Learning to Look Up - Evelyn Turnbaugh '17

The sky broke into a full sunset,
and the trees caught its fire
Why doesn’t anyone ever look up?
When the wind pushed the clouds across the horizon
Their eyes remained on the dirt and dust
And when the sun lit their faces in a golden glow
Expecting to see smiles from the warmth,
their feet shuffled along
Their mouths remained grim,
so the sky darkened
But before the sun dropped beyond the trees of ash,
the lights of heaven flooded the sky,
with color deeper than the eyes can perceive
And for once, their eyes found the sky
Searching through the infinite colors,
smiles broke through their faces
Finally seeing their own warmth,
the sun slept
With fire in their minds the blackness of night was lit by stars
Each one made from the eyes that never left the sky,
that lifted themselves from the dust
To catch its fire
Then make their own

Hebron Love - Sara Nicolas Santos '18

I contemplate you from my window
My eyes are on you,
Remembering those moments
That you taught me how to enjoy.

Your front has an impeccable tradition
But from the inside, you are multicolored,
Because you are full of cultures
And full of knowledge and full of love.

You will always be with me
Because I will never forget you,
You are full of good teachers
Who taught me how to live.

The years will pass,
But the joy and triumphs
That made us stronger
Will always be here.

Our voices will be forever
Held in your walls,
And each of our names
Will be kept secret in every corner of your heart.

Voices - Joseph Dunn '16

The therapist sits down in front of me. The look in her eyes reads pity, but I do not, can not, relate with that feeling. She’s drumming her hands on the table, restless, nervous even, this excites me. The security guards step out, we are alone now. They tell me she is perfect, they tell me I need her, they tell me she is next. The smell of the therapist’s perfume is intoxicating, I take a deep breath through my nose and smile.

Clearly unsettled, she begins to speak, “When was the last time you felt the urge to hurt someone.”

“How long have you been in the room?”

She checks her watch, “Around five minutes, why?”

“Well I suppose three minutes ago.”

Upon saying this I see a small flicker of fear in her eyes, the corners of my mouth turn up into a small smile. She pauses, she rapidly taps her fingers on the table and then scribbles something into her notebook. They tell me her notes are about me being crazy. I agree. Orange light is filtering in from the window. I can see the sun setting over the fence. I can practically taste the outside.

“So it says here you’ve been having night terrors,” she continues. “Can you describe these to me.” I look at her, she is not worried about me, she doesn’t care. She sees me as a monster.

“Well there is this one dream that I keep having.”

“Can you describe it for me?”

“It’s always the same, I pull myself out of the mud and run for the tree line. The rain beats down and blood washes into my eyes, making it harder and harder to find the entrance to the path. I’m breathing loud. I try  to stop it, to control it, to hide it, but it was too much. I find the entrance to path and run, follow it till I reach the old shed.

I crash through the door and slam it shut. I try to barricade it with the rakes, and the pitchforks, but it is not possible. I can hear him outside now.

He is here. He is just outside. I push myself against the door, grasping a pitchfork...wiping the blood away from my eyes. Waiting. He is hunting me and there is nothing I can do to stop him, when he finally gets to me I wake up.”

“Very descriptive, do you feel fear during the dream? Or do you know who is chasing you?”

“The man chasing me is me, and no, I don’t feel fear.”

“Huh, this sounds to me like you are feeling remorse. If it is truly you who is chasing yourself then I think you are feeling for the victims. I think you are feeling bad for what you did.” I pause for a moment. Maybe she is right, maybe I do feel for the victims, I probably should have corrected her when she said night terrors though. I should have told her that this was a pleasant dream. As the therapist gets up to leave, her hair falls across her face. I can smell her perfume as she brushes the hair out of her eyes. I can barely hold myself together.

