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a m p e r s a n d 2010-2011


Omicron Nu Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta

Faculty Advisor: David J. Thomas


Gregory M. Neubauer Tasha M. Taylor


Rebecca G. Childers

Editorial Staff:

Stephen E. DelGreco Karin J. Freese Kelsey A. McKinney James M. Shaver

Graphic Designer: Victoria Lavorini

c o n t e n t s


Jesse Scott

love lost

Latasha Midcap

Look through... The Edge

1 Jeremy Gordon

Melinda Tober

Grandfather’s Watch Walking About

the dark abyss

3 Roy Jenree


Kenneth E. Powell, III


Olivia McIntosh


Until We Meet Again Am I dying?


Latasha Midcap

Amanda Carney

7 9

Cinquain 1, Haiku 1, Tanka 1, Lune 1 Jeremy Gordon




Kelsey McKinney

I’m Sorry bipolar

April Wojcuich

Olivia McIntosh

Erosive/Creative Amen

12 13

Rebecca Childers

Jesse Scott

14 15

Calm (Tanka), The Clouds (lune), lightning (cinquain), Showers (haiku) Betsy Francis


Perchance to Dream



James Shaver

Kenneth E. Powell, III

Laundromat Blues Decades of Rock Confrontation

Megan Musilli

Katie Bias

Kenneth E. Powell, III

Black Widow Woman Poor Patricia

Betsy Francis

Katy McLane

A Devastating Moment Love Toll

Josh Williams

Caitlyn Johnson

On My Mind


Hannah Courtney

19 20 21 22 23 24 25-27

A.H.C. Jesse Scott

A world below all you see— The smiles in face of company. At times, it shows Through silver and gold— Truth within the dream: Napless signs of a hapless soul Resting under eyes grown cold, And yet, there is time To reason and rhyme And wander this world alone, To wonder of worlds beyond the sky And dream the dreams of heroes died. But still within, That world exists— A plague upon the mind. And so the days will play out so: Portrait face hides tortured soul. Yet, all are blind And cannot find That buried world below. And thus, ‘tis best for me to be A stranger to the world. You see, This world is home— All which I know— And is not well with company.


love lost

Latasha Midcap

my memories of you cascade through my heart your rainbow smile glimmering through the sun the waves of your beauty engulfing me it was here that i truly knew i was completely immersed in your raging waves you’d love me forever you promised it true you’d leave me never but in the end you were gone i’m still desperately hurt at the promise you didn’t keep i’m left here to talk to this cold lifeless stone inscriptions that read Lord, I’m Coming Home

Look through... Jeremy Gordon

If you ever look far enough through the stars and dark bars of heaven’s narrow gates past the dark matter and the shiny prying eyes of lying priests then you may see the emptiness in which it all began.


The Edge Melinda Tober

I am a rock on the ocean’s shore Every time it comes and goes A piece of me is carried away Soon there will be no more And I as a whole will be swept away I’m fighting the edge everyday My grip on life slipping away The end becoming more appealing As I live on through the days There is no more of me I am not who I was I am simply an empty shell Of whom I used to be


Rebecca Heise

Grandfather’s Watch

TICK TICK TICK Roy Jenree through time we pass one age after the next to the final horizon we go on and on one generation after another TICK TICK TICK never ending, never ceasing the family keeps moving forward grandfather’s watch handed down one generation after another seeing all in the family past, present, future TICK TICK TICK


Walking About Kenneth E. Powell, III

Autumn breeze bringing its dry and earthy fragrance proves to be a baptism for his troubled mind Walking in purposeless, plodding strides, a vagrant Walking is his respite, putting old pains behind Winter winds bristle harshly against his face squinting a view through December’s ivory veil Walking before him, a wandering woman in haste Walking, wanting her warm body to his, despite the gale Spring’s sultry scents, all pregnant with hope and love man and woman together in the springtime of youth Walking hand in hand, to the chiming of bells above Walking, the path cleared and the weary hearts now soothed Summer’s light is a dancing flame, only to be tripped by the coming of the Fall, and mere mortals must comply Walking, the man approaches his love’s crypt Walking, with the last of Spring’s flowers, to say goodbye Autumn breeze bringing its dry and earthy fragrance proves to be a baptism for his troubled mind Walking in purposeless, plodding strides, a vagrant Walking is his respite, putting old pains behind


