You breathe in.
You breathe out.
You stare at your computer screen for a few seconds. Stunningly, a finished monologue fails to appear.
You feel apprehensive. You know you have to finish something by tonight. You’ve told your parents time and time again that those projects were already finished; you didn’t have to do anything.
None of it was true. It never is.
The jig is already up. The only thing you’re working for now is to not punt two entire projects in a cloud of early-quarter ennui.
You breathe out.
You breathe in.
You’re desperate. You try not to show your panic, but you can feel the goosebumps running down your spine, the familiar chill that overtakes you every time you try to write about yourself.
They said you didn’t have to write about yourself, but you knew better. “All of the best fiction has elements of its writer,” you had thought to yourself. “And besides, my life has so much to write about, and I do so many interesting things. I probably shouldn’t even need to brainstorm!”
You fall into this trap every time. And every time, you are dry of ideas.
And every time, you sit there and think.
And you breathe in.
And you breathe out.
Maybe you could write about depression?
(sigh) You don’t know, the entire topic is so trite and stereotypical; you want your monologue to stand out. You just know they get hundreds of angst-filled rants like that every year; it must sometimes seem as if that’s all that teens can write about.
The voice in the back of your mind speaks. It is the voice that says “This is due in eight hours. You need to do this. You need to get this done.”
It says, “Why not be aware, then?”
You breathe out.
You breathe in.
You smile. It’s the smile of a person who knows that they have just narrowly averted a disaster.
You glance down at the keyboard. For the first time since you started this project, you think you know what you’re doing. Your hands fly over the keyboard as words slowly begin to fill up the page. You don’t need to write a monologue that’s original and self-aware.
After all, you’ve already written one.
The class starts and I’m standing here next to the teacher anxiously, waiting to be introduced to the class. I am amazed to see such diversity of students in the classroom, but I see none from where I'm from. Why are they whispering and pointing? As I am standing there feeling more and more like an outcast. ¨I would like to welcome our new student Mona Elsyed who’s come all the way from Egypt....¨ As she’s introducing me, I already feel as if I did not belong. I noticed the pointing fingers turn to my head. One girl had a confused look on her face as her eyes were directed towards my Hijab. I felt that she was clueless of what it was and I wasn't able to tell her the way I wanted to because of the language barrier, so I still remained silent. If I knew the correct words I would tell her, that my hijab means much, it is for only those who are family to see what is hidden and where I am from it is written that my hair is a treasure only for my husband to adore. I then was given my seat and I sat down. The teacher then began to teach of things that I did not know or understand and the students began writing while I sat there in worry and confusion. I’m afraid of failing and being made fun of so I just raise my hand ask her what does it mean? she answered me more clear “huh?” but I still couldn’t understand, so she came over to me and showed how to write the assignment. “Ooohh!”, I said loudly and I heard the students around laugh at me but now, I understood. I then began writing my name and I forgot how to write the date in English so I just wrote it in egyptian. I had to write about what I did this past summer,so I wrote at my best ability and I made a paragraph. I then called the teacher over again to check my work and she told me I did a great job and asked if I could read mine out loud to the class. I felt unsure but still said yes. I stood up and the students clapped and as I read slowly, everyone was silent and staring at me so my hands began to shake but I continued reading. I knew I sounded like a broken machine but at least I had the courage to speak and when I was finished I felt better. Everyone then clapped again and I sat down.
(Sits at a table) I sit here again, like every night, pondering at this cold plate of food I could never eat. I wonder why I can never eat once I get home. I’m excited as its being made then when its in front of me, its complete poison. I always thought it was her cooking, so I begin to make my own meals, and again, I just sit here, pondering at it as it gets cold, watching it as a crystal ball as I review my day. (Slides plate away)
I greet each person I see at school in the morning and always get a smile or greeted back. I bring fellow students laughs and they are always excited to have me with them. In class I always understand the criteria and help other classmates that need assistance. At lunch I always have my favorite, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I can eat it everyday and so I do. At the end of the day if I had a club I would go. Greeting everyone as I walk in. I contribute to whatever activities we are doing that day and always receive an applause for a job well done. When its time for me to go, I would receive goodbyes as I leave waving good bye to everyone.
When I get home, I would turn up my music and do my homework, soon my mom is home. She would ask me about my day. I always say fine. Then we have dinner. She would become impatient and head upstairs leaving me to my untouched plate. Then we are where we are now. (picks up a fork full of food, looks at it, drop it back on the plate)
So why am I so depressed? Why does my day always end like this? A complete change of mood. Why do I feel so lonely? (Lays head on desk, after 30 secs and lifts head up)
I sit here again like every night pondering at this cold plate of food I could never eat. I wonder why I can never eat once I get home. I just sit there pondering at it as it gets cold, watching it as a crystal ball as I review my day.