The car rolls to a stop, I hear the door close tightly. I pause for a moment then crawl from the trunk through the back seat. The sun is down, they are probably just noticing my cell is empty. A clown doll is sitting on the seat, Looking at me, lifeless. I can almost relate. I open the door and walk to the window of the small house. Inside a little boy is showing the therapist his hockey stick, splintered into pieces. There is no husband. Good. I open the front door and make my way to the kitchen. The whole house smells like her, it’s invigorating. They were right she is perfect. The sink is full of detergent, I reach in and grope around until I find a steak knife.

The lights are out in the house and everyone is sleeping. The voices are telling me to go upstairs. They are loud, so loud I fear they will wake her. I open the door and see her, asleep, beautiful. Her skin is soft, so soft. They tell me to lie down so I do. I can feel her breath, the rise and fall of her chest, it calms me. The voices for the first time in a while, fall silent, waiting. I gingerly brush the hair from her face, she lets out a yelp, and then she is silent. The house is silent, the voices are silent.

Cookies for Santa - Jack Morton '17

The fire roars and the Christmas lights flicker. Outside, a layer of fluffy white powder covers the warm Earth. The ground sparkles with the light from a frosty moon. A gust of wind blows snow from the roof and tree limbs, but we pretend it is sprinkling down from the stars to make this the perfect Christmas Eve.

My family gathers around the TV, bundled up in blankets, to watch our favorite Christmas movies about talking snowmen, red nosed reindeer, and an elf looking for his father. Between movies, we migrate to the kitchen to whip together chocolate chip cookies for us and Santa. First we gather the ingredients and sample to chocolate chips to make sure the are Santa­-worthy. Christmas music flows from the speaker as we throw butter, sugar, and eggs into the bowl. Mix and pass. Mix and pass. As the bowl makes it way around the table, the cookie dough begins to mysteriously disappear. After a few scoops, we manage to stop ourselves and put the dough onto the pan and into the oven.

The dim lights in the kitchen let the Christmas tree shine bright. It is dressed top to bottom with ornaments that tell our life stories. Mine begins with a teddy bear with my name and birthday on the back. Next comes the gingerbread man with “Jack five years old” scribbled on it’s back. Some are barely legible and others have my picture on them. The tree is filled out with similar ornaments that my brother made and my parents favorite ornaments from their childhood. Our tree is unlike all others, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Suddenly, the scent of the fresh cookies invades the room. As it drifts by, we each get a whiff of the delicious treat soon to come. The timer rings to tell us the cookies have finished, but the race to the kitchen has just begun. We run across the carpet, slide on the wood floor, and scramble to find the oven mitts. As we take the cookies out of the oven, the sweet scent must have could have filled our entire street.

The first bite is the best. My teeth sink smoothly through the warm treat. The soft chocolate and gooey center mix and melt in my mouth. One cookie is never enough so we all grab another. And another. And the last one is quickly snatched up. Another batch needs to be thrown into the oven. After a while, I checked on the cookies to make sure they were not burning. The cookies had barely cooked, which seemed odd. I felt certain they had been in the oven for at least eight minutes, but when I checked the timer only three minutes had gone by. These cookies could not come out soon enough. I went back to watch our Christmas movies with my family and prepared myself to wait for what would feel like hours for these cookies. After I watched Rudolph discover the island of misfit toys and meet a flying lion, the timer finally rang. We all rush into the kitchen and swing open the oven door. The cookies are the perfect golden brown color. Before they are all eaten, we set aside two cookies for Santa and pour him a glass of milk filled to the top. We carefully walk over to the fireplace and set down the plate and cup. We zip back to the kitchen and grab a cookie. I break mine in half to expose the warm, moist center and take a big bite. As I walk back towards the plate by the fireplace, I know that Santa will love our cookies.

