The Woman in the Window

When I was the age of 9, or maybe 10, I lived in a little bungalow on Montgomery St. It had wooden floors, no AC, and a backyard littered with spiky oak leaves. I would sweep these leaves off my trampoline before jumping to the sky. Bounce, squeak, bounce, squeak. Flinging my limbs into various shapes, I would flip and glide through the air.

One day, one bounce, I spotted a face. Over the fence, in the window of the old people’s home next door, a woman sat watching. She was old with a face creased like tissue paper and a fierce black mane of hair. We held eye contact for the second I hung suspended in the air. Bounce, I smiled. Squeak. Bounce, I waved. Squeak. Bounce, she smiled back. Squeak.

PC: https://www.westend61.de/images/0001194761pw/pensive-mixed-race-older-woman-looking-out-window-BLEF05671.jpg

Her eyes remained sad though, and even as I lay in my bed that night with trampoline-skinned knees, I couldn’t stop thinking about the woman in the window.

The following morning, I got out a thick black sharpie and several sheets of blank paper. I headed outside and, with resolve, started tracing out big letters. “Hello,” I wrote. “My name is…” I climbed up the ledge of the fence, and sure enough, the woman in the window spotted my paper messages.

I felt as if I had made a friend.

I don’t remember when it was that I first noticed the blind in the next-door window had been drawn. I was used to regular ambulance sirens outside the old people’s homes, but when my friend’s room was left empty, it affected me personally. Wherever she was now, I hoped her sad eyes had regained a spark of joy.

dravin

Everyone has that one person who propels you forward, who supports you when times get tough and it seems like you are drowning. To me, that person is Dravin. She has been my life preserve, my oxygen mask. I do not think she knows how much she has changed my life, how much she means to me.

Dravin helped me when no one did. She helped that young 10-year-old who thought life was not worth it and made it her mission to make sure it was. She helped that twelve-year-old girl who almost let the bullies win. She helped that fourteen-year-old who moved away because she knew it was best for herself. She helped that sixteen-year-old try and gather the pieces of a broken relationship. She helped that almost eighteen-year-old with her first breakup and told her that life will go on even if it does not feel like it right now.

From the beginning, she was the most understanding soul. She would give me paint and crayons and tell me to “create masterpieces for me,” so that my mind was at ease. She knew how hard it was for me to express my feelings, so she distracted me. She created this safe space for me. A place where I could speak freely without any judgment. A place where I could have a shoulder to cry on. Even when she was with her family, she would take my calls and help me with my breathing.

Dravin saved me. I owe my life to her, but I know that she would just say that she is doing her job.

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pc: me

Poetry Pt. 2

A collection of unrelated poems of mine:

to be perfect

i’ve always liked numbers, the way they add up perfectly

with only one answer, one solution. i used to wish all things were as perfectly

organized. i wished i were organized as perfectly,

wish i looked it, dressed it, acted it.

wished all my problems could be solved perfectly.

set equal to zero and isolate the x: a mechanical

procedure taught from a textbook. perfectly

scoring academic tests is easy enough

but answers in life don’t add up as perfectly.

people don’t work like 1, 2, 3, experiences aren’t

scored alphabetically, and i can’t live this perfectly,

because i am not.

i am not perfect or close to it. but i am perfectly –

imperfect.

summer rain 

i take her hand,

bare feet slipping on the soaken grass.

we watch the rain as it falls 

and speckles the pool surface.

“one, two, three”

interlaced fingers and shrieks of laughter 

as we fall with the raindrops.

two skinny bodies in polka dot underwear

crashing through the water.

together, we tilt our heads towards the clouds

and drink in the summer rain –

nothing has ever tasted so good.

untitled i

you kept me afloat for so long,

        when you drifted away

     i forgot how to swim.

untitled ii

i wonder if being

in love

will make me feel any less

incomplete.

untitled iii

i think it’s strange 

no one likes a caterpillar

but everyone likes a butterfly.

PC: https://media.istockphoto.com/id/89288958/photo/monarch-and-caterpillar-on-milkweed-plant.jpg?s=612×612&w=0&k=20&c=ID3GSnp161j8jHkye0GQhkOk1etXnlJktqOxsj-xhfw=

My Dark Vanessa (TW)

Im going to give a fair warning that this topic is very triggering and revolves around sexual abuse. You do not have to read this.

I am going to give a few quotes from my favorite book, it is about an abusive relationship between a 15 year old girl and a 42 year old man that is meant to be romanticized. This book is beautifully written and incredibly alluring. It is also twisted and deranged and made me question every single person in my life. The ability to manipulate as well as a sexual abuser is terrifyingly fascinating. This book made me nauseous, and can be painful to read but i think about it everyday and in no way regret a second of the time spent reading it.

“Because even if I sometimes use the word abuse to describe certain things that were done to me, in someone else’s mouth the word turns ugly and absolute. It swallows up everything that happened.”