I greet each person I see at school without ever getting a response back or even notice of my existence. I make jokes in class but are never heard because I speak it softly and the person next to me then repeats the jokes louder and receives full credit for the laughs it brings. In class I can never understand the criteria and when I ask for help from other classmates, they act as though I do not exist. At lunch I always eat the same damn thing, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At the end of the day if I had a club I would go. Greeting everyone as I walk in and have no looks down my way. I contribute to whatever activities we are doing that day with no applause. When its time for me to go, I leave waving good bye to everyone with no one paying attention that there is now an empty seat or if it was or was not empty in the first place.
When I get home, I would turn up my music and just sit on my bed, by then my mom is home. We would talk about our days, I would tell her the same line and nothing else, “It was fine.”. Then we would have dinner. She then would become impatient and head upstairs leaving me to my untouched plate. Then we are where we are now. (Watch beeps) 7:30… (Pulls out a baggie with 3 pills) Take with food….. (Pops one pill)
My life isn't as perfect as I thought it was. Its not all daisies and sunshine. Just here, as a normal unseen kid. I’m alone. I’m on my own. Except- I’m not.
I sit here again like every night pondering at this cold plate of food I could never eat. I wonder why I can never eat once I get home. I just sit there pondering at it as it gets cold, watching it as a crystal ball as I review my day.
I greet each person I see at school without ever getting a response back or even notice of my existence. Except my two friends, they greet me and hug me. We talk about our previous night and the day to come. (Picks up a fork full of food and begins to eat) I make jokes in class but are never heard because I speak it softly and the person next to me then repeats the jokes louder and receives full credit for the laughs it brings. Yet I still manage to pass along inside joke to my two friends. (Eats more food) We laugh and keep the day going. In class I can never understand the criteria and when I ask for help from other classmates, they act as though I do not exist. So I move my stuff next to my friends and ask them and they can always find a way to explain the subject giving me an easier way to figure it out. (Keeps eating) At lunch I always eat the same damn thing, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, its the only way to get my special brown candies in, crushed in my peanut butter because they are too big to swallow. I keep a stash of candy in my bag, my mom puts it in my bag every morning and sets my watch for me before I leave. She mixes the special white ones she wants me to take with colorful ones that are ok to share. I hate them, the tastes like the doctor’s office but she says it's important to swallow them everyday at specific times. I share the unprescribed ones with my friends. At the end of the day if I had a club I would go. Greeting everyone as I walk in and have no looks down my way. I contribute to whatever activities we are doing that day with no applause. When its time for me to go, I leave waving good bye to everyone with no one paying attention that there is now an empty seat or if it was or was not empty in the first place, because of that I usually skip the clubs, and instead hangout with my friends. (Eats faster) The city becomes ours as we roam the streets, making jokes and laugh anxiously. Buying candy and sharing with each other. We share secrets and help each other with problems. When its time to go home, we move the party to the bus. We take control of the back of the bus and play games and make jokes always trying to keep smiles on our faces, though we in stuck in in this miserable life. We try to stay positive and keep ourselves in the light so we can't see the shadowy engulfing dark side. (Pops second pill)
(Stands up) My friends have been there for me through thick and thin! They were my umbrella when I walk into the rain! They have been there for my roughest hours and have been my rock! I should not be sad to have such a blessing! I should be thankful to have them in my life!
(Looks at the plate) So why am I so depressed? (Pops third pill) Why does my day always end like this? A complete change of mood. Why do I feel so lonely? (Lays head on desk)
Calista is in the bathroom with Jessica and two other girls as they shove her into the sink and throw toilet paper and bloody tampons at her. “Ow! Ew, Stop it! Leave me alone!” *Calista falls to the bathroom floor and the girls laugh* “Agghh! I had enough!” *Calista crawls to a stall and quickly locks it then she hears banging on the door and tears fall from her eyes followed by silence, she then leaves the bathroom and enters into the school’s hall while sliding her hand cross the chipped white wall* This is what I wake up to everyday. I’m drowning. I’m drowning in Poison. I’m being feed pain. The black is blurring over my life. I’m letting them in and I want this feeling away. Then maybe I can feel better? Be totally fine with myself and free from their black dark shadows that want to consume my soul? I don’t know if I have the strength to fend for myself... but what I do know that i’m tired of being this contrable dog to them. If I had to feel this forever, i’d rather feel nothing at all. I want war. I want blood blemishes on pale skin shown. like mine. But would that make them realize what they’ve done? Something greater must be done. So at that Death must be the penalty.
