Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grey Daisy: Unreliable Narrator Essay [Test]

"Do things for yourself," my father had told me as a little girl, "not relying on others is living. All other things are weakness. If you can't learn to live without depending on me," he blew a puff with his cigar between his words, "then quit living." It was then I saw just how weak dependence was. From then on I did everything myself.

I started living that day.
Nothing I ever got came from another person; I grew up knowing I needed to stand on my own two feet, no leaning on others for support. I wanted to be worth living. I wanted to prove to my father I was worth having a life. And well, here I was a full grown woman, standing on my own two feet for sure, but not moving, just standing.
I had not done all too much in the past few years. Mostly, but not limited to sitting, sleeping, drinking, smoking, more drinking, and the occasional popping of a few pills. Not a real full life or anything but it did not matter too much.
That afternoon it had been my fifth cigarette and my fourth drink... I think. I lost track pretty quick of these things. My doc's fed up with all the drugs, those being the lightest of drugs I've done in while. I guess he's got reason to be so bull with me, his job is to keep me from dying, but I wouldn't really care if I dropped dead this moment. I might even be a little happy, you know? I think that's 'cause I would get to see Nel again.
Nel was my boyfriend, longtime boyfriend, and the kids' father. I loved him, he was the only person I ever loved. I can't say I needed him to be happy, because I don't need people, but he sure was nice to have around. The night I found out he had been killed in that car wreck almost made me put a bullet in my head. Though I didn't, that would have meant I depended on him, and like I said, I'm better than that.
My front door creaked open some and the sound of little footsteps could be heard. Jody and David were home from school, the kids, my kids. They slipped off their coats and hats, stomping the snow from there boots, and running straight up stairs. No hellos between us, but it was fine that way. 
Jody was nine and her brother was seven. That was as much as I really knew about them. Me and the kids didn't speak all too much, we just kinda shared a house. Before Nel died we used to at least hang out together, after that though I stopped talking, started drinking, and they learned to do what all people have to do; they learned to live without help. Some could argue it is a little early for them to be taking care of themselves like they do, but that's the age I learned, and hey I turned out fine. 
They make their own food, they wash their own dishes, they even do their own laundry. They didn't need me much less than I had needed my father. Or Nel.
Jody and David I could at least tolerate the presence of. Most children I can't stand.
Eh, kids. I don't know why people like 'em so much. They're just another bother, another burden, they take so much out of you 'cause they rely on you for everything. Hell, I didn't want them! Kids are just annoying little brats, I hated myself as a kid even.
It was pretty slow for most of that day, like all days went for me, slow and quiet and even slower. I sat there with drink in hand and a cigarette pressed to my lips when I noticed something moving behind me out of the corner of my eye. I got up and took a look outside.
There was small ashy colored cat lying on the concrete slab out there that was supposed to be some kind of a patio. The thing could not have been more than a couple months old. A big puff ball of fluffy fur with big eyes and push pin needles for teeth.
I didn't mind it there, it wasn't bothering me really. Well, it hadn't bothered me for a long while, then not too long later the started pacing. Next was it's face pressed to the door. And lastly, came the meowing, and the more meowing, and the more insufferable meowing. 
After some time of it, I felt like I was going insane. Eventually, I started to get a little frustrated.
"Shut up!" I screamed from my chair in the living room. "Shut up, you imbecile!" It kept on going. "My god! Quiet you ******* *******, piece of ****!"  I believe I had hit my ninth drink by then, my colorful vocabulary was starting to show. Up from my chair now, I was at the door. "What do yah want! What? What is it! Food? Is it ******* food you want! Well here! Here!" I took the first thing from the pantry I could find which ended up being a bag of chips and threw it out the door, slamming it shut. "Happy?"
It wasn't. Stupid thing didn't eat. "Oh, COME ON!"
"She doesn't like chips," a little voice had chirped. I whipped around to find it was Jody, David peeking out from behind her shoulder. "The kitten, she likes cheese." She spoke quiet like a little mouse or something, looking me dead in the eye. I was realizing then that I hadn't heard her speak to me in weeks, my own daughter's voice unrecognizable until paired with a face in my own house. But hey, nobody's prefect. With David though, it probably had been years. The kid never opened his mouth. I'm not sure if I know what he sounds like. 
"What do yah mean about the cat liking cheese?" I said. "You been feeding it?" 
She nodded her head, silently, those massive deep set eyes of hers staring coerce to make contact with mine. "She's been coming to the door often now, but you're usually sleepin' when she does, and we'll go outside and play with her too. We've tried giving her all sorts of foods, the favorite is cheese." 
I looked back at the cat, clawing my sliding glass door. "Well then give it some cheese so it'll get out of here!" They jumped up at my words and rushed to the fridge and got a slice of cheese I didn't even know we had, I sure as hell didn't buy. They used their combined strength to get to push the door enough they could get a hand through. The door jammed a lot, I was the only one who could get it open really.  

