The Ocean is Out of Breath – Climate Change Project

Media Piece 1: Infographic

Infographic (page 1)

Infographic (page 2)

Media Piece 2: Sticker

Design Piece/Technological Solution: Fertilizer Calculator/Calendar

Reflection:

1. Now that it’s over, what are my first thoughts about this overall project? Are they mostly positive or negative? Be specific.

In reflection, I believe that I have mostly positive thoughts about this project. While I did struggle to finish the art installation, which resulted in decoration for my first media piece, I learned a lot about climate change, in particular nutrient pollution. This gave me a deeper understanding about the dangerous impacts of the rising Carbon Dioxide levels in our atmosphere.

2. What were some of the most interesting discoveries I made while working on this project? About the problem? About myself?

Some of the most interesting discovered I made regarding climate change and ocean oxygen depletion were stilling waters, suffocating animals, and nutrient pollution. For stilling waters, since there is so much CO2 in the air, the ocean absorbed excess  amounts of the greenhouse gas, heating both the upper and lower layers of the ocean. In turn, this slows ocean circulation, preventing cooler water to sink, no longer cycling oxygen to lower levels. As a result, marine life in lower regions of the ocean suffocate, running out of ‘breath’.

As for nutrient pollution, I discovered that the leading cause of chemicals generating algae blooms that deplete upper region oxygen levels, is fertilizer runoff. This is what inspired me to create my fertilizer calculator to spread awareness about the dangers of excessive fertilizer and how the runoff contaminates bodies of water. After reflection, this is what further encouraged me to explore environmental science, such as the ESS class I will be taking next year. I found it interesting to learn about complications and issues occurring in our environment.

3. What were some of my most challenging moments and what made them so?

Some of my challenging moments during this project was that I did not have enough time to create and finish my art installation. This forced me to have to create a sticker as a last minute second media piece, and move the art installation to become a decoration, hopefully catching the eye of the audience. This was challenging because I did not have enough class time to complete the laser cutting and blowtorching process. I had underestimated the time needed to complete the media piece.

4. What were some of my most powerful learning moments and what made them so?

The most powerful learning moment I experienced was when I discovered we were entering another mass extinction period, similar to the one 252 million years ago that killed off 95% of all marine life. This was important to me because I realized that a singular person’s actions could influence and impact more than I thought. This caused me to start being wary of my surroundings, such as when someone supports or  does something to generate CO2. In addition to this, I also informed my mother about the importance of restricting her fertilizer use.

5. What is the most important thing I learned personally?

The most important thing I learned personally was that I need to be cautious about what I do and how I can perform alternate activities that do not harm the environment as much. For example, I could bike more than calling a DiDi to take me somewhere.

6. What most got in the way of my progress, if anything?

The thing that got in the way of my progress was definitely my habit of procrastinating. The issue was, I had an outline for my infographic created early on in the project, but I could not bring myself to start putting my research into the poster.

7. What did I learn were my greatest strengths? My biggest areas for improvement?

I learned that my greatest strength was being able to evoke emotion in younger students because of the art installation smelled bad and made them feel guilty about killing marine life. My biggest areas for improvement is analyzing the graphs that I had in my infographic and connecting them to climate change, especially the energy cycle I focused on.

8. What would I do differently if I were to approach the same problem again?

If I were to approach the same problem again, I would not assign me a project that was too much for me to handle in such a short amount of time.

9. What moments was I most proud of my efforts?

The moments when I was most proud of my efforts was when younger students seemed genuinely concerned about my issue after I explained it to them.

Peanut Gallery

In my literary element project, “Peanut Gallery”, I chose to focus on the literary element of the chorus. Found within most Greek plays, the chorus represents the typical audience members or the voice of greater society. In the case of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, the chorus asserted conventional wisdom that through asking the characters of the play “typical audience member” questions, the complex character, Oedipus, underwent the stages of recognition and reversal. I chose to symbolize the chorus as a “peanut gallery” as seen by present day people who visit the theatre. The peanut gallery is the top section of people who seem to always have a voice and are sometimes even found annoying. The purpose of the chorus is to entertain the audience, further progress the plot, and explain the characters and the plot.

In the play, the chorus additionally represented Oedipus’s nagging inner voice that resulted in his own heroic undoing and his inner conflict. The dramatic irony of the chorus increases the tension of the play which not only evokes pity and fear for Oedipus in the audience, but also to explain the measure of free will, supporting the theme of Fate versus Free Will. The chorus was an important element to Oedipus’s development as a complex and round character. Furthermore, I symbolized Oedipus as the king “peanut”, with a broken crown to suggest the idea of a lost king, who is not independent and reliant on the voices of his society. I have chosen to make the chorus quotes surround Oedipus to demonstrate the claustrophobic tension that Fate has on Oedipus as the protagonist tries to escape the prophecy.