the dark abyss Olivia McIntosh

when darkness finds me lying in my bed and bitter chills crawl up my conscious spine uncertain noises echo in my head that screech from places unrefined all fatigue vacates my hastened thoughts deranged with angst and cold sweat unrestrained can the specter that I abhor be sought within the black abyss of where I’m chained and when you yet reveal your wretched face i’ll close my eyes and call to God most dear i’ll say a prayer to cast you in your place and wake to find you neither here nor there fabricated lurking beasts do prevail o’er those who always tend to ponder hell


Until We Meet Again Latasha Midcap

I can’t see your face, but I know that you are with me. I can’t hear you breathe, but I know that you are near me. I can’t hear your song, but I know that you are singing. Quietly in the night, to my side you are clinging. Like a whisper in the wind, Our love it never ends. My soul will never mend. Sometimes when I’m alone, I swear I hear you call me. Ever so softly, I feel your heart against me. Then I close my eyes and pretend that we’re together, Walking in the rain, caring only for each other. Like a whisper in the wind, Our love it never ends. My soul will never mend. I open up my eyes; the darkness surrounds me. I wonder where you’ve gone, and sadly I remember. I think back to the day that God took my love away. A stone marked with his name is all that remains. Like a whisper in the wind, Our love it never ends. My soul will never mend, Until we meet again . . .


Megan Musilli


Am I dying? Amanda Carney

If l don’t pay attention to every Thump thump bump thump Of that excited muscle I keep in a cage Will it stop singing? If I start to listen To the whistling wind Blowing through the cilia In trachea forest Will it calm? If I force my curtains To stay open So that I might look out on the world Every minute Every second Until I start to cry from its beauty WiIl the men In my head Shut me down? The ringing In my ears Those pixie wails Tiny banshee shrieks Will they ever be satisfied? If l stand up straight Like a soldier so solid Will my sanity Slide Will my legs Stop itching? Will the worms Cease squirming Under my flesh Above my flesh Inside my flesh Along my flesh They’re everywhere


Cinquain 1 creepy crawly monsters creep by your snoring face up through your wide nostrils and down; sleep tight

Haiku 1 after intercourse mantis head goes rolling by— love is in the air

Ta n k a 1 morning sun sheds light on the spider’s many eyes as it sits in wait veiled by fog and cool crisp air; a bird is finally lunch

Lune 1 light on pond dances as you creep water-bug

Jeremy Gordon



Kelsey McKinney Sleep. There is nothing I desire more. To be covered by a quilt—an armor to the outside world. To rest my head on a cloud of cotton To submerge my body’s own instincts and relax the world away. But a normal human function has become a chore. Beneath my eyelids lies a hellish world. A world of torment, torture, and utter terror. For when I lie still at night, My mind is an evil musketeer. For sweet dreams mean nothing to me, Only frightening scenes of torture I cannot control. Every night is a long night. There is no escaping a nightmare. I search for purpose to rest at all. Sleep. There is nothing I desire more. But for now, I only dream And wait for peace to come.


I’m S o r r y April Wojcuich

Tell me why does it have to be like that? What don’t I have that she has? I try so hard to be myself around you, But that’s just not enough, no. . . I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m

sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry

I’m not perfect. I’m not her. that I am just a blur. I’m not good enough to satisfy your needs. we are not meant to be. I’m not the girl of your dreams.

Every night I cry myself to sleep And wonder if you ever think of me. Now and then I try not to think of you; It’s such a hard, hard thing to do. I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m

sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry

I’m not perfect. I’m not her. that I am just a blur. I’m not good enough to satisfy your needs. we are not meant to be. I’m not the girl of your dreams.

