I live in a tent among a forest of skyscrapers somewhere in the East. The east of this place, that is. The only place left to go. The ocean is not too far, now. As it sways high above my old house in the coral, I walk along its edge. I wonder what it looks like below the waves, but I’ll never know the view. No one – who obeys the law – will really know. I see a young man who looks like he is going to dive deep in our ocean. I remind him that it is not allowed. No ocean-diving, and no talking about it, about the past. About the greatest disaster we’ve ever known. I bet the originals never thought they would have a beach so close to home. Those damn originals think so highly of themselves. For no good reason at that – we didn’t choose to be here. When I say we, I mean us rooks. That’s short for rookies – the name given to the new(ish) people by the originals. I think you can guess who they are. It’s been about a year, now, so we’re not exactly new any longer. But, anyone here before that-what-shall-not-be-named qualifies to be an original. The only constitute 5% of the population of Newarth. Newarth is the new name of what’s left of the United States of America.
You built me a chair out of textbooks and put your sweatshirt on top. We smiled and you asked if I wanted to listen to some music. We shared your iPod and you played Bright Eyes, I had to lean closer to see the computer and keep the earbud in my ear. I felt like Natalie Portman and you were Zach Braff and Conor Oberst was our Shins moment and I knew my life was changing. I loved you like a 15 year old could love, fiercely and quietly and from beneath my eyelashes; I snuck smiles in your direction just to see you blush. We talked about Salinger and for two years you texted me every night asking me if we had homework which I knew you had already done and it was your shy way of telling me goodnight. Teachers compared us and so I kept my thoughts about your music a secret but I reveled in the bands you gushed over and I love them too, but quietly just as I loved you. We then matured and knew our time was coming to an end, we tried for more but the earbuds wouldn’t stretch that far and we fell apart and away. There was only a minor sting. But it was you, and me, and we were something but nothing all the same. We spent four years loving each other and never knowing who we really were.
“I bet you’d be surprised to hear this, but I’ll be staying for another year! Mom says that I should adjust to the city life more. Plus, I’ll be able to help you out along with Hiroyuki!”
Her friend, Mio, was the happy-go-lucky type. Nothing seemed to bother her and she somehow finds enjoyment in everything she does, despite any possibilities of danger or failure. Chisa, on the other hand puts everything through a calculation before proceeding, always holding her breath in every given opportunity. She is cautious, no doubt, but her level of caution has always brought on regrets when she looks back in retrospect. Despite understanding this, she could not seem to break her own thought pattern. She has been too used to it and she is not willing to change it, destructive as it may be. It irked her beyond expressibility and Mio’s personality contrast only serves to make her more irritated with herself. Mio’s announcement about her plan to stay for another year at Chisa’s apartment did not produce the reaction Mio expected. Upon hearing the name Hiroyuki being mentioned for what Chisa was sure to be the umpteenth time, she simply uttered something completely clear to herself but was irrelevant to the topic at hand: “You like Hiroyuki, don’t you?”
“It’s in the blood,” her mom had said. No matter how hard you try to convey your true feelings, people just don’t get it. No wonder all the races stick together. Interracial relationships are hard, she thought. But then, aren’t all relationships difficult to maintain? Someone always has to give something up while the other person takes as much as their partner is willing to give, and then some. We’re all so selfish in our own ways. What seems selfish to one person, may be humble to another. Why does no one value honesty anymore? Is there such a thing as loving too much? Love, she hated that word. It is a four letter word that fails to convey every other emotion that is attached to it, emotions that there are no words in the english dictionary to describe. When it comes to feelings, she thought, words were useless. Sadly, no one heard her silence. No one saw her unwavery selflessness. This was an ordinary day, an inner mologue brewing inside Violet’s head. Sitting in the middle of the forest off, I17, she took one last look at the box filled with all the pictures of her arms around a long haired, green eyed boy long with the stacks of letters she wrote him in the last year, and the little bunnies he had bought her. Igniting the box with a purple lighter she stole from him, the last thing that belonged to her, she let the box burst into flames. “Goodbye, the only person I’d ever let in,” she said as she walked to her car and headed back to the city.
Here I was, on a blissfully cold winter night, walking into complete nowhere land searching endlessly through my pockets for my disgraceful phone. My coat pockets could and should be deemed a galaxy in themselves, because whatever I put in them never showed up till what seemed to be several decades later. While waiting for my pockets to spit up my phone, a breeze shook my body. Most people would be bothered by this weather, but it comforted me with endless hope. One of my favorite things was the feeling of complete numbness in my cheeks. My body felt new and fresh in the cold, untainted by any evil in this world. I stopped for a mere second as I realized that my phone was actually hiding in my pant pockets, not the pitiful coat pockets. I glanced quickly at the time, noting that the 11:59 decided it was best to change to 12:00 right before my eyes. How lucky was I? To witness the passage time in such a bleak and unglamorous way. I tripped, as usual, in the most ungraceful way known to man and laughed intensely into the dark silence. To anybody else, this story would be forced into the back of their memories as a shameful and pathetic way to spend time. But to me, it was perfect. The stars accompanied my laughter and it was all a thrill. It was beautiful, lonely, silent, and perfect. As the stars grew brighter and the moon grew larger, my surroundings weren’t recognizable. I turned around to head back to a painful reality.
I was lost and happy for sometime and it was the best way to ring in the new year.
- Sara Azoulay
She pulled out the notebook and began to write things down.
‘What is that?’ a stranger asked.
‘My brain.’ she replied.
For it was true. The narratives she thought in could only be properly expressed on paper. When she spoke all she heard was “akjsdhfakjdhfhdjs” broken words she was convinced no one could understand. But somehow, she was able to communicate. Though most often, when she walked away from a conversation, she felt the sense of loss in translation. Her mind was a piece of paper. Old and faded. Worn in creases from use and imagination. Her thoughts were the ink that saturated the pores and spilled out to create a sense of something coherent. But only to a point.
There was always that sense of distance. Like when you read a book that had been translated from a language not part of the romantic persuasion. A fourth wall separating her and what she really wanted to convey.
But when her pen scratched feebly at the bone white paper. The college ruled confinements. Something clicked and the jumble of her brain could finally be put to understanding.
And then the ink ran out.