Friday, November 29, 2013

The Blackberry Refugee

I keep a writing journal. My best, worst, and in-between works of only paragraphs are stored there. I spend nights crying or giggling over them under the covers, and rainy lunches hidden in the library finishing sentences in my loopy cursive. If there is one thing that I seldom do, it's let people look at - even less, post on the internet - my paragraphs of writing.

This is one of them.


By this time of year, the field had been overgrown by thornbushes, save for the paths between them, carved by whatever lurked in the vines; Most assumed rabbits. Kelsey walked there, uncut by the thorns. Many had thought her to be a witch - a spawn of some runt-serving god - to the point of Kelsey herself being unsure. She sat in a cone of blackberry brambles, tending to a brush-fire and doubting rabbits. The fog, thick with dust and influenza, receded where she walked.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Bridge Crossings

"Daddy, why does that sign offer to help people cross?"

She looked to be about eight. Her father was tall, a Euro-looking man with the beginnings of a beard. They were standing before a blue sign that the mousy girl had insisted stopping at. Her father gulped, his eyes glazing over a little. A powerful breeze blew all of our ponytails and hanging locks back, making the Vista Bridge crossing a little more difficult. The father looked back down, settling in a decision.

"Well," he said, composing himself, "When the boy scouts look for opportunities, they help people who have a hard time walking cross things, like this bridge. It's a nice service." The father looked away, trying to cast the lies off to the side, perhaps towards my feet. "That number is the Boy Scout Hotline, which gets into their walkie-talkies."

"Do the walkie-talkies have numbers?" The father's face softened instead of reddening. A trait gained in parenting, I guessed.

"Some," he said, taking the girl's hand and walking her further. There was a teenager on the bridge, too, standing on the rail and looking over. She wasn't moving - she was still, rigid. A large, knit beret covered her head, and she leaned on her elbows.

"Does she need help crossing?" At that time, I didn't realize that she actually did.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Girl Who Never Smiled

"Ruby," my mother calls from downstairs, "Your father dropped something off." I glance up from my growing pile of tissues, wiping my reddened nose and walking slowly downstairs. My stomach grumbles with nausea and my nose drips. My mother is sitting on the backpack stool downstairs, looking at something that the delivery envelope covers. I sit down next to her, careful not to breathe in her face. We both smell like the flu.
"Look at this picture," she says, pointing to a photo of a young man with kindness in his eyes, "That's your grandfather when he was young and handsome." I never got to meet Opa Soekehar, as he died just before I was born. They say that I have his talents in music and speech, though; That I'd make a good lawyer, like him.
"And this one." My mother shows me a photo of a young woman with raven-black hair, smiling courteously through what looked like multiple layers of red lipstick. "That's me when I was just going to America. Do you like them?" I nod. I hardly ever get to see what few photos of my mother's family were on-hand. "I accidentally put them in the bag of things for your father, and so he gave them back. See? He still cares." My mind is far from that, however. Both Opa Soekehar and my young mother were smiling downward, as if someone told them to. The lies scream out to me. My mother reaches int he envelope one last time and pulls out a very small picture, just smaller than a stamp. Her eyes widen; she was expecting to see this one. She swallows and turns back to me, the picture wedge between creases in her palm.
"This little girl has a very hard life," she said, "She grew up with a lot of money, but then her mother died. Her father remarried, but neither family liked her except for her own in her house. She was told to stay in the kitchen during parties and to never be seen. This little girl didn't have the frilly socks that her friends did, but she still played along when she felt like it. She danced, too, and beautifully. Her parents didn't have time for her, though." My mother's teared up at this point. "This little girl still has a hard life, today. I know her very well."
"We have to help her," I whisper in terror and empathy.
"We do," my mother says, her voice shrinking. I grew up taught not to cry in front of others. My mother flees to another room to let her feelings go, leaving the pictures. I pick the smallest one up. The little girl isn't smiling at all. She looks angry and confused under her smooth skin and big brown eyes.
The photo falls out of my hand and lands on the floor, face-down. I read text on the back, very small and hand-written. It's barely legible, but what I make out is something familiar.

My mother's first name.

7:30 PM - Today

I hear a voice on the stereo downstairs, and I know it's him. He speaks like my uncle, but without the struggle from a stroke. He sounds young and his voice is very deep. He speaks in soft Bahasa, a language that I have yet to understand, and I hear my mother softly sobbing downstairs. She found the tape recording today. It's him, alright.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

UW People-Watching, Pt. II

They pass bags of craisins, twisting the stems from apples alongside the growing piles of books from our field trip group. I wonder, did the groups before have this many books? The two ladies sitting alongside us are Asian, as are many of the college students. At BC, the students there were mainly Asian, with traces of Indian descent in there. Yet, here at UW, the racial variability is much larger, as is the group of people from my school...I think.
On this platform, the UW is quite loud with the gossipings of 8th graders, but the library below is much quieter than I had expected, even if the millings about of younger students are still prevalent. My teacher is still checking out books below, my dad and other parent chaperones carrying them. From how others have acted before, I'm quite surprised as to how we can all stay in one area, myself included. Ha!
This girl who I think is very pretty turns to me, her brow furrowing at my screen.