People say that I am beautiful; At times I can’t find them believable. I’ve been turned down too many times, But now it’s time for me to realize— I know I’m not perfect. I’m glad that I’m not her. I know that I am a one-of-a-kind girl. It’s a shame I’m not good enough to satisfy your needs. I’m sorry we were never meant to be. Hope you find the girl of your dreams.


bipolar Olivia McIntosh

the man i love is two men the yes man and the no man the one who says he loves me and the one who turns and shoves me far into oblivion . . . in exile, once again what do you do with a man who’s chosen two and both he’s chosen, sadly will never love him madly they’ll never make him whole again and he’s hurting, oh, so badly there is but one cure for i and me there is but one security for man is made to share his life with one who loves him, as his wife the one sure cure for i and me has always been the us and we the caring, sharing, trusting ways that bring forth fruitful, blessed days these words are nothing without ears i hope you read them through the years and if one day you wonder, where does she abide you’ll quickly find, my darling, that i’ve never left your side


Erosive/Creative Rebecca Childers

I sit, fingers curled above the keys, waiting The clock ticks away another second, the house creaks The air is close, so close in expectation, in anticipation For that first—click Like a fat raindrop it intrudes upon the silence A solitary mark of fabricated ink The promise of more to come Yet achingly alone upon the page Is it the beginning of a torrent of others? Coming together to flood the page Click, click—click, click Dripping onto others until—until My fingers still slowly, winding down so slowly They stop, curled in position, waiting A thought left vulnerable, open-ended upon the page A life left suspended in the thick, pregnant air Each letter tracing a slow path down the page Until—CLICK. Like a bolt of charged electricity from the sky My forefinger hits the keyboard with renewed purpose And the words spill from the reservoir of my mind Onto the page, dark smudges upon pure white Click, click, click The letters fall onto the page, singular yet of a whole The letters form words; the words, sentences Until the sentences bleed together To give life to the story captive in my mind One click at a time, and I am freed of it But only for the moment The rushing fades, the winds of “if” and “chance” weaken As my fingers grow tired of tapping out a life Click—click I know that it has passed, this tempest of thought Leaving in its wake new streams, a consciousness awakened And so I sit back, rubbing my straining eyes Another will come much as this For I am not through—I never will be


Amen Jesse Scott

On a whim, I lunged for Seraphim— A circle of angels amongst the stars. I could not reach my lust for peace To fill the void that was my heart. I struggled and fought, Wriggled and wrought, And in the end, what did I find?— Feathers plucked from mourning doves And sewn upon thy hide. Woven strings stitched fake wings Onto spines of the disguised. Demons dressed in angels’ skin— The source of my demise. With feathers in hand, I sank back to land, Stunned and so dismayed. How can creatures of such beauty Be so full of lies and hate? And as of then, I bid amen To the Circle of Seraphim, To the lies, the hate, and atrocious fate That creeps there, within— A feigned salute to the demonic brute Who stitches on their wings, For He is the man who has the plan Of setting their mischief free. No longer shall I fall To entrapments of a god Who art as evil as the night. Come now, all, and hear my call: “There is nothing to fear but fright!” What one might lose If one cannot choose Which path for him is best! The religious ruse Is for a chosen few But simply just a jest. When one seeks love of the purest kind, Look simply to thy mind to find; There is nothing in the Seraphim, And the truest beauty dwells within.


Calm (tanka) ominious gray orbs roll on the bleak horizon as a warm breeze blows, wrapping me in a blanket, preparing me for the storm.

The Clouds (lune) Shades of gray dancing in the sky become one.

lightning (cinquain) darkness int er rupt ed by a brilliant light show: stick-figures zig-zagging across the sky

Showers (haiku) Then the water falls, a deluge purifying the body and soul.

Betsy Francis


Rebecca Heise

Perchance to Dream James Shaver

Such damnable deeds cannot— on anyone’s part— be taken as a token. As for myself, such seemingly, spiteful acts of slyness hath ‘scaped my guard, (like mist of the night) through skillful seclusion. And like mist of the night, these deeds linger o’er me. Haunting my brain Taunting my conscience Rotting me before Terra is given chance Evil and good . . . black or white . . . I no longer can differ, for all is gray (no more . . . no less) like a prowling, clouding storm. A storm which ‘round me danced— danced to a demonic dialect riddled with damnable deeds, no more . . . no less.


