I love words. They are my sanctuary. I love writing stories with them and talking to people with them. Except I hate the words that carry bullets. The ones that once they leave the mouth, they leave a gaping wound. The one’s that leave nasty scars.
Depressed. Three times a week, I sit in an either too hot or too cold classroom. Mostly in the afternoon. This class is my English class and right now we’re reading Romeo and Juliet, a tragic tale of star-crossed lovers who take their lives. Except it’s not tragic, it’s pitiful. I personally feel bad for the hate the Montagues and Capulets have for each other. That book is just sad and to top it off, every class the word depression gets thrown around. That word pierces through my heart, every time it escapes the mouth of one of my oblivious classmates. Romeo and Juliet aren’t depressed, they’re in love. Depression is lying awake at three in the morning because you gave up telling yourself to go to sleep an hour ago. Depression is going to a movie or a concert and regretting getting out of bed. Depression is emotionally, and sometimes physically, demanding to the point where it ensnares you. Depression is not being able to cry because you just did three minutes ago. Depression is not to be uttered left and right.
Retarded. I sometimes sit in the library and my mind strays from the story in my hands and to the conversations behind me. I guarantee that nine out of ten times I hear someone say “You’re being so retarded right now!” However, that isn’t the case. The boy being called retarded is an able-bodied and able-minded person who maybe got a C on their last test because they fell asleep while studying the night before. That person didn’t fall asleep after crying for three straight hours because they got bullied at school again. That person doesn’t feel incapable of normality. That person isn’t looked at or treated differently than others. That person can wake up and walk through their day without a thought of hesitation. Being retarded isn’t a punchline.
Panic attack. “Oh my gosh, don’t scare me like that! I almost had a panic attack!” Panic attacks aren’t a synonym for being scared. Panic attacks are lack of air in your lungs. Panic attacks are your body not being able to stop shaking. Panic attacks are not being able to shake away the stress. Panic attacks are about the test that you don’t have the will to fail, because the next time you do, you won’t be able to fix. Panic attacks are arriving at the gates of school and telling your mom to turn back and drive home as fast as possible. Panic attacks are like a demon sucking every last bit of peacefulness out of you and flushing it down the drain. Panic attacks are serious.
Words have meaning. The reason we’re trained to keep defining words is because we need to know how to use them. You
wouldn’t say someone’s eyes were ocean blue if they were actually brown. You wouldn’t say you’re happy when you’re sad. Some words take a while to master, but sometimes it needs to be mastered faster. So the next time you are at a loss for an appropriate word, pull out a dictionary instead of pulling the trigger.
Darkness descends early here. Barely a blink between light and dark. One moment sweating the next the sweat is becoming chill beads against your rapidly cooling skin.
I didn’t really know what to think when my ride left stranded, minutes away from dark, alone, in the rain. Mostly I was just tired. Tired from a hard day of work, tired from patching other people up, tired of being happy.
I had created a mold for myself. An unbreakable mold. I was happy, perfect, and unfailingly nice. What could I do if I wanted to bite someones head off, just smile and nod at them as if I really wanted to listen?
I guess so.
The rain was like pikes driving into my back in waves. I could see the puffs of my breathe in the air, my stuff had been in the car. What I wouldn’t give to trade places with it. I can hear something in the trees and howls on the hills.
My legs shake uncontrollably from the eight mile walk and the cold to find the house locked. The lights are on smokes wafting from the chimney and I’m stuck on the outside.
When I was little, I lived in a little house in Hadley, Massachusetts. It was in the countryside – it wasn’t cut off from civilization, but it was outside of the bustle of the town.
Three sides of my house were surrounded by a forest. That forest was my playground – I’d go on long walks with my dad, where we’d listen to the crunch of the leaves, climb on boulders, and run with my dog.
My favorite part of the forest was the vine swing. About five minutes from my house grew a gigantic tree, and from the tree grew a vine that hung down, almost to the ground, and then grew back up again, forming a swing. This earth-made swing was better than any plastic playground in the middle of a busy park. This was Mother Nature’s playground, and I always felt like she made it for me.
I would play on the vine swing for hours, but when I got tired out my dad, my dog and I would venture on to the apple orchard that lay just a few minutes walk ahead.
For my younger self, this forest held everything. It was a place to play, with a million little adventures that entertained me for hours on end. I don’t know how big the forest really was, I only ever saw this one section. But through all of my adventures, I always felt like this one little part belonged to me.
Holidays are such precious things. I remember when I was little I could barely fall asleep before Christmas Day. I remember popping out of my bed Easter morning and running downstairs to find the eggs the Easter bunny hid. I remember so many holidays with such vibrancy that it’s almost blinding.
Over the years, holidays have started to lose their significance to me. Only Christmas and my friends’ birthdays are important to me now, mainly because I can give people gifts.
I miss being able to have days of pink, red, and white hearts on Valentines Day. Spending hours on my mailbox and Valentines I would hand out to every one. I miss drawing two extra hearts on my best friend’s valentine and eating all the candy when I got home.
I miss my birthday. I miss waking up with a special breakfast and birthday cake in the freezer. Looking back, I really do admire how much my mother could surprise me in little ways, even with working a full-time job. I miss going to the Lazy Dog with my whole family.
And in these ways, I miss all the other holidays. Every year, Christmas, Valentines Day, Halloween, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day comes around and they’re the same as any other day. I miss how special these days were to me.
This year’s Easter, for instance, was quite normal. I woke up and talked to my sister. Then I cleaned my room and watched a movie in the lounge. We did egg dying, but only for about 5 minutes. I wish that Sunday was special. A campus-wide egg hunt or a van trip to eat brunch. It wasn’t a bad day, but I just wish it were more special, more memorable, like the ones I used to have.
Unfortunately, terrorism is not new and it is not uncommon. But, it is stomach-churningly awful. To hear about a terrorism attack on the news, if it is 5 or 5,000 miles away, makes one’s stomach drop. But to actually experience the attack, to feel, see, and hear it all happen is unconceivable. Marson Wells, a 19 year old boy had to feel, see, and hear 3 terrorist attacks. He was present at the Boston Bombings, the Paris Attack, and, very recently, the terrorist attack in a Brussels Airport. There’s a dichotomy here. Marson Wells is unlucky enough to have been in the wrong spot at the wrong time on 3 separate occasions. Yet, he is lucky enough to survive each one. Unfortunately, there are thousands and thousands more people who have been just as unlucky as Wells. These recent and ongoing terrorist attacks are terrible and unimaginable, yet they could happen to anyone, anywhere, any day. That’s terrifying.
I dove off the scorching rock, my hands piercing the bright blue water. Completely submerged into the cool, salty ocean, I propelled myself forward, deeper and deeper. Pushing past tangles of seaweed and batting away the occasional bottle or can, I swam down, into the depths of the dark, murky waters.
There it was, looming in the distance, dark and tremendous. I swam faster, excited. I got closer and closer, my heart beat faster.
It was gigantic, almost unreal. A piece of history, something from the past. I swam up to the wreck, pushing aside a broken board and slipped inside.
What I saw made me freeze, I was in awe, unable to move. It was a scene from the past, just frozen in time. Tables still set for dinner, but chairs overturned, as if guests left in a panic. It was an abandoned ship, but a ghost town. The tables had accumulated millions of barnacles, the silverware rusted and the tablecloths disintegrated.
I shivered, looking around at a life that existed over 100 years ago. It was the past, but my present. I took one last look, and swam back up to the surface.