Chicken Curry Pasta - Dolphine Penzo '17

I spent the first ten years of my life as an only child, having only my mother. During this time, my mom was very young. She became pregnant as a teenager and took the responsibility of raising me on her own. Of course she got some help from my grandparents, but she has always been good at handling things alone. Though she had just graduated high school with a restaurant diploma, my mother was a terrible cook.  I'd say we made trips to McDonald's at least three days a week. It was rare for us to eat something that wasn't just cooked in the microwave. A lot of the times we'd eat at my grandparent’s house. She always tried her best with what we had, and having bad economy didn't help. She went from job to job, working from early mornings to late nights to try and to provide for the two of us. I was always the first child being dropped off at school, and the last one to get picked up. I used to feel bitter about this, but looking back I can't blame my mom for simply trying to make things work, month to month. I was always so proud of having the youngest mom out of my friends. I didn't see what people thought was so bad about it. She was still an amazing mom despite of her age. I remember the struggles she went through in order for me to have food on my plate. She often made sure I had something to eat, but ended up forgetting to feed herself. She didn't conventionally follow the recipes, but instead created her own dish.

It was grilled chicken bits with pasta, curry sauce and vegetables. It's one of those foods that are just as good the day after. Imagine being in your early twenties with a child that needs to be fed and you only have less than ten ingredients in your kitchen, half of which are useless. You are forced to use your imagination and improvise. She came up with this dish during a failed attempt of spaghetti and meatballs. Instead of meatballs she used chicken, instead of spaghetti she used shell shaped pasta, and instead of marinara sauce she used whatever was in our spice cabinet-which happened to be curry. Basically, she used anything that was somewhat useful and created this delicious meal we've been eating ever since. It hasn't always been the food that I enjoyed the most; but the familiarity in it, and how it has a way of making me feel at home. It’s not something I eat every Christmas or birthday, and it's not something complicated or fancy.

It's something I can forget about for a while, and suddenly feel this huge craving for from time to time. I've become rather picky about it now. I know it needs to be a ready, grilled chicken and not a frozen filé that you cook. The pepper should be green, not red or yellow even though I hate green pepper, it only works in this dish. The pasta needs to be shell shaped, because I'm convinced that any other shape tastes differently- even if it's from the same brand. Finally, the amount of curry cannot be measured, it's something that needs to be tasted throughout the process. To me, it represents the dedication and sacrifices my mom put into raising me.

As the years have gone by, and I'm not an only child anymore, none of my grandparents are alive and my mom isn't single anymore. A lot of things have changed; however, I will always appreciate the days I can spend alone with her, reminiscing of how it used to be over a bowl of her homemade pasta.

Since then, my mom has perfected the recipe and it was the first meal I learned how to cook myself. It was also during the cooking of this meal that I discovered I wanted to be a vegetarian. One step of it is tearing apart a whole grilled chicken. After about ten minutes of intense staring and attempts of touching it, I left the chicken lying on the cutting board, untouched and with my cheeks soaked with tears because I couldn't bare to rip the chicken wings off the body. I'm grateful for everything my mom has done for me during these years, and even if the chicken curry pasta seems like a small part of it, it's something that's going to stick with me forever, even if I have to create a vegetarian version myself. 

A Cursed Ring - Evelyn Turnbaugh '17

Her hands looked like something given to someone in need of comfort. Wrinkled and swollen, with juices trapped under the skin and age spots facing towards the sun. Rings trapped on a finger that was swollen past the point of return, so that no remedy, not even butter, could remove them. Yet those hands of comfort, gnarled like bittersweet apples, continued to work.

Flying through tasks, put into motion from a will stronger than steel, creating food for her family. Every Thanksgiving she drove up with her husband and a car full of food to meet their small family. The most requested tasks of her were to make a pie, the gravy, and to peel onions. Apple pie was the top choice, and when the crisp apples had been freshly picked and peeled the pie overflowed with juice and delicious flavor. Her hands steadily peeled the apples that she then cored and cut with a knife. The pie crust was handmade with love, and rolled to perfection that cooked to crisp but soft on the tongue. She made her masterpiece in a glass dish, handled with such care that there was never cause to worry if one day it would be dropped. Once the couple arrived her next task was to make the gravy. Her daughter had long before decided that cutting up the innards of a dead bird was not her forte, so the task fell to her steady hands. Unappetizing as this makes gravy sound, somehow her swollen, speckled hands found a way to add just the right ingredients. Flour was carefully poured into the mix and she sliced up meat as she went. The last part of her duties came with another task no one wanted to face: peeling and cutting onions. Though this was dreaded by everyone in the family, no words of unhappiness came from her mouth, no falter was shown by her fingers, and no tears could be seen. Through every task her ring never dirtied, and her hands never failed.

