence Was the flaw that I can only see, now Through retrospect. But each time I go back, The image shifts, And I am left wondering If you meant to haunt me.

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The View From My Window By Roey Hadar The raindrops gently knocking on the window Conjure up moments from the past, The gentle rhythm reassures me That I am home at last The trees outside remind me Of the halcyon days of yore, But troubles now beset me, Ones I’ve never had before. Time is passing by and It seems to be getting late, I guess it’s time for me To accept my determined fate. I see the shadows of the trees In the ever fading light. My problems have come knocking, I must wish the world good night.

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Briony By Kendall Torpey They fell from the sky like rain; Thoughts, fears, unfamiliar feelings That clouded her judgment And fogged even her hindsight. She didn’t trust what she dared to believe. But the sight had been seen, And the plot formed in her mind As she ran back to her room.

Everlasting Night By Jesse Zucker The stars brought scattered light to a dimming sky, Backs against the prickly grass, We contemplated the scattered light of a dimming sky, We gazed and we prayed for an everlasting night. The Moon brought hope to a darkened sky, Feet sliding across the prickly grass, We danced underneath the hopeful moon of a darkened sky, We laughed and we danced hoping for an everlasting night.

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Lunch with a Sea Turtle By Julia Palecki I forever have a scar

The turtle was not shy—

To remind me of the day

Rather playful and kind.

I had lunch with a sea turtle

I swam cautiously closer,

In Hanuman Bay.

He did not seem to mind.

Surfacing for air,

I know its bad manners,

I had a beautiful sight—

To watch others munch,

Hawaiian beaches to my left,

But for what felt like hours,

Volcanic cliffs to my right.

I watched this turtle eat lunch.

Through snorkeling goggles,

I wanted a snapshot,

I would look down and see,

To remember this day.

Fish of every color and shape,

When I returned with a camera

Swimming around me.

My friends swam away.

Gliding over coral,

But I did get a souvenir

Much to my surprise,

From this date so bizarre.

I saw a majestic sea turtle

Scrambling back to the beach,

Out of the corner of my eyes.

I tripped and got a scar.

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A Chest Full of Childhood Memories By Maddie Young It’s a Girl! A warm and perfect, bundle of joy. First steps and first words, Band-Aids and lull-a-byes, Sweet as candy That melts, in your mouth, That makes your tongue blue. Picture books “Happily Ever After’s” Pinky promises. New friends turn to Best Friends Forever! Cartoons and junk food and slumber parties. The Princess becomes a Rock Star. Colors and sounds, speed by like lightning, Then blur into slow motion and Turn to memories, too soon.

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5:45 By Ashleigh Shay I saw it coming like a train Speeding towards its new destination Leaving too soon with only dust Left behind me Pieces too fine to reassemble Yet to miniscule to worry about The train came, making its presence known Then left, without so much as a warning Time slowed as it passed Turning seconds into months Though they were gone as soon as they came Nothing remained, except the space between my fingers I look back at the empty train station With no regrets in my heart

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I Remember By Molly O’Neill I remember my mind racing almost as fast as I was driving down the highway I remember my radio blasting I remember I knew that I was running hopelessly late and I could see the disappoint burning on their faces I remember pushing my car up to seventy I remember the mile markers on the road whirring past me to the point where I could no longer read them I remember glancing at the clock and it saying 8:27 I remember seeing that I would only be a half hour late I remember my phone ringing I remember it was sitting in my bag on the passenger seat I remember knowing it be would one of them wondering where I was I remember pushing my hand into my bag I remember reminding myself to clean out my bag because there were so many things in it I remember fishing my hand around my bag I remember taking my eyes off the road I remember it was only for a second to try to see inside my bag I remember grabbing the phone and snatching it out I remember going into the messages menu I remember hearing a beeping sound I remember thinking a traffic light was shining in my windshield I remember swerving as I realized that there was a car desperately trying to avoid me I remember a smash I remember an incredible force catapult me forward as the seat belt dug into me I remember impact I remember breath escaping me I remember glass shattering I remember silence I remember blurred vision I remember darkness I remember a numb pain I remember sirens in the distance I remember crunching glass I remember foggy voices I remember all of this, but all I want to do is forget

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Hugo Cabret By Rachel Patel Why did my sincere father leave during my youth? He left me in the busy streets of Paris. My diary and uncompleted invention are my only friends. Time does not fly, nowadays, When you sit in a steep clock tower of a train station and long for the past Gazing at the Parisians I spot a young girl She is, indeed, an orphan who holds an eternal secret. A beautiful, old necklace with a key as the charm A key that unlocks my past. Her ocean blue eyes meet with mine for a split second, as the clock strikes noon. I must get a hold of her-the necklace-the key-the magic that interlocks with my invention. Pushing my way through the abominable crowd I follow the brunette girl She realizes that I have been suspiciously following her, stops, and turns around. “What is your concern, young boy,” she asked? “That key of yours…I need it.” “For what… it is of no significance, except for my grandparent’s past.” “Please, my name is Hugo…Hugo Cabret, may I borrow it”? “Only if you show me where you live.” I grab her by the hand and quickly lead her up through the train station, Up the spiral stairs, -before the Officers catch us, orphans. We climbed the abandoned tower until we reached a small dusty attic-my home The girl smiles as she views the beautiful panorama, from the small window of my bedroom, of Paris. She then questions the unfinished creation of mine-a personal robot A small key hole in the shape of a heart glimmers from the back of the robot. The young girl, Isabelle takes off her necklace and hands it to me. I push the key into the hole and suddenly my robot starts functioning. Every part that my father and I built of it moves like a machine. Then, it takes a pen and draws out a picture My father’s secret message was revealed to both Isabelle and I We wondered what the picture meant. I did not realize that a dark secret could lie within a secret. My past was calling out my name, for I needed to discover the truth.

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Feather By Whitney Kelly You are a feather In the wind, Without a care And full of whims. You are the sea Washing in and out. Isn’t that What life’s about? Taking life In your stride. You can’t change the world, But you can change your mind. Just like that, A brand new view. The future… Look! It waits for you!

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Dear Princess By Shawna Singh Dear Princess, You’re locked away In your dusty, old tower In the darkness forever But I have the power To give you the light To brighten your nights To give you everything you desire You wish upon stars To fulfill your desires To heal your scars From your broken heart The magic is gone From your bright, blue eyes But the secrets they hold Are still alive Only I hold the key To unlock your treasures Your heart included To fulfill your pleasures With these last sweet words I give you my plea To give me your love And be wed to me With all my love Your knight in shining armor

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Is It Almost Over? By Christina Kalinowski The gray, depressing cloud of winter had lifted. The sun has taken its place bring with it a more cheery aura. Could summer really be coming so quickly? The sky is keeping its crystal blue hue later and later each day. The days are getting hotter. Flip-flops and shorts are beginning to make their debut. Students are getting restless. The days of alarms and homework will soon be put to rest. Only a few more weeks and we will be walking out the school door, Out and straight onto the beach. Summer is nearing. It’s within reach of our fingertips.