A few hours passed and it was still at my door. Not meowing anymore, thank god, but just resting. Then it started to rain. It was light at first, only drizzling, but not before long the drizzle became a pour. The cat then finally got up from my patio, however only to go stroll through the goddamn rain. What the hell is it doing! I thought, It's winter! It's like 35 degrees out there! I wasn't going to be scooping a dead animal off my yard any time soon. 
I forced open the sliding door and ran into the rain. "No, no no, you stupid animal!" I yelled at that little fur ball, running out into the rain. My now soggy cigarette burnt out so I just flicked it away. "Do yah got a death wish or something? Only a complete idiot would think its a good idea to go prancing in a storm in February! You're gonna get yourself hypothermia! You want that?" It made no response, barely even a turn of the head. I sighed.
"Look. You seem to be missing a great deal of sense, and I don't like helping others and all, but I'm just gonna give you some guidance, some direction. Don't think I'm necessarily doing stuff for yah, I'm just giving a hint sorta, but you gotta do the rest. Okay?" I leaned down and picked up the slippery wet cat, the fur clinging to my fingers. Gross, I tell you.
Holding it up, the kitten gave me this look of all innocence and stuff. Then it went on purring and pawing at me. "Nice try," I told it, "but I'm not gonna fall for that 'love me I'm so cute' crap. It may work with the rest of the damn population, but not with me." I brought it to the front of my shed, put it down, and opened the door. "There. That's all I'm gonna give you. Nothing else from here." I began to walk away, looking back every couple of steps to make sure it went in.  
But the stupid thing didn't go inside; it just sat there looking at me. I could have just continued on with my life, ignored the cat, yet something came on to me, a weird feeling that just would not let me turn my back. I gave in to it and started back to the furry thing. "C'mon, get!" I yelled, pointing to the shed. I was soaking now, drenched from head to toe and not very happy either. "Look see the shed right there, that nice dry place to stay in a storm? Yeah, you see that!" It turned and glanced at the shed before coming around right back towards me. "Don't come to me! Ugh!" This thing was driving me crazy, it was so retarded it couldn't even figure out the basics to survival! "Fine fine!" I hollered at it. "Do you know what!" I picked it up and trudged through the mucky grass back to my house. "I at least know you won't get yourself killed in here."
I plopped the cat on the shag carpet in the living room, closed the sliding door best I could and then poured myself another drink. I could change out of these wet clothes after. 
The cat was so fascinated by the house, it explored every little part of it, such a curious thing. When it was done checking out the downstairs, it went up.
When I put down my then emptied glass, I went up to go change into something dry. At the top of the stairs I could here the kids giggling over something. Wondering what all the commotion was about I made my way to their room and carefully creaked open the door enough to see inside but not disturb them. They were playing with the cat, giving it things to toy with while they stroked its soft fur. It was, kinda sweet actually. I watched them together a bit more. They were so happy with that cat, but also with each other. Quite shortly I forgot about getting changed.   
I continued watching from outside the door. I must not have been as non-disruptive as I thought I was because eventually they noticed I was there. I felt sorta weird just watching now they saw me, and I launched up and pretended I was not paying attention to them. Though before I finished standing up, Jody opened the door. 
"Do you wanna come sit with us?" She asked, a smirk curling up the side of her lips. 
I'm not sure if I answered her out loud, but I walked in and sat down on the floor in my damp clothes with my back to a bookshelf. David watched me hesitantly, squeezing the cat to his chest. Jody came in after me and sat down too. There was an awkward silence in that since I came in, and after watching them I had a question, so I broke the ice. "How do you two get along so well?"
David remained silent as usual despite seeming like he had something to tell me and Jody answered for him. "You learn to get along with the people you need," she said.
This sat with me for a while. The people we need. That was an interesting philosophy. Does she think we all need people? But that would mean we were all weak. That didn't make sense to me. "No, not all people need people, some are fine on their own. Those are strong people. Needing and helping others is dependency, a weakness." 
Jody appeared to find that funny, I didn't know why, then she started talking. "I don't think it's a bad thing to help and need people, the strongest people need a hand every now and then." Her big eyes shifted to David, snuggling the fur ball to his chest. "And the youngest need it the most. I take care of David, David takes care of Daisy. And David and Daisy together take care of me as best they can."
She lost me for a moment. As far as I know I only had two kids. "Who's Daisy?" I asked. 
Jody ran her fingers through the cat's thick grey fur. "She's Daisy, mama. Daisy taught us all that about helping others.
She got her ways of thinking from a cat, and yet they sounded logical. Her words were in every way the opposite of what I'd been telling myself my whole life. 
"Mama, I think now that daddy is gone, you'd be happier if you let us take care of you? It's hard for him to do it from all the way up above our heads."    
That hurt to hear. 'Daddy' they still remembered Nel, and as their father. Daddy was a phrase no one in my house had muttered since he died. I felt tears rolling down cheeks, my face getting kinda hot. I tried to wipe them away with little success. "I didn't need Nel. I'm not weak." 
"Oh no, of course not! You're not weak." Jody told me, a mother's instinct in her voice. But she was only a child, my child. I'm supposed to be the mother, right? Why was this not me? I was the child and the adult but not the mother. I was never the mother. "Needing every now and then isn't a weakness I'd say. It's living. Without it, you might as well not be alive at all."
With her sweet, wise words the world made sense to me. What I needed to be alive, to be happy; it was a family. 
I started living that day.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sealed: A Short-Short Story

