Friday, May 24, 2013

The Price We Pay

Criss-cross applesauce on a car seat, the back reclined a little more forward than what is naturally comfortable. Pillow and Biology SAT II text book on my lap, highlighter and pencil in hand as I attempt to make use of this two and a half hour car ride. After I finish reading I’ll probably take a nap. I can't reach any of my other homework. The rest of it is under a king-sized headboard. My water bottle is somewhere underneath the king-sized mattress. We can’t even see out the back window. 

(It reminds me of the long road trips my family used to take, with suitcases stacked in the middle, separating my brother and I. If we tolerated each other that day, we would try and find a hole where we could pass notes or talk. Otherwise we ignored each other and were grateful for the physical barrier between us.)

This is the price we pay for a $50 king-sized bed and mattress. After the countless Craig’s list trips I’ve been dragged along on–an antique lamp table, a bookshelf, an old record machine–I don’t think I will ever buy anything new again. How could I? I’ll willingly crouch myself in the back of a car any day before I dish out a thousand dollars for a bed. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Long Way From Home

I made a friend today. As I held my bouquet of wilting flowers (and some fresh ones) on the bus to school this morning–I would be playing crazy Ophelia in Act IV, Scene V of William Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, later that night at school–I parted the leaves to sniff the lilacs and I found a little wormy friend.

There he was, all curled up like a baby in a crib. I probably woke him from some deep slumber. The polite thing would've been to gently replace the leaf and let him sleep. But I was curious. It had been a long time since I had seen an inch worm. I was almost tempted to take it off the leaf and let it inch up my arm, like I used to do when I was younger. Then I remembered someone I didn't know was sitting next to me, and perhaps they would think I really had gone mad. So I satisfied myself with observing.

I felt like I was going to "Show & Tell." I think for "Show & Tell" in kindergarten I brought in my mom's old teddy bear. No offense Teddy, but I think the inch worm would've beaten you.

I should've realized from the holes in the leaves that I might have a friend along for the bus ride. I couldn't help but think how far I was bringing him from home. Literally millions of miles farther than he would probably ever have travelled in his lifetime. I don't know if he should've thanked me or hated me.

It reminded me of a children's story. I can picture it now: 

Ian the Inchworm was just an ordinary inchworm, but he craved the unordinary. The green leaves didn't satisfy him; he was hungry for adventure. One starry night, Ian was lounging on his leaf when he saw a shooting star. He wasn't the superstitious type, but he figured he might as well make a wish anyway. He wished for an adventure. Then, he went to sleep and dreamt about the world beyond his little lilac bush. When Ian awoke, he was on some big moving, well, something. And a young girl with really big blue eyes was staring at him. He didn't know what to make of it. How did he get there? Who was this girl? Where was he going? Regardless of any of this, Ian knew one thing: he was in for an adventure.

Ian the Inchworm, photo courtesy of

Okay, so now you see why I don't write fiction. But would love it.

Anyway, I didn't keep Ian. To be honest, I wasn't too keen on having him spend the day in my locker...I don't think he would've liked it either. I placed him on a leaf and found a safe spot for him when I got to school. 

I know...I sound like I'm five. But hey, sometimes it's fun to be a kid again.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Saying Goodbye

I'm terrible at saying goodbye. I'm terrible with change.

Saturday was the last show for the seniors in our drama program. They were all there from the beginning. They've seen it grow...they've grown with it...they've made it what it is today.

Before every show, we have I guess what you could call a "love fest." We all gather in a circle and offer words of encouragement. It starts off with our director telling us we're going to suck, just to make sure we don't get big heads before the performance. But then someone always raises their hand and talks about how much the drama program means to them, and before long everyone's raising their hands and sharing stories–personal stories–about how the drama program has saved their life. We talk about how much we love each other. How much of a family we all are. And pretty soon we're all trying not to cry for fear of ruining our makeup five minutes before the curtain probably would be better if we did these things after the show.

But then again, these pre-show "love fests" are what propel me through the performance. When I'm on stage, I want to make everyone proud. I don't want to let anyone down with lackluster energy. Saturday, I wanted to make the seniors proud.

In our "love fest" on Saturday, we spent a lot of time talking about the seniors, and how grateful we are to them. They have always done their best to make everyone feel included. They talked with everyone, complimented everyone, and made an effort to get to know all of us. They have been fantastic role models, both as actors and just as people.

As I saw them take their final bows on our school stage,  I was at first overwhelmed with sadness that they would never be performing on our stage again. I thought about how different the program was going to be next year. But then my sadness turned to gratitude, as I thought about how grateful I was just to know them. From gratitude, it turned to pride, and I thought about how proud they all make me every time I see them onstage or backstage. And then that pride turned to excitement. They're all going off in their own directions. They're going off into the big world and who knows what is in store for them? I'm not sure what they will end up doing, but I know that no matter what it is, it will be great.

Next year, I will be a junior. A boy in my grade commented Saturday that the seniors this year were juniors themselves when we all met them. I only hope I can make as big an impact on next year's incoming freshmen as this year's seniors did on me.

So as the curtains closed yesterday after the seniors' final bows, I wasn't sad anymore, because I could already see the next ones opening.