After school Calista goes home Mom? Wake up. No, this time you're going to listen. I don’t care anymore if daddy died, its about me, not him. You know what, its no use talking to you, you're so drunk you won't even understand. She goes to her bedroom and stare at a picture of Jessica and the other girls Why? Why is that I am so vulnerable that I have to be in my bathroom every night making rows of ruddy red? They deserve to be punished, to sacrifice their ruddy blood, not mine. It is prom this Friday, shall it happen then? Should I ruin all of their praise and fame then? Yes! That’ll ever quite beautiful. Calista is lying on her bed It is the day of prom and illness has stolen me, surprisingly I find mother up and well, with soup to feed me. Mommy loves me again? Am I dreaming? or am I awake? I don’t know but despite the green coughs and yellow sneezes I never want to wake up from this. So I close my eyes and doze slowly off to sleep ever so silently…I wake up to find everything that had happened true. I missed 2 months of school and I don’t even care, i’m afraid to go back.
At school I find myself alone with no one harming me and I feel better and no one will have to die now. Jessica and the girls walk up to her Hi? Why are you saying hello and calling me your friend? What do you want? Is that all? Okay and?... Ciao. Calista walks away. Why are they acting so friendly to me now? This is making me uncomfortable. Maybe they learned their lesson? I’m not sure. Maybe they did want to just be friends? Okay, if thats what they want then friends we can be. Here we are, together. Its been like 2 months and they actually don’t want to be the same persons from before, they are kind to me and we talk like any other friends would. Til that day, I found out they bullied another girl. I felt so betrayed and just the thought that they would go to another girl and torture her like they did to me puts me in shock. So I, am going to fulfill my wish from once before… to kill them. With that I go home and grab the most sharpest knife ever in my kitchen draw and wait til tomorrow. It is finally tomorrow, and I am standing in the dimmed light dark hall, on that ever so lovely grey rainy morning. I see them walk towards me and I guide to the school’s basement. Surprisingly they follow me and and in the darkness of the basement and I say hello back, which then was followed by screams.
[sits cross-legged on a chair, then speaks as if answering someone]
What’s my name? My name is Sal-ba-tor-a Rivers and I am four and three quarters! I’m prac-ly five. And I said it slow ‘cause did you know that sometimes everybody messes my name? Sometimes not even my bestest friends. My big sister says my name means saver, which is when Superman saves the girl off of a [counting on her fingers] cliff, or a spaceship, or a building. He’ll fly around and save her right up! I’m not Superman. But guess what? Guess what, guess what, guess what? My sister is! I read a lot of big books and can say a lot of big words also, but my sister is way way bigger and she knows [holds arms out] everything!
[as if answering someone] What did you say? Yeah, she’s very very really very strong! I just told you she’s Superman! Even though her name doesn’t mean saver. Her name is Anna and that just means Anna, which can be kind of boring. But she is more of Superman that me! She is strong and cool and she is sooooooo pop-ler in her up school! [suddenly scared, she looks around her quickly] Please don’t tell her I said that, please and thank you! She thinks I don’t like her too much, but [whispers], she’s awesome. She is 17 and one quarter, which is really really big. I can’t even count that yet!
[as if answering someone] Yeah, she’s pop-ler! Why did you say was? I see her all the time on field trips to her up school from my daycare, and she’s as famous as Superman! Everyone pointed and whispered at her, which means that she’s famous, right? That’s what that means, right? They were prob-ly all talking about how cool she is! But sometimes she comes home from her up school with purple on her face.
[as if answering someone] Yes, yes, yes, sometimes she’s real sad. She can cry like babies do sometimes, like a lot sometimes. Especially when she looks in the mirror. And she looks in the mirror a lot. And she says her friends were mean, but that doesn’t make any sense! She’s a million bajillion kajillion hundred times than everyone else ever in the whole world! No one can be mean to her! No one can be mean to Superman! Superman will just make them into dust!
[as if answering someone] Yeah, I know where she is! Do you wanna see her? Oh, okay. Well, I know she got a new bed. It’s all black, like a big black box with a lid, too! I was with Mom and Daddy when they picked it out. She must be really super happy about it, because now she sleeps all the time. I try to bring her cookies, because I want her to wake up, but Mom says she can’t eat. I get it, though. Even Superman needs sleep! I’m smarter than everyone thinks, I know when people are too tired they need some cookies! Mom doesn’t like Anna sleeping, she’s sad about it, but I know she’ll be up any second or minute! Because when the bad guys get Superman, he always gets back up! And Mom says that some people at school made Anna feel all bad so she decided to not get back up again. But Superman always gets back up! I don’t know why everyone’s so quiet! I know she’ll be here any second! I don’t why you’re asking me all these questions about her! What’s the big deal?
She’s never been asleep this long, but it’s okay. She should be up really soon. Then you can ask her the questions yourself.
You guys would like her. She’s just like Superman!
