NOTE: This series chronicles the wishes Tina writes in the Wish Journal she received from her aunt when she turned 13. To better understand Tina's character, be sure to read her other wishes in chronological order.
It was a beautiful brown leather journal with silver studs on the cover. It was so beautiful that Tina didn't want to write in it. What if she ripped a page? What if she made a mistake and the eraser left smudges? Better not touch anything that beautiful. So it sat in the corner of her desk for weeks, slowly drowning in school papers, library books, and a winter hat that never found its way into closet storage, despite it being the end of April.
Then one night, as Tina was agonizing over her math textbook, in the light of the desk lamp, her glassy eyes traveled to the leather-bound spine, which peeked out from behind pages of an old newspaper. Tina was desperate. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she pulled the Wish Journal from the shadows and opened to the first page.
Wish #1: To pass this math test
I wish to pass Mrs. Benji's stupid math test. I wish that I could magically understand math and not worry about passing the eighth grade because of stupid numbers.
I wish that tomorrow, when Mrs. Benji hands me the math test, every light bulb ever will go on in my head and the test will be a breeze. That I was the first person done... and not the last.
I wish that when Mrs. Benji hands back the test, she asks to speak with me because I was the top score... not the bottom. And that she would smile and not make me feel like I've failed her and everyone else.
I wish that I could understand math so I could make Momma proud and be a good big sister. I wish I didn't have to struggle so much to be average.
A hushed telephone
with no dial tone or operator
The first ring of silence.
surround, engulf, encircle
Layering a ring of silence.
Sin and tears--my fault--
a not-so merry-go-round
Normalizing a ring of silence.
Silence. Wring it out.
Shh. It never happened.
A revolving ring of silence.
A gold band of secrets
Silent treatment shared,
Encasing ring of silence.
Tomb of stillness
finally peace and quiet!
The last ring of silence.
for the first time
tales of joy and woe
--oh, our chuckles!--
Those laughing words
--clutching our bellies!--
Those carefree snickers
--I fell in love!--
and we laughed.
Moments of endless stories
--God, not again!--
Dramatic sighs; wrongdoing;
Those laughing words
The lost laughed.
NOTE: Have you ever dreamt like you were in a movie? I was reading through a journal I kept a few years ago and came across this dream I recorded because it was so intense. I wanted to share it. Bear with me, as it starts out choppy like most dreams do.
It starts out that my mom (a la Sojourney Weaver) needs to go and see Ms. River for advice on something she was keeping incredibly vague. "That's a long trip--nearly another island," says my apparent step-dad.
We--meaning my sister Linnie, brother Wesley (from the 1980's show Mr. Belvedere), my mom (Sojourney Weaver), step dad, and the plane/space ship/motor home's Familiar--depart immediately. After "take off" Mom starts doing a check of systems while step-dad takes over driving/flying. During her system checks, my mother finds my best friend, AJ (a boy with a jean jacket and red cap), hiding in a supply closet and throws him towards where we--the rest of the crew--were congregating.
The ride starts to get bumpy now. I look out my window to see that eight massive storms have begun and it begins to throw our vehicle all over the place. We begin to hydroplane--which means we are driving on the plane of air that sits upon the layer of evaporating water a few meters above the river. It's normal, but I could only picture us nosediving into the river and dying in a watery grave. It makes me uneasy so I sit in this gray faux-suede chair that was cushioned--much like the captain's chair in the van of my childhood--and I buckled myself in.
Anxiously, I squeezed the arms of the chair, absorbing all the bumps and throws of the vehicle as Wesley nervously paced from window to window. AJ sat unbuckled behind me, brooding that he was caught hiding on Mom's car/ship. Linnie sat on the arm of the chair in front of me. The Familiar, Mom, and my step-dad were not in the same section as us; they were in the cockpit.
The wind howled and knocked violently against the walls. My nails dug in deeper to the chair. Suddenly step-dad runs in and yells at us to strap ourselves in as tightly as we could. Seconds after he leaves us and bounds around the corner, the roof rips off just to the right of where we sat. I lost sight of Wesley but Linnie was gripping the seat tightly in front of me.
AJ hadn't had enough time to buckle in and flew up toward the hole in the roof. I reached out my hand, still gripping my chair with the other hand, and I gripped his index finger as it wrapped around mine. I pulled him back down slowly, working with the wind currents, until he was able to reach for both ends of his seat belt and wrap them around his waist securely.
