Authors: Jane Larry
By Jane Larry
Copyright © 2013 by CED Publishing
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“If you love a flower that lives on
a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night…” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery,
The Little Prince
It was a sleepy
day, like every day leading up to March. The ground was quiet. The trees were
still. And the birds were gliding steadily through the air, as if to say, “I
have all the time in the world.” But the truth of the matter was, they didn’t.
None of us did. But it was nice that every time Lisa walked by
and stood in place, she herself could stop time
and live in a single moment for as long as she wanted. Of course, like
clockwork, Hanna would appear at the crossing and call her out from her stupor.
And they would walk together to the next bend where their school was located.
It may not have
been obvious at first glance but today was a special day for most Great Rapids
. Spring Break was just eight hours
away and everyone was eager to get the next day started. Inside the crowded
halls, students were already amped up for the impending dismissal. As the
minutes went, they grew more and more excited about their prospects. There were
talks of taking trips down to Miami with older siblings. Some guys were
enthusiastic about finally losing their virginities to strangers they would
meet at house parties they were invited to. A group of cheerleaders were
discussing what they should wear during a lake trip they were going to take
with some guys from the football and basketball team. At the opposite side were
three Asian kids grumbling about the fact that they had to fly back home for
Easter and spend time with non-English speaking relatives. Down the walkway
were the student body president and the class photographer discussing details
of the graduation yearbook. Without missing their cue, the line-up of jocks
came along, clearing everyone out of the path, as they always did.
Hanna, like the
rest of the warm-blooded females in the room, could not contain her excitement
as John Mitchell – athlete extraordinaire – passed by and gave her some
attention. True to her offbeat and crazy character, she divulged her ingenious
plan of convincing her parents to rent out a cottage in the same Lake District
as the cheer squad and then sneaking over to their camp for an invite. Lisa
never understood the fuss over John Mitchell or the rest of the guys on the
team. Personally, she thought they were mostly jerks, although she kindly
passed some off as strangers. They had no merit except for a few game wins here
and there; no substance, and none of the Shakespearean heroic attributes she
admired. See, if she were to choose someone she’d fall in love with, it would
definitely be someone like her dad – someone who was passionate, chivalrous and
truthful; someone who was willing to step out of a mundane and shallow
existence for the person he loved. However, this didn’t matter at that moment
because there was so much to occupy her apart from love. So as Hanna bid her
goodbye, Lisa thought about what Spring Break had in store for her.
Lisa Reynolds was
your typical junior. She wasn’t exceptionally beautiful. She wasn’t especially
smart either but she got by with some effort and a few social connections. She
wasn’t someone you would say was popular but she could easily be picked out
from the crowd. Some people said she looked like a mixture of Carey Mulligan
and Anne Hathaway, with the graceful callousness of Angelina Jolie. But for
her, she was the perfect blend of her mom and dad, with her thick brown hair,
which she inherited from her mother’s Italian lineage, and broad shoulders,
which she got from her father’s athletic English-Armenian pedigree. She had a
round face accentuated by cat eyes, a celestial nose and thick lips. And she
had distinct pointy ears which she often hid behind knit and crochet hats.
Lisa’s height was about 5 feet 6 inches, which God paired with a mesomorph
build. But what set her apart was the mole on her upper right cheek, which her
seventh grade homeroom teacher said gave her a vivacious and powerful character.
Far be it for her
to deny it. Lisa was quite aware of her stubborn side. And even those she did
not know well recognized that she was an authority figure in her own right and
should not be messed with. But this has not translated well for her social life
in school as it was quite limited. However, Lisa was mostly to blame for the
disconnection as she was not the type of person who was keen on establishing
random ties. Hanna was not even someone she considered a true friend as she had
the tendency to withdraw herself around her. And by far, the only ones who
really knew her were her parents. But they were no longer there to remind her
to open up.
Her aunt said the
guard she displayed might have stemmed from being an only child and losing her
parents too soon. But most of the time Lisa just credited it to her fondness
for freedom, which she experienced fully in solitude. It wouldn’t be surprising
to find her in the library in between and after classes or up on the bleachers
alone, with a book in hand. However, with Spring Break just around the corner,
it seemed inevitable that her days of predictable calm would be interrupted by
the unnecessary activities her adoptive family was going to organize.
she got home that day, there were no talks of vacations or part time jobs. Her
aunt was out accompanying the kids at their dance recital and her uncle was on
the phone with a client who had concerns over the website he had built. She
took some time to attend to the dog, who was the only one aware of her arrival.
And after feeding him, she went immediately upstairs to settle her affairs and
make plans for the next fourteen days.
About five hours
earlier, her Literature professor took the liberty of assigning their final
paper which involved writing a 4,000 word short story on any genre, using any
of the narrative structures he had discussed during class. Mr.
emphasized that they were individually going to be
scored according to originality, creativity, vocabulary/grammatical accuracy,
registry and delivery, which would comprise a third of their grade for the
year. And that he expected outputs to be given by the time everyone got back.
This was, of course, met with resentment and petition but Mr.
was enjoying the tortured reactions too much to show
So for the next two
hours after the last class, Lisa browsed the library for short stories of
previous students that Mr. K had bound and displayed in the archives. And in
addition, she picked up a few Coelho and Garcia-Marquez novels since they were
known to be the professor’s favorites in contemporary literature. She took
In The Time
; even pondered on getting either
One Hundred Years Of
Chronicle Of A Death Foretold
, but eventually settled on
the latter to give some variety to her stack. By 5 o’clock, Lisa left and
headed off to Riddell’s for dinner with Hanna and a few other friends. And in
the two hour long affair, they went into details of their impending holidays.