He always make sure i'm set perfect. He makes my face sit toward the big open course, its really a beautiful sight, all of the scenery like the lake, and the trees and the bright green grass. My lifes a lot of fun, i'm a guy who likes to travel, its not really my choice, and I did not like it so much when I was new to it, but I've adjusted and its really a lot of fun. I travel all over with my good friend billy. We’ve played in contests in front of audiences, winning money sometimes, and other times we’ve just went out and played for fun by ourselves, enjoying different courses with different scenery, and playing at the course thats closest to our house.
Today we are out on a new course, in sunny San Francisco. Billy takes me out and I notice that he is playing with his co workers, a usual group to play with. He holds me in his hand and I listen to them talk “Alright fellas, who's going first?” I hear billy say “I guess I will” He always goes first, it gets me excited every time. He walks over and sets up my stand. He always makes me sit up high in the beginning, probably because i'm his favorite. He faces me out toward the course, and I admire the beauty of the course in which is new to my eyes. I see a big stream that runs through the whole land in which the course sits on, creating an obstacle for me to get to almost every hole. I feel him take his practice swing, the wind created from the swing hits me and it tickles, the blades of grass in which he sliced the tops off sway back and fourth. I know its time know. I get excited, knowing I am about to launch off into a new course, or a new world is how I look at it. The first hole is always the most important for me. When I launch, I look around at all the other holes while i'm souring, checking out all of the obstacles in which billy will guide me around. He always does. Hes such a skilled player, he always wins, out of all the matched we’ve competed in we’ve probably one every single one. Were the best team since, since, since peanut butter and jelly. The wind feels great, we haven’t played in awhile, it's nice to finally get out of the bag to play other than to get cleaned over and over again. I was heading down for landing, just looking at where I was going to land and I noticed, At the speed i am going, i'm guaranteed to land right in the stream. I start to panic, this could be my last game, ever. My life starts flashing before my eyes, all the tournaments, all the courses, all the wins. I just close my eyes, wanting it to be over. I feel myself hit the water and just float to the bottom. The water is cold and the rocks are covered in slimy moss. I just sit with my eyes closed, sad, thinking why here, why now.
Suddenly, I feel a cold metal ring, wrap around me, I jump because I am startled. I open my eyes and notice that I am being lifted by some mysterious pole, type thing. I see a big blurred figure out side of the water. The light shining down affects my sight. I just close my eyes and think. Ive heard stories about this kind of stuff. When the kids take us and hit us as hard as they can with bats, damaging us and just forgetting about us after we land. Or the people who take us out of rivers and sit out side of courses, selling us to make some cheap cash.
Oh! My feeling’s returned. This is just what I need after all those weeks I spent frozen and crammed in tight plastic. I’m not complaining, the synthetic did wonders to compress and contain my ever expanding ass. I’m no barbie doll, but a turkey’s gotta look good. It feels like ages since I’ve been alone. You spend all your life squeezed between #6788859 and #6788857, it’s hard to feel like the strong and beautiful turkey you were meant to be. The bath confetti cubes of carrot and celery are delightful, I couldn’t ask for more. How did I get so lucky? Before I was booked a trip from Oregon to Pennsylvania, I was defeathered and shaved. I’ve never felt more like a woman. The removal of each pesky bristle unearthed a disgusting chaos which had cultivated beneath my feathers...chapped and pasty skin. But what’s to expect from a girl who’s never seen the daylight. Artificial lighting only goes so far. I wasn’t sure if they would apply bath oil or a simple two in one replenish and restore lotion to soothe the itch. Razor burn was the least of my problems. Boiling water soaked my tense muscles and with it, rising steam seemed to carry a familiar aroma. That rustic farm smell.
Wait, where did the bubbles go? Ouch! A pair of hands clasp my feet, bothering a stray hair neglected to have been plucked. Within a few seconds, my legs are being spread open. Are you looking up my…? Carrots, potatoes and...is that rosemary...are pressed into every groove on the inside of my stomach. I’ve heard rosemary lightens the mood. The same hands turn me over and begin kneading oil into my skin. It was like an oil, herbal massage. If I were alive, that’d tickle! I hear a faint jingle, then one by one, tiny crystals shower over my thighs as if to celebrate my beauty. I am proud of my thighs. I’m a scientific wonder. [Looking up at the ceiling] That’s a nice shade of orange. It reminds me of the beautiful hues on the pills that were pushed down my throat each morning. I’d love to see that color on my fingers. Wait, I don’t have fingernails. [Looking at thighs] Does this dressing make me look fat? Hopefully removing my feathers took a few layers off, or did it just emphasize my butt? I do have perky breasts, they may even hold up under the roasting. It was fun when they were force feeding me. Some guy would come around with a funnel and cram food down my throat. And I would just lay back and take it in. But hey, I’m rich in protein. And men like curves, right? I heard that the Turkey next door was raised on an organic farm. What a loser. 2 in 3 farm animals are raised on a factory farm. Organic is so uncool, everyone is factory farmed now. Where’s the community? At once, I’m lifted into the air, spun around and then lowered. [The Turkey notices a picture hanging on the wall, as she is moved slowly into the oven] I notice a blue and green square on a bare white wall. Birds like me sit among colorful patches and others drink water from a pond. My toes begin to blister and heat moves up my legs and spreads to my thighs. I don’t notice the rosemary inside my stomach begin to roast as well. Where are the people? Where are the cages? The turkey next to the tree is eating, choosing it’s own grass, not being force fed mashed and unidentifiable food. Maybe that’s how free range turkeys are supposed to be...ah, finally the tan I’ve been longing for...