Where? By Alex Seneca the beads glitter/ incandescent light bulbs/ we push them aside/ step into the realm of darkness/ an uncanny world/ hands intertwined/ beginning the descent toward the/ center/ our shoes muddied with the dirt of regret that has/ sunk/ to the core/ hopes and dreams/ illumination in this corridor/scarce/ a simple wavering flame emitted from our match/ lost love glides past/ us/ splatters of paint decorate us / lilacs sweeten the air/ a false sense of security\ relief that there is\ color\ life\ vigor\ down here\our time has expired\ the spirits whoosh past us\ closer\ our light is\ extinguished\we made the choice\ left this egotistical world\ jumped in to one we don’t know\ The walkway has stopped and now it’s only me and you (together). We charge into the unknown, skin shed (the lifeless layer keeping us from breaking Free). I am ready to Jump 20 RSVP Winter 2013

Waves on the Bay By Samantha Chiarello The waves on the bay Swiftly swished and swirled The wind over the meadow Willingly whished and wallowed The leaves on the trees Increasingly crisped and crinkled All leading up to the beginning of Fall Pumpkins were perfectly placed on their porches Scarecrows sat silently waiting for sun Children with cheery and cherry red cheeks Waited for the first sparkle of Fall Some say that Autumn sits perched on our souls Anticipation is teeming at the seams The first and foremost burst of florescent orange Gracefully coating each leaf of the trees Fall will soon come Bringing jubilation and joy The season will start with a serene and sweet nudge Days will lessen and grow to be shorter And the great gift of Fall Will be given to all RSVP Winter 2013 21

The Sacred Tower By Sabrina Palazzolo It was a cold October evening Not a soul was in sight I sensed there was a secret In the chill and death of night I searched though all the buses And scatted all the trees I looked beneath the soil Until I found a key The key was old and rusty But had a magic power When held up to the starts It revealed a sacred tower The tower was mysterious Only appearing for a minute Then gone and locked away again As no one had ever seen it

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Secret Holder By Briana Richardson The highest point on the highest hill, There sat a tower strong and still. Waiting, waiting for its secret to be revealed. Who would have known it had something to conceal. One fine day it was sunny and bright, And suddenly it went to dusk then night. The wind danced across the trees, Up and down it blew the leaves. Swirling and swirling the wind enclosed the tower. No one knows what was the matter. The tower, the dormant tower came to life. It swayed first to the left and then to the right. The secret inside was love that belonged to the knight, Whose sweet maiden gave him such delight. She as lovely yet dark with airs of mystery. Magical and supernatural seemed she. He chose her because her job was so unique. She is the only one who holds the key That can unlock the years of mystery‌

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Completely Wrong By Melanie Scopellite You’re the reason for these tears, Which trickle down my cheek. Try to wipe away along with these fears. The hurt is burning inside me, Twisting, turning, stringing, I am weak. And your voice is what I hear, ringing Ringing, In my ears. You have the key to my heart, Why do you twist it so Roughly and painfully, Please tell me, I’d love to know. You have a secret, yet I have mine Kept close to me after all this time and Now your trust is almost gone. Do you, dear, even mind being alone? I have left, we are through and I hope This is a dream, it can’t all be true. The magic that was here has disappeared And replaced by fear. It’s clear that No fairy godmother of mine Can fix a heat broken and entwined With another’s whose respect is gone, Unfaithful, pitiful, completely wrong.

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Soldier By KatieMullally

Oil Pastel RSVP Winter 2013 25

What a Smart Prince Would Do By Brandon Flynn Once upon a time there was a prince And he decided to be wed He traveled far, he traveled wide And found a princess lying in bed The princess was beautiful With golden hair And as the prince Watched her there He said to himself “Could this maiden be The one who should be wed to me?” And gently touching her He spoke “Please wake up?” And with a poke He said again “Oh please wake up!” But she slept on Like a baby pup So the prince walked off In humbling defeat And he settled for A cup of mead.

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The Tower By Brynn Bresnahan The wind- it whispers magic through the trees This land is in a distant place, only known by me A tower stands tall in the distance, It sticks out from beneath the leaves of fall Not only just in Autumn, the tower remains perfect in any season at all Such a beautiful sight, one would love to enter not just see However, this tower is not ordinary Entry requires a specific key The secret to the entrance is not easy to decipher One must believe in the place as much as the entry they desire That is the trick to everything, you know Having faith in unproven things, even when your hope is low Believing is not just seeing, but how true you are is all I care For all of this could be my imagination, but that I will not share But now I will since you believed- see that tower? I will take you there.

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The Rescue By Mollie Tobin As I glance out of the tower And into the sea, My mind keeps on wondering If he will ever find the key Our love is a secret Forbidden from the start It’s the magic that makes us Never want to part

Strength By David Longo When life takes a turn for the worst, That’s when you need to fight the hardest. When you feel like giving up is the easy solution, Remember there is never just one answer to anything. When people preach “You can’t do it”, Turn your back and believe you can. Don’t allow people to get the best if you, Make it a continuous fight. Push yourself to your limits and beyond, We all succeed at some point.

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Happiness (Or Lack Thereof) By Giulia DiGuglielmo Dreary and Dark, Lonely and Tired; Lacking a spark; Can’t be inspired. Locked far awayTop of a towerThere it would stay: Sullen and dour Should she ever Attempt to seek it, She’d need the location; It held the secret. It truly is tragic That she’d never be free. No force short of magic Could give her the key.

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Locked in a Tower By Alex Murphy Locked in a tower, a girl I see Trapped behind a door without a key. She is kept secret, high in the keep, A faraway place that I cannot reach. She gazes out the window, high above the clouds I try to yell out, but I am not loud. Is it magic that keeps her locked away? I wish to find out, it seems an awful place to stay.

Transcendentalist Haiku By Brandon Flynn History presents Famous transcendentalists Who were quite wise gents The genius they saw In nature and even law They would not withdraw Loving a gala Skilled in academia As well as stanza The brilliance they bring With wisdom overflowing Makes them like a king 30 RSVP Winter 2013

Dumpty v. Kings County, NY By Hunter Pearl “Is the plaintiff ready to proceed?” “We are indeed.” “And the other side of the aisle?” “Let’s proceed with the trial.” “Good. I will preside over this court. Now, plaintiff, present your tort.” “Your honor, my client was sitting on a wall, ripe with rant. He caused the wall little tense, But is still came down, due to negligence. My client, Mr. Dumpty, had a great fall. This wall was tall and he landed in a sprawl. This case is not some old moot, so that is why he brought up this lawsuit.” “How does the defense respond?” “Your honor, the wall was never meant to be sat upon And the NYPD sent the best of Kings’ men.” “Objection! They couldn’t put Mr. Dumpty together again.” “Objection sustained. But I fear our time here is severely restrained.” “Then the plaintiff would like to plead to the defense to simply cover the medical expense. Or, if he truly cannot be fixed, serve him up sunny-side, scrambled, or mixed.” RSVP Winter 2013 31

The Tower By Jenna DiSalvo The sky grew dark, A certain chill ran through me As the rain splattered on my face. Everything was blurry; I couldn’t breathe. As I neared the tower, My hands trembled. I placed the key in the lock, It didn’t open. I tried again. Nothing. After four more times of trying, I realized there was a sign above me, “Only Magic can Uncover the Secret”. I saw a strange shape approaching me, I turned around to run home but before I could… Boom. Everything went black. The gatekeeper had done his job.

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Blue Eyes By Katie Gill

Watercolor and Charcoal RSVP Winter 2013 33

Lincoln Tunnel By Madison Boyan Bumper to bumper traffic Waiting in the serpentine path Perpetual, foreboding, dark, mysterious corridors Scared Unknown paths Which to choose Where do they lead Quizzical Strobe lights whiz by Cars, railings, concrete all around Crossing borders Uncontrollable Under water Submersed in water Floating water Confused Closed windows Radio stops Movie stops Trapped Genuine light Land Civilians Secure 34 RSVP Winter 2013

The Train By Grant Parker As the train rolled gently along The lights flickered on and off On a rainy, cold, empty, night The train hopped slowly, from station to station The train continued through deluge But on one curve on the cold, unkind, night The lights flickered but never returned The train began to slow The time the train had realized it could go no further The train gave up hope And stopped, on a cold, inhuman, night The train no longer felt persuasion to continue Spiritless, melancholy, despondent, downcast There, the train sat, on a dark, cold, bitter, night

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Everything Happened for a Reason By Samantha Samuel Sometimes I wonder about the things in this world. I wonder why the grass is green, and why we cry. People always say, “Everything happens for a reason”, but what’s the reason? Sometimes I just wonder why. When I really thought about it, I realized the answer to my own question. Everything does happen for a reason, the good as well as the bad. The things that we go through in our lives help us become who we are. The struggles as well as the accomplishments. We go through different things in life to teach us a lesson, show us something we never knew, or just to make us better people. Sometimes when something bad happens in life, we ask, “Why did this happen to me?” That particular thing happened to enlighten you about something and make you wiser than you were yesterday. It happened to shape you into who you are now and will be in the future. So next time you wonder why something has happened just remember that in life, everything happens for a reason.