"What are you doing?"
"I'm blogging."
"You blog?"
"Yes, why?"

And then, silence. A half-chuckling glare from her. A blank stare from me, followed by a subtle eyeroll and glare back to the screen. I'm curled up between people at a round table, trying to keep warm in the drafty library. Yee is there, messing around with "Scorpion". The teacher comes forward, carrying a stack of books. "Red, these are for you."

Huskies and Wedgies - Trapped in UW for History Day

I don't have much time to post, I"ll admit. Around me are my own peers, likely peering around my screen to see what I'm so anxiously typing about. A friend of mine, "Cole", asked what the point of my blogging excursions were. Yet, I'm not so sure as to what it is exactly besides to record my people-watching. For National History Day, I am currently in the University of Washington on a class field trip for research. For the moment, I'll simply explain my surroundings:

"Joseph" sits next to me, shameless in his patterned sweaterand dyed hair. His sister had met him in the cafeteria and had gifted him a Coca-Cola, thus earning attention from the table of girls nearby. I've known Joseph for many years, as we have lived in the same neighborhood. He prefers to rebel against common assumptions and is one of the more eccentric people in my group. He recently glanced over at my screen, thus calling for further changes to my people-watching regime. A shame.

A girl in a knit hat sits just off of the girls' table. She's a student, glancing through a composition notebook accompanied only by a cup of coffee. She sits leaning on her knees, her flat soles on the chair. Her blonde hair is pulled to the side of her knees facing away from the table. I hope she finds a friend somewhere. Also near her is a bottle of VitaminWater. I had never understood why people would carry multiple drinks. I currently sit here with cherry limeade.

Earlier today, I was in the UW's Special Collections. I found a few very nice sources pertaining to my topic, aided by "Myles", a friend of mine who was researching the same topic. My father had called a box of historical papers for me to look through, and I found them to be quite helpful. What I enjoyed more, though, was how at home I felt in the Special Collections immediately. After checking my bag/laptop, I sat down with a very old research study (published by Smithsonian in 18-something) and got to breathe the smell of an old book for upwards of half an hour. The walls were a drab color, decorated only by shelves and cases of artifacts. In a room which I have yet to look in was an extensive card catalog, something that I look forward to seeing later.

As my time here draws to a close, I'll be taking more research and nosy pictures. Did you like the people-watching paragraphs?


Friday, November 15, 2013

And Today, I'm the Coach

This passage was written in my personal composition notebook hours after the event, describing the actions. All the names are real, this time, as I feel that changing the names would take away so much from their character. 

"Twenty-one, fourteen," I call out, watching Derek intently as the music stops. Somewhere in the dusty reaches of the gym, Mrs. Wheeler, blows her whistle, silence soon overcoming the murmur of dissatisfied student volleyballers. Derek drops the ball, and we all sit. The week of net-based trials is over. Even I adopted into a team of five boys - Derek, Turner, Landon, Walker, and Yee - sport a win that I helped achieve. Yee, the center of boyish attraction, lays on the waxed gym floor, sighing in relief and wiping his brow of sweat. One by one, the teams call their results. A loss for team one, I see, as their teacher-eleted captain scowls through the announcement. Team two won, per usual. We had faced a horrid defeat the match before.
"Team three?" Wheeler calls out. My chest puff in glory.
"Win," I saw, beaming,. The team smiles in agreement. After the other teams announce their losses and victories, Wheeler reads the list of teams down in ranking order. We come in sixth place, better than I had gotten. The team that I had gotten separated from in an issue of size had come in last, without a single win.
"Nicely done, gentlemen," Yee says, then turning to me. I fear the joke of my out-of-placeness being brought up again. But his face is softer, more genuine. "And you, Coach."
"Coach," I sigh in relief, "I like that." I stand with the rest of the students, and turn back to Yee. "Hey, man. Thanks for accepting me." I extend my hand. He shakes it, his other hand touching my forearm in his actor-ish style. It's warm.

My entire P.E. experience revolved around exclusion and injury from overexertion until this week.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

To My Loves Resting and Recovering

I write this post choppily for a reason, as you may come to find.

  • Last week, my friend was to meet a young man by the name of Adonis Mera in NYC for a fun time in Bryant Park. Before he could get there, Mera was shot in the back, paralyzed from the waist down. 