One fateful day in May her husband tired, his hands shook but his body more so. His feet faltered when they had never before, and he fell. Her hands could not save him, but her ring remained. And when he rose again it was not in this life, so she began to tire as he had. Her hands began to shake with every apple peel that dropped uncontested to the floor. Without control her hands slipped dangerously on the overly ripe apples that had overstayed their welcome under the sweltering sun. Cuts appeared on the places age spots did not cover, and bruises filled her skin with a pigment that contrasted the ashy look descending over her. Store-bought crust sunk in on itself and was filled with apples that had long since gone bad. The spices she added covered her hands and ring which had developed a tremor she could not control. No longer could she bear to look at death, and her weakness overtook her will. Her famous gravy ceased to exist, as the technique to had disappeared with the sheen of her ring. But as always, her swollen fingers clasped the ring as if nothing else in this world mattered. The onions were left unpeeled, as her fear of her own inaptitude left her with nothing left but a ring. But the tears that the onions caused could be seen in her eyes, and her cheeks sunk in as food lost its appeal. Through every task her ring was dirtied, and her hands continuously failed.

Her hands looked like something that had gone bad, wrinkled, darkened with death, cut from mishaps, and fingers swollen to hold on to her one remaining happiness. Every day she tires because there is no one left on this earth that can steady her shaking hands. The most requested foods for her to make are left unmade, with blank spaces on the table to show what once had been. Through her failing body and shaking hands nothing remains but the ring. When she tires, just as her husband did, nothing will remain but the ring and the love of a forgotten family.

Elderberry Wine - Quinn Woods '18

        For the fifteen years and eleven months that I've know my great grandfather I've always thought that he is the greatest man on earth. His name is Tom, but I call him GG. I've learned over time that GG is an incredibly wise man. He knows how to cook anything that you could ask him to, build anything that want, plant the greatest garden in the world, and he is great at telling stories.

        My Thanksgivings are usually pretty much the same. In the morning I wake up at 5:30 to go hunting with my grandfather. We then go back to his house when we finish hunting. I later get ready for Thanksgiving dinner with my grandparents, GG, my uncle and my sister. At dinner, we talk and eat A LOT. Then us guys fall asleep in the living room while watching football, we wake up to have desert, and then everyone returns home. This past Thanksgiving will probably be one of the most memorable ones to me though because of the great time that I had with GG.

      GG always brings a bottle of his homemade elderberry wine to Thanksgiving dinner every year . He usually pops it open after dinner so the adults can have it with their desert. After I had eaten so much turkey and I felt like I was going to burst, I went down to the living room with my dad, uncle, grandfather, and GG, to watch football. All of the ladies in my family were still gossiping in the dining room like they usually do after dinner. All of the guys fell asleep within three minutes after we sat down except for GG and I. GG got up and crept out the back deck door, and he silently gestured for me to come out there with him. We both sat down next to each other in wooden lounge chairs that he had made years ago as a gift for my grandparents. He reached into a bag that he had brought out with him and pulled out two wine glasses along with his bottle of elderberry wine. He poured us each a glass and said to me, “Quinn, I may not live long enough to be able to share a drink with you, so I figured that we could just have one now. Now you better not tell anyone about this because I'm sure they'd kill me before I get the chance to run.”

        I knew that GG was a fairly old man and unfortunately he probably won't still be alive to share a drink with me when I turn twenty-one. Even though GG is eighty-six years old, he still has the heart of an eighteen year old.

