Screaming until my
Voice is hoarse because I just
Got into med school.
And 62 followers at last count? You people are amazing! Thank you for the support!
…now let’s enjoy this journey together.
Screaming until my
Voice is hoarse because I just
Got into med school.
And 62 followers at last count? You people are amazing! Thank you for the support!
…now let’s enjoy this journey together.
they told me i couldn’t do it but
i didn’t believe them why should i when all
they’d ever told me was lies so why
should this have been any different than
the rest of the times we all
sat together and picked fun at all
of life’s little pranks why should
this have been any different and yet
they still told me i couldn’t do it and
of course that made me mad and so
i went outside and picked the
brightest star in the whole sky and
circled it with my little baby
fingers and said that i was going
to be that one, that one there i
was going to go there some day and i was
going to make it some day and they laughed
and laughed and said don’t aim so high child
because it will only hurt that much more when
you fall and they were right because it
does hurt to fall from the stars hurts
more than anything you could ever imagine but
that didn’t stop me from trying because
fear of failure is fear of living and just
look at me now i was so afraid but i climbed
high enough and now i’m touching the stars and
holding them in my hands and they don’t
burn half as much as you’d expect and the
view is quite nice from up here i think
i’d like to stay a while and you could
come too if you like just don’t be afraid to climb
because you’re afraid to fall because the
fear of failure is the fear of
living and failing to live is not living
The days grow longer, and my nights do, too
Every time I close my eyes I only think of you
You haunt my dreams like a lover lost
A stranger from my past
I try to stop and carry on
But the memories come too fast
Every time I close my eyes
I remember how it felt
To read the letters left behind
The pain which each word spelt
And now I’ve learnt to carry on
And live my days in peace
But nights still come, and in my dreams
I cannot find release
Tonight the walls are caving in
And I’ve been buried alive
Tomorrow I’m attacked by bees
And lost inside their hive
Yesterday I was a ghost
Dancing upon a stage
My corpse hanged high above my head
Oblivious to my rage
They think that I’ve forgotten how it felt when you
Told me that every word we whispered was untrue
I thought we had a future, that it was meant to be
But now the only future I see is yours without me
How can I move on when I don’t know how?
Can you show me? Would you waste your time
On a lonely little girl drifting in the sea, wallowing
In self-pity, drowning in heartache, clutching to
Strings of hope hanging from the stars
Leave me alone.
I have to learn it on my own.
I must be strong, and carry on.
It’s the only way.
It’s the price I’ll pay
For arrogance, and pride.
The way I loved it when you lied
And now I’m alone, my future’s washed away
All of the dreams and plans scattered, gone astray
Where can I go now? I haven’t a clue
All that I know is, wherever I go,
I’m going without you
and then You walk into the room with
Globs of fat jiggling on your legs and down
Your arms and you sit down and make small
Talk because we both feel obliged to
Speak even though we’d much rather be
Miles apart living our separate lives.
And this is when you bring It up.
The topic I’ve tried my best to forget
For a few minutes because the shame is
Something I cringe from every day I see myself
in the mirror.
I answer you, and you chuckle.
“Is it that hard?” you say.
You weren’t laughing at me.
You were laughing at fate.
We live such separate lives in different
Worlds with different
And you still acted as though you cared
Perhaps that’s what they call a family
Perhaps that’s why they call you family
And maybe that’s why you sit across from me,
Making small talk even though we’d rather not.
Ursula burnt the buns. I lick my lips as the bitter flakes mix with the sticky sugar, forming a paste on the roof of my mouth. To my right, Mama sips wine from a huge mug which stinks of stale coffee. She chats amiably with Mrs Rosieri, no trace of the dreaded Tension Headache she was complaining about earlier.
I swirl the juice in my cup, watching the pathetic spirals succumb to gravity. Or is it friction? I can’t remember. Either way, it ends up silent and still. Lifeless and dead. The swirls don’t stay. No matter how hard I try.
