Posts made in March, 2013

The Story of Fall by Lizzie Kelleher

I threw myself so hard into Fall that I didn’t have time to see December coming. Before I’d been sitting on the docks with my feet dangling in salty water, and my eyes were closed. I felt content here, watching the pinks and oranges dance behind my lids. I plopped my big toe into the sea and watched a ripple form, bigger and bigger, never ending. I love the sea. I love the idea of mermaids and rosy coral breathing in the deep. Summer’s fingers were combing my hair, bleaching the curly ends out with sun. A seagull flew in the distance. A chill stirred in the air. Summer shivered. “Fall’s coming,” Summer said, with eyes in slits. I threw myself up and peered around, to see if fall was really there, but fall was just a distant shadow, and like a bat circling the sky, it soon vanished. The chill left the air, and Summer smiled again. “C’mon,” Summer grabbed my hand, “We’re swimming.” Summer jumped off the dock, and I looked down at my hand, and it was so hot, it burned. *** A week later, I was under my bed, unearthing my backpack, along with a pile of dust. I sighed. I didn’t want school. I didn’t want gray desks and walls that looked like dirty snow. Across my room, a window was open, and a gust flew in. Goosebumps peppered my arms. It was Fall. I ran to the window and looked out, to see a single leaf drop from a tree. Fall was coming, and in that moment, standing barefoot on my carpet, I wanted Fall. I craved fallen leaves and cracked trees. I wanted a reason for Chap Stick and crisp air to lick. I ran outside because my legs were not mine anymore, they had desire throbbing in their veins. I found Fall’s dark outline slouched against a tree, just watching me. I froze. I didn’t move closer, because the sun was about to set. Mother’s voice sang across the yard, saying I needed sleep. Fall grinned, and vanished in the knotted forest. That night I pulled my sheets to my throat, trying to stop a chill I couldn’t shake. *** School started and I couldn’t concentrate. Sitting in math wasn’t about x and y; it was about Fall next to me. Fall had walked in the first day and claimed a seat close to mine without even a look in my direction. But now, Fall couldn’t stop staring. And even though I didn’t mean to, I felt myself staring too. I noticed how Fall always had hands and feet covered, caked, in dirt. I noticed how Fall’s eyes were stormy, a...

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Game Changer by Kim Justus

In 1995, I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. I was thirty-five years old, in the best shape of my life, and had just gotten a clean bill of health with an annual physical. The incident resulted in the need for a craniotomy, where a metal clip was strategically placed to stop the bleeding. The blood seeped into various parts of my brain, so once inside, a massive cleanup was required. Back then, micro-neurosurgery was a relatively new technique. Prior to that time, the most likely outcome was death. Given the same circumstances, odds for survival are only slightly better now. The day started like any other Monday. I flew into work, coffee in hand, and went about my day. In the afternoon, I needed to make a sales call. Unexpectedly, my dad got a hold of me. He offered to drive me downtown for the job, and then he suggested stopping to have a cappuccino at a nearby shop. On the way, I had the sensation of a bolt of lightning crack through my head. Had I been driving, this story may have ended right there. The fact that I survived was attributable to what I consider a series of “miracles.” Some might say it was luck or coincidence, but I lived through it. There were just too many issues lined up in my favor to chalk my survival up to anything but a miraculous event. Initially, I was misdiagnosed in the Emergency Room. I was sent home, where I lived alone, and would have died but for the fact that I was with my dad. This changed the normal course of action and saved my life. By the next day, my speech and comprehension were faltering, after a violent night of writhing pain and throwing up. Soon, I entered an eleven-day coma, underwent brain surgery, and encountered a near death experience. It was too much for me to wrap my mind around all at once. My recovery would be relative, and it would take years to process. This period of my life was a game changer. Before this event, I felt “bullet proof.” Now, facing my mortality presented a number of challenges. Some residuals would resolve in time, and some I would carry-on forever. The way I looked at life and death was changed that day. In my months of recovery, I started journaling the events as they happened. This situation was so intense that it seemed to be the “stuff” out of which books were made. I did some writing as a child and always dreamed of writing a book. I was not an English major, and my life’s path took other directions. Still, the true events...

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One Meaning, One World by Cecilia Hiebner

How can I show my Spanish students the various similarities all languages share? In Spanish we say paz, in French one says paix, in Italian you see pace, in German one finds as frieden, and in English the translation is peace.  These words differ in spelling and in pronunciation, but all contain only one definition that the entire world understands. “This is amazing!” I tell them. Translating words has always been one of my passions since I was in fifth grade. My interest has been persistently focused on searching for the connection of words and phrases among languages. So, I grasped for every opportunity I had to assimilate one, two, or three words coming from the English language, which had been known in the world as the “the business language.” My first practical experience started when I was in fifth grade. I thought, the first eleven years of my life had been uneventful in my catholic elementary school until I encountered the new student who spoke to me in a language that was not Spanish. I could not understand what she was saying, but by looking at her facial expression and body language, I could guess what she was telling me. She appeared to say, “Hi” followed by a chain of words I could not figure them out. For the first time in my life I was hearing sounds with an unfamiliar tune, So, my first reaction was to look at her a little bit puzzled, but her friendly smile was telling me, “I want to be your friend.” Finger pointing, smiles, and hand gestures were all we could do in our early conversations, but this time we spent with lots of laughter, especially when we misunderstood the meaning of the words. It was fun teaching each other. Our fifth grade teacher, Sor Maria de Sales told us to sit next to each other, perhaps she knew in advance the good friends we will become. After a few months, we started communicating in both languages. Whallah! “¿Cómo te llamas?” I asked her. “Montserrat.” “¿De dónde vienes?” And in her broken Spanish, she shared that her father was a businessman who was being transferred from far away London to Quito.  We became classmates for the next three years, and this was the beginning of a longtime friendship. Meeting this new student opened up for me the opportunity to practice what I knew about the English language, to understand more about myself, to connect with others who came from other cultures, to conclude that the word peace has three different spellings and one definition, and to discover the abilities I didn’t know I had. Years have passed, and I’m still searching...

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