Sunday, May 23, 2010

Remembering Summer

I am taking long bike rides over giant hills with wet hair and golden sun. I am rhyming a la The Princess Bride and sipping smoothies and playing on playgrounds. I am taking goofy cell phone pictures and wearing sunscreen and wearing T-shirts and shorts with beaten-up flip flops. I am lying in bed and searching the house top to bottom for things to do, and I am exploring the neighborhood. I am taking tennis lessons and pottery classes and swimming lessons and cooking classes and babysitting courses and soccer lessons. I am going shopping and swimming and swinging in the park and accumulating more freckles on my face and arms.

I am swimming across the lake, and balancing on a wooden beam, and making a spastic, yet still enthusiastic attempt to shoot a target with a bow and arrow. I am making hemp bracelets and friendship bracelets and lanyards and dream catchers. I am eating mostly edible mess hall food and playing ping pong and dressing up. I am crammed onto a bus going up into the mountains, and I am sitting at a campfire and singing and laughing. I am having the rag tied around my neck, and promising myself to make things better.

I am sitting in the sun and getting my feet cut up in the pool, and I am walking the dog and going for frozen yogurt. I am fighting with my cousin and reading in the closet under the stairs and sprawling out on the long, narrow couch. I am walking through smoky hotels and watching the flashing lights, and I am watching movies and playing tennis and solving puzzles. I am waking up early and laying with my grandparents, and I am seeing the sights and living the dream and watching it all with my mouth agape at its sheer splendiferousness.

These are my summers, at home and at camp and with my family. These are the endless summers that make up my childhood, and when all else fades to years and stages and decades, these are what will remain.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Poetry - Apology of a Heartbreaker

His heart was in my hands
It looked shiny and pretty and sweet
I was a toddling child, young and innocent
I didn't want to break it, to hurt him
But I did
I couldn't see what he saw
And now he's left in the dust
I'm sorry.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You Wonder Why We're Friends

It all began with two preteen girls, both convinced that the other was stupid and not worth her time. One was happily grouped with her older sister and best friend; the other, all on her lonesome, forced to interact with others because of her mother's penchant for sending her to summer camps. And thus, the two were shoved together, albeit unwillingly. The friends isolated the newcomer from their exclusive circle for two long weeks, at which point she had fulfilled her stint as a "happy camper" and departed, ecstatic in the separation from her peers.

The summer passed, and it was back to the school that had chewed her up and spit her out in the sixth grade. Despite everything, she remained optimistic for a better, brighter seventh grade. The first days went by in a blur of new classes and poorly concealed excitement. And then, sitting alone in the cafeteria, eating a burrito and reading, a muted thump alerted her to the unthinkable: someone sitting with her. She raised her gaze, unsure of what to expect, and her heart immediately sank; it was her old tormentor, back to haunt her when things had finally taken a turn for the better.

But, she noticed, the other girl looked tired, and perhaps even a bit lonely. Like I was, she thought viciously. "Can I sit here?"

"I can't stop you," she replied, more than a little bitter. They sat there in awkward silence for a moment.

"I apologize for not believing you when you said you were going to be in Algebra," she said earnestly, "you just didn't seem all that smart." The other girl glared. So much for the apology. Content with her voiced confession, she began to make idle chat, with her rather displeased companion shooting her down at every opportunity. Despite her usual inability to hold grudges, this girl had done too much to fall into her good graces so quickly. And so the weeks went, a tireless "friend" following her, sitting with her during lunch, and beginning, however slowly, to wear down the girl's dislike for her.

They began to go on a walk together every night, lingering at the stop sign at the corner between their two unnervingly close houses and talking about everything from food to politics to boys. They learned near everything about each other, and agreed that they were indeed "best friends". They fought on occasion, as friends are wont to do, but always made up. They followed each other through the sordid details of their miniscule love lives, one learning how to break a heart and the other getting her heart broken. They talked about religion, life, and the future, wondering what it would hold for them.

And then came high school. The two went in with little knowledge of what to expect, with only the vague memories of older friends already long integrated into the melting pot that was high school. They met a person who they began to refer to as their best friend as well, and countless others whose antics provided many hours of entertainment. They cried together at Challenge Day, and talked for hours about college and expectations and dreams.