 

About Me

Have you ever told yourself, “I’ll achieve my dream someday.”? Well, as Jenna Kutcher once said, “There are seven days of the week, someday isn’t one of them.”

Ever since I was young, teachers had constantly asked me, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I’d always replied with the little kid answer of policeman, firefighter, etc. Now, as a sophomore, I finally know what my passion is – Biology. Unfortunately, just like any other dream, you have to work for it; study, study, study. Despite my whole family being generations of teachers, I have never been able to find the correct ways to effectively learn materials and that’s why I joined Tutor Training last year. Now, being in my second year as a student of the Tutor Training course, I have realized that enjoy helping others learn and the look on their faces when they figure out a problem is inspiring. Last year, I often found myself struggling to think of new and different methods of achieving my goals in tough classes like math, science, and even orchestra. While working through this course, I learned new materials that helped me become a better tutor. Taking these processes and integrating them into my foundation as well, I decided to join the Peer Tutoring Center. At first, this was because I needed to fulfill my hours. However, rejoining the tutoring center for my second year, I discovered an enjoyment in becoming a resource for my peers and younger students.

Have you ever been asked for help and didn’t know how to explain the problem but could solve it? I have always felt guilty on not being able to share my process to my peers and Tutor Training is the perfect way to practice. This course will be able to teach me how to demonstrate concepts and solutions clearly without having to pause or taking time failing to explain. Through Tutor Training II, I hope to learn how to better communicate to my students and learning about the complexity of tutoring relationships and lessons.

As for some personal information, I like to take some time off and play team sports such as rugby, basketball, and softball because I believe that not only will working with a team help build leadership and collaboration skills, but it also helps with time management. I am also involved in Aperture Photography, Children of Africa, and Nightingale Charity Club.

 

I am excited for working as a tutor this year! 🙂

The Field

Introduction

As many of the other English 10 students know,  one of our big texts this year is our Personal Narrative. Inspired from our summer reading of The Glass Castle, we had to create an excerpt of our life, writing in our own voice. As uncomfortable and informal as it seems, this ‘day in the field’ details my flashback to my 11-year old self. This was the first time I lost my dog and the conflict I experienced.

 

* * *

 

The Field

There was a day in my life that I don’t speak about. I don’t tell friends, I don’t tell family, I don’t tell anyone. Mostly because I’m too embarrassed that it even happened.

I had to walk to the dog. Again. Crazy, right? I walked Annie twice yesterday and since I was the only one up in the morning, I had to walk my eager beagle-hound mutt puppy. Great. Anyways, you could see these weak rays of sunlight through the fog. What really annoyed me was the dew, though. Just to let you know, I really don’t like dew. It’s like when you get your socks wet; you know when you’re too lazy to head out of the house in actual shoes, so you wear slippers and the morning dew attacks your feet? Everyone can agree that the most uncomfortable feeling in the world is wet socks. My gosh.

The familiar tang of pine and sap was in the air from the forest that surrounded the field. I thought it was pretty peaceful. I mean, the sound of birds always managed to make me fell calm. When the cars rolled past, the distant rumbling from the road near my house sent birds basically shooting out of the tree tops. The cold air went straight through my thin clothing, stinging my skin. I had underestimated the browning trees and dying plants outside. I didn’t think it would have been so cold outside, it was the beginning of Autumn! The dampness from the air had turned the ground into a swamp. I detested foggy mornings, the dew always made my clothes damp and clingy, and the air felt sticky. That didn’t really help my bad mood.

I had really long black hair at the time, which meant that it was very easy to become slicked down and heavy when the air was wet like it was now. 11-year old me wanted to cut it shorter but my mom wouldn’t let me. Looking back on it now, I realize that she was right. Younger me would have definitely looked pretty bad. I had just wanted to fit in. Sadly, nothing usually works out for me, so I didn’t belong with that crowd. That super cool 6th grade crowd. You know what I mean? I guess that’s why I adored Annie so much. All a dog does is provide affection; they never judge you, they never hate you. I was glad to have her in my life.

Anyways, I jumped as my dog tugged on the leash. It hurt; the air bit at my bare hands. It felt like a dull knife scraping quickly over your palm. I glared at Annie. When she yelped again, I got somewhat annoyed, so I let go of the leash because I was unable to keep up. I stopped, expecting to watch her run in circles. That’s what she usually did: run around the field like a madman, or maddog in this case, and tire herself out.