Ursula clears her throat, and I look up to see her looking pointedly at the group of girls in the corner playing Pin-the-Hat-on-the-Teacher. It’s a stupid game. I knew that even before I outgrew these ritualistic neighbourhood gatherings, where every-kid-in-the-class-gets-a-card and everyone-gets-a-piece-of-cake-bigger-than-their-fist. But Mama didn’t listen. She still insisted on holding a party.
That was, of course, before we got the phone call.
I swirl my juice again, remembering the before-party antics. Mama was hanging garlands, and Ursula was blowing up balloons. I was writing “GRADUATION PARTY” in big, swirly letters on a poster board. Next year I would be going to the preppy High School across the city. Most of my friends would be going to the other one close by, so I liked the idea of having a party so I could say good-bye to all of them. Maybe exchange phone numbers. But Mama dislikes my choice in friends, and made the guest list herself. She made the calls, too, so the every-kid-gets-a-card rule didn’t apply.
Though those rules never seem to apply when the grown-ups get involved, anyway.
Halfway through the second “A”, I decided to add glitter to the sign. I was reaching for the glue bottle when the telephone rang.
“Got it!” I heard Ursula’s mumbled greeting. “It’s for Mama.”
“I’m here. Hello? Yes…yes, it is. No, I suppose not. If you…oh…oh, no, I didn’t know that. Oh. Oh.”
Her tone changed with the final “oh”.
“Yes…yes, we’ll be having words. Then, I suppose I’ll be seeing you soon, Mrs Richardson.”
My heart stopped.
It was Teacher.
Teacher + “Oh” = Bad News. With a Capital B.
That was half an hour before Mrs Rosieri walked through the door. Ursula had burnt the buns, and I was swirling juice in my cup, tasting bitter bile in my mouth. It was a graduation party for a girl who hadn’t actually graduated.
But none of the guests knew that. They only talked and chatted, laughed with their ridiculously high-pitched voices, leopard-print nails, and stuck-up daughters I’d never look at in a million years. Daughters who would be going to the preppy high school across the city in September.
But I wouldn’t join them. I’d be far, far behind, sitting back in eighth grade, forever branded a “loser”. An “idiot”. “That” girl. The one who didn’t pass. The one who got left behind.
Did it matter?
Meh. Mama was furious. Ursula was smirking, though she did burn the buns, so it’s difficult to tell exactly what she was thinking.
Did I care?
It was difficult to say. Either I didn’t, or I did, and I was trying very hard not to.
It seemed strange. Almost surreal. In a world of every-kid-gets-a-card-and-a-cake-and-a-party, I would be “that” girl. The girl who didn’t get it. The girl who got left behind.
In a few hours, all of the guests will leave. They’ll leave me behind with Mama and Ursula. Mama will spend the night yelling, and Ursula will probably slink into her room and turn up her i-Pod to block out the noise.
Eventually, they will move on, but I won’t. I can’t. It’s a permanent tattoo. A scar. No matter how much I try to hide, I will always be the girl who got left behind.
They will know, and they will point and stare. But I’ll hold my head up high. I won’t care.
…but I do care, don’t I? That’s why I’m thinking these thoughts as I sit here, swirling juice.
Why do I care?
I don’t know.
Am I scared?
…what’s there to be scared of?
I’m already a failure. A loser. A disappointment.
I might as well move on.
But how do I get rid of the scars? Even now, I see their stares from across the room. They stare, though they don’t yet know why. I am already an outcast.
I have already been left behind.
A.N. Canadian med school decisions came out today. This is dedicated to all of the students who didn’t get the news they wanted this time around. Stay strong, and don’t give up hope!
I am not brave. If I were, my
Hands wouldn’t tremble with each
Word and my Legs wouldn’t
Sway each time I thought about maybe picking up the envelope and
why do you think I do that?
They’re just words. Nothing to be scared of but
Words I have been blest to know how to Read but then
why do they frighten me so much?
I don’t even know what it says but I can’t
Seem to find the courage to just take the
step and tear open the small envelope and watch my
Dreams burst into Smoke
Bon Jovi plays in the background, and we’re all
Living on a Prayer
Can prayers change words? Trade one word for another
one set of burdens for its brother
Innocence is bliss and am I better off not knowing?
