The Struggle

         He has never been good completing his assignments on time. The last few weeks; however, he started to get better at timing his homework and bringing in his assignments. He took his time, sat down, put on his headphones and turned on his "learning music". The so called "learning music", how he called it, was Mozart. Mozart helped him to concentrate and come up with genius ideas.
        Starting a new week full of assignments and work said to himself: "I'm going to complete all my work on time". the most challenging assignment this week was to create an essay with misleading hits so the reader didn't expect the ending. This was for sure not an easy task, but it sounded like al ot of fun. He didn't always like to write essays. It started in elementary school, we had one single computer in each classroom and he didn't like writing. to be honest he hated writing. His teacher however was insisting that he kept writing and writing because she thought he was a good writer despited his not existing motivation. Slowly, but surely, he started to love writing fictional and funny essays including a lot of plot twists and unexpected endings. Nothing was able to stop him when he started writing except for technical issues like computer crashes.
       Trying to complete every task before deadline, he sad down at study hall and started his paper. It started off well, his fingers flew over the keyboard and he though faster than he was able to write. Something, however, didn't work in his favor. The computer started to flicker now and then like it was about to die. Being high on thoughts and ideas of this paper, however, he completely ignored the flickering. Going on and on, not stopping, furiously writing his paper full of ideas and thought he had to take a break to take a sip of gatorade and eat half an apple. Looking up from his screen he looked out the window in the complete black of the night and stretched. Stretching his legs, he unplugged the power from his computer. His brain; however, was so occupied with great ideas and thoughts for the paper, he didn't notice.
        Continuing his writing riot his ideas suddenly came to an abrupt stop. His brain was empty and he didn't know what to write anymore. His hands stood still and his brain adopted the speed of a snail. He couldn't believe it, this never happened to him. Not when he was writing, he knew this could happen when he tried to do math, but while writing, no. He was speechless. But then he had an idea, he closed his eyes for thirty seconds an listened to his music. It wasn't called "learning music" without reason.
       Diving into his imagination he completely let go of any thoughts he had and enjoyed the peace of imagination. His mind went off to all sorts of places. He thought about home, about his grandfather and how they hunted together. He thought about how beautiful music is and that he still had some apple between his teeth what annoyed him to death. He returned to reality, got rid of the pieces of apple between his teeth and started writing again, not realizing how dangerously low his battery already was.
         Continuing where he left off, his fresh mind came up with so many more ideas on how to make this beautiful piece of paper art. Finally reaching the two page mark, he could possibly come to an end like he always did. Just enough so that the teacher won't say anything about it but never more than requested. This time, however, he was on a roll and just kept writing, the battery being close to death. Taking a look at what he has done so far he smiled. He liked how he hid the little hints about the devastating end this all could come to. This was the longest paper he'd written so far and it wouldn't' change too soon with him being the laziest person on earth. His computer, however, was about to die! 
        The smile on his face slowly disappeared, it turned to an angry stare as it happened. He would never have guessed that this would happen, it was his worst nightmare. His heart stopped for a few seconds and his face froze, he couldn't believe this was happening. Not to him, not now, it was the worst point in time this could happen. It meant so much to him, more than he cared to admit. His favorite soccer team was losing! 
        Waking up from his numbness he quickly finished his paper and plugged in his power device so he could watch the game. He couldn't sit there any longer seeing his team losing, he closed his laptop and went to sleep. Only one thing went in his favor today, he finished all his assignments.