(Elizabeth is sitting on her bed. She is dressed nicely, with makeup and jewelry on. As she talks, she takes off her shoes, jewelry, and makeup (in that order), then takes her hair out of the side-braid it had been in, then shaking her hair out by the end. Side note- she pushes her hair behind her ear when she is upset or disappointed or shy)
That was incredible! He liked me. He kept calling me pretty and gorgeous and telling me that my laugh was amazing. And he was so cute (I’m talking tall, dark, and handsome, here) and nice and funny and sweet. And he listened when I was talking, always paying attention to me! And when he kissed me (puts her hands over her heart, leans back and squeals, kicking her feet a little). I can’t believe Nat was able to set that up for me. I have to thank her so much tomorrow. (Phone Buzzes. She picks it up, and reads the text aloud.) “How did it go? He told me he loved it! You totally scored- Nat.” (stares at the phone for a second, before laughing brightly and smiling. Then she begins to type) “It was awesome. He couldn’t stop looking at me! Even when I got up, I could feel his eyes on me…” (looks up from the phone) All night. All night, he was STARING at me, not looking. And he probably wasn’t really listening. (pushes hair behind her ear and looks down) And he was surprised when I started talking about politics.
I’m not asking for prince or celebrity. I’m not even asking for love. I’m asking for a guy who is willing to take for what I am. Because that, that’s what love grows from. It would also be nice if he didn’t focus on the physical? That boy probably didn’t hear a word I said, he was so focused on my body. I’m sure he meant everything he said, it’s just... (Looks back at phone) “Totally scored.” Not really. ‘Totally scoring’ would be getting a guy who is interested in what I’m saying and who I am, not just the physical features I have.
(shakes her hair out of braid and sighs) I can’t believe that I used to believe in love at first sight. At first sight, we focus on how a person looks. And we always try to make ourselves look nice. First sight is never this (gestures to herself, completely bare of makeup and jewelry). This is what I want people to love. I don’t want someone to love my body, but not my mind. Love my lips, but not the words they speak. Love is knowing everything about that person, all the little things that they like, and what drives them crazy. Love is knowing exactly what buttons to push. Love isn’t shoving your tongue down their throat. Love isn’t having arguments over stupid, petty thing. I don’t want love right now, and I know I probably won’t find it now, anyway. I guess I just want people to stop use a word they don’t know the power of. Love is beyond the physical, and it takes time. (picks up her phone, and begins to type a message) “It was okay. Don’t think I’ll be meeting up with him again.”
You know Betty, I was never….. (pause) never mind, just forget it. No, no, it’s fine. Yes It’s fine. (Sight) It’s nothing, I wasn't going to say anything. Betty it’s just I was never considered… skinny, especially to my family, I’m not, I never was. Betty I don’t need to hear you tell me I’m beautiful, when I’m sitting here looking at my stomach rolls and double chin. You never had this problem Betty, you’re skinny and no one ever makes fun of you or judge you what you’re eating and how much of it you’re eating. (Screams) Why am I so fat, why can’t I be skinny! Betty I’m not overreacting. I am not a 16 year old drama queen. I’m a 16 year old with rolls the size of football fields.
Let me tell you what happened just the other day. I was walking down the streets on a beautiful snowy day. I enjoyed walking, it made me feel happy, just looking at snowflakes falling lightly. Then, I saw a group of people walking towards my way. I was in my big black coat, I already see it coming, they started to walk in a more narrow line, like instead of 4 people across the sidewalks, They bundle up walking in a way to say, “HEY let’s make room for this fat girl to go by.” It hurt my feelings a lot. Just realizing that. (Got quiet)
Yes I’m still here Betty, Sorry I was just thinking. I was just thinking of why can’t I just go to the gym like normal people and workout. Because Betty, when I go to the gym, I feel like they are judging me! I’m not overreacting again. I feel scared, I’m afraid of getting judged and judged on how I’m fat. Betty you’re so lucky, you never have to feel this insecure.