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Exam Day By Noah Goldstein I walked in feeling confident, (Or at least I wasn’t scared,) So sure of the material That I didn’t come prepared. Sat at my desk expectantly, She handed me my test, Wrote name and date atop the page. Then briefly scanned the rest. My heart jumped up into my throat. My pulse began to race, I began to sweat, I held my breath, And blood rushed to my face. With shaking hands, I turned each page Of what looked like Japanese, Desperate for a question I could Solve with greater ease. Just when I had lost all hope And left each answer guessed, The teacher said, “Put down your pens! That’s the other class’s test!”

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Mistakes By Erika Serhus CRACK. Embers. Fire. Branches adding fuel to the blaze. Red, orange, And black. Ashes. Sticking to everything. Fur, Eyes, Skin. Burnt flannel, Burnt denim, Cotton, Wool, Covering the eyes as the fire takes them. Burns. The fleeting nature of life. Just a blink of an eye and three dead, Who moments ago, Were happy, Normal enough teens, Who made a mistake. One that changed their lives forever. They chose‌ CRACK.

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Life is a Battle By Rachel Burstiner No one said it would be easy, But no one said it would be this tough. And all the waves just seem too rough. While the waves keep crashing down on you, And there seems to be nothing else you can do. You try and try again, And everyone says that you can. But in your mind you think you can’t, And you feel like you are smaller than an ant. It’s like climbing up a thirty thousand foot mountain while being so small, And every direction you turn, you just feel like you are going to fall. But the challenge never goes away, Even though you wish it could leave and come again another day. It’s time to get through it, even though it’s hard, And you wish in life you were dealt another card. One step at a time, On this mountainous climb. You’ll get there soon, Even if there is another typhoon. To knock you off your track, But trust me you will definitely get back. As life has shown to be, A difficult path, I can guarantee. Life is a journey, Just don’t worry, Because life is an uphill battle, But it isn’t one that we can’t handle.

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Everything Happens for a Reason By Jessica Nicholson What if Wendy had never noticed the shadow, Or Tarzan wasn’t raised by apes? What if Pinocchio had stayed a puppet, Or Dori and Marlin never escaped? What if Rapunzel had never left the tower, Or Bambi’s mother had lived? What if Alice had never fell into the hole, Or Robin Hood had chosen not to give? What if the mirror had told a lie, Or John Smith had finished his task? What if Simba had stayed at home, Or Mulan had never taken off her mask? What if Flik had never had an idea, Or Buzz had stayed in space? What if Tinker Bell had lost all her magic, Or Dumbo had never felt out of place? What if the Godmother had never come to help, Or Eeyore wasn’t so sad? What if Tiana had never kissed the frog, Or Zeus had never gotten so mad? What if Fiona had kept her secret, Or Cruella only liked cats? What if Mowgli had never gone to the jungle, Or the Mad Hatter had never liked hats? What if Jane had never left England, Or Belle had never read a book? What if Nemo never touched the boat, Or the pirate wasn’t named Hook? What if Cinderella had never lost her slipper, Or Ariel had stayed under the sea? What if Aladdin had continued to steal, Or a kiss wasn’t the key? 40 RSVP Winter 2013


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Self-Portrait By Maddie Young

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Oil Pastel

Little Red Riding Hood By Marc Owitz Once upon a time, there was a dear little girl who lived with her grandmother in the woods. Her grandmother loved her little granddaughter and had been taking care of her since she was three, when her mama died from diabetes. In order to recognize her beloved granddaughter, she gave her a large red cloak to wear over her regular garb. From that point onward, she became known as Little Red Riding Hood. Unfortunately, they were in dire financial straits. Grandma lived off her monthly social security check, and when her medical expenses were taken into account, barely anything was left for Red. Their house was also in foreclosure, and they were scheduled for eviction within two weeks. In order to help her grandmother, Red took a job at the local Costco. Even with these struggles, they were both grateful to have each other. In addition to these perils, a far worse being was lurking in the forest nearby. Enticed by Grandma’s delectable cranberry pie, a wolf decided to enter the house. While inside, it became possessed by the sweet smell of the pie, but Grandma saw its reaction and tried to defend her creation. Moments later, the wolf left the house with red-stained lips and a blood-strained floor. Once Red returned home, she noticed the blood all over the floor and immediately called 911. In shock over the situation, she canvased the room, only to find that the wolf had returned. Suddenly, the wolf leaped and caught Red flat-footed. With the little life that she had left, she managed to crawl outside, right into the path of the representative from the bank, who had come to inform them of their eviction date. Sensing danger, he pulled out his Smith and Wesson handgun that he just purchased a few hours before and entered the home. Two shots rang out in the desolate woodlands, and a loud howl of pain could be heard. Although he was unable to revive Red, the bank representative was universally praised for his actions. Unfortunately, once the local police arrived on the scene, they arrested him for carrying a gun without a permit. So, he was rewarded for his altruistic deed with a minimum 2 years in county jail. In the end, he was left wondering what would have happened if he had just bought the stupid permit ahead of time. He would have still had his job, reputation, and life intact. RSVP Winter 2013 43

Looking Backwards By Steven Jacobson PART 1: 10 YEARS OLD Henry Gordon was afraid of the dark. So, he turned on the light switch. Henry was only ten, but he kept a lot of secrets from everybody. This was one of them. Henry would never let on about his fear. He was loud brash, confident, and had calculated his behavior so that everyone knew it. He loved to argue, and always won- even against adults. Even though he was cocky, he was extremely charismatic and had the rare ability of being able to get almost anything he wanted from anybody. He was a risk taker. His mother said that he was truly his father's son. Henry's father was the Congressman of the Albuquerque area in New Mexico, and his father had been a politician in Manhattan before him. Henry probably would be some day as well. Politics ran in the Gordon family, just like their long hooknoses did. It came all the way from Henry's ancestors from Ireland. ***** Tayle Gordon was afraid of the dark. So, he lit the lantern. Tayle kept a lot of secrets from everybody, but this one was one of the least important. He was- on the surface - loud, brash, and confident. Everybody on his dad's side was. The clan put their skills to good use. Tayle's father was the representative of this area of the homeland, and his father had been before him. It literally ran in the Gordon family- the role was hereditarily passed down from Gordon father to Gordon son, as were their long hooknoses. Even though he was, on the outside, always sure of himself, deep down Tayle was insecure. He was insecure because of the secrets that his family possessed. Including the worst one of all. Tayle and his family lived hard lives of labor that were characteristic of the time. By trade, the members of Tayle's family were farmers of the potato, the once-prosperous crop of the region. But the potatoes didn't grow very well anymore. In fact, there was a long famine of them.