It’s too thin to be good news always comes in big packages
except at Christmastime, where the big package is
Granny’s Hand-Knitted Sweater two sizes two big and three shades too bright.
But I am not brave. If I were, I’d
Rip open the package and scream the good news because
Brave people never seem to lose, now, do they?
But I am a coward, so I will sit here and stare at the
Envelope mocking me on the kitchen table, taunting me
With its blank face.
“Open me,” it says. “I’ll crush every hope in your puny little heart with two little words.”
two little words
Once upon a time, there lived a great Sun who dwelt in the heavens, ruling the sky. Although she was beautiful, wise, and well-liked, the Sun was lonely, and wished for a child’s presence to keep her company and take her place, one day, as ruler of the heavens. Even though Sun did have a great suitors among the innumerable stars and galaxies, she wanted the best for her children, and searched the entire universe to find the perfect father.
The Sun spent many long years in search for a mate. Eventually, she found him in the form of the quiet, unassuming Moon, who, to this day, still reflects the rays the Sun shines on him. The Sun and Moon were married in a small celebration in a far corner of the universe, and established themselves there amid a bed of asteroids, rocks, and gases. The perfect place to raise a child.
Eventually, the Sun’s dearest wish came true, and she was blest with, not one, but four children. She called them Air, Water, Fire, and Earth, and, together, they comprised the Sun’s entire World. Each of them was beautiful and unique in his own way, and the Sun did everything within her power to ensure they received only the best.
But years of molly-coddling and training only softened the children to the true face of life. Air and Water grew to be handsome, but arrogant, young men, who quickly abandoned their mother’s side in favour of their more passive father, who allowed them to lead sinful lives of leisure and pleasure.
This left the Sun with her two younger children. The elder, Fire, was a fine young maiden with a burning heart and a sharper tongue. Even though she was capable of love, she was loathe to show it for fear of extinguishing the bright flames which followed her everywhere she went. Fire was continuously at odds with the world, and only seemed to remember her mother when she needed a favour or wanted to complain about the dullness of her flames. Buried beneath the skills the Sun had tried so hard to cultivate was a selfish, proud soul whose pretentious views and aloof behaviour estranged her from even the most kind-hearted stars and planets.
The youngest of the Sun’s children was Earth, a girlish lady who masked her insecurities with a flippant attitude and a smart mouth. Like her brothers, Earth believed in pleasure over pain, and refused to do anything which would require more effort than reward. Earth took pleasure in material, worldly goods, much to her mother’s dismay, and took greater pride in her outward appearance than her inner beauty.
These two girls, Fire and Earth, broke the Sun’s heart. The poor Sun wanted nothing more than to have a little girl who would love her the way she loved them, but, alas, it seemed not fated to be.
Not fated, that is, until the night of the great Intergalactic Ball.
The day of the Intergalactic Ball brought was a great flurry across the galaxies. Diplomats and sovereigns from all over the universe would be in attendance, including the Sun and her two daughters.
“Fire, can I borrow your earrings?”
“Fire, can I borrow your shoes?”
“Fire, can I borrow your…”
“Yes, yes, yes! Now hush and let me change. I don’t see why we have to go to this silly ball, anyway.”
“Because Mama is letting us! And who knows? Maybe we’ll meet that special someone.” Earth’s eyes drifted into a hazy daydream.
“You’re always meeting that special someone, then leaving them two days later,” Fire said crossly. “And can you help me untangle these straps?”
After Earth and Fire had finished grooming themselves, they sought approval from the Sun, who made them change dresses and redo their hair. After hours of whines, complaints, and eventual success, the sisters went to amuse themselves (or, rather argue about balls and looks) while their mother prepared for the ball.
When the Sun emerged from the bathroom, the two sisters forgot their petty arguments. Their mother was beautiful, unquestionably so. Her radiance dimmed the brightest jewels in her crown and necklace, and her poise and bearing suggested gentle breeding and power, even from a great distance. She was undoubtedly worthy to be Queen of the Universe, a great force to be reckoned with.