Jonas Roquette '16

Untitled

        I pull the door open, air rushing onto my face. The feeling of it gently brushing against my skin is inexplicably exhilarating. I smile as wide as my face allows. I've done this ever since I was young, and we all feel a bit nostalgic from time to time. I glance at the raincoats hanging by the door, but I decide against putting one on. Standing in safety under the lip of the garage roof, it's a different world just a mere foot away. The dark skies are thrilling, and the rain is so thick I can barely see. When I was little I used to think the rain drops looked like a million butterflies when they hit the pavement of the driveway. I smiled, realizing they still do. 
         I take a deep breath, as if I'm about to do something exceedingly dramatic, but instead I only take a few steps forward and stand at the top of my driveway. The air is confused: warm and cool all at once, one of the things I love about summer thunderstorms. The fat raindrops pepper my skin, raising goosebumps on contact. I squint my eyes to keep out as much water as I can and look down the long driveway at all the little exploding butterflies, disappearing into the air as if they were flying away. 
         I watch as the dark spots on my t-shirt become a solid color, the fabric sticking to my skin with a cool slickness. I close my eyes and wonder how such a mundane thing like rain can make me feel such a euphoric love of life. But that's just it. Rain isn't mundane at all. Every little raindrop is a scientific miracle that I can barely comprehend. 
         I feel invincible. I feel larger than life and more insignificant than a drop of water in the ocean at the same time. I'm invigorated and renewed, like I'm a new person. I look around and feel a bit agitated because I don't know what to do that would express these overwhelming feelings properly. So I hold up my arms and extend my hands as far as I can, and I spin. I spin, and I hold my palms up to catch the raindrops. I picture this as the ending of a movie, one of my favorite kind that makes me laugh and cry at the same time because it's so beautiful, and after it's done I'm left wondering how the world is so wonderful. the camera slowly zooms out as I continue to spin, drenched but oblivious and content.
         Once the movie has ended, I open my eyes again, feeling restless once more. I have so much energy, I need to expend it somehow. I squint down my driveway, the dark pavement of the road looking unusually inviting. Without a second thought, I start to run. It's more than a run. I sprint down my driveway and, when I reach the bottom, up the next hill of my road. My bare feet hit the pavement in a pleasing rhythm. Usually it takes a lot of willpower to make myself go running, but now it feels like a privilege. My lungs start to hurt, filled with the moist, heavy air, but I run even faster. My clothes are plastered to my skin and my hair is soaked, but I don't mind. Finally, I reach the top of the last hill at the end of my road, about a mile away from my house, and I bend over, trying to catch my breath. When I stand up my legs are wobbly and tired, but I feel satisfied. The rain has turned into the lighter drizzle, like a comforting blanket of moisture. I turn around and start walking home, smiling as wide as my face allows.

Darby Tuttle '16

Summer Dancing in the Snow

    On the worst days, the ones where snow dances into my eyes and the wind chews my ears, I cannot help but think back to one summer when my mother taught me how to dance. The snowflakes change shape and become people. They are my family, with my family’s friends, and they are all smiling.

    I am too little to know how to dance with them, and I sit on the floor to the side. My mother comes over, smiling and holding out her hand. I take it, thinking that she decided to put me to bed early that night because of all the commotion. As she pulls me up, I am dragged back into the snow.

    “Christ,” my friend whispers, frustrated with me. His hand is pressed to back, and his hand is gripping my wrist to keep me from falling. “Watch where you step.”

    I laugh and thank him, still startled from my slide. I take a deep breath, the cold stinging my lungs. I fall back to that night, the acrid smell of cigar smoke heavy in my kitchen. My mother’s hand is on my back, and her other hand engulfs mine. She is instructing me where to put my feet, small and bare on the linoleum floor.

    I can hear her laugh. I feel only the two of us, and everyone around has become irrelevant. We dance slowly together, despite the speed of the song. She calmly meets my gaze, wide and thoughtful. Her smile makes my ears sting with embarrassment for my lack of skill. I miss a step, stomping on her foot, and my face heats up with humiliation.

    “Oh, ouch,” I groan against the wind, so cold that it burns my face. I gently touch my cheeks, hoping my hands could provide some protection from the harsh gust. My mother’s hand is there, too, comforting me from my embarrassment.

    Insisting I keep dancing, she speeds us up. She gives my little feet more room for mistake, and I shriek with laughter. She twirls me, and brings me into her body. As I spin away, I feel the floor under my toes, slick with sweat and spilled beverages. My foot slides from beneath me, and I tumble to the ground.

    My shoulder throbs, and makes a sickening noise as I twist it. I had stepped on black ice, and I glare up at the sky, hoping for the pain to subside. When my thigh starts to go numb from the coldness of the snow, I clumsily rise, and continue down the path. I think about where I place each step, conscious and aware.

    With my newly found focus, I dance neatly with my mother. We spin, dip, and laugh. To my dismay, the song is coming to a close. I spin one more time, and grin cheerily at her again. She laughs, tells me she loves me, and wraps her arms around me. She takes me to her body once more, warm and affectionate, and I feel protected.

    The heat hits me, immediately warming my body. I sigh with relief, and check the time. Though I am late, I have conquered another walk to class. I ascend up the stairs, leaving the memory of my mother outside in the snow.