Over the course of two years, one became more toned down, and the other became more bold. They both learned to open up to others, and to take things as they come, but, most importantly, that there was always someone that they trusted more than anything.

This is why we're best friends.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Service With a Smile

Plaster on your pretty grin
No one knows about your sin
Or all the trouble that you're in
Hide it away and smile

Joke and laugh and play and run
No one knows the things you've done
But for the sake of everyone
You just shut up and smile

Never show that you are shy
No one knows how much you lie
And time's started to pass you by
Yet all you do is smile

Leave your heart and lock the door
No one knows you anymore
But it's not you that this is for
It's service with a smile

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie

Lately, I have taken to sitting in the window seat in the corner of the library, gazing out the window at the people walking by, unaware, or reading a good book. Having come across the name of the author Jaclyn Moriarty, I only remembered one word: reverie. I immediately sought out the book The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, and immediately got lost in reverie among the pages. This whimsical novel about high school, musings, and murder, set in Australia, tells the story of Belinda "Bindy" Mackenzie, a proactive, intelligent, and inadvertently pretentious Year 11 girl and her issues with her Friendship and Development, or FAD, group. As the pages turn, the story delves into Bindy's past, conspiracies, and the struggles of high school.

Now, let me give you my brief history with this book: In the sixth grade, I faced many of the same social issues as Bindy, despite being several years younger. I was socially crippled due to five years in a small private school, and often took refuge in the school library. Even when forced to be in the company of others, my nose was always buried in a book. Eventually, one of the books I came upon was The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, and I instantly related to this quirky character. Looking back on it now, I still see the similarities: social awkwardness (although not to such an extreme), an overwhelming desire to succeed, and perhaps even a bit of the pretention. However, I can also laugh at the sheer comedy of such unoblivious social faux pas.

To sum it up, this book is a great read, and I highly recommend it.

(Warning: The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie gives the reader a tendency to think in short, clipped sentences and get lost in reverie)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Poetry - Chaotica

Pure elation
Nervous tension
New deception
Peace and trinity 
No serenity
To infinity
Pure acidity
Loose denial
Fire by trial
Poison vial 
Final mile

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Wild Night

We're all in the burger joint, crowded around two tables, smiling and laughing and sipping our milkshakes. It's the epitome of teenage wasteland, complete with awkwardly trying to talk to the "cool" kids and little groups of people all caught up in their euphoric little worlds. It's picturesque, like a lot of things seem to be these days. I can see an identical scene sixty years in the past, with an abundance of poodle skirts and leather jackets and hair gel, with a jukebox blasting Buddy Holly in the corner and the Fonz teaching boys to unhook a girl's bra in the restroom. It's what I always pictured the stereotypical high school weekend to be, staying out late with friends and not caring about homework or expectations or consequences.

Except that there's still that nagging little voice inside my head. You're too young. Go home to Mommy and let the cool people, the normal people, have their fun. Stop pretending. And I can't ignore it, because somewhere in the self-loathing the truth is hidden. I am too young. But it doesn't matter.

Maybe this teenager thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You Can't Be Sad When You're Smiling

Why is it that I have dozens of people who I call my friends, yet when I need a friend most I'm all alone? I know I'm not an easy person to be friends with; then again, neither are they. I pick up charity cases and lost souls, and do my best to make them right. Yet somehow, I'm the one sitting alone, looking perfectly content in my solitude yet secretly, desperately hoping for someone to come by. It's a fairly depressing existence, only managing to grasp onto hope by a thread of pure ambition, and the dire need to get out. My definition of "getting out" has changed over the years, but the desire has never wavered. I want to gather my things and take the first plane out of here, and watch through a little camera in my brain how my "friends" react. Some will probably be relieved, airing their opinions of me that have lain dormant for too long; others will truly miss me, and I may regret causing them sadness, but they will forget me eventually; it is what we are wired to do.

And suddenly, I am stirred out of my reverie by another person, infringing on my pity party. She takes interest in my band T-shirt, and a conversation is born, though whether out of pity or true interest I'll never know. We talked a long while about journalism, friends, and school, and finally parted ways, a genuine smile eviscerating the painted-on shadow of it I normally possess.