Then, as if disappointed that the storm hadn't stolen AJ, the wind got worse, whipping my hair around as if I was Medusa. My chest was tight (but not like when I have a nightmare, it was more like I was watching a scary movie; I'm scared but I know I can't get hurt) and I was wishing, over and over in my head, for this to end.
Suddenly a stream of angry wind swept through the compartment and Linnie popped out of her seat belt like a slippery bar of soap in a wet hand. She clawed at the headrest for dear life. I barely heard her screaming over the vicious wind. I reached out and grabbed her arms and she grabbed mine. I pulled her over the seat--she was flying in the strong wind currents. She was above me, holding my arms as I held hers, but it wasn't good enough. The wind was too strong. I pulled her closer, refusing to let her go to the storm. I unhooked my feet from the bar beneath my chair and wrapped my legs around her and then my arms as tightly as I could. I was at the mercy of my nylon seatbelt which was the only thing that kept me on the car/ship/plane.
The wind grew stronger, angrier still. I could feel it coming between Linnie and me but I still held on, tighter now. Much tighter. I closed my eyes, feeling the power struggle. The only thing that was important was holding tightly onto Linnie.
Then, just as suddenly, the storm was gone. Linnie had gone limp in my arms. She blacked out from my tight grip, but I still held on with my eyes closed, feeling and smelling the scene around me, listening to my surroundings. AJ's breathing was fast and rapid behind me. Leaves and debris scattered into dark corners. The scent of wet metal filled the air. Our trip was not over but the ride was smoother now.
I did not open my eyes or release Linnie until I heard Wesley's voice. "Everyone okay?" he asked.
AJ stood up, wiped his pants (though it looked more like beating feeling back into them) and said, "Yeah. All good. What happened?"
Wesley scooped up Linnie and lied her down in a chair. "It's the river's storm," he said. "It's always there. Every traveler has to go through it."
I finally caught my voice but before I could talk, the Familiar came limping from around the corner. His gray hair weather-beaten and his T-shirt torn. "The River's Storm demands one life in return for passage," he explained.
Seeing AJ float towards the hole in the ceiling and then Linnie, flashed as memories in front of my eyes. "But we're all still here," I said as I felt the soft transitioning from hydroplaning to riding on land and felt grateful. "It tried to take AJ and then Linnie, but didn't get them," I added sneaking a peek at Linnie who was still knocked out.
Wesley turned to me with remorse in his eyes. "The four of us are here and Mom is driving. We are missing one," he replied.
It dawned on AJ and me at the same time that step-dad was gone, and I could only imagine how Mom would react when she found out.
As if on cue, Mom walked in and I noticed that the car/ship had stopped. When Wesley broke the news to her about step-dad, a sad realization broke across her face, but she pushed it away quickly. "We can deal with this later," she said, walking towards the supply closets. "We're in robo-lizard land and swarms are on their way. Suit up."
Without skipping a beat, everyone got into a pod--which were four seats, back-to-back on wheels with lazer-type guns. We wheeled out in four pods: Mom, Wesley, and Familiar were each in their own pods, while AJ, Linnie, and I were in another.
We wiped out the swarm of robo-lizards in no time and just as we were about to re-enter the car/ship, I saw a lizard disguised as driftwood near the base of the entry. It took 500 rounds to kill it, but I did.
With the swarm gone, we needed to find shelter before another swarm came--they would be attracted to the car/ship and we needed to hide it to stay safe. Wesley, Familiar, and Mom guided the plane to an old base nearby but the car/ship/plane was much bigger than the base planes and we damaged it by squeezing it inside.
Mom was not concerned about the damage at all. Whatever she came all this way for was incredibly important: she lost her husband, damaged her ship, and put her children in danger. Determined on her mission, she left us at the base with the Familiar to mend and heal with his car/ship/plane. Before we secretly departed into the jungle after her, I woke up.
How's that for a dream? And it was only a nap! I was reading a cozy mystery book (that had nothing to do with sci-fi) and fell asleep. I remember waking up and just HAD to write it all down. In hindsight, I might have been watching too many Dr. Who and Firefly episodes during that period of my life. #dreamsofacreativewriter
In a time of pop hits and Top 20s, we are a classic symphony;
a seamlessly perfect piece that took ages to complete;
a story told between the lines, when given a chance to speak;
a harmony dismissed by the masses in trendy brand names.
We are a dance of percussion and strings--
the intertwining web of violin and cello;
a building crescendo of passion
and a steady release of compassion.
We will move in beautiful, hypnotic unison, Dolce.
And when the symbols clash, we rise to our feet, together.