Jay Alex '15

When the Lights Fade Away

         A damp flushed face stares blankly at me. As I inch closer, she shifts toward me as well.  I look very deeply into her bloodshot empty eyes as I watch a tear slip away. I could feel the heat generating from her red hot swollen face. She's hopelessly standing there with what seems to be nothing left to hold on to. Behind her the bath was running and the lights overhead were dimmed. An irregular melody was playing around her. The room was full and neat, yet everything seem so scattered. When I turn my head from her she does the same. I couldn't stand looking at this pathetic figure in front of me anymore. She was tearing me down with her, but I couldn't help it. So I watching her.
        Freshman year is always tough, especially when you go to a new school away from all your friends. On the first day you wonder who you'll sit with, if you even sit with anyone at all or who you would spend your free time with. I had the upper hand because preseason started a week before the school year. Preseason soccer allowed me to meet my teammate first before I met any other person. I can say that I loved my team. Everyone was so nice and all the upperclassmen took us youngins under their wings. I found my group of friends that week and we stuck together. Most of our down time we were together laughing and having a good time. I always wondered why people hated freshman year because it wasn't even that bad. I was in with the older group of varsity girls. Life was good.
       The water to her bath had now reached the middle. We both backed away giving a bigger distance between us, but we were both in each other's sights. I studied her every move and she watched mine. She mimicked me and I wish she hadn't. Every time I tried to move from her she was still there. I was getting angry, but then I could feel her hopelessness. She was crying for my help, but I couldn't give it to her. I tried to hard to help her. She was to far gone. 
       I look forward to going back to school almost everyday. I didn't really have classes with any of my teammates because I was one of the only two freshmen on the team. It didn't really matter though because my free period was one of the most popular, lots of my friends had it.  Lunch was practically another free period so some of us would sit outside taking in the nice warm breeze before winter's bitter nips came. When it was time for class, we all went our separate ways.
        The sound of the water caught my attention. Her bath was almost full, but whenI looked up to warn her, her eyes froze me.  The one of hte bulbs on the overhead light had blacked out making the room unevenly lit. She didn't move and I didn't either. We beamed into each others eyes waiting to see who would give up first. Neither of us would look away. I tried hard, but she pulled my attentions to her. I wanted to help. All I wanted to do was save her from her misery. But she was too far away.
        When the school day came to an end, everyone rushed to change for practice. I hated soccer, but I loved being there.  Soccer took my mind off of things. This was my first high school sport and I am a very competitive person. Practice was fairly easy. We didn't do too much running, just mainly possession drills. The goal of possession is to keep the ball away from the other team so, posses the ball. I'm pretty sure we played that every single practice of the season. When practice was over it was time for me to go home. My ride was always waiting for me. I walked slow to the car.
        The girl's sad pitiful face was still looking at me. A strong annoyance for this girl had grown on me. I no longer felt bad for her, I was just angry at her. Her shoulder slumped forward giving her horrible posture and her head was bowed down, but her eyes were still on me.  The room was dimming more than before and the water had now reached the very top. Around her there was a bunch of different bathroom supplies; used toothbrushes and squeezed paste, mouthwash, a gross hairbrush, a razor, mini cups, a slightly ajar pill bottle, and her make-up. On the floor were her clothes. She brought me back into her woeful trance. No matter how much I hated her all I wanted to do was speak out to her. But she wasn't listening.
       After practices I always wanted to stay longer and have fun, but I knew I had to go home. I really didn't want to go I would have much rather stayed in the dorm then drive all the way home. Whenever I would get the call that my ride was waiting for me I would roll my eyes and take my time getting my stuff to leave. I would drag my feet to the car pushing off going home. Car rides were typically silent. There were many things that I would love to share about my day, but the vibe in the car was dead. So, I sat in the passenger seat staring out the window watching everything we passed. The car rides really put a damper on my day. When we pulled into the long driveway and the car was put into park, I rushed to my room avoiding any contact with the rest of my family. Most nights I had to go to a different sports practice separate from the school. My dad drove me to those. 
        Her whole body looked weak. By just looking at her she shared her headache with me. She moved closer to the counter with everything organized on it. She was carelessly standing in a giant puddle of water. I tried to tell her to turn off the water. But she was still not listening. 
        I hated being in the car with my dad. He only spoke to criticize my play.
        "Kim, I don't understand how you can let yourself play like that! I don't know why I keep wasting my time and money on you."
        "Dad, I'm tired! I just got done with school all day and soccer prac---"
        "Stop making excuses! College coaches don't care about what you did before you played. Do you ever think that anyone is going to want you if you always play like that?"
         "No."
         "That's what I thought."
         I don't think he understood that it was practice not a game. I don't understand why he can't give me a single compliment. Even when I do play well all I hear is what I could do better. According to him everything about me could be better. He was pushing me too hard. I was only fourteen. And I was so over it.
       She looked tired. She looked done. She was done. She moved even closer to the counter. She reached for the hairbrush. She combed the knots out of her hair and set the brush back down. The last light above was starting to burn out. We both moved directly in front of each other. She reached her hand up and I did too. She was controlling me and I didn't have the power to make her stop. Our hands met. We both moved our foreheads to touch. She leaned back and I did too. I lifted my hand to my cheek and she did too. We both rubbed our fingers feeling the dampness from tears. I leaned on the counter in front of me accidentally spilling the bottle of pills. She did the same. She was broken. I was broken. The light flickered. I grabbed a handful of the unknown pills and let the pain slowly relieve from us. My reflection disappeared. Everything was gone.
       The last light faded away. 