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PART 2: 42 YEARS OLD Senator Henry Gordon was afraid of the dark. So he put his high beams on. The junior senator of Idaho was driving down the long country road in his luxury car from the airport to his palatial estate just outside of Boise. It was almost midnight, as his car clock read. After college, Henry had settled in Idaho. At age 37, he had successfully won election for the Senatorial race, defeating the 12-year incumbent. The campaign hadn't been easy, and it certainly hadn't been legal. However, it had gotten done, and that was the important part. He was just returning from Washington D.C. There were problems with the budget. When weren't there? Henry was a Democrat officially, but was very a moderate one. He almost could have gone either way - Democrat or Republican. He really didn't like either party, but affiliated himself with the Democrats since independents rarely won and his dad had been a Democrat. His dad had been slightly more to the left, though. If there were politicians Henry didn't like, it was those who leaned heavily to one side. The current president was pretty radical, and was being very uncooperative with this whole budget thing. He was only two years into his first term, but Henry believed he had already screwed up the country. He thought he could do a lot better than that clown in the White House. ***** Tayle Gordon was afraid of the dark. So, he lit the candle. Tayle walked in the house and watched his son, Tayle, walk clumsily across the sod floor. Little Tayle was only fifteen months old, and had already said his first words but had yet to string some solid steps together. He was looking pretty good here, though. Tayle desperately wanted to be able to call his son "junior". But he couldn't, for the simple reason that the boy was not a junior. Tayle was his first name, whereas it was big Tayle's middle name. But big Tayle would never bestow his own first name on his son. It was a horrible curse to bear. That was why he insisted that everyone called him by his middle name. As expected, Tayle had inherited the area representative role from his father. This entailed getting on his horse and delivering the needs of the area to the "government". In fact, he had to do it the very next day. He put the boy to sleep and went outside to tend to the horse.

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Tayle was good at this job, but he hated it. He wanted to go somewhere better, the Promised Land. That was, if the Promised Land even existed. As he gazed across the barren, dark, desolate land, the pathetic excuse for a farm, he pondered upon his misery. He hated everything about this awful place. Hated how there were never any noises at night. Hated the disgusting air. He hated how his farm only grew poisonous potatoes. Hated how now his wife was deathly ill only because she had eaten one of them... He hated his homeland, hated even the name they had used to called god-forsaken place.

Idaho. PART 3: 45 YEARS OLD President Henry Gordon was afraid of the dark. So, turned on the light of his cell phone. President Gordon was sitting in the oval office late at night. He was a year and a half into his first term. The presidency had not been as rewarding as he thought it would be. He felt he was doing a better job than his buffoon of a predecessor, the man he had defeated. The approval ratings seemed to indicate so as well. But that wasn’t saying much, and his marks were just clearing those that President Bozo had left office with. There was a temporary power outage in Washington at the moment, but the White House staff was working on getting the generators up and running. Henry hoped they would take care of it soon. Although he was the leader of the free world, he still hadn’t quite vanquished this childhood fear. For now, he would have to do with the light of his cell phone… ah, there it was. The generators must have gotten working because the light in his office came back on. He wondered if his son, also named Henry, had had his football game affected by the outage. No sooner than the bulbs flickered back on than someone burst through the door. It was his Secretary of State. Frantically, the secretary- the former Governor of California- towered over Henry and told him in his distinctive accent of a plot by the enemy to attack them that night. As the secretary put it, it was probably even them who had caused this whole power outage. The President had to order what the nation’s response to this scheme would be. Henry wished to have a little time to think about it, to meet with his other advisors. However, that wasn’t an option. Extermination was eminent, so the decision had to be made…within 15 minutes. 46 RSVP Winter 2013

He left, saying he would be back. The hulking secretary left Henry and the fate of the world resting in the ovular room. Henry considered the possibilities. He could invade the country. But that would take too long. He could do nothing, and hope that the threat went away. But what if it didn’t go away? He could blockade the country. But what good would that do- they had strong internal resources. Or he could use one of the WMDs. Those things were deadly, and never failed. The only consequence would be the many lives lost. And the response it would trigger from the enemy. It was a radical thing to do, and Henry hated radicals. But it was also a risk. Henry was a risk taker. He picked up the phone, and told the man who was in charge of Operation Turn out the Lights to deploy the Hydrogen bomb and turn out the lights of the United States’ rival…for good. ***** Tayle Gordon was afraid of the dark. So, he tried to move into a spot that was more in the moonlight. Tayle hated this place so much. Even after 45 years of loathing it, he still couldn’t leave. Nobody could. After the War to End All Wars, most places were left uninhabitable by something called nuclear radiation. Much of the former land was underwater as well. This nuclear thing had supposedly caused most of the people on the planet to die. Tayle’s family was among the lucky few to live. Nuclear radiation was everywhere, though, even in this terrible place of his forefathers. That was why he couldn’t farm potatoes. Or any crop, really. The small population of Idaho had to eat things that grew on trees or wild animals. This radiation had been the reason that his wife died two years ago. The War to End All Wars had lasted two units of time that they had formerly called years. Two years of the nonstop inundation of the items that held the radiation stuff. Items supposedly called Hydrogen bombs. The War to End All Wars had been waged unprovoked by the government that once ruled over Idaho. Almost every country became involved in this war and had decimated almost the very population and had managed to destroy every means and piece of technology on Earth. Instead of causing progress, the war had made humanity regress. Tayle had heard that life used to be much easier. To communicate with people far away, all you had to do was pick up a device and talk. To go somewhere, all you had to do was push on a pedal and go. To see something, all you had to do was flip on a switch and see. RSVP Winter 2013 47

Now, the quality of life on the planet- at least, in Idaho, since it was impossible to visit anywhere else without dying of radiation poisoning- was supposedly similar to that of 200 years before the War to End All Wars. It was ironic, because it was now 200 years after it. Society of this current era was supposedly even less advanced than the technology of it. People lived in certain areas where the air was breathable. They lived spread out and everything was largely hereditary. Tayle hated all of it. Now, even the moon, his only source of light, was disappearing. There was a lunar eclipse. The part that Tayle hated the most about it was the man who had leveled the world. Henry Gordon, who died of the radiation thing not long after he began the War to End All Wars, was to blame. Henry Gordon was the sole scapegoat of the terrible condition of the earth, the person that caused the retaliation of the many different countries with Hydrogen Bombs of their own. The worst part was Tayle’s full name.

Henry T. Gordon VIII. It was he. Tayle was the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the man who successfully eradicated happiness. Tayle sat down on his worthless farm, under a dead tree, buried his face in his hands, and sobbed, as the moon completely disappeared from view. "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." ~ Albert Einstein

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Circles By Peter Bontempo

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Childhood Memories By Quin Berger As a child, Christmas was my favorite holiday and it still is. I used to love thinking of what the North Pole was like during when I believed Santa was real. My parents did not have to keep reminding me Santa was real. I never asked as a kid. I just kept my imagination open and kept putting my letters for Santa every year in the mailbox. Christmas wasn’t about the presents for me as a kid; it was about letting my imagination run wild and having a fun time with the Christmas spirit. It was about watching the Christmas movies, decorating the cookies, the Christmas tree, hanging our stockings up and believing in someone who makes every child’s Christmas memorable, Santa. Every time my family and I went to pick the Christmas tree, I always had Santa in mind. I always wanted the greenest and biggest Christmas tree in the lot to impress Santa. As a child, I always imagined in Santa’s home, there was a huge Christmas tree that shined brighter than the Milky Way and Northern Star. I always imagined that elves took great care of that tree. So, I always made sure our tree was cared for. Even if it had enough water, I gave it more. Surprisingly the trees never died of being over watered. From the 1st day of December until Christmas Eve, I always thought of what to lay out for Santa. It always had to be the best. Not just store bought Cookies, but homemade and decorated. I always had laid out Christmas movies and other Holiday things to show Santa I always had spirit. Maybe to get more presents was my thinking. I don’t know because I was only a Child. Yes, my dad did probably eat those cookies but he did out of love. He also did reply to those letters I left out on the table that asked Santa random questions. I loved seeing those cookies eaten and my letters replied to. Presents were very important to me, but now I look back on the whole experience. I smiled more from the joy the whole time brought me, how it made me love my family, and how it always gave me something to look forward to. Imagination gave me the best childhood memories, especially at Christmas time.