Rebecca Heise

Nostalgia Kenneth E. Powell, III

I remember the paint peeling, chipping away, making the old house look aged and injured, its grassy lawn, mired in rainy dew, sprawled out like a wanderer grasping for something more—grasping for a decadent desire that could not be found here, for nothing was in this house but the sickly-sweet smell of just-born memories and the wailing warmth of an old heater— these fragrances foreign to callow youth. I remember us panting, running away, seeking asylum from the rain in your old beige Buick, and everything on the outside was mired in dew, and we stared into each other, grasping for something more—grasping for a decadent desire that could not be found here in this tattered town but could be found in your car; here, yet not there, remembering, feeling . . . . . . surely this is nostalgia . . .


Laundromat Blues Megan Musilli

As I teeter through the double doors, arms loaded with dirty duds, I’m struck by the cacophony of change clanging, towels tumbling, dryers droning, washers whooshing . . . all grating like nails on a chalkboard The flickering fluorescent lights illuminate the sickly yellow tile floor, speckled with Clorox and littered with spent dryer sheets. Odors of soap powder and fabric softener fill the air, barely cutting the harsh smell of bleach like the potions used to cut stubborn stains. The place is packed with oddities of the human variety: morose widowers, a young mother with a Kool-Aid stained toddler, the octogenarian whose bras hang to dry while her breasts hang too freely. Most notable is the Dahmer doppelganger sipping his Sunkist while leering at my undulating under-things. Perhaps he’s only pondering the mystery of the lone missing sock, and wishing, like me, that he too would be sucked into the vast void where those socks end up . . . slimply because it’s not here.

Decades of Rock Katie Bias

John, Paul, George, and Ringo started it all Living in a yellow submarine, in strawberry fields They got by with a little help from their friends They were day-trippers who only needed love And they traveled across the universe I asked them if they needed some led for the head Robert was dazed and confused but answered . . . It’s time for me to ramble on and let the ocean roll Jimmy and John’s song remains the same, As John still drums on a stairway to Heaven Woodstock heard them at three in the morning They said night time was the right time for them And Tom said to take him back down where cool water flows Bull, John was up and around the bend with a sweet hitchhiker Doug and Stu knew there was a bad moon rising with nothing they could do Now the ants are marching to a different beat Dave says to wake up if you’re living with your eyes closed We’re lying in the hands of God with our last stop any day You might die trying but you might as well dive in Because you never know when the world is going to end


Confrontation Kenneth E. Powell, III

hard footsteps make old stairs yelp with creaking sighs of unwanted goodbyes I turn to see the porch-light’s faint glow like a wraith wanting me to stay home gone now on the trail of the iron beast it belches thick steam on top of banshee screams pondering patiently, I wait because I know we’ll both meet for we’ve nowhere else to go voices of the past begin to echo endlessly like crying children in the catacombs of my mind I . . . I see bright light that dwarfs the shadow of my being the beast beckons; it is come. finally I am seeing! exorcising those damnable demons of doubt I resolve to obstruct that which cannot be obstructed standing on the tracks between perdition and emancipation the bellowing beast brings its burden of my past lamentation without fear or shame, I await the iron beast—the train and as the beast closes in, its light loses luster until all that remains is my porch-light’s faint glow waiting there are the ones I love, ushering me home


Black Widow Woman Betsy Francis

There she is on the hunt again. Pro she is drawing in the men. Her silky black hair is gleaming the beginning of the end; she’ll leave the menfolk screaming— until the very end. To her sweet scent they flock like flies, and after they taste, they drop like flies: one by one and sometimes even two by two (depending on her mood). Alone again she’ll wait tangled in sheets of loneliness, haunted by a lost mate who left her to clean up the mess: her web of self-destruction.


Poor Patricia Katy McLane

Poor Patricia had bad luck, For wherever she went, misfortune struck. She’s in a hurry—her car won’t start And everything she tries seems to fall apart. She’ll plan an outing, but in vain, For on that very day will come the rain. And a while ago, I was told, That she had caught an awful cold. In Florida, of all places! A cold in one of the worst cases. And once she tried to bake a cake many layers tall, But when it was done, alas! There were no layers at all! Her only chance, it seems, Is the day in March when all is green. But how ironic is it to say Everyone’s full of luck on St. Patty’s Day!