  • On Monday, my friend's internet friend by the name of not-Jill tried to overdose and was hospitalized. I've been helping my friend recover and eat all week. 

  • On Tuesday, a local man by the name of Ed Praitis died in a car accident. His son is a very good friend of mine and I haven't seen him since. 

  • On Wednesday, a boy of sixteen years of age was killed in a car accident in my school district. 

  • Today, the final actions regarding my parents' divorce were made. 

I may be off for some time as I recover from all this stress, and I apologize before hand. Adieu, my lovelies.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

And Today I Was Called, "Love"

Today, the subject's name isn't Paul, but I'll refer to him as such. Paul is an extremely popular boy at my school known for being funny and nice. Rumor has it that he is so helpful and supportive that the prevented a girl from committing suicide at the last minute. I only have one class with Paul this year, but he seems to be a nice enough guy that I wanted to get to know him.
Okay, and then things got just slightly out of hand in a sort of funny way. Paul has a social media page where people can anonymously ask him questions and he'll respond. So, I just said hello. He responded within the hour, "Hello, love."
When people say that there will always be one person in the world who loves you, I hadn't found it to be so ironic and slightly funny as it is, now. Paul delivered indeed, even though he had not idea as to I was.

And so today, I was called, "Love".

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Waning Crescent

And there it is
Just above the horizon
Between the pines, it's there, alright --
The sliver of life clinging to the screen-run sky
The smog-smeared atmosphere
It's there. 

Just a bit of short prose from today. Doing well, lovelies? I've been busy with NaNo, for the most part, but I wanted to check in, just to say hello. Hoping to put up a fashion post (for once) later next week. 


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Beacon in the Storm

We went to an estate sale the other day. Promising books, CDs and furniture, my dad and I packed the car and drove to a distant neighborhood. The fall leaves blew down on us as we walked the culdessac, looking for the mansion over the lake. Yet, as we approached, all that was there to greet us was a burned-down lot. Disappointed and shocked, we returned home, waiting for the following weekend.
This weekend, we didn't have very much luck at the actual estate sale that we had found. Everything that we put down was immediately picked up by someone else. As we drove back, the leaves blew down near frantically, a nasty wind whipping the trees to the side. When we returned to building B, most lights in the city were dark. Rushing inside, I struggled to  finish my NaNoWriMo words, sitting down for a break. Hours passed. My dad and I made and ate meals, hearing of more and more blackouts. Around one o'clock, the building groaned in disappointment as their power was cut. Still, B-15 stayed alight, appliances running and wi-fi stronger than ever.
Our power went out, eventually. It was straight to the road with us, looking for a single place with wi-fi and outlets. After forty-five minutes, a Krispy Kreme shone brilliantly against Aurora, inviting us in. There, I sat down with doughnuts, patiently letting my scene unravel itself. As of yet, it's been a great experience. Across from us were three other internet-seeking WriMos who I hadn't seen in exactly a year. A friend of mine noted, "Krispy Kreme will be the last bastion on Earth when the apocalypse hits". Surprisingly, I don't doubt that at all, minus the apocalypse bit. Sometimes, the best places on Earth are those that constantly nip at your sanity.

Friday, November 1, 2013

"The Boy Named Hello" - First Paragraphs

  Early afternoon in an early year, maybe too early for anyone to care: A field of flowers, slapped to the sides by a torrential wind threatening rain. Still, the brothers pushed on, mumbling through th icy air of the view rumored to be so great over a peak that was running from them. The tot, dandelions in his face and eyes from a slight disadvantage on height, sneezed the pollen away every few minutes, thus earning the attention of his brother, who remained standing and non-allergic.
  "Come on, Johnny," the taller one – Leroy, as remembered – whispered, "We've got to see that view." To any loafing passerby with children and picnic baskets dangling from their fattening wrists, a phrase as such would be considered cute, whereas the boys only understood the hollowness in the promise.
  The boys kept walking, leaving a trail of trampled stems. Over their sneakers fell petals and dandelion pollen, wafting up dangerously close to Johnny's nose. Leroy absentmindedly bent down and dabbed at his brother's nose with a small cloth. The cloth was more or less clean, rubbed down weekly with the apple soap. After several nose-pattings and words of empty reassuring, Johnny at last broke free from Leroy's vice-like grip, running in his knee-less fashion towards a rock overlooking the coast.
But, there was no coast. No beach, no shining sun, no soaring gulls. Looking back at Leroy, Johnny shrugged.
  "Lookit!" he exclaimed, not sure as to what else there was to say. Pre-programmed phrases still made up half of what his vocabulary. Leroy put his arm around Johnny.

  "Yeah, what a view." Staring into the thick and standing fog, the boys saw more with their minds' eyes, just as they had been told.