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The Low Standards of Standardized Testing By Jake Bassinder For decades, high school students in America have been forced to take the SAT reasoning test, with their scores playing a large part in determining where they can attend college. All who have taken of the SAT have been told three basic things: The SAT gives all students an equal chance to display their abilities, shows how well a student is prepared for college, and is about applying what students already know. All are lies. Wealthier students can hire tutors to explain to them exactly how to take the test and the best way to succeed. The test reveals nothing about how a student will perform in college. And no, ability in high school does not correspond to a student’s SAT score. The SAT tests one thing: how well you take the SAT. Despite what the College Board claims, the SAT does consist of many problems that students who have private tutors can use “tricks” to get out of. So why do these lies exist? Simple. The College Board would rather have students buy their books of practice tests rather than hire tutors, does not want to admit that the test is unfair, and requires credibility to convince educators in America that it deserves to exist. The debauchery of the SAT does not end here, however. Every time a student takes a test he/she is creating future SAT tests for the College Board. Through a wonderful little invention known as the experimental section, students help the College Board how difficult each problem is (knowledge that is needed to create future tests.) This means that every student who takes the SAT is paying to work for the College Board! There is little that can be done to solve this problem. The ACT, while lacking an experimental section, is no more accurate at determining a student’s readiness for college (There is even an SAT to ACT score conversion chart.) Test optional schools remain few and far between. Only with America realizing the scope of this problem will the possibility of a new system be created. Until then, many otherwise intelligent students who are either unprepared for or do not excel at taking the SAT will be at an unfair disadvantage in the college process. RSVP Winter 2013 51

And Then There Was… By Sarah Blanche Klein …Winter. Snowflakes are falling outside, so I run down stairs. I get the basic drill, “ stay bundled up so you don’t get a cold.” “Why?” “Because Mom knows the best, sweetie pie.” Oh, so that’s how you’re gonna play it. I go outside. Mom makes me wear mittens. They are too small. Thread is pulling on the left. You can see the marker stained on my thumb. Pink. The best color in the world. Ask any of my friends. They’ll tell you. I see them. They look like faded fuzz balls of bright down coats. What would you expect with moms like ours? It’s simply predictable. We laugh. Fall on the ground. It’s cold, but the snow is perfect for snow angels. We laugh again. Then we just glance and know. We open our mouths. Then the snowflakes fall, then they vanish. Like magic. At least to us. We laugh some more. Then my gloves are too wet so I take it off. Don’t think I am supposed too. Man will never know. Then we run behind the trees so we don’t get hit by snowballs from my annoying big brother. He is so stupid. And annoying. We play for hours. I hit him in the face with a snowball so he pushes me. He is so annoying. I start to cry as any appropriate little sister should. So we go inside. I forgot about the mitten so I hide my hands behind my back. Apparently my mom can see through things though. She yelled at me. It was okay because we got hot chocolate. It tasted perfect. But I burnt my tongue. And it stung. …Spring. I see pink cherry buds starting to form outside. No more snow. I have new shoes with pink laces and I put them on first. I don’t have to do bunny ears anymore. That’s cool. I can’t get my jeans over my shoes so I have to start over. I cross off a day on my calendar. It’s a pink calendar. Because it is the best color. I smell pancakes, which are my favorite so I go down stairs. There is no maple syrup, so I don’t even get the point. My brother doesn’t seem to mind. He is stuffing his face. And as good as that looks I decide to make French toast sticks instead. They come with maple syrup packets. It’s 7. My brother is never ready on time. He is so annoying. I really want to show my friends my shoes before school starts. Mom yells at me from the kitchen. She must think I have the ability to hear through walls. Apparently she didn’t want me to forget my lunch. Yeah right, “How could I forget?” I go outside. Turn back because I did forget my Lunch. I get to school with just enough time to show off my shoes. My best friend has the same shoes. That’s annoying. Talk about a copycat, really. She is just guilty of having good taste. That’s a price I pay. Sometimes. There is a stupid long division problem on the board. Annoying. But I take out my pink pen and start writing.

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…Summer. Mom wakes me up for the last day of school. The trees outside are a perfect green. I get dressed quickly and even brush my teeth with no argument. Mom says that is very mature. I don’t get the big deal. My breath just tastes bad. My crush might talk to me today. Maybe. My brother makes fun of me. He only knows because he stole my old diary. Annoying. But typical. I put on shorts. I go downstairs and eat an apple. Mom sees my shorts and makes me put my hands to my side. I am fingertip rule pro. My mom sees through it though. So I guess fashion won’t be on my side today. He probably won’t talk to me anyway. When my brother mentions my crush Mom starts talking about the prehistoric ages, “When I was a kid……. And that is why he’ll like you for you.” Yeah right. I still want my pink shorts. Annoying. I see him at school. Blue eyes. Perfection. I have to cover my brother’s mouth before he begins a chorus of the kissing song. My friends come over. They take me to homeroom. Time passes. Can’t focus. Sweat drips. Tick. Tock. But then it is 3. Last bell rings. We throw the papers like in the movies. It wasn’t cool. Just resulted in paper cuts. My crush signs my yearbook. I laugh with my friends. Perfect. …Fall. I have to wake up early. Again. I see the tree is orange. That is kinda like pink. Now I am in fourth grade. That is almost middle school. Then I can even annoy my brother at school. Mom says we are all running late. My brother says she suffers from stress disease. Sounds serious. My brother has a pimple now. That’s because he is starting 7th grade. I think it’s a symptom of annoying disease. When I make fun of him he punches me in the arm. It hurts. Mom yells. That is entertaining for five seconds. By the tenth it’s getting old. When we go to school, he uses it as an opportunity for another shot. I just punch him back. I smile cause I’m proud of the damage. When we get to school I meet up with my friends. We all took out our staples pink pens with fuzz on top. Beautiful. The walls of the hallway seem to go on forever on the way to room 402. 4 for fourth grade. Go over first day stuff. Then we go to lunch and on the way we use our “adult” vocabulary. “Oh how famished and I am so parked.” We are so adulty. My best friend has fries. We have a mini celebration. She had a long one. We take time to pause in admiration. It is going to be a fun year. On the way back to class a bright orange leaf falls on my head. Winter: The hot chocolate is still good. I hope I’m not getting to mature for hot chocolate.