       I have never even had a single drop of alcohol in my life so I wasn't sure what to think, so I just went along with it. I watched GG drink half of his glass before I even had a drink of mine. I tried and tiny sip and GG asked if I liked it. I said it was great but I absolutely hated it.

       We must've sat out there for at least an hour but it felt like it was only five minutes. I sat there and laughed at the stories and life lessons that GG was sharing with me during that hour. Throughout the time that we were out there, I slowly sipped on the tiny glass of wine I had in my hand. During that time, I realized how much of an impact GG has on me. It took a big part of me to hold back the tears when I realized how much I love him. It wasn't until then that I really started to appreciate all of the things he has taught me throughout my life. We started reminiscing on all of the crazy times we've had hiking, kayaking, camping, hunting and fishing, planting his garden, me helping him build things, and lots of the other adventures that we have had together. There was an incredibly strong bond that formed between us during that hour that I am going to remember for the rest of my life.

        I only drank about half of the glass of the homemade wine that I had, but it was during that drink that we shared that created a magnificent memory for me. I hope that one day I will be like GG. I want to be able to do all of amazing things that he can do and be as creative as him, and share stories and lessons with my children and grandchildren. I haven't told anyone in my family about this yet and I never plan on telling them either. This is something that I hope he will always remember. We will always be able to laugh at this without anyone else in our family knowing what we did that Thanksgiving Night, and this will forever be our secret.

Cranberry Steamed Pudding - Olivia Newell '22

I liked how that molded chocolate-brown cake looked. How that cake was topped with hard sauce and cranberries was just amazing. That welcoming smell of the steamed cranberries filled my heart with Christmas memories. I stood in the kitchen hearing Grammy put in her two cents worth about how this cake may not taste like her mother’s.  My four siblings and I all stood in the kitchen fighting over who was going to blend the rosy red cranberries, the plain white flour, the sticky molasses that gets all over our hands when we try to reach up and pour it into the blender, the baking soda dissolved in boiling water, and that salt that we sometimes mistake for sugar. Then one of us calls who is going to spew all those ingredients into the greased coffee can.  Now my Grandmother covers the coffee can with heavy aluminum foil, tying string around the top to assure that it is secure.  Then we seat the coffee can in a covered pot for ninety minutes. We let it cool for twenty minutes. Now we have to make the hard sauce. We all get to add one ingredient the into the blender: I get to pour in the butter, Olivia gets to flow the vanilla extract in, Liam gets to pour in the confectioners sugar, Ronan gets to put  in the heavy cream and Lachlan gets to blend up all the ingredients.We top the cake with the soft “hard sauce” and halved cranberries.  I like that molded chocolate brown look that welcomes me with the smell that fills my heart with all of my Christmas memories.

Delusions - Sophie List '19

Delusions


“They said I was crazy. I've been in here for almost 60 years now. And you know what
they say, once you're in West Harbor, you don't leave West Harbor.” The elderly lady said referring to the psychiatric hospital she was in. She rocked slowly back and forth in her chair with her bathrobe wrapped tightly around her and a clown doll clutched in her arms. Her gray hair was patchy and thin, barely covering a fourth of her head. 


“I know that Mrs. Phillips. You already mentioned all that. But what I want to know is the
whole story. I want to know every detail from the moment you bought the house to the moment you were brought here.” The novelist explained while trying to identify exactly what the elderly women smelled like. She decided it was a mix of dish detergent, baby powder and mothballs. She had only graduated from Georgetown University last spring but young Margo Callahan was well on her way to becoming a best selling author. Mrs. Phillips appeared deep in thought for a few moments before leaning in close to Margo’s face. Her old blue eyes met Margo’s young green ones as she said. “You better write this all down because I’m only going to say it once.” 