A Devastating Moment Josh Williams

I’ll never forget that Wednesday when I received the horrible news. My friend Mike was over to play some video games, and later on, my girlfriend and I would be watching the Lost finale. Everything was fine until that phone call, the call that would change my life forever. Thanks to the advent of Caller ID, I knew that it was my dad. “Hey, Dad, what’s up?” I asked as I answered the phone. My dad is not an emotional man. He’s always been the type to be calm, cool, and collected. Such was not the case this time around. He was upset, frantic, and it was very obvious that he had been crying. “Josh, I have some bad news,” he started. “What’s wrong?” I asked becoming more concerned. “Melinda and Ethan are dead. Abe killed them,” Dad choked out between sobs. I couldn’t hide my shock when he gave me the news. “What!?” I exclaimed as my voice changed pitch as if I had just entered puberty. My girlfriend, who was in the room at the time, saw my reaction, and asked “What’s wrong?” Stunned, I repeated the news as if in a daze. My girlfriend, being the emotional sort, broke down instantly into a fit of tears. Quickly, the shock began to lift from my mind as a new emotion took its place--anger. I felt the need to do something. After all, my step-sister and nephew had just been killed by her husband, his step-father. Anyone would feel the same. Before he got off the phone, Dad had mentioned that Melinda’s youngest son was okay, but that he had been left alone with the bodies all day and that Abraham was nowhere to be found. I wanted to find him, I needed to find him. It was then that my girlfriend grabbed my arm and looked at me with tear-filled eyes begging, “Please don’t leave me. I need you.” As any good boyfriend would, I stayed. I would find out the next day that Abraham had been found dead by suicide, leaving behind questions that would never have definite answers, not to mention a now-orphaned son, a son that one day may come into my care.


L o v e To l l Caitlyn Johnson

Summer nights always warm me to my core, but tonight, as the crescent monster came into sight, a tiny shiver traveled the length of my spine. For reasons unknown, he had convinced me to partake in something that was not only illegal, but dangerous, too. As we ascended a hill covered in brambles, the moon revealed our path, and I silently cursed myself for choosing to wear flip-flops. We sneaked our way under the overpass, looking for any signs of life. Fortunately, the police had not chosen this night to catch drivers barreling down Route Two. Canary construction equipment stood out stark against faded tan walls. The BOOM of a tractor-trailer on the highway caused me to jump, and I let out a soft “mmmphh” before I could compose myself. I steadied myself against the cool surface of a rusted guardrail as he explained the plan to me. “You need to treat this as a secret mission. Be aware of our surroundings. You cannot be seen.” His voice flowed like Rhett Butler’s when declaring his love to Scarlet. I lost myself in his dark caramel eyes. Before I knew it, I was a slinking wolf, approaching its prey without a sound. The workers on my right did not notice my silent shadow. I slipped through the miniscule gap in the rusted fence. I found myself surrounded by a forest of infant trees and concrete. The deck of the bridge showed countless holes, and the holes showed the river flowing between my feet. The decrepit tollbooth showed no sign of life. This place had been abandoned since 1991, until we set foot upon it. As we explored the length of the bridge, my senses attempted to take in all of my surroundings at once: from the traffic speeding past us on both ends to the rushing of water underfoot. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The moon showed us where to step as we made our way to the other tollbooth. He searched and cleared it with a handgun as if he were a secret agent, and I had to suppress a giggle of amusement. The river made a perfect mirror for the full moon and the lights from the adjacent train bridge. We hung over the edge of our monster, lost in quiet thoughts. Tranquility wrapped its arms around me. I let out a sigh of contentment, and realized we were here because of this. Too soon, we began to retrace our steps. With one last look, I forever fused the image of the water and the lights into my memory.