“It’s strange to know that whenever I remember myself at fifteen, I’ll think of this.”

“I wonder how much victimhood they’d be willing to grant a girl like me.” This particular quote made me sick and furious because it is clear that he manipulated her into thinking every situation was her choice.

“Kneeling before me, he lays his head on my lap and says, ‘I’m going to ruin you.” I cried during this chapter, this feeling was so claustrophobic especially when having to watch Vanessa know nothing of what was being done to her, that was the most painful feeling.

“He touched me first, said he wanted to kiss me, told me he loved me. Every first step was taken by him. I don’t feel forced, and I know I have the power to say no, but that isn’t the same as being in charge. But maybe he has to believe that. Maybe there’s a whole list of things he has to believe.”

“He’s always going to be old. He has to be. That’s the only way I can stay young and dripping with beauty.”

“He’s the only person who ever understood that desire. Not to die, but to already be dead.”

“An older man using a girl to feel better about himself – how easily the story becomes a cliché if you look at it without the soft focus of romance”

“It’s easy to pinpoint when it all started, that moment of walking into his sun-soaked classroom and feeling his eyes drink me in for the first time, but it’s harder to know when it ended, if it really ended at all. I think it stopped when I was twenty-two, when he said he needed to get himself together and couldn’t live a decent life while I was within reach, but for the past decade there have been late-night calls, him and me reliving the past, worrying the wound we both refuse to let heal.”

“It’s just that I’m depraved, my mind so warped by Strane that I misinterpret innocent favoritism as sexual interest.”

“I think we’re very similar, Nessa,” he whispers. “From the way you write, I can tell you’re a dark romantic like me. You like dark things.”

My mind screamed throughout the entirety of this book, it begged for her to run, it wondered if she should stay. And in the end, I realized what this book was meant to do. It is meant to show you how hard it is to say who did it.

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Meh.

I just suck at writing anything important

like literally what is the point? 

I surely am not a writer 

Im yet to get any better 

Even when I try 

Lela writes some ballad 

And mine are overlooked.

Honestly, 

I just kinda feel shitty. 

I mean 

It’s such a vulnerable thing 

For so little reward. 

When I write for college 

I get something out of that 

When I write essays 

I can see the reward 

But blog posts 

Another 10 points in my derelict grade book 

Im writing bad poetry right now 

So at least 

People will know I didn’t try 

And that way 

When im vulnerable 

I can just blame it on 

Not caring 

Seems to be the trick 

No matter how much you actually care 

If people think you don’t 

You have nothing to lose 

If you care 

Emotion gets in the way 

And feeling conflict with each other 

So why don’t we just play cool 

Put our feet up 

Relax 

And pretend 

Nothing really matters. 

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pc me

Thoughts on Starting a New School

Friends, family, neighbors, and peers often ask me how my new school is going. Again and again, I tell them: “It’s a big transition.”

Coming in as a junior is challenging because everyone is already familiar with the teachers and classes. I finally feel I’ve adjusted to the academic side, but it took at least a quarter of the school year.

Socially, it’s also been difficult, as everyone already has friend groups that have formed over the length of two years. It’s not that I don’t have friends at school – I have people to talk to in class, people to sit with at lunch – but outside of OVS, I tend to see people from my old school.

I miss them so much. I miss sitting next to Ula in every class and laughing with Siya in the lunch line. I miss my favorite teacher, Marie, and our advisories out on the soccer field. I miss hugging Danielle and Estrella each morning, working with Tomoki on math homework, and all the other mundane activities that, in reality, meant so much to me.

I spend every weekend catching up with these incredible people, but for the other five days of the week, it feels like a piece of my life or even of myself, is missing. “It will take time to adjust,” I tell people. Eventually, I will find a balance between these two parts of my life. But for now, I’m trapped in the space between.

PC: https://www.archpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/S8C_OVS-Buildings-twilight-Aug-2021_01.jpg

^^ Our beautiful campus here at OVS.

‘The Things They Carried’ Essay Pt. 1

I wish I had the time to write something good but I am in a rush. Here’s part of an essay from earlier this year in English class:

  1. What servicemen chose to carry revealed who they were. Select 3 of the characters. Explain what each carried and what was revealed about that character.

The Things They Carried is Tim O’Brian’s semi-fictionalized account of his time spent fighting in the Vietnam War. Told in a series of short memoirs, the author jumps from character to character, a story to story, in order to explore a range of themes: from death and ethics, to love and the relationship between truth and fiction. In Chapter I, O’Brien describes the physical items each soldier chooses to carry during their march. With this, the reader gets a sense of the characters, their emotional baggage, and their coping mechanisms; all of which are expanded on throughout the novel.