Forte, fortissimo. Molto vivace. Sforzando.
The tempo races wildly like heartbeats.
And as the world raves and rages for immediate satisfaction,
our symphony will bring beautiful tears and true emotions, Sempre.
Countless generations will be left in awe of our timeless story;
our patience, our love, our faith, the infallible flow of music.
The universal composer is still working, still perfecting our piece
because masterpieces come with struggles and years of work;
building & breaking, ups & downs, ebbs & flows, life & death.
A Symphony, my love, is what we are; what we've been waiting our lives for.
Until then, I will be the cadenza and you can be the crescendo.
One unknowing day, our separate melodies will find their resolution
and we will make perfect, beautiful, breath-taking sense together;
our solos becoming a timeless ensemble; a perfectly crafted symphony.
A message in a bottle--
writing crawls across the paper like pulsating veins;
a secret bottled up like a spirit that alters the mind,
corked with a dream, a hope, a desperation.
a facade of strength decoded in whimsy,
made with the crumbling shards of rock
that were no match for the ocean.
a world inside of a world, like goldfish in a jar.
We poke and prod and pretend we are gods
while they swim for their lives, floating in oblivion.
A garden of souls tumbles on the waves,
collecting in the graveyard of rocks,
where seaweed drags across the art of gods.
like a god that patiently watches,
silently needing help, and hoping
not to get trampled by humanity.
scrape across the sky;
a thinning patience, and
those who see without doing.
invisible, but determined to be heard;
a calming nuisance that
sticks its nose in everything.
The waves roll by in a whoosh,
like a winded runner.
The sun screams in delight,
like a child shoveling sand.
Like a seagull hovering over the shore,
humanity passively hopes for a crumb of salvation,
easily found in the path of destruction.
Unlike the waves that work for it,
seaweed travels only to trip over
grainy remains that once stood strong.
I had nothing to chase but broken dreams which is why I ended up here.
Sometimes the only thing some people know how to do is fall and they fall hard. We always feel our weight as we plummet, feeling heavier as the air rushes past. We wait until the weight we carry crushes us at the end. Only, the landing is soft: a cool Unforeseen cradled my fall; disappointment caught up to my shoulders in no time, but the strange feeling of curiosity carried it.
The unknown is chilling, never warm or welcoming. The icy obscurity followed with empty footsteps, constantly tapping my cold shoulder with uncertainty. Life is never easy here, but it is whimsically terrifying. The type of terror that keeps one foot in front of the other as we search for the light at the end of the tunnel--though we are in a vast empty space, full of breathy echoes and resounding second-thoughts.
Any hint of confidence is swept away with the currents of counter-clockwise thinking.
Welcome to the Rabbit Hole... for what it's worth.
My thoughts drip
down the window(,)
of my soul.
Inside, the storm
the heart, (and) painfully
the glass within.
Flashes of enlightenment
Not seeing (much) beyond
of sulking doubt.
The summer wind, and
dew-covered grass, and
cold rushing river water, and
tiny gems of tumbling sand
over my toes.
Looking down and seeing
nail-polish chipped edges
of my feet
are memories of
my favorite shoes.
In the garden of my pre-school,
(despite the school rules)
it was in those shoes I learned to lose
and had to heart-wrenchingly choose
through the bruises of a world no longer black and white.
And as a child, in the park,
(even after stepping on broken glass)
it was in those shoes where I yelled yahoos & wahoos
and experimented with hairdos & curfews
with friends who sadly went down other avenues.
And as a teenager, in the passenger seat,
(perched with hot pink nail polish on the dashboard)
it was in those shoes where we talked through issues
and those unending sleeved-tissues of blues and abuse
where, within each other, we gladly found amuse.
And in college, where I lived in flip-flops,
(with a special lime-green pair for the shower)
it was in those shoes where I courageously got my first tattoo,
and cruised the night with friends and booze whose
overuse was the realization of a breakthrough.
And on that special day when I said "I do"
(my bare feet tickled a trail of rose petals)
it was in those shoes where down the aisle I cruised
and made my debut as Mrs. Nathaniel Hugh
as we celebrated our romantic, sandy rendezvous.
And on that scary and exciting due date
(hoping it wasn't another false alarm)
it was in those shoes, in stirrups, void of the views
that would deliver the news and a wave of "Woo!"s
until finally I held my beautiful little honeydew.
As life continues, and
time marches on, and
kids grow older, our
life turns to death;
over our timelines,
I look down to see my
wrinkled feet, and smile
at the memories shared
in my favorite shoes.
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