Taking one daughter on each arm, the Sun left her house for the Intergalactic Ball.
The Ball had already begun when the Sun and her daughters arrived. Both Fire and Earth dropped their mother’s arms simultaneously.
“I’m going to dance!” said Earth, rushing towards the dance floor. “I hope I can find a handsome young man to dance with!”
“I’m going to sulk in the corner,” said Fire. “I didn’t want to come here, anyway.”
This left the poor Sun all alone in the middle of the ballroom. Her husband, the Moon, had to work during the night, and couldn’t attend the balls, although the Sun did notice Water and Air by the bar, already heavily intoxicated.
What was happening? Her four children, her pride and joy, were wasting their lives in mad pursuits. All of the Sun’s hopes and dreams suddenly seemed to come crashing down around her, and she felt her eyes swell with tears, crude reminders of burnt desires and a life which could have been.
“Pardon me, ma’am, but are you all right?”
The Sun turned around to see a beautiful young girl placing a hand on her shoulder. The Sun recognised her as Betelgeuse, one of the daughters of Orion.
“Hello, Betelgeuse,” the Sun said kindly. “Have you been well?”
Betelgeuse smiled. “Yes, thank you,” she said, “though you appear not to be very much so.”
“Don’t trouble yourself with an old woman’s burdens,” said the Sun, patting the star’s hand. “You are young, and so is the night. Enjoy yourself.”
As the Ball passed, the Sun found herself watching Betelgeuse more and more intensely. The star was poised and graceful, witty, understanding, kind. Exactly what the Sun wanted in a daughter.
Fire and Earth noticed the attention their mother was paying to Betelgeuse, and quickly grew jealous.
“It’s because she’s prettier than we are, isn’t it?” Earth sobbed to her sister. “We just don’t try hard enough.”
“No, it’s because she’s nicer,” said Fire. “Not rude and conceited like we are.”
But both Fire and Earth were wrong. The Sun liked how Betelgeuse allowed her inner beauty to shine through society’s norms and standards. Both Fire and Earth had become trapped in their own warped views of right and wrong. Not only did this make them miserable, but it made the Sun miserable, too.
Now that she had figured this out, the Sun had only one task left. To help Fire and Earth accept themselves for who they were.
What person better to do this than Betelgeuse?
In the beginning, the Sun invited Betelgeuse over for little things. Tea and cakes, perhaps, or a stroll in the garden. But, as Betelgeuse became more comfortable with the Sun, she stayed longer. They held parties. Balls. Lectures. Concerts.
And Fire and Earth felt more jealous, isolated, and lonely than ever.
“Whatever shall we do!” Fire said to her sister. “If only we could become more like Betelgeuse. Then, perhaps, Mama would like us, too!”
“We could have been like her,” Earth replied. “But we missed our chance.”
Not to be thwarted, the sisters decided that it was never too late to try. Earth threw away her powders and tints, dressing in only the oldest, most unflattering clothes in an attempt to reach the “inner beauty” her mother had always told her about. Fire thrust herself into a series of outgoing acts of kindness, causing more harm to those in need with her awkward, clumsy ways than good. These changes made the sisters miserable, but what could they do? More than anything, they wanted their mother to be proud of them. To love them.
The Sun noticed this change in her children, of course. The reason for Betelgeuse’s presence was for their own good. But this result was not the one she had hoped for. She did not want them to change. She wanted them to accept themselves.
In desperation, the Sun turned to the only person she could. The only person wiser than herself.
Her own mother.
Polaris, the North Star.
One summer’s night, at midnight, the Sun left her bed and entered the night sky. She smiled in greeting to her husband before addressing Polaris.
“Dear mother, who has always been good to me, please tell me what I am doing wrong with my children!”
At first, there was no reply, and the Sun repeated her entreaty.
“My daughter,” Polaris finally replied. “By coming here, I see you have done everything entirely right. You are as good a mother as any child could hope for. Things will fall into place. You will see.”