In just the first few pages of the book, the platoon leader is introduced through his chosen supplies. Jimmy Cross, simply referred to as Lieutenant, carries with him correspondence from a girl named Martha, who lives back home in Ohio. “In the late afternoon, after a day’s march, he would… unwrap the letters, hold them with the tips of his fingers, and spend the last hour of light pretending.” Among these letters are also two photographs and an oval pebble collected from the Jersey shoreline and gifted to him for good luck. The Lieutenant’s memorabilia expresses that he is lovestruck, and wishful and turns to his imagination in order to escape his dire reality. In fact, Cross will one day be so absorbed in his fantasies that when a fellow troop, Lavender, is shot on his watch, he blames himself and burns the letters. Because, while he may be a romantic, the Lieutenant also has a great sense of duty. As the unit commander, “Jimmy Cross carried a compass, maps, code books…and the responsibility for the lives of his men.” Altogether, the Lieutenant’s possessions reveal his sentimental and dutiful true nature – two qualities that he relies on during the intensity of warfare.

PC: https://snworksceo.imgix.net/jhn/334322c3-3260-4fc4-a9ba-1e713aea3c73.sized-1000×1000.jpg?w=1000

Running

This is not just to make Mr. Alvarez happy. I am beyond angry that I got covid, not because of the amount of late work I’m doing this fine Sunday night and not because of the stress I currently face around college, but because it likely destroyed my shot of finishing my last cross country season successfully. For three years i have struggled, fought, and cried over my times in cross country and each year i’ve gotten a little but better. This year, before I even had covid it felt like I had reached a plateau in my running yet every day that passes that I sit in my room I get more and more hopeless about running in the 18s this season. Cross Country is very strange, as far as running in total goes my times are dismal and downright bad but the amount of effort and work I’ve put in makes me proud of them, in the end though it’s futile because I will never go anywhere with running i’ll just finish this season and likely never run in the same sense again yet still I have this need and desire to keep trying my best and keep pushing beyond what I’m capable of. This stretch of covid has just made the fight so much harder and it’s difficult to keep going especially with a positive attitude that’s necessary for captainship.

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CIF runners post-race last year, pc: Ms Wachter

Poetry Pt. I

So far, these past couple of weeks, I’ve been publishing very surface-level (and frankly, boring) writing. One day, I wrote a poem with the intent of posting it, but quickly decided against the idea. There is something so raw, and so vulnerable about poetry, that to share a piece can be both a creative outlet and an absolutely terrifying experience. But no one really reads these anyways, so I might as well.

PC: https://i.pinimg.com/736x/96/5a/32/965a32cd4f0928ec10f3fa4847730893.jpg

TW: Eating disorder/self-harm. A couple years ago, my best friend was suffering from a severe eating disorder and almost died. This was the inspiration for a poem:

the bathroom mirror speaks

It tells her she is a slut, to “cover-up.”

or she is a prude, to “show more skin.”

It tells her, with makeup, she’s “trying too hard,”

or without, she should “make an effort.”

It tells her she is too big, too curvy, too small, too flat

– she is too much, not enough

It tells her lies and truth

and truth and lies

until she cannot tell one from the other.

instead of math homework, she’s adding up calories,

instead of breakfast, she’s chewing on the cuticles of her thumbnails,

instead of sleeping, her bedroom is a 24-hour gym,

instead of showering, she’s drying her tears,

instead of living, she just is.

the sight of her reflection in the mirror is enough to make her shatter

and when the voices overwhelm her own,

she drapes a cloth over the frame, gagging their words.

but It claws and crawls its way out from the glass

slithers into her ears and slides down her throat,

spilling into the cavity of her diaphragm.

now the words on the bathroom mirror are her own.

who decided her skin was a sin?

who indicted her bones a cage?

who determined her flesh as a source of release?

you. 

you taught the bathroom mirror to speak.

No more high school baseball

My high school baseball career has come to a close.

I recently contracted Covid-19 which caused me to miss our round 2 playoff game, which would ultimately be the final game of our season and final game of my high school career. It was a weird feeling knowing I just my time as a high school athlete ended without being able to do anything about it. I got so many texts and phone calls from people telling me how sorry they were that this happened to me but I didn’t feel sorry for myself nor did I feel any emotion at all. I was just focused on making sure the people around me didn’t get sick while everyone else was focused on the fact I can no longer play high school baseball.

The funny thing is I am content with my career coming to end the way it did. For instance, in the last game I played in we won, our school got its first-ever playoff win in school history, and I balled out. So there’s no bad taste in my mouth about how my high career came to an end. I am also playing baseball in college so that makes this ending not too bad.

However, there are a few things I miss about high school ball. I’ll miss the road trips to away games, the inside jokes with the guys, getting yelled at by my head coach, and getting out of class early on gamedays. I’ll miss the early morning lifts, the post-game workouts, the late nights hitting off the tee, the extra work after practices, the sprints, batting practice, catching bullpens the day after catching a whole game because we don’t have a backup catcher. But the one thing I’ll miss the most the memories I’ve made with all my teammates.

pc: mlb.com