Walking down streets of gum-melted sidewalks, the August heat beading sweat on foreheads and in underarms. He was quiet man, his blazer buttoned tight to conceal an envelope containing the information he gathered while working in Bolivia, his back going straight and his shoulders up every time a passerby said "good morning". He could not trust anyone, they could not discover too much about him, nor could he not give away too much about himself either.
He lived in a world of secrets. His job in foreign espionage was a secret. His nameless government employers that "technically don't exist" were a secret. His level X clearance, higher than the Vice President's was a secret. His address of 154 Brooks Street, Callowmine, New Jersey? Secret. That he would meet co-agents at Ginny's Cafe two blocks from his house? Secret. That he would spend hours and days and weeks away from home pretending to be people he's not in life threatening places? Secret.
Trying your best to exist when you barely have proof, was nearly impossible. He looked around himself, the streets filled with people going places, living their normal lives enjoying their normal worlds. In comparison he was a god amongst men, a shell of a man pieced together by the souls of a thousand men, as many as he saw before him, but it was all a secret.
Secrets, secrets, secrets, one after the other. To have to grip the fact you have killed people for a payroll and your wife believes you would not hurt a fly. To be constantly reminded that your kids cannot answer their teacher when asked their father's occupation which is controlling . To forever watch your words and hold your tongue when asked simple questions. His name Richard Feldman Boyer nicknamed "Rick" is a secret. His age of thirty-five is a secret. His light brown hair, bluish grey eyes, and sharp edged jawline is a secret. His lips always sealed like the documents in his bag about illegal currency trade and Russian assets and moles. The rest will never know, the rest will never know. So many secrets in his mind, their contents only to ever be existent to him.
At least that's what he thinks. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm Just Rachel: A Self Deprication Essay

What is the problem with being me? Well to be frank, its all of the problems with being me, combined. So many. I mean, sure my life is not horrible or anything, but sometimes even basic things are near impossible. For example, what you are about to read is an all around accurate representation of me battle my greatest enemy; homework.