The Sun found this answer unsatisfactory, but trusted her mother enough to follow her judgement. She would wait and see what fate had to offer.
One evening, not too far since the Sun’s midnight eclipse, Fire and Earth found themselves once again at the annual Intergalactic Ball. This time, however, neither Earth nor Fire ran from their mother, and, instead, kept a tight hold on her arms, as if letting go would make her forget them forever.
“What lovely daughters you have, O Great Sun!” the courtiers and diplomats exclaimed. “They have your beauty, and their father’s eyes. Happy indeed must you be to have such wonderful children!”
But the Sun was not happy. These girls were not her daughters. She missed the Earth’s antics and Fire’s complaints. She missed her children.
Was that wrong?
“Mama,” Fire said after a pause. “You seem upset. Is something troubling you?”
Once again, the Sun’s eyes filled with tears. But this time, she could not prevent them from leaking out.
“I miss my children,” she said sadly. “I miss my little ones.”
“But we have grown up, Mama,” said Earth. “We are acting as you would have us do.”
“No,” said the Sun. “Don’t change for me. Change for yourselves, but not for me. Do what you think is right. Follow your hearts. That’s all you should do.”
One week later, the Sun awoke to find her daughters hard at work in the kitchen.
“No! You can’t come! It’s a surprise!” said Earth, shooing the Sun into the dining room.
Moments later, large trays of delectable treats appeared on the table in front of the Sun. “What’s all of this?” the Sun said.
“We wanted to say ‘thank you’,” said Earth, “for your wisdom. We are so much happier now than we would have been without your guidance.”
“You might have just said!” said the Sun. “So much work wasn’t necessary!”
“But I didn’t have the words,” said Earth. “And it meant a lot to me. So I showed you the best way I could.”
“You might have just said…” the Sun repeated, this time, more quietly.
“But I didn’t have the voice,” said Fire, not to be outdone. “But I did have the words.” She passed the Sun a rather large stack of papers, full of typed words.
“My children,” said the Sun, rifling through the papers. “You seem to be mistaken. It is a very simple phrase you are looking for. Three words. That’s it. Can you think of what it might be?”
I know what it is. Do you?
He knelt on the restaurant floor.
“Tina, will you marry me?”
She nodded, opening the small box, only to find it empty.
“What?!” said the man. “But it was there when I left this morning.”
Two booths down, his jealous ex fingered the new 12-karat diamond ring on her finger.
“And what about listening to music?” said Gina, her skin flawless in the spotlight. “Let’s talk about that, huh? Who do you like?”
Nelly waved her hand. “I love all of my fellow artists,” she said dismissively. “Music speaks from your soul. Telling you that I prefer one song over another would be irrelevant, never mind insulting to the individual singer. If the song speaks to the artist, that’s all that matters.”
Gina scowled playfully. “Now, Nelly, we need a straight answer! Can’t you at least tell us a genre?”
“My tastes are eclectic, Gina! I like everything: pop, rap, country, classics…”
“Fine, then. What’s on your iPod playlist?”
“Like I said, a whole mixture of songs. Bach, Mozart, Louis Armstrong, Pavarotti…”
“She likes Adam’s Paradise!” a voice called out from the audience. “She has a poster over her bed! She even told me last night that Adam Young is the cutest boy in the whole wide world!”
Gina grinned through Nelly’s groan. Here was a juicy piece of gossip her audience would love.
“Adam’s Paradise, huh? Hey, you there! Wanna come down?” Gina stood to welcome the latest guest to her show, a girl of about ten or twelve with bright red hair and shiny Mary Janes. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”
“Battista? Are you…”
“Nelly’s my big sister.”
“Oh, how adorable!” Gina said as the crowd “aww’d”. “What do you think of your big sister?”
Adriana faced the camera, her big braces-filled grin glittering with excitement. “I’m so glad everyone likes Nelly’s new songs. She’s a really good singer.”