You know my family, they are always telling me, “Don’t eat too much, you’re getting more fat” or if a family member comes over to visit, the first thing they’ll say is, “Wow, you look fatter, don’t eat too much okay, you need to be skinny and pretty okay.” Like is fatter even a word? I don’t know about other asian family Betty, but in my asian family, your weight or appearance is like the topic of conversation! That’s the first thing they’ll say to you or talk about when they see you. I felt insecure. I wanted to hide, I was never one of those skinny girls, with the perfect everything, but I wish I am. For what? So I wouldn't get judged or ever made fun of. Skinny girls like you Betty never go through what fat people like me have to go through!
Betty why are you getting so upset? Did I say something wrong? What do you mean I’m self centered. What I said was true, I never saw a skinny girl get called “fat” or “Hey fattie, why don’t you go get yourself some salad.” Betty were best friends, I thought you understand what I’m going through! I’m the one who doesn't understand you? What are you talking about Betts. Who’s going to understand you more than me Betts? I stuck by you since kindergarten! I knew everything about you and still do. I know I know Betty, I know you stuck by me too. Why do you keep saying I’m self centered? I know you were there for me too, when no one was. You can never understand what it’s like to be fat! You’re those skinny girls that I wish I was like.
Oh…. you never told me that. What did they do? They what? No they did not! Why didn't you tell me that before? I wasn't gonna judge you Betty. I can’t believe they did that! What kind of guy says to a girl, “What are you a toothpick, no butt, no nothing. You look like you got a body of an 8 year old boy.” Betty I’m sorry. Well, it’s not worse then what happens to me, you look nothing like an 8 year old boy! Betty what happened to you doesn't compare to what happens to me as a fat girl. Betty I didn't mean it like that. Betty! (Betty hangs up).
No one ever understands me anymore, not even my best friend. (Thought to self).
I know that there is a bus stop right out front of my house but I think I’ll go catch the train this morning. It’s about five blocks away in the part of the city that people call the white side but all the cute boys from St. Charles East catch the train from there and besides I could use the exercise. [rolls eyes] I mean I don’t know what it is about cute boys but they just make you do stupid things.
I was standing on the platform clinging onto my book bag as the train rushed into the station. The wind from the train made my hair blow fiercely like Beyonce in concert. I am ready. [Flips hair] The train door opened and I walked in and grabbed a seat all the way in the back of the train. Thats when I saw him. [eyes grow wide from amazement] I saw green eyes sticking out from the crowd of people as he scanned his transpass and made his way into the same train car as me. No freaking way. So I’m clawing through my bookbag trying to find my lip gloss. Got it [puts on lip gloss] I hope he sees me. [Sits up really straight and crosses legs]
Green eyes is just standing there and slowly bobbing his head to his music. I wonder what he is listening to. Maybe classic 80’s rock. Yoooo look at those lips. Good lord. They are so pink and full and so round they are perfect. They probably feel perfect too. We would be so cute together posting kissing selfies. He could be my mcm every Monday. And his hair… Lord. His beautiful baby brown curls fall effortlessly down his smooth Ivory skin. I just want to hold his hand. Or just be able to feel his arms around me Shit. He sees me staring at him. Ummm maybe I should smile. [Smiles awkwardly] OMG he really just smiled back. Hopefully he doesn’t remember me from last time. When I tripped and dropped my cell phone, my glasses and my wallet. Hopefully I can redeem myself.
I really would like to get to know him but what will he think if I just walked up to him and told him that would like to have his number. He would probably tell all his friends that I was thirsty. And all my friends would call me an oreo, sell out, or say that I [air quotations] hate my people. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to be like other girls. To be able to like boys that do not necessarily look like me without being accused of hating myself.
I love myself. I love my sun kissed skin, wide hips, round lips, and kinky hair. Today I’m going to do what I want to do. Who gives a damn what people think. That’s right today is the day I’m going to get his number. But wait… what should I say? [bites lip as if in deep thought. Eyes get wide from amazement] I got it! I could say, yooo I lost my number can I have yours? Nah. I could say I’m pretty and you’re cute, together we could be pretty cute. Nah. I’ll just let it happen naturally I mean whatever happens, happens. This is the moment of truth.[stands up and nervously walks over to guy] [Clears throat] Hey, umm you know umm do you know what stop is next?
Ok. stop. It’s 11:13 pm. Everyone knows that no good work gets done past 11. Ugh, how can it already be 11:13? It was 9:42, like, 5 minutes ago. 11:13 may be a little late, but late is better than never. And look! I already have a solid paragraph. I’m just four more paragraphs away from a decent sized history essay. And then all I have to do is my lab, then those geometric proofs, and then that english reflection paper… Oh my god my life is a never ending assignment! No, don’t panic, don’t panic. Double space solves everything. *types* There, that looks, longer. Oh, size twelve font, there we go. *types* Is ariel bigger than times new roman? Whatever, times new roman makes it look fancier.
*starts to fall asleep*
What? I can’t go to bed yet, not now. I have too much work to get done. I mean, people pull all-nighters in college all the time right? I just need coffee, or an energy drink, or, or…. That bottle of coke thats been in my room for like a month? *thinks for a minute*
*typing and saying* When.. Does… Coke… expire….?