Suddenly, a loud crack of the leash sent me staggering back. I had no idea what had just happened; time slowed down as a long black tail disappeared over a mound in the field. This left me frozen in the soggy grass. I’m not kidding. She had never done this before. After a brief moment, my eyes widened, and I shot off after her, my heart was literally thumping in my ears. Although the stretch of field was deserted except for the occasional hopping of grasshoppers, I felt my ears and cheeks flood with red, embarrassed that I wasn’t able to control Annie. Scattered trees hid a rundown playground with broken slides and tarred swings. And let me tell you, those swings smelled. Like really smelled. They stunk with that nasty burning rubber stench that made you gag. My childhood playground had been vandalized by a group of teens, or at least that was the story spread through the neighborhood. I suppose this is the other reason why I didn’t like people very much at the time? People were jerks, it’s as simple as that.

I saw the rabbit’s super fluffy cloud of a tail as it and my dog raced into the forest. The thicket quickly swallowed their figures and left me breathless. I felt tears threatening to fall as I stumbled deeper into the bushes. I was kinda freaking out a bit. I mean, nothing too intense, just some heavy breathing, you know? The twisted trees and bushes stopped me from catching up to my dog. And up ahead, I could barely see her long legs bounding through the leaves. That stupid dog never learned. Why did I think letting go of a hunting dog puppy was a good idea? Silver specks of trash littered the forest floor, the glare from wrappers flickering through the plants. I couldn’t tell where my dog was; she had just vanished. My breath caught as I thought about my father’s gaze, the silent disappointment in his eyes if I returned home without my puppy. A wave of guilt basically drowned me as I thought of my dad thinking that he had made a mistake in trusting me. I worked for years building up his trust, I wasn’t going to throw it away.

After minutes of pushing through the bushes and vines, I came upon the same large stream that ran behind my house. My puppy couldn’t have jumped the stream, it was too wide for her to cross. One time, my friends and I had tried to jump that stream by my house. Yeah, it didn’t work. I remember I had cut my knee on a snapped tree root or something. After that, my friends continued to jump while I climbed up onto the steep opposite bank and watched them continuously fail. It was pretty funny.

I stopped and considered the possible places my dog could have wandered off to. Could she have doubled-back? Did she fall down somewhere? It was useless, I would have seen her if she had gone either way. I lost her, I lost my puppy, I lost my best friend. My chest closed as I walked back to the field. You could now see all edges of the field; the rising sun had evaporated off all of the dew and fog. The forest framed the meadow and the dark leaves contrasted the bright field, making the grass glow. I walked solemnly back to the browned steps of my house. Sitting down, I anxiously stared at the small tree line that hid the field from my neighborhood, the throaty howls of my neighbors’ hounds in the distance. At that moment, I hated them. The dogs, I mean. They were this constant taunting noise in the back of my head. They just wouldn’t shut up.

I was only partially anxious. The other side of me was calm. That side of me didn’t really understand getting stressed. I mean, like even now, 15-year old me hasn’t been anxious for about much stuff. I would be one of the only kids who wouldn’t feel the pressure of a test or exam. You would’ve laughed at me for not caring about that stuff. I guess I just didn’t feel pressure of finding my dog anymore. She wanted to run off, so she would learn. I always had that ‘giving up’ mindset after a while. But I’ve gotten better at it since I moved.

After what seemed like hours, I finally saw a small shape racing across the field, its tail streaming out behind it. As the shape grew closer, I felt my breathing ease.  My dog’s wagging tail whipped my face as she barreled into me. You know that feeling when a dog’s super thick tail smacks you in the face? That was pretty frustrating. She’s dumb and all but most puppies are like that. I was just so glad that she returned.

“How could you do that to me?” I whispered in her ear as I hugged her. Her fur was covered in dirt and twigs, and I sighed at the thought of having to give her a bath as we walked inside.

 

* * *

 

Rationale

In my personal narrative “The Field”, I explored characterization through narration and conflict. By using a first-person point of view, I allowed readers to understand the situation. Phrases like “just to let you know”, “my gosh”, and “I mean” make me relatable because it’s narrated in everyday speech; this is how I would speak when telling a story. This resonates with readers because this is how most of them would have talked when socializing with a friend. Utilizing voice and conflict allow readers to learn how I handle and react to situations.

Narration or point of view is one of the biggest ways to demonstrate a character’s personality. This falls into the S.T.E.A.L category, my inner dialogue and actions revealing a timid character. For example, the phrases “…just wanted to fit in…”, “I didn’t belong with that crowd”, and “people are jerks…” illustrates my younger self as introverted. By introducing my introverted side, I can not only relate with readers but also highlight why I loved my dog and felt a connection with her; my identity helped support the idea of desperately wanting to find my dog. Moreover, by including the hook “there was a day in my life that I don’t speak about”, I further characterized my younger self as someone who wanted to maintain a public reputation, avoiding confrontation from embarrassing flashbacks.