“Does she sing to you often?” Dollar signs flashed before Gina’s eyes as the audience fawned over little Adriana Battista. Promotions, pictures, photo ops, copyrights…the potential of the age group. Tween singers were so hot right now!
“Yes! At nights when I can’t sleep. Or when I have a bad day at school.”
“Do…” Gina noticed Nelly’s glare, a pointed message to leave Adriana alone.
“Ah, yes, well, honey, you have a real good day, ‘kay? You can go home and tell all your friends you were on the HollywoodPlus! show with Gina Maria and special guest Helena ‘Nelly’ Battista!”
The crowd cheered, and Gina gestured for the cameraman to start an advertisement break. An intern helped Adriana back to her seat while Gina sat back down with Nelly.
“So…Adam Young, huh?”
“You shouldn’t have brought Addie down,” Nelly said quietly. “She’s too young for this sort of thing.”
Gina’s smile stayed plastered on her face. “But the audience loved her! She’s such a sweetheart! She could be the next…Miley Cyrus or Shirley Temple.”
“I don’t want my sister to be another Miley Cyrus,” said Nelly. “I want her to follow her own dreams. Right now, that means neonatal nursing or midwifery. I chose the spotlight. Not her. Please.”
By now, Gina’s smile resembled a painted grimace. “Oh, honey, I do understand how you feel. Such a sweetie pie in front of so many people. But…”
The cameraman gave Gina a signal, and her face brightened as she waved to the cheering audience. “Welcome back to the HollywoodPlus! show! I’m Gina Maria, and we’re lucky to have rising star Nelly Battista with us here today. Now, Nelly, before the break we were talking about your musical preferences, and the name Adam Young was brought up. Who just so happens to be your secret celebrity crush! Now, tell us, what is it?”
“Sorry…?” said Nelly, a blend of confusion and consternation.
“Come on, don’t be shy! What is it about him that made you fall in love? The spiked hair? The glasses? The freckles? Was it love at first sight? When you first heard his voice?”
“Oh, gee…” Nelly struggled to maintain her composure in front of the gushing TV host. The singer’s manager had warned her that the media was desperate for gossip, but this was over the top! The comment was made last night to help Adriana cope with her own boy problems, not the set the fan-girls reeling!
“It’s everything, isn’t it? The whole picture.” Gina answered her own question, sighing dreamily. Which was particularly disturbing since Gina was old enough to pass as Adam’s mother. “But, guess what? We have a special surprise for Nelly Battista — and our wonderful audience! Please put your hands together for our latest guest…the one…the only…Adam Young!”
Nelly ‘s heart jumped to her throat as Adam Young strutted onto the studio stage. Though it was her first time seeing the singer in person, she could tell that he was as handsome as the posters portrayed…and a thousand times more arrogant. From his walk to his sneer to the way he flipped his hair in a wave above his head…
And now Gina Maria was trying to set them up.
Smile for the camera, Nelly. Smile for the camera.
Dozens of girls in the audience began screaming as Adam winked in their direction. Finishing his walk of pride, Adam took a seat on the couch across from Gina, an uncomfortably close distance to Nelly.
“So, Adam,” said Gina, her cheeks flushed, “what do you have to say about Nelly’s confession?”
“Well, babe,” Adam said, turning his prize-winning grin towards Nelly, “ya don’t look half bad yourself. Kinda nice to have such hot girls going after me.” Adam chuckled hoarsely at the end, and Nelly felt her stomach twist.
“Would you consider asking her out?”
“Sure thing, Gina! I’m single at the moment. What do you say, Nell-Bell? Pizza and a movie?”
I’m gluten intolerant, Nelly thought as she stammered a thanks, earning ooh’s and ah’s from the adoring crowd.
“NADAM FOR LIFE!” screamed one girl.
“NADAM! NADAM! NADAM!” the crowd began to cheer.
Adam wrapped a hand around Nelly’s waist. She could feel the sweat seeping through the thin material of her dress.
What a creep.
Smile for the camera, Nelly. Smile for the camera.
No…Adriana Battista would never have this life. She mustn’t.
Nelly owed her that much.