No, no I need to do this, with or without an energy drink. Lets see, “The collapse of the soviet union…” How did that happen? How can I forget how the Soviet Union collapsed, that was like, the whole unit. I’ve got it, I’ll message someone! Somebody else can totally help me out, maybe even share their paper. Ok facebook, who to message. Not in my class... not at my school… Jeremy’s mom. How can nobody be online, it’s only 11:26. Maybe Jeremy’s mom could- Wait. Ned! Ned’s online! Oh thank you facebook gods. Ned is pretty much the smartest kid in the grade besides that kid I’m pretty sure has been held back a few years. He’s totally gonna help me. Ok, ok:
“hey” No, no. A one Y hey totally sounds like I’m trying to steal his history essay. *types*
“heyy” Better. And… send! Alright Ned, gimme those answers. ‘Seen at 11:28’ He’s totally responding! We were lab partners last year. Hey, we were friends. We would talked a lot in lab about tests and quizzes. He was sweet, he used to offer me gum when he had it. Everyone thought he was into me, he probably was. He would even let me look at his homework when I needed to. Then why is it taking him so long to respond? I guess I don’t have that many classes with him now but… Is that who I am now? That girl that asks for other people’s homework? It was totally Jessica Stein last year. When she was at a desk next to you, everyone knew you were screwed. It was the fact that she was shameless about it, though. It was so casual, sometimes she’d just give a you this slight glance in your general direction, and you knew what she wanted. It got to the point where people avoided sitting next to her in a classroom setting. I’m pretty sure she transferred this year, actually.
Oh god. I’m totally the new Jessica Stein. When given the choice, people never sit next to me. It’s a spiral! I don’t do one thing and then I have to do it the next day on top of the 3 other things I was just assigned. It’s just more and more and more and more and… No wonder he isn’t responding, Ned probably hates me for begging him for work and thinks I’m pathetic. I’m probably worse than Jessica in his eyes. *takes breath*
Stop with the pity party, he’s gonna respond. And hey, If he responds quickly enough, maybe I’ll have enough time to finish my homework up tonight. Maybe I’ll finally get it all out of the way. Maybe… Maybe I’ll start writing my work down, or putting it in a planner. Maybe I can do my work right when I get home, instead of putting it off, and off. Maybe I’ll go to bed earlier, I’ll probably get more sleep. Maybe I’ll walk to school, yeah! I’m only like a mile away, I could use the exercise. I can get one of those apps that blocks facebook- No- I’ll get an app that blocks the internet. My work time is my work time, I don’t need the internet to distract me. And then, maybe I can-‘Ned is offline’
(James runs into his bunker and closes and locks the door.)
We should have seen that coming. I can’t believe that they surprised us like that. There are hundreds if not thousands out there.
(He sees a piece of paper and pen)
I need to say goodbye to my family.
(Runs to the paper and pen)
What do you say to someone you love when you are about to die and they are thousands of miles away?
(Looks at the paper and freezes)
To my loving wife Linda and soon to be born son James Jr.,
It’s me, James. I have always been a man of few words. I hate talking and you know that. But (pauses)
I don’t think I am coming back home to Philadelphia. The base was attacked. We didn’t see it coming. I am writing this because today I am going to die.
Linda I just wanted to say that I loved you. Even if I didn’t show it at times, I did. When I first met you in high school English class, I knew that you were the one for me. When a woman can make a strong man weak by the way she looks at him, you know you’ve found a keeper. We’ve had our ups and downs but what relationship hasn’t. To James Jr. I know that you will have no memory of me. You are not even born yet. That is the one thing that hurts me the most. I thought that if I fought in this war I would make this world a better place to watch you grow up. The irony. I wish I could be there to watch you grow up. To teach you how to catch a baseball, take you to your first game
(a tear comes down his face) (sniffles)
(Come one James, pull yourself together)
and see you graduate and everything in between. I know that you will become a great man one day. These words can’t really describe how I am really feel.
(Hears random German commands outside his door.)
Goodbye, I hope you never forget me.
(The door is kicked down. He holds the letter to his chest.)
Please, Please Please!
I looked up. A flash of memories pass through me. I shivered, out of fear. I told you I was cold. I look at you. Blank stare. You don’t remember me. I don’t know why I’m surprised. I looked into your cold lifeless eyes, only to find them missing. Something has changed. “So, Jesse is it? Why would you like to work here.” I say not letting you see that I recognize you.
I am boiling with anger inside. Why did you do that to me? Was it fun, Jesse? Throw the gay kid in the trash. Dump his head in the toilet. Lets make his life hell because he likes guys. I remember one time I wanted to join the football team, I had been training so hard, all month long. I got out on the field ready to go. We got assigned to teams. Then we got into formation, my whole team turned against me. “A gay guy can’t play football.” those were the words you said to me as I was pushed off of the field.