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The Modern Day Fairytale By Elisa Stavola

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip, I awoke to the sounds of my shades being opened; suddenly there was a blinding brightness that stung even through my eyelids. “Wake up Miss Alaina, you will be late for school” Jenny, my housekeeper chimed. “Five more minutes!” I said groggily, putting the pillow over my face, the sweet scent of vanilla lulling me into a sleep. “No!” Jenny proclaimed right next to my face and pulls the pillow off. “UGGGHHHH!” I sighed, “Why must you always pester me so, Jenny!” But suddenly I realized what day it was. It was the day of the masquerade ball at my school. Westington was always having these high society events, and we all loved them. The rest of the day went too slowly, almost never ending, the minutes slugged by like hours, and the hours like years. Finally the last bell rung and I was out of the classroom! I sped down the hall, flew down the steps, and sprinted out the door into the busy courtyard, where I pushed through the crowd! All of which who were almost as excited as me that the day was finally over. I pushed down at least four people who toppled to the pavement like stones onto a pile of rocks. The event would take place in The Castle, one of the finest hotels in all of LA. It was one of my favorite places. The fine décor, comfortable seating, warm environment, and best of all the small spaces perfect for hiding. I spent my youth hiding in these small spaces and exploring with my friends. Our parents, being the “elite of society” often had meetings here. It was like a second home to us. As I put on my brilliant maroon dress and my golden mask, my hair a halo of deep brown curls, I walked down the steps, ready for my first masquerade ball. Told that it would be a magical night, I descended the stairs, a modern day princess. I couldn’t wait for the night of magic that would soon begin. As my driver pulled up, I walked forward, stepped into the limo and felt the rush of pure adrenalin coursing through my veins. As I stepped out onto the red carpet leading into The Castle I felt as if I was walking to my coronation, the flashing of the cameras nearly blinding me and the yelling of the press. “Miss Stowe, are you excited to be attending your first Westington ball.” I did what mother always did; I kept walking, and walking, and walking, along the carpet that never seemed to end. Yet, when the carpet ended it seemed as if it had gone by in a blink of the eye. I felt someone’s arm snake around my waist as I reached the first set of steps up to the balcony that we would be ascending. I jumped ever so slightly, almost toppling out of control, but the arm around my waist steadied me. I didn’t know who it was. I didn’t recognize him. All I could see from the corner of my eye was the spiked blond hair and the glimmer of deep blue eyes 54 RSVP Winter 2013

Underneath the mask. I felt like pulling it off, seeing who was holding me! I did not recognize them in the least bit! But then, I relaxed and decided to just go with it. Maybe it was best that for once I did not know everything. We walked in together; his hand on my waist the whole time, never loosening or tightening, just a guide. As we entered the ball, Sir X (which I decided to call him since I did not know his name,) led me onto the dance floor and we danced for what seemed like hours. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. His hands on my waist and the slight twirling we did across the dance floor. After a while I excused myself to visit the ladies room. I did not want to leave afraid that I would not find him again, but again I decided to just go with it. As I entered the powder room, the door slowly swung shut. I still looked like the princess I felt like, so I decided to go back out. When I went to open the handle it was heavier than I had recalled until I realized that it would not open. I was trapped! My mystery man was waiting and I was stuck in the powder room. I looked for another escape route but I only found a window. I looked out and realized that right below was the dining area that was relatively empty. I looked to my dress and hated to rip the long, flowing, expensive silk, but I could find no other way to descend the ten foot drop. I found a pair of scissors, removed the dress, and started hacking away at the dress finally the floor length dress was down to my knees. It looked rugged and informal but not terrible. I attached it to the door handle and threw my shoes out the window, hoping they would land on the balcony, but one bounced off the edge and fell to the street below. With a knot in my stomach hopefully just as tight as the knot I tied in my makeshift rope, I started to descend from the window. I know it seemed absurd but I had seen it so many times in spy movies. It was more difficult than I expected but besides for a scape on the knee I made it down unscathed. If only I could say the same for my dress. I ran across the dining area, getting scowls as I bumped and knocked into the older people in the dining room. As I reached the elevator I punched the button numerous times. I jumped in and pushed the button for the balcony floor. I got off the elevator and ran onto the balcony and into the room. It was packed with people! I looked for Sir X but he was nowhere to be found. I was exhausted, so I decided to call the driver. As I walked into my room, practically sleeping, I started to unzip my dress until I heard someone clear their throat. There he was sitting on my bed, mask in hand, glowing blue eyes, and golden hair in the dim light from my lamp. He walked up behind me, zipped my dress, and handed me my shoe that had been lost in the street where it had fell. I was so happy that he was here that I made the stupidest comment that I had ever made, “Oh thank God! My Marc Jacobs!” Although my face probably turned bright red he was too close to see. I heard him laugh, felt his breath across my face; he kissed me on the cheek and said, “I’m glad I could save your shoe.” Then he stepped across my room, and out the door. I had to pinch myself to make sure that it was not a dream. It wasn’t, I realized by the huge welt on my arm. When they said it would be a magical night, they had noooo idea. RSVP Winter 2013 55

Dance By Montana Pflaster “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” ― Ann Richards I started dancing when I was five. My mom and I would go on Saturday mornings and she would watch me proudly in my colorful tutus on my toes. It was fun and it was the beginning of my journey to discovering how dance would change my life. When I dance I come alive. All of the feelings and thoughts I have inside are expressed through my movements. Many of the pieces I perform deal with issues that have occurred between my father and me. I grew up as an only child with parents who lived on opposite sides of the country. My mother has been my primary caretaker for everything- financially, emotionally, and spiritually. I would only see my father maybe once or twice a year, when it was convenient for him. When I would spend time with him, he would often make me cry and feel unworthy, screaming and lecturing me about who I should become. My father and mother surprisingly agreed it would be best for me to talk to a professional. Because it was and is so hard for me to convey my feelings and emotions, dance became my therapy. Releasing my feelings through movement, gave me a rush I had never felt before. As I grew older, things got even harder with my father. My dance teacher, Joede, could see how fragile I was in each piece that I performed, breaking right in front of her. She was determined to show me how to use my emotions in my dancing and make each feeling show itself in each step I took. She created a piece just for me that centered on the issues that I had with my father. We worked together choreographing the piece and chose the song “I need a phone call” by The Counting Crows because the lyrics were so poignant. After weeks of intense rehearsal, I hesitantly decided to perform this dance in front of an audience. Completely unsure of how it would go, I just began to dance, and as I did emotions spewed out of me. I felt so alive; all of the tension I had been holding deep inside was released. That was my moment; the instant that changed my being and showed me I could dance my way through life. I have no regrets. My father and I have reconnected and I am okay with how our relationship has progressed. Growing up with a single mother who did everything was enough for me. This made me who I am today, a strong and self-reliant woman. I’ve learned that I can dance pretty much any part, perform the routine by heart, and use my emotions in a way that only dance allows me to convey. I am stronger in my mind and in my body now – as a person and a dancer.

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Identity By Briana Richardson

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Is Jay Gatsby Truly Great? By Maddie Fabricant The Great Gatsby is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald that tells the story of the extremely wealthy Jay Gatsby, the love of his life, and his search for his personal American dream. The self-depicted “honest” character, Nick Carraway, narrates the novel. This allows the readers to decide for themselves whether or not they believe Jay Gatsby is truly great or not without any influence from the narrator. Through his actions and ultimate sacrifice of his own life, Jay Gatsby truly lives up to Fitzgerald’s title. Jay Gatsby dedicates his life to the woman he falls in love with as a young military officer before going to war. He changes his entire life to impress the young woman who moves on and marries someone else. His love for the self-absorbed Daisy Buchanan née Fay is so huge that it is almost astounding. This quality, which makes Jay Gatsby truly great, leads to his ultimate downfall. He is the tragic hero in the novel. When the audience is first introduced to Jay Gatsby, he is depicted as extremely mysterious. He is staring into a green light, which the audience eventually learns is the Buchanan home. When Nick first attends a party thrown by Gatsby, he learns about what people truly believe about Gatsby. There are many different almost self-propagated rumors about his profession, his wealth, and his women. Nobody would think that the man who throws these lavish parties has done it all for one woman. The reader finally begins to see some of Gatsby’s flaws when Gatsby’s romance with Daisy flourishes again. Gatsby desperately tries to turn back time and even snaps at Nick when Nick informs him that Gatsby can’t. Gatsby is unfailingly loyal to anyone he loves, which although is a great trait in a human being, is destructive when dealing with such a selfish, destructive person as Daisy. Unfortunately, at the end of the novel, the woman Gatsby puts everything on the line for, betrays him. The amazing person that Gatsby was is reduced to nothing but a corpse that very few care about. As Nick Carraway says it himself, Gatsby is “better than the whole damn bunch put together.” Despite only having one true friend (Nick), Gatsby is extremely kind and generous to everyone surrounds him. Gatsby builds a whole life out of nothing for one woman. For these reasons and many others, Jay Gatsby is not just the pretty good Gatsby, but “The Great Gatsby.” 58 RSVP Winter 2013