“I had just graduated college and I was moving into my own house. This was the time of my life I had been waiting for since I was a little girl. The house was beautiful with a large yard and the woods out back. For the first two months it was paradise. But then strange things started to happen. When they began I could make up excuses for them. I’d blame the sounds on the old pipes or the humidity or whatever excuse would set my mind at ease. It worked for a little while. Eventually the sounds became nearly impossible to make up excuses for. I would hear footsteps coming from my room, or breathing while I was trying to fall asleep, things would fall to the ground with no explanation, and sometimes I would hear very faint voices coming from the walls. I blamed it all on my imagination. Some days I would look into the mirror in my bedroom and upon first glance I would see a large scar going from my temple to my chin or faces in the background, but upon further inspection I’d realize there was nothing there. I'd also blame that on my imagination or sleep deprivation. After a few weeks I accepted that perhaps my house was haunted. However, the spirit had never done anything harmful so I tried to ignore it. 


One night, about six months after I bought the house, I came home after a long day. My
boss had fired me earlier so naturally I was angry and upset. I stormed up the stairs and hurled my bag across the room coincidentally shattering the mirror into tiny pieces. As the mirror broke, the voices I had been hearing intensified, becoming a thousand times louder. They surrounded me, the screaming and shouting pierced my eardrums. I curled up on the floor as the shards of glass ripped my skin and rooted themselves into my flesh. I covered my ears, trying to find anyway to stop the voices but there was no luck. I laid there for what seemed like an eternity before coming to my senses and realizing I needed to get out of my house. I pulled myself onto my knees before gaining the strength to stand all the way up and run wildly down the stairs. Instinctively I grabbed a large steak knife from the kitchen before sprinting out of my house. I pulled myself out of the mud and ran for the tree line. The rain beat down and blood washed into my eyes, making it harder and harder to find the entrance to the path.  I was breathing loud. I tried to stop the voices, to control them, to hide from them, but it was too much. I found the entrance to the path and followed it till I reached the old shed.  I crashed through the door and slammed it shut. I tried to barricade it with the rakes, and the pitchforks, and a hockey stick which broke in half but it was not possible. I could hear their voices and their footsteps outside now. They were here. They were just outside. I pushed myself against the door, grasping a pitchfork...wiping the blood away from my eyes. Waiting… That's all I can remember before losing consciousness. 

My neighbor found me the next day on an early morning jog to watch the sunrise. I was
covered in blood, lying half in and half out of the shed. He helped me on to my feet and asked what had happened. I explained to him the voices and the mirror but I could tell he didn't believe me. He called an ambulance to come and get me. I was in the psychiatric ward of the hospital for a week. The doctors had me on numerous medications, anything that would help me see past my ‘delusions’. Everyday I would go to counseling and the counselor would ask me to tell her what happened. I would tell her about the voices and the mirror every time. Eventually they decided I was truly crazy and they sent me here to live out the rest of my life.” 


Margo looked up from her notebook and shut off her audio recorder, pushing her glasses
up the bridge of her nose. 


“Is that all you need?” Mrs. Phillips asked, leaning back into her rocking chair. Margo
nodded. 


“Yes thank you. Although, I was hoping I could come back another time and focus on the
details.” Margo requested as she began to pack up her things. Mrs. Phillips shrugged before staring off into space.


Margo Callahan never got to see Mrs. Phillips again. Mrs. Phillips passed away a few
days after Margo’s visit. In order to try and get the rest of the details for her book she went to visit Mrs. Phillip’s old house. The house had a chilling aura to it that sent shivers down Margo’s spine. The paint was peeling, the windows were broken, and cobwebs hung in the porch. Margo and her photographer, John, went inside to explore. After taking notes and pictures of the downstairs, Margo took a deep breath and began ascending the stairs to Mrs. Phillips old room. The first thing she noticed when she walked in was the mirror, completely intact.


“Did she ever mention fixing the mirror?” John asked Margo as he took picture after
picture of the room. Margo shook her head.


“It doesn't look like anyone has been here in years. I don't know who would have fixed it
or why for that matter.” Margo pondered out loud. After she decided she had everything that she needed she picked up her notebook and audio recorder to leave. But as she turned to leave, she could have sworn she saw Mrs. Phillips’ smiling face in the mirror out of the corner of her eye.