I opened my accordion folder and took out my homework for the night; a few math problems and a short paper to read and highlight. Not very much I had to do, luckily. I pulled I pencil from the side of my backpack and commenced writing the first problem. f(g(x-1))=... On second thought, I said to myself, I'll get to this later. Besides, it's only 2:45! I practically just got home!
So I swapped over to the document I was given. It was a translated version of the French constitution from their first revolution; the big one with the decapitating of heads and all. I read the first sentence, or started it because that one sentence was the size of a decent paragraph, when I started feeling sleepy. Well, this is unfortunate timing. I stared at the paper for five minutes, struggling to keep my flickering eyelids open. By the time I finished reading it, I realized I had no memory of what I was actually reading. I was thinking about staying awake and reading at the same time. In a sense the words went in one ear and out the other. No wait, that does not make sense because I read them, so they went in one eye and out the oth-? Never mind. In short, I had to read it again, and actually pay attention. I was trying once more when my brother Jack got home.
"Hey, Rach!" He hollered up the stairs.
"Sup, little man!" I called back.
He was small, freckle faced boy with big ears and hipster glasses. He is the kind of person you never forget meeting, for better or worse, you will always remember him.
I hear his beaten sneakers treading up the stairs to my room. The door jerks open with its familiar squeak that drives up a wall. "I gotta tell you about this comic I'm writing," he begins, a crooked-toothed grin plastered to his face.
"Cool, buddy! But could you come back to me on that? I've got some homework." Honestly though, I wanted him to stay. I love talking to my brother, he's always there to cheer me up when I need it. He's my bro, in both meanings of the word.
Jack pushes his frames higher up his nose. "Don't worry it's quick," he assures me. His stories are never quick; the only part of him that is quick are his feet. But before I can respond, he's already off telling it.
There he went, explaining with mind-boggling detail of one of his favorite topics; the Justice League of America. Every part, every piece of his story he could pull off the top his head, characters, scenes, lines, action sequences and fighting mechanisms, even the specific types of weapons used. I can't even remember the five digit code to get in my own garage, yet somehow we are apparently related. Anyhow, to summarize, the entire elaborate story ended with an Aquaman joke and frustrated Batman, because Aquaman is a joke and Batman hates everyone in the Justice League, so it's fitting. The reason I understand all of this, is because I like super heroes as well. Yes, it is nerdy of me, I know. I get it. Now he had me sucked in to a conversation.
"Why do they even keep Aquaman around anymore?" I asked, but slightly rhetorically. "He's never helpful. He can't even control water! Just fish! It's sad, really."
"I know!" Jack agreed. "Maybe Superman's just too much of a goody goody to get rid 'em."
I laughed. "That wouldn't surprise me."
"Oh, and check this out," he said. Jack then jumped into the Darth Sideous impression he had been perfecting over the past few days. He cleared his throat. "Bring me Luke SKYWALKER! And Hans SOLO!... Eh, got no tang. Just bring me SKYWALKER! Luke SKYYYYWALKER! HAHAHA! Sounds WONDERFUL with my raspy evil voice!" He went into a second evil laugh then broke into a coughing fit.
I applauded him. "Bravo! You impressions getting better by the day!"
It was then I suddenly realized I wasn't getting anything done. "Eh hem, Jack?" I interrupted. "I forgot, I'm supposed to be working."
"Well, why didn't you tell me that?!" he yammered at me and walked out.
I sat there puzzled by his remark. "I- I did," a answered aloud, though I had not yelled it for him to hear, he would not have listened then either.
After the little visit was over, I checked the clock. Well there goes a half n' hour. I should probably get back to work.
I finished re-reading and highlighting by this point, now I just had to write about it. Oh no. Something, a bug perhaps, zooming around and buzzing my head. I hate things I can hear but cannot see, I would make a very bad blind person. I swat and dodge it as the insect darts by me. Then it stops and lands on my chair. A fly.
For reasons unknown to even myself, I find flies the most easily to loath of all creatures in existence. Maybe it's the germs they carry or how annoying they are or maybe both, but all I know is that no fly leaves my house alive.
I put my paper down slowly, inching towards the swatter conveniently located behind my desk. I pick it up gingerly, my eyes still locked on the fly. Every ounce of my energy was suddenly focused on that one thing. The fly took a landing on my wall.
I leaned in close, but not too close. Flies have 360 degree slow motion vision, if they think (well technically know) I am a predator, they will fly away. Raising my left arm, I swung. "Smile, you son of a-!" I missed. "Ugh!That would have been so cool! Doing that to the Jaws line!"
It landed some seconds later. I chose another reference. "For Narnia!" I missed again. "Dang it!"
And again. "Hasta lavista, baby." Another miss. "Oh, come on!"
And again. "I'm gonna do it for Johnny! Doin' it for Johnny!" Swing and miss. "No! Bad! Stop that!"
All the attempts were failing ones, but now I was positive I would be victorious. "I know what you're thinking, did I swat five times or six. But I gotta ask you, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya', punk?" And this time I was just about to kill it, my arm was in perfect position for the blow, this fly could not escape me now. However I did not swat the fly because it landed on my pillow case, and I could never bring myself to even tempt the fate of fly guts upon my pillow. My pillow is place I rest my head, even if cleaned would still let me question that my pillow was not cleaned right and fly tissue is that directly close to my face. I cannot physically allow it. I cannot, and I have no answer as to why. So with a growl of sheer frustration, I reluctantly lowered my swatter. "I hate you," rolls off my tongue the way it does when Yosemite Sam says it to Bugs Bunny. This is what my life has come to. I've been beaten by a fly.
Soon enough the fly and I made a mutual pact, leaving each other alone for the rest if the night, and I got back to work. Where I last left off only the first sentence was written, the rest of it actually required thinking too. I thought long and hard about what to write, some ideas breezed through my mind, but I did mot care much for them and they were dismissed. One thoughtless to another and another and another until my work was completely forgotten.
I have so many split ends, god do I need a haircut! Just look at all of these, look at them all. Yuck.
What day is it today? Tuesday? I have a test Friday, and it's bio.
How did I even stay in honors for math all three years of middle school? Especially in sixth grade. It should have been absolutely impossible for that to have happened, but yet here I am.
I can't believe I'm in high school now. That means in four years I'll be in college... OH MY GOD. THAT IS NOT OKAY. NOT OKAY. NOPE. NUH-UH.
In the end, what is going to become of me? What will I actually do with my life? What is the purpose of life? Why do we have it? What is its purpose in the universe? And why do I ask so many unanswerable questions WHEN I'M SUPPOSED TO BE WORKING WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME TODAY?!
I made a deep, long sigh and glanced at the clock; 4:57. You've got to be kidding me.
"Why is this taking me so long! It shouldn't take me so long! It's not that hard! Why!? I do not understand! Well I have ADD so that probably doesn't help but, still! Still! Am I even gonna have this finished by tomorrow? What if I don't!? It's too early in the school year to not have my homework! I'm not gonna have enough time! And yelling at myself now is only wasting it! Ugh! I gonna start pacing my room! But I'm still wasting time! Then shut up! But I can't shut up 'cause I'm freaking out here! Oh, the viscous cycle! Oh, the humanity! THE HUMANITY!!"
"Rachel, who are you talking to!?" my mother yelled across the hall. I had not noticed when she got home.
"...Myself." I also had not noticed how loud I must had been.
"Well maybe could you do not as loudly? I thought you were being murdered or something!"
"...Sorry." I loud whispered.
Talking to myself was a subconscious habit. I rarely take notice when it happens, this was one of those not as rare times, unfortunately.