The Murder of Gonzaga By Omar Hozayen A chair full of holes and a room full of suspects. The teachers tried everything; suspension of lunch-time rights, interrogations, and communal punishments. Nothing led them any closer to resolving the situation. They needed to think outside the box if they wanted to discover the culprit. The administration looked to the world-renowned Detective Sherlock Hamlet for assistance. Sherlock Hamlet arrived in a mysterious black trench coat with a skull in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other. After the administration explained the situation to Sherlock Hamlet, he began to formulate his plan for catching the culprit. The detective imported his cast of trained actors from the Globe Theater in London. All the seniors were gathered in auditorium. They were informed that they would be watching a play. The seniors were unaware of Sherlock Holmes’ plans, however. He planned to show a play that involved the defacing of a chair. According to Sherlock Holmes, it would be easy to recognize the culprit because he or she would be noticeably uneasy during the play. The play began and the students seemed at ease and entertained. The actors were lively and engaging. Then came the most important part of the play; the vandalism scene. One student caught the attention of Sherlock Hamlet. The student began sweating profusely and shifting in his chair. Suddenly, the suspicious student rouse out of his chair and ran to the bathroom. Sherlock Hamlet discussed what had just occurred before him John Horatio Watson (his right hand man). They agreed that the student was acting quite strangely indeed! Still, Sherlock Hamlet was unsure what to do. He was not sure whether he should tip off the teachers now, or wait till that student was doing something truly bad. It was this indecisiveness that was his tragic flaw.

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Evacuation By Grace Economou .0630 September 21, 2012 URGENT NEWS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE On behalf of the United States Government, I am pleased to inform you that your family, along with 35,000,000 other families nationwide, is being evacuated to a new area, whose location cannot be stated for security reasons. New information has leaked that there will be a zombie attack on Sunday, September 23, 2012, and will be more commonly known as the zombie apocalypse in many years. For the safety of those remaining in their homes, we ask that you do not spread word of this horrible and depressing matter. We will evacuate you all from your homes at 0700 hours on Saturday, September 22, 2012. All members should be ready for evacuation, and expect many days of travel. You will be receiving no further information, and again we ask that you do not inform any other members of society of this dreadful news. Each person shall be allowed one small suitcase. We ask that you do not bring any food, drink, or other people or animals with you. We appreciate your time and cooperation with this very delicate matter at hand. Sincerely, The President of the United States of America *** My eyes were puffy and my face red and dripping with tears for the first hour after I read the letter. My first thought was my family, everyone I would be leaving behind. How was I supposed to say goodbye to everyone I loved, knowing I would never see them again? I could tell everyone in my family was shaken up, especially my mom. Until yesterday, I had never seen her shed a tear, not even when she broke her arm in three places. Standing there, watching her, my brother, and

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my father all act with the same sense of grief and lamentation, it made the situation that much worse. And as preposterous as it may sound, I even thought about my dog Philip, and how we would have to leave him behind, and how he would be all alone during the most heinous event. Questions just kept running through my head: Where were we headed? Why did they want us? Why couldn’t they take everyone? What were they going to do with us? After that, I began hoping that it was just an awful, mean, nasty, and malicious practical joke. I remember asking my parents over and over again, “Is this a joke? Is this serious?” And every time I asked the question, only more tears. I knew the truth and I just did not want to admit it. Because no one was supposed to know about the awful news, we had to go about our business like usual. My mom made my brother and I go to school, and then to piano. My father went to work, and came home at 5:30, like usual. My mom took care of Philip, and volunteered at school, and even met with her friends for lunch. Everything was like usual, but I knew later we would be making some really important phone calls and decisions. We still said hello to all our neighbors like any other day. And Elias and I still played outside with Mary and Caitlin like we said we would the day before. My mother still would not let us have ice cream as a snack before dinner, nor did she let Philip sit on the couch with us while we were waiting for my father to come home. That day there were moments when I practically forgot about what was going to be happening the next morning. The day was over before I knew it, and we had reached the inevitable. It was time to make those final phone calls. So we called my mom parents, and we all took turns talking small talk with them: the weather, what was on their agenda for the weekend, what happened with the space rover. Then we took turns having the same conversations with my dad’s parents. And again with my mom’s brother and sister and their families. And yet again with my dad’s sister and her family. While talking to all of them, the thought never crossed my mind that they may be in the same situation as us. Because of the way the government handled the evacuation so far, we have been completely isolated, and have not met any of the other (supposed) 35,000,000 people. Since we only had a few hours left until our evacuation, we realized that we still needed to pack, as well as decide who else to call. We called almost everyone we knew. And no matter what status they were (friends since my parents were in grade school, or close friends I had made just two weeks prior in high school), every call we made that night ended with some form of “We/I love you.”

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Unfortunately, due to the unreasonable regulations, we were forced to leave some things behind, which are already near-impossible to live without:


most of our memorabilia and photos

our house

99.9% of our material belongings (furniture, jewelry, toys, electronics, sports, i.e.)

our lives

all our loved ones I managed to squeeze all of these things into my ‘small’ suitcase:

 

an extra pair of clothes

one photo album filled with pictures from the 1940’s of my grandparents, to our family party

my favorite sweatshirt

two months ago

a teddy bear that was given to me from my grandparents the day I was born, and have been

with for the past fourteen years

a notebook and pen (the one I am using for all of this)

the letter from the government So here I am, in an iron box, with my depressed family, waiting for the unexpected.

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Tree Shawdow By Julia Palecki

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Trapped By Jake Bassinder The miner had been trapped in the mine for two days now. There was no food or water, and his supply of air was quickly diminishing quickly. He was fairly certain that his sanity was almost gone. Once again, he reached for his cell phone. It was strange, he was pressing the on button, but the screen didn’t light up. Maybe it was because it had been smashed when he had fallen into the deep recesses of the mine, but that really was no excuse for not turning on. Perhaps it was better that he was imprisoned here. The demons and disappointments of his prior life had started to become too much. He had gone to an excellent college, certain that success in his future was guaranteed. And then the government had spent money and ignored its debt until it was too late. The economy collapsed, mining had been the best profession left available to him. His fiancÊ had left him during the Great Collapse, no longer seeing any financial gain in marrying him. Sometimes he thought it would have been better if he simply starved to death. He certainly would find out very soon. The shadows of the cave mocked him, visible due to the cracks of light his prison received. They were his demons, rising up to claim him and end his life. Then why were they getting more visible? A loud explosion and the rocks to his right exploded outward. An eerie light shown in their place, welcoming him to a world he had thought he would never see again. And then he returned to the world. He soon discovered that it truly would have been better for him to starve.