And though the happiness faded quickly, hours later I have not forgotten the kind gesture of an upperclassman who likely had better things to be doing than fraternizing with a lonely freshman. I sit, lost in reverie, absently fiddling with a loose thread on my shorts, and I reflect.

Perhaps there are honestly good people.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Wonderfultastic Day in Suburbia

I began today at around 10 am, when I was woken up by my mother, not to get ready to go to church, but to eat chocolate chip pancakes and read the Sunday comics in my pajamas. Then, I practiced piano, read, and meandered around the Internet until about 1 pm, when I ate lunch, then biked 3 miles with my best friend to Jamba Juice. We took our smoothies across the street with us to a gorgeous park with an abundance of ponds full of ducks and Canadian geese. Sitting on the platform of the play structure, we had a perfect view. Between the bars of the ladder was the fountain; ladies with strollers strolled contentedly while children ran gleefully by. Couples sat idly by on picnic blankets on the grass, and the smell of barbecue filled the park. It was so picturesque it almost hurt.

The only thing out of place was us, the two dorky teenagers perched on the play structure, children glancing at us out of the corners of their eyes and shying away. We sipped our smoothies amusedly, taking vain cell phone pictures and attempting to relive our childhoods on the swingsets. We walked around the park, soaking up the sun and watching the ducklings swim. Finally, we grew tired, and biked the 3 miles home, the highlight of which was going on the steep hill coming off of a pedestrian bridge, the wind rushing past us as we sped downhill.

Upon returning to my house, we changed into swimsuits and biked a mile over to the local swim club and frolicked merrily, giving piggyback rides, nearly engaging a bunch of children in a chicken fight, and practicing lifeguard rescues. I realized, giggling, that our relationship was like that of Brittany and Santana from Glee, although without the cheerleader sex. We agreed that although looks-wise, I would be Santana, personality-wise it would definitely switch. We engorged ourself on even more sunscreen, then made the mile trek back home.

However, what was different about this ride was that I had thrown away my contacts at the pool so I could go underwater without burning my eyes and cursing up a storm in front of small children. In short, I was half-blind and on a bicycle; I couldn't read the street signs, and had to depend completely on following my friend to know where I was going. Safe? Definitely not. Interesting? In a fashion... yes.

Finally, we parted ways, only to meet again at 10 pm for our regular nighttime walk. We talked about upcoming summer camp and math class and cooking fish, then said goodnight at our usual street corner. I turned around... and stopped dead.

The action was frighteningly familiar, as was the view. What just happened? I was just here a minute ago, after saying goodnight yesterday! What the hell happened? Where did that time go? Where is my time going? I was just here a minute ago, thinking that time was passing too fast, and that I was here only a minute ago, and now I'm here again! What's going on?

At which point I took a mental shotgun, blew the panic to bits, and continued on my way.

So, other than my impending insanity and my apparant penchant for shooting my emotions execution-style, today was a wonderfultastic day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mockery Amuses Me

It's been a tough week, but fortunately, the world provides plenty of things to mock.

1) Fox called Mr. Rogers an evil man who screwed up an entire generation of Americans.

Oh, Fox. If not for Glee and Family Guy, I would probably be scheming an extremely convoluted plan for your demise right now. Even so, I bite my thumb at you.

2) My body wash is "Ocean Breeze" scented.

I've always found the names of these scents amusing, but this one takes the cake. Because who walks up to someone, inhales, and goes, "Mmm, you smell like an ocean breeze!"? You really shouldn't be walking up to random strangers and smelling them anyway, but hey, whatever floats your boat. But honestly, all the ocean breezes I've ever smelled smell like sea salt, barbecue smoke and seagull poop. Not that those things are without their own charm when one is viewing the horizon off of Santa Cruz Beach, but they're not so appealing as perfumes.


While there is a valid point lurking somewhere in that Southern accent and Republican drivel, one cannot help but be amused at, "We live in Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it." Well, the Native Americans lived here, and we're not speaking Cherokee. Just sayin'.

In other news, my left arm hurts something fierce thanks to wonderful Mr. Syringe giving me a hepatitis shot yesterday. Also, being insanely popular as I am, I spent my Friday night partying with a bunch of 8-year olds. Yes, I am such a rebel, no need to applaud.