It was now 5:30, and I was on the verge of raising the white flag. I was so fed up with myself, I almost did not want to try anymore. I made my way downstairs, dragging a small hand stitched blanket with me. Heh, no wonder why my parents call me Linus from the Peanut Gang. I sulked to the living room, my tired eyes half-closed when I saw my dad. He was still in his suit, must have just gotten home from work. "Daaaad!" I not-so cheerfully greeted, lacking the general presence of happiness or even flat out content. The poor man just wants to get home and have nothing to worry about, that never works out though. "I can't focus for the life of me. Barely any of it is done and I just can't concentrate. I don't know what to do."
He twisted his mouth as he thought, then he asked me; "What classes do you have homework in?"
"Math is G block at the end of the day after that twenty minute free work period, and History is F block so I have it only on even days."
"And what day was today?"
"Day 2," I told him.
My father grinned. "Then you do your history tomorrow because it's not due 'till Thursday, and save the math to do in that weird work period you have."
I stared at him blankly in amazement. The answer was so simple, so clear, it had staring me in the face this whole time. I wasted all this time on ultimately nothing. "Oh, yeah," I said wanting smack myself out of my own idiocy. "I feel so stupid, Dad."
"You're not stupid, honey," he said, a sweet honest smile on his face, "you're just Rachel."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