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A Children’s Story: Some Kids are Different By Madison Price It was starting to get closer to dinnertime, and everything smelled delicious. Dad and Mason came running to the table because tonight was one of Mom’s delicious meals. She was making stuffed peppers and that was their favorite. After Mason brought his little brother Carl into the kitchen and put him in his high chair, Carl asked her, “Mom can I please have chips for dinner Mommy?” Of course Mommy said no, and she began placing a stuffed pepper into the blender. Mommy had to blend Carl’s food because he couldn’t eat it whole like other kids. Carl quickly covered his ears and tightened his shoulders because he did not like the noise the blender made. He did not like having rough food in his mouth, and he would scream and cry if you tried to give it to him. Dad pulled the high chair towards the table because Mom and Dad had to feed Carl because he wouldn’t do it by himself. It took Carl much longer to eat then the rest of the family, so we tried to hurry him up by “shoveling” food into his mouth. Carl looked up at Daddy after putting a little too much on the spoon. His eyes grew, and his chin began to press against his throat. At that moment Mom, Dad, and Mason jumped up out of their seats. Dad picked up Carl while Mom unbuckled him and Mason opened up the garbage, be he didn’t make it. Carl threw up all his food all over the floor! Everyone took a deep breath while Carl said, “What happened?” “You threw up.” Mason turned around and said “No Carl it’s I, say I threw up.” Carl could not speak correctly. Dad, Mom, and Mason all got a paper towel and began cleaning up the mess on the floor. At least Carl was hungry after that!

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The Return By Vincent Morano The night was long. When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn appeared, so too did the first signs of salvation. Seabirds, flocks of them, struck out to the water for their breakfasts. The pure size and abundance of these birds indicated fish aplenty. Encouraged, the onlooker prayed to the gods for such a blessing. Another day passed. Looking forward, the subject of the gods’ torment made out lights in the distance. Nearing this spectacle, land, mountains, became visible. Then more light. And sound. Not light or sound indicating home. These were the sounds of shouting and lights of fire. The wanderer recognized this land. It was the land of the goddess of wisdom, the sacred city Athena. The city was burning. Men in the streets fought with weapons in hand, adorned in ornamented armor. This was a sight the wanderer had become familiar with long ago in a land to the east.

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The Pixelated Future By Paul Park Douglass Noel Adams stated, “A computed terminal is not some clunky old television with a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface where the mind and body can connect with the universe and move bits of it about.� As seconds go by in the flash of an eye, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, Linux, and several other companies try to surpass each other. Every few months corporations come out with a faster processor, better quality screen, larger hard drive, and in general, a promise of a better life. In an Apple Corporation commercial, they advertised the New iPad. It showed the promise of connecting better to friends, having an easier work life, and more. Yet what happened to the basics? What happened to a time of going outside to meet up, a time of writing letters, a time of simplicity? Companies sell their products to all types of people, ranging from musicians to office workers. As they do this, they advance the world ahead, step by step. But the newest technology does have its downs. The more we use computers; the lazier people get by the generation. In factories, machines, and computers take the jobs of human beings. This creates a larger percentage of unemployment. As a population, we must return to a time where everything was simple. This will help get the world back on their feet. Not as a single country, but as the entire world. RSVP Winter 2013 67

Self-Portrait By Charles Ingulli

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The Real Snow White By Katie Gill We all know the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, at least the Disney version, but not many people know tis gruesome origins. The Grimm Brothers’ original tale of Snow White consists of violence, torture, cannibalism, pedophilia, and other shocking themes. The Disney version that we are familiar with is much more pleasant. The evil stepmother hates that her daughter is prettier than she, so she instructs a huntsman to go into the woods and kill her, and bring back her heart as proof. He can’t follow through, so he tells Snow White to run away and never return, and then he brings the Queen back the heart of a boar instead. She flees, and she ends up living with seven friendly dwarves. The stepmother finds out and disguises herself as an old woman and gives Snow White a poison apple. Snow White goes into a coma until a handsome prince rescues her with true love’s kiss and they live happily ever after. In the original Grimm Brothers’ tale, Snow White is only seven years old when the story starts, and while there is no indication of how much time has passed, we can see that it is really no more than a few years. The Queen also did not ask for Snow White’s heart as proof of her death. She instructed the huntsman to bring back her liver, lungs, intestines, and other organs to be served for dinner that night. The Queen makes several attempts to kill Snow White. She first attempts to strangle her with lace; next, brushes her hair with a poisoned comb; and finally offers her a poisoned apple, which ends in success leaving Snow White in a coma. Snow White’s body is discovered in the woods by a prince, who insists on having her dead body at his side forever. He won’t even eat unless the corpse is lying next to his food. His servants soon get frustrated with carrying the coffin everywhere and one of them picks up the body of Snow White to give it a beating. This dislodges the apple in her throat and brings Snow White back to life. The tale ends with Snow White marrying the prince and becoming the new Queen. The prince’s age is not determined, but we can assume that he is significantly older than she and what he wanted with a young girl’s dead body in the first place, we many never know. Snow Whit is most likely around the age of twelve or thirteen at this point in the story. The evil stepmother attends the wedding, unaware that this new Queen is her stepdaughter. As punishment for her wicked ways, she is the evil stepmother is forced to step in to red-hot iron shoes and to dance until she drops dead. RSVP Winter 2013 69

The Beast Triumphant By Elinor Haney Shriveled leaves, dry as her gasping mouth, cracked under the girl's feet, the sharp noises of their breaking the only sound penetrating the suffocating darkness of the woods. Belle couldn't even see her own breath fogging in front of her in the cold, much less the faint path of trampled plants and cracked twigs that she had been following up until the sun had disappeared below the horizon several hours ago, but giving up now was out of the question. It wasn't that she wouldn't be able to find her way back in this dark (although that much was true), but she knew that her father was out there somewhere, and there was no way that she could leave him. Old and frail, he wasn't likely to make it through the night alone. And she had heard stories of things that lived on the forest- and not just animals either. Progress through the forest was slow. The girl hadn't thought to bring a flashlight- she had run from their house in a panic when she realized that her father had wandered off again. Back when he retained some of his older memories, he would usually go back to the house that he and her mother had first moved into after their marriage- a quaint little cottage that had seen much better days- but nowadays he couldn't have said if he had ever even married. Nowadays, when her father took his dull eyes off the muted glare of their television screen long enough to get it into his mind to wander off; he would just drift around town like a sailboat cut loose from its dock until Belle or a kindly police officer could get him back home. This time, asking frantically around town had revealed a woman had seen him wander into the forest and hadn't thought anything of it at the time. The girl had plunged in after him and had been searching ever since. In the distance the girl began to make out the faint light, and her breath caught in her throat. She began to run towards the source of the beacon, 70 RSVP Winter 2013

stumbling over roots and undergrowth and never taking her eyes on what would hopefully be her father's salvation. Maybe he had seen the light as well, and was safe inside what she assumed was a house right now. For the first time in hours, Belle felt hope blossom in her chest. It was, as she had assumed, a house that was the source of the light. But it didn't look like the kind of place that any kind of light should be coming from at all. The building was a grimy, lopsided skeleton of rotting wood and overgrown weeds. It looked moments from collapsing. But someone had to be in there. She approached the front door. “Is-is anyone there? Dad?” she called. When nobody answered, she knocked, and the force of it caused the door to swing in, hinges creaking dangerously. The girl took a few steps in, past the threshold. The source of light had been coming from the top floor, but the stairs looked like they would barely support her weight. She called up the stairs, but again received no answer. She took a deep breath and began to slowly, ever so carefully, inch her way further into the dilapidated building. When she reached the third floor after what seemed like an eternity, she saw the source of the light. At the end of a long hallway, light was streaming through the many cracks in a door. Calling for the house's occupant a third time, she started towards the room. And then the door opened. The man standing in the doorway was most certainly not her father. He was about her age, and that was where their similarities ended. His thick blond hair was filthy and matted. His skin was pale, sallow, and pulled tight over a bony frame. And in one hand, tipped off by five yellowed, jagged fingernails he held a gun, pointed at her. “Looking for someone?” he sneered. His teeth were filed into points and she saw that he had a tattoo across his neck that read BEAST. He was coming toward her. She took a startled step backwards, unable to speak. “Well, looks like you found me instead.” RSVP Winter 2013 71

Magic Kingdom—Disney World, Florida By Danica Lenge

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