“I can’t believe
you’re going that far,” Jodie cooed after Hanna narrated the details of her
“I know right?! But
if I don’t do it now, when will I ever get the opportunity to live out that
fairytale romance. When he goes off to college, I won’t be able to see him
anymore. So I’m taking my chances,” Hanna retorted.
“But what’s the
point? It’s not like anything’s going to change if you did. The best case
scenario would be he’d finally know you exist…but that’s after you embarrass
yourself,” Melissa unsympathetically interjected.
“Well, YOU ONLY
LIVE ONCE!” said Hanna, which Melissa appropriately scoffed at.
“Sure, that’ll get
you deflowered by a jerk!” And they all laughed.
Lisa was pretty mum
to the whole idea and kept her participation in the conversation to a minimum
with soft laughter and considerate nods. Personally, she thought it was
nonsense. But she was not going to be the one who would point out the obvious
and make Hanna feel like a fool. First of all, Hanna was not going to let the
chance pass her by, regardless of common sense. And John Mitchell was going to
do that on her behalf anyways so she doesn’t have to wear out the friendship
cord just yet. In her head, she was hoping that the imminent failure of Hanna’s
master plan would end her desperate attachment to men and make her realize that
there’s so much more to be concerned about than a high school fling with an
“So what’s your
agenda, Lisa?” Hanna asked, which prompted an awkward silence over the table.
homework?” she replied coyly to which the girl’s
again laugh, misinterpreting it as a joke.
A few fries and
sips of milkshake more and everyone was already eager to go home. But before
they completely parted ways, Hanna asked Lisa to stay as she wanted to talk to
her about something in private. Alone, Hanna confronted Lisa about her thoughts
on the whole party crashing plan and insisted she told the truth about it. Lisa
finally fessed up and said it was a careless and immature idea. But as
expected, Hanna just took it the wrong way and walked out after saying a few
“Don’t preach to me
about immaturity when you’re the one who hasn’t grown up! At least I have. At
least I try! You know, just because you have this tragic past, doesn’t mean you
need to carry it over your present and infect everyone around you with this
grim outlook. Stop being so cynical! Go to therapy already!”
To which Lisa
yelled back, “Well, good luck being desperate!”
She didn’t see it,
Lisa thought. She wasn’t trying to rain down on her parade. She just didn’t
think John Mitchell was who Hanna should end up with, let alone give the effort
for. The only thing remotely redeeming about him was that he was kind when he
shot down Amber Kirsch’s invitation to the Sadie Hawkins in favor of Sophie
Valet, who was the head cheerleader. But of course, that didn’t stand for too
long because he didn’t have any problem talking about overweight Amber the
minute he got back to the popular table. He was hardly the prince everyone saw
him to be. Nevertheless, tradition made it difficult for her to prove otherwise
When she was about
to leave herself, Lisa noticed a book underneath the adjacent table and decided
to pick it up and endorse it to management, just in case the owner came back
looking for it. But having noticed that it was one of Mr. K’s compiled class
short stories from some years back, she decided to take it home and use it to
her advantage. She reckoned she could return it after a week, when she was done
with the assignment so that the person who smuggled it out of the library could
also make use of it. But given the fact that it was illegal for that copy to
have been taken out in the first place, she was confident that the culprit
would not show up and make a fuss over losing it.
When Lisa got to
her room, she started unloading her books and flipping through her notes from
the classes she had earlier. Most of the teachers were kind, bidding everyone a
fun holiday, as if they knew Mr.
project take away by the end of the day. In her big blue notebook, which was
prescribed by the teacher for their writing activities, she scanned lectures
and read through a passage on the works of Garcia-Marquez. In his discourses,
Mr. K had emphasized Garcia-Marquez’s frequent application of realism in his
plots and his dedication to Colombian traditions and themes, making them the
rational parameters of the stories he established. Sometimes, this gave his
writings a flat and unsentimental affect. But experts viewed this as his
strength not to mention the source of his novel’s allure.
Paulo Coelho did
the opposite and captivated the imagination with loud and innovative imagery.
And he created stories that were unique, powerful and well-represented. Now,
even though he was selfish at times, taking only to account his own point of
views, he never failed to make them relatable and to make the readers
understand and experience a world outside of their norm. In her head, Lisa
found it difficult to decide which route to take and more importantly, what to
base all her work on. The obvious and probably meritorious choice was to write
about the car accident she was involved in with her parents four years ago. But
that didn’t seem like something she could develop well. So she took to the book
she swiped for inspiration. And they came pouring out like rain.
Tucked within the
book were pages of random scribbling about ideas and feelings that a person wanted
to expound on.
Sadness is a fate worse than
illness. With illness, the suffering eventually ends – not by your own will but
by the fact that it is a self-limiting experience. In sadness, the suffering
never stops. Sometimes, it lasts a lifetime. And there is no exact cure for
While another had:
“We are liars, consciously and
unconsciously. We do what we must and not what we want. We please others
instead of please ourselves. We accept and compromise even though we want
things to go our way. The world makes us liars. And to survive, we must always
Other pages were
song lyrics and poetry borrowed from the likes of The Police, The Cure, Pablo
Neruda and Edgar Allan Poe. It was obviously a dreary set of concepts so Lisa
found it best to avoid being influenced by them. And as it was getting late,
she opted to postpone the brainstorming session the next day, when she’d have a
fresher perspective on things.