Kiana Melvin '16

Rock Hard Abs

       When you really think about it, the fourth of July isn't that safe. Crazy drunk men are essential for any holiday, and are only slightly dangerous but nothing out of the ordinary. There’s a line you begin to cross when you decide to give the drunk men fireworks.
        In the seventh grade my parents decided that we should do something different, because “change is good”. I would have been perfectly fine if we did the same thing as every year, gone down the street to our neighbors cookout, play games with the neighborhood kids, and beg for a sleepover despite living four houses down from one another. This year we drove to New Hampshire. We were headed to my moms gay friend and his husbands house. I would be spending my fourth of July with several gay men and elderly people, I was rather displeased. Upon arrival we were greeted by two incredibly sweet men, Jason and Tom. There were several old people there but they were adorably festive, wearing beads and completely decked out in red white and blue party hats. They also kept giving me and my brothers cake even when my mom had said we'd had enough.
         If asked, what one word describes the Fourth of July the most? I think nearly every person in the room would say fireworks, it's a given. So, we had finally gotten to the main part of the day. All the kids, myself included, were running around screaming and trying to make shapes or spell out our names in cursive with the sparklers. Now the adults started putting out some fireworks. Even though fireworks were still illegal in New Hampshire at the time no one cared, we were in the middle of nowhere and their closest neighbors was a cow pasture. Everyone stopped what they were doing because one of the fireworks went off unexpectedly but that was just the tester Jason told us. Everyone started to gather around to watch because we all knew they would be going off soon. I was beyond excited, we were so close to them! I had never been this close to the fireworks before. My sister was still young and had me cover her ears as they began going off. I stood with my oldest brother Carmine to my left, my little sister Grace to my right and some really cute elderly lady name Eileen behind me in a wheelchair that kept asking me to get her food because she mistook me for her granddaughter. My sister asked if I could stop holding her ears just then because she wanted to be a big kid she informed me. I held her hand instead while we stood there. All of the sudden smoke started coming from where the fireworks had been going off and we heard this nearly earsplitting screech of the sound a firework makes usually when it’s already up in the air. But no, this firework was not going into the air. It actually was coming right towards me. When the firework hit me in the stomach I turned slightly to my right making it change directions.. and explode directly onto my brothers foot. Carmine actually did not notice at all that his foot was on fire because something much worse had happened. My poor brother was wearing shorts and half of the firework had gone up them. He could not even comprehend at that moment that his foot was on fire due to the fact the only thing he really cared about was on fire too. 
        Everyone was frantic! I was still holding onto my sisters hand and ran her into the garage where the smoke had not yet entered. The ringing in my ears was ridiculous but through the chaos I heard my father screaming “CARMINE YOUR FOOT” and my brother screaming even louder back “ NO DAD. MY BALLS.” They continued to scream back and forth like this because Carmine had been slightly preoccupied. Until he finally decided to acknowledge the fire on his foot did they stop screaming. I bet you never thought the stop drop and roll would ever become relevant. 
        Anyways, after the smoke had cleared my little friend Eileen was left with a big burn on her arm, my little sister was balling, I had been given a baseball sized bruise on my stomach and my brother needed to be taken to the hospital. After settling everyone down Rob has an excellent idea! Lets keep using the fireworks! My mother was not happy, she does not swear a lot but jeez she had a lot to say right then. We left for the hospital and my dad kept making jokes like “Damn, Meaghan must have some rock hard abs for fireworks to be bouncing off of them!” My mom was definitely not amused but she is the one who told us change is good, so thanks mom.

Meaghan Donahue '17