On My Mind Hannah Courtney

It was eight o’ clock am, and like it faithfully would every morning, my alarm clock chimed in with an abominable wake-up call. A new day had just started, and before my feet could even touch the cold cement ground, I already dreaded it. Another day meant another onslaught of things to think and worry about, obsess over, and analyze. My mind was both a gift and a curse. I had an impeccable ability to think, which proved useful during school lectures where I’d rather be daydreaming than paying attention, but also harmful when I thought about things I didn’t want to. I stood before the mirror, looking back at the body I’d been given, analyzing it. My chin was lined with acne. Somehow, I’d managed to go all eighteen years of my life without so much as a blemish, and now my chin was resemblant to that of the Rocky Mountains. I wondered what others would think if they saw it. Would they find it repulsive? How could they not? It threw off my entire face, which wasn’t that great to begin with. My eyes are green, which sounds vibrant and wonderful, but it isn’t. It’s a dull, forest green. The tip of my nose is bulbous. If Rudolph ever turned Santa down, I could slap a bulb on the end and serve as a great substitute. My hair is an odd pigment which starts out as deep brunette at the root and progresses into lighter shades of blonde as it travels toward the end; it’s inflamed with frizz and uncomplimentary curls which add an unnecessary inch or two of unsightly body. The cracks in my lips reminded me that I’d yet again forgotten to keep up with a chap stick regimen, and I worried about who would want to kiss a pair of ragged lips. I brought my hands to my face, forcing back the skin stretched over my chubby cheeks, and daydreamed of a day when I could look like that without having to contort my face. Then, turning to the side and lifting the hem of my shirt, I saw my worst enemy: my waistline. No matter who had told me I’d lost weight, all my eyes could see was the slight bulge of my gut, my hideous pouch, and the horrid stretchmarks caked deep within my skin. Next, I turned to examine my back, cringing at the pattern of pink lines which adorned my flesh there as well. Then, there were my arms—chubby, flabby, plagued with those haunting pink marks. My bottom and legs were last. Everyone seemed to compliment me on my backside, but they didn’t know what it looked like unveiled. It was tiny, and disproportionate to my lovehandles which puffed out like a muffin top. As for my legs, they were okay. In fact, I decided they were probably the only part of my body I didn’t have a problem with. That is, until I remembered that my thighs were too big. Next, it was time to take all of the ugly away. I applied my make-up, covering the acne and making my eyes pop. Heat damaged my hair down to thin, beautiful, straightened strands. And finally, black, figure-flattering clothing hid my chubby form. My first class of the day approached, and I spent it thinking. I thought about a fight I’d had with my friend the day before. Over-and-over, the scenario played out in my mind, and I contemplated what I, or she, could have said differently—how the fight would have turned out, or been avoided altogether, if one of us had done something different. My mind raced a mile a minute with thoughts of how I felt about the situation, why I felt that way, and assumptions about how she must feel in return. One question piled up before the previous one could be answered. If she still wants to be my friend, why don’t we hang out anymore? And if she’s too busy to hang out with me, how can she find time to spend with her other friends? Does she not want to be around me because I’m too boring, or because we’ve grown different? Am I a downer for her because I’m so depressing, emotional—or worse, because I think so much? Somewhere in the middle of my mental arms race, the teacher dismissed the class, and I’d barely begun to resolve my internal issues. The walk to the bench where I waited for my friends to meet me for lunch was spent in thought. Those around me often said I wasn’t approachable because I always seemed distant, as if I wanted to be left alone. If only they knew that it had nothing to do with that and