But, I guess I should thank you. For all of my accomplishments. Without you to bring me down every day of high school, I’d never be so determined to get into Law School and start my own firm. I can’t bring myself to say those words to you. I busy myself reading your resume. Scribbling nonsense notes. “I’m gay.” I stop. (pause then looks up) I look at your face, incredulos. You are gay. I don’t trust my ears. I have to repeat the words to myself five times before I can start to believe them. You are gay!
All those years, bullying me because I (points to self) liked men. And all those years you did too. (laughs) I feel bad for you. You hid behind a shield, bullied me so no one would dare to think you too, were gay. Surrounding yourself with girls. No one would have ever thought. Jesse the prom king, the popular guy, the guy who everyone loved...gay? No, no one would have bought that! And why should they? You built a wall, never let anyone see the real you. You created a character so intricately that no one thought to question it.I look into your eyes again, this time I see something familiar. The broken glass, one thats been punched, over and over again. My eyes used to tell the same story. Because of you. In a matter of seconds the broken glass is gone, replaced by a bulletproof glass. “It’s me, Dylan.” I say. I see your eyes change, a different story is being portrayed, your face softens, as a wave of sorry’s flood out your mouth, but I’ve already forgiven you.
Oh god, oh, oh god he’s looking at me.
They’re all looking at me.
Why? All I wore was a t-shirt and jeans. Is it my boobs? Is there too much cleavage?
(looks down at boobs) There’s only a little. What’s the big deal!
Is it my jeans then? My butt?! (Looks at butt) They are somewhat tight…
But so are their clothes! One of them isn’t even wearing a shirt!
(Pause) Oh no they’re starting to shout! They’re starting to shout!
Okay, okay just ignore them and they’ll go away.
Just ignore them and they’ll go away.
Just ignore them and they’ll go…
ARRGGGH! It’s not working! I just want it to stop. This is so humiliating.
Maybe I should say something…
NO! no I can’t do that. What if I start some shit? It could get really out of hand.
I shouldn’t, I really shouldn’t (long pause, silence)
(Blurts out) What did I do to deserve this?!
I was just walking on the street and this has to happen. Everyday.
I mean (laughing) Nicki Minaj shakes her fake ass only wearing a thong and she get treated like a goddess!
Is that what they really think of me? You don’t even know me…
I mean, I see hot guys walking down the street all the time (Short pause) well… not all the time, but I don’t shout at them.
In front of everyone!
I know they have hormones, different from women, but that doesn’t mean they have to make me feel…
Don’t get me wrong it’s not all of you. Maybe some of you are trying to be nice!
Beautiful is a compliment!
But there comes a point where I just
Where I just don’t know anymore.
And maybe I should just stopping dressing like a “Slut”
Or walking around at night
Or just alone In general.
Or maybe you need to just stop.
My male boss finally agreed to give me the pay raise I asked for 5 months ago.
I told him how grateful I was for his help in sorting it all out.
He said to me, “If I wasn’t married, I would ask you to show me how grateful you really are,” followed with a small chuckle.
I stared at him.
I couldn’t tell if he was serious.
I wanted to ask him how he could live with himself. How he sexualize his employee like that. Why he thinks that he can say anything to women, like we have to accept every ugly remark that spews out of his mouth. I want to ask about his wife, about his children. I want to tell him that, when men say things like that, it encourages their sons to do the same. And it encourages their daughters to accept it. Like it is something that cannot be changed. An endless cycle where women aren’t to blame. By letting our children to conform to these rules we are only perpetuating a prejudiced system. A system where feminism, is this radical theory that women are actually humans. We teach boys to grow outward. To grow as big as they can. While we teach young girls to grow inward, to make space for their man. Because apparently there isn’t enough space for both of us to shine. Contrary to popular belief, a woman doesn’t need a man to survive. A woman without a man is just as crazy of a notion as a fish without a bicycle. Equality shouldn’t be a concept we hope for our grandchildren to know. It needs to be a necessity. Something that we cannot live without.
I wanted to tell him that women already make 77 cents to the dollar that men make. And that we don’t need his harassment to make up for the lack of zeros on our pay check. And that my co-worker, John, has only been working here for three months - but he has already gotten twice the amount of promotions I have gotten in three years. I want him to feel the fear of going into my male boss’ office, uncertain if my lips will be asked to do things other than give a sales pitch. I want to tell him that I wore my deepest cut business suit to my job interview, because I knew it would it would appeal to him. I cannot wait to see the day where people do not base my intelligence off of my wardrobe.
I want to tell him no. I want to tell him stop. I want to ask him why.But instead of saying any of that, I just smile, and walk away. I try to stop my hips from swaying, because I know he is looking.