RAFT Show vs. Tell Essay

He was a man a chiseled stone, sandstone to be precise. Thousands of years old, he was said to be, an ancient relic of a long ago era. 
It was said he was found buried in the sands of Egypt, a small fragment of his ear chipped away by time in its course. He was a beautiful stone figure, his artisan a true genius, a work only fitting in the presence of royalty, for which he had been. 

He was found in the resting place of the great Cleopatra, a late pharaoh of the ancient city. And where he laid now, was a place to her dedication. 

He was placed among other relics of her time, some as simple and common as a fruit bowl, and others as rare and stunning as jewelry once placed upon her neck. He however, was no less an important piece in the exhibit as a golden crown. A relic beloved by all who see him. Although, all the attention and love he got was still not enough to truly make him happy, for one intolerable nuisance was always on his mind; the bubbler only five steps away.

For years it taunted him. The cool, crisp water, the refreshing liquid soothing to parched lips, even when they are rock lips. And the lack of distance between it and him, insufferable! Stone cannot move itself like humans can, yet an oasis to cease the endless days of thirst lay right before him. Three decades he had spent beside the mocking fount, and he could not take it no longer. On a morning before the exhibit opened, it would be then he would make his first attempt at movement. And that very next morning, he did. 

The sun had barely risen above the horizon when he knew morning had come. It was time. He summoned all his strength into one moment, focusing his energy, his power all for the use of a single motion. And it was then, in that minute of burning and aching of his stone platform, that he moved. 

It was not more than half an inch, yet in his exhausted disposition, it was miraculous all the same. Part of great journey, always is to take the first step. That step was done, he just could not loose his determination and success would be his. 

And it indeed never faltered. 

It was everyday did this now, the crack of dawn he channeled his inner and outer strengths and pushed himself to his near limits. For days, weeks, months in his struggle, there was not a morning past where the thoughts of giving up did not breeze through his mind, but never did they blow him over. 

He fought with everything he had in him, day after day slowly moving along, ever so very slightly growing closer. Before he knew it, he was nearly there another inch or two and the journey would be complete! "One more time," he told himself, "one last big jump and you'd be done." It was a big jump, a bigger jump than he had yet to make, but he refused to back down. 

He closed his eyes, shutting out the world, focusing only on himself and his power. Surging, his strength was. He could feel it in him, that he could do this, he knew he could do it. 

He spring for the jump, his rock vibrating with energy. Up and down, he went, somewhat bouncing forward in his landing. When the power was drained, he opened his eyes. He had done it. 

Oh, joyous he was with celebratory cheer! His relieve flooding though him like a wave upon the shore, because now he had finally gain hold of one of the simplest pleasures in all of our world, and that is nothing more than; a sip of water.