everything to do with my constant mental distractions. If one were walking beside a friend and engaging in conversation, she’d appear busy. It was like that for me, only I was talking to myself. Once seated, I continued to think about the fight. Mentally, I’d go through a system of posing a question, analyzing it, reaching an answer, and then moving on to the next. For example, I contemplated why she said she was unable to spend time with me only to turn around and make plans to study with her boyfriend and my mind raced with questions. Did this mean she was blowing me off for a boy? If she were able to find the time to see him, why couldn’t she find the time to see me? Then, I’d started to make some solutions. However, she wasn’t exactly making a trip to see the latest overpriced 3D film, they were studying. So, she probably wasn’t able to hang out tonight because she needed to study. And they weren’t hanging out, they were studying. Finally, when the issue was resolved, I’d find the next thing to worry about. Before I knew it, my friends were there, and it was time to shut my brain off just enough to be socially acceptable. They carried on with their chatter, and I listened, responded, acted entirely normal. Inside, however, my mind continued to plague me. Something as simple as one of my friends making a comment about never wanting a homosexual son sent me into a fifteen-minute mental process of how offensive I found that comment, why she might feel that way, and how I’d feel if my son were homosexual. Then, that led to thinking about what I would have said in response to the homophobic slur if I weren’t too cowardly to confront the issue. In no time, lunch was over, and I spent the entire walk to my next class thinking about the rude remark. The next class was philosophy, and the topic was God. This one had my mind spiraling out of control with thoughts. Is there a God? Did I believe there was a God? If I did believe, why? If I didn’t, why not? Is there an afterlife? What proof do we have that there’s an afterlife? What sense would it make if there were an afterlife? And likewise, what sense would it make if there weren’t? What’s the purpose, the meaning of life? Is there any at all? Consistently, my brain was a segment of questions and answers, just as soon as I could confirm that I believe there’s an afterlife and why, I’d move on to the issue of whether or not I believe that afterlife involves God, and why or why not. Again, my internal processes caused time to escape me, and I’d come to find class had ended far before my self-discussion. The evening came, and I decided to enjoy some television. However, it was never simply enjoying television. Even something as simple as two people kissing sent my mind adrift. I’d wonder what the two of them saw in one another, how they’d fallen in love and why, if they had enough qualities to stay together, and how the kiss must have felt. It didn’t matter that it was just a movie, just a story. Everything was worth thinking about to me. Night fell, and my mind was far more awake than the rest of me. My drowsy moments before drifting off into dreams were often spent re-thinking the various thoughts I’d had throughout the day. It was a problem I often faced: my body was ready to sleep, but my mind wasn’t. The only chance I stood of catching any shut-eye was to envision a story and allow myself to get lost in it until sleep would find me at last. This night was different, though. I’d grown tired of thinking. I wanted to be a normal person who could perform a simple task without mentally reviewing the details long thereafter. Normal people could shut their thoughts off and enjoy a moment without worry or mental obsession. I craved that. So, I prayed, and begged for God to give me just one chance, just one day without thought. Eight o’ clock am rolled around, and as always, my alarm clock reminded me. However, I didn’t spend this morning dreading the day or wishing I could snag five more minutes of sleep. Instead, I just sat up, silenced the alarm, and walked over to my mirror. My reflection stood before me, and it meant nothing. My eyes were just eyes, my hair was hair, and my body was just a body. It didn’t go further than that. I knew the definition of the


things I saw, and I was aware of what they were, but that’s all I seemed to know. There was no “getting-ready” process, because I couldn’t find a reason to. The first class of the day approached, and I attended and listened, though nothing was retained. My teacher lectured, and I heard the words, understood what they meant, but they held no further significance. They were just words strung together to form sentences that combined to form paragraphs—just babbling that I listened to. I couldn’t seem to find it in myself to learn what the sentences really meant or how they related to one another. Again, I waited on the bench for my friends. It seemed like it took them an eternity. Moments upon moments were spent sitting and staring blankly at the scenery around me. I began to fidget in my seat and do mundane things such as count the number of squares on the sidewalk. My chest tightened and ached with a feeling of anxiety, and a feeling I’d never before known began to take over: I was bored. When they arrived, I sighed with relief and checked the time on my phone to see how long it’d been; it had to have been at least a half hour. But I was wrong. It wasn’t a half hour, nor twenty minutes, fifteen, or even ten. It had been five. The usual table chatter carried on at lunch, which caused my anxiety to worsen. I heard what they said, and it made sense to me, but I couldn’t formulate responses past an acknowledgment of having heard them. The ability to have opinions on what I heard had escaped me. My body began to panic; it knew something wasn’t right. The tightness of my chest clenched moreso, and beads of sweat coated my palms. “What did you think about that Philosophy test?” one of my friends had asked me. “I don’t know,” my chest rose and fell faster. “What’s your favorite kind of soup?” another wondered. “I don’t know,” I began to clench the sides of my chair, fidgeting. “Did you know they’re trying to appeal the legalization of gay marriage in California? Isn’t that horrible?” another pondered. “I don’t know.” Tears formed in my eyes. All three of my friends looked to me, their faces filled with concern, but no one said anything at first. They sat and watched, flabbergasted, as hot tears began to stream down my face. Finally, one of them reached out to touch my shoulder. “What’s on your mind?” I looked up at her, the tears falling rapidly. “Nothing,” I choked out.


Ampersand 2010-2011  
Ampersand 2010-2011  

2010-2011 issue of Ampersand, the student literary publication of West Liberty University in West Liberty, West Virginia.