To help readers understand both the inner and external conflict I experienced, I utilized literary techniques like personification (“a wave of guilt basically drowned me…”’), and hyperboles (“after what seemed like hours…” and “time slowed down…”). This resonates with readers because they can understand the feeling of anxiousness waiting for something or how problems make time run on forever. Through the use of point of view and conflict, I revealed an introverted and timid younger self.

Romeo and Juliet – Short Story: One Life for Another

The short story “One Life for Another”, builds upon William Shakespeare’s famous play, Romeo and Juliet. This text gives a peek on the day Juliet was born, and the brief struggle the nurse experiences leading up to that moment.

 

She gazed at the bundle in her arms, the salty tears threatening to escape. The haunting memories of her husband’s death was nothing compared to the pain that inside her as she beheld her lifeless child. Her Susan hadn’t managed to get through her second night, being too weak to eat. Breathing heavily, the mother felt her chest collapse as she crashed to her knees, holding the still warm bundle close to her breasts. Death was such sweet sorrow.

Consumed in her grief, she did not notice her Lady and best companion traipse over behind her. Suddenly, she felt a soft weight squeezing protectively on her shoulder. Sensing Lady Capulet’s presence, it made her feel not quite so alone.

“I cannot imagine the pain thou art going through,” Lady Capulet rasped, “thee wast an excellent mother.” The loss of Susan would affect everyone in the estate, even the Lady’s unborn child. The Lady beckoned for the midwife following her to take the nurse’s child.

The nurse lifted her teary gaze, letting it fall on Lady Capulet’s swollen belly, cringing from the harrowing reminder. Taking a deep and shaky breath, she rose and held the Lady’s soft, delicate hand in her own, “Doth not mind me, we has’t to taketh of thee.” The only child of Capulet, this was a legacy no one could afford to lose. The nurse let her sight trail upwards towards the Lady’s pale and sickened face. A deadly sickness had already plagued most of the estate, taking many lives. She prayed that Time’s winged chariot would not reach the Lady’s child.

“If ‘t be true anything lacking valor happeneth, promise me thee wilt taketh care of mine issue,” the Lady’s words rang in her head, reminding her of a promise she now doubted she could keep. Lady Capulet only trusted her to raise the child, only the nurse. How could she raise a child if she couldn’t keep her own alive?

They walked down the darkened estate corridor, their shadows dancing from each torch they passed. Their soft footsteps echoed through the bland, stone hallway as they silently conversed.

Suddenly, Lady Capulet lurched forwards, clutching her belly. The nurse hesitated, her blurred gaze unable to understand the scene in front of her for a moment. Lady Capulet’s screams pierced the air, snapping the nurse back into reality. She grabbed her lady’s shoulders and carefully guided her into the nearest bedroom, a medium sized bedroom where the nurse slept. She cried out for the midwifes, and calmingly whispered into the Lady’s ear. Glistening sweat dripped down her face, her panting raspy from the sickness. The midwifes fussed and worried over their lady, their faces worry-stricken about the birth. Lady Capulet screamed for silence, still heaving and pushing steadily, her eyes beginning to narrow in exhaustion. As Lady Capulet heaved the final push, the nurse’s chest tightened, feeling her own breaths quickening as she neared her decision. Would she raise the child? She concluded the best way to keep the child alive was to abandon it to the midwifes, she couldn’t imagine the pain it would bring upon the Lady if the nurse ruined the child.

“Nurse?” a small voice trembled, snapping her thoughts back to the scene before her. She spun slowly, counting each nearing second with fear. The nurse couldn’t do this, she just couldn’t face the Lady.

The red-faced Lady lay breathless on her bed, her eyes fluttering, hardly managing to keep them open, “Nurse, please. Please raise Juliet for me. While this sickness consumes me, I doubt the midwifes can keep Juliet healthy.”

The nurse shut her eyes tightly until she couldn’t stand the pain any longer. Was she going to stay loyal to her oldest friend and raise the child? Or was she going to abandon them both by the fear that agonized her? Taking a deep and shaky breath, she opened her eyes with a decision made. “Pass me the child, madam.”

6 Reasons Why Feminists Would Dislike “The Summer Dragon”

  1. Females of the arie families (dragon raising farmers) are not allowed to be Broodmaster (owner/in charge of arie).

The Broodmaster is always the son or father, never the daughter or wife. Even if there is no son to run the arie, the daughter’s husband will become the next Broodmaster. Who says girls can’t be the owners?

2. The protagonist, a female lacking a husband, is shunned because she has seen the rare and mythical beast of legend, the Summer Dragon.

The Summer Dragon is the sign of luck. However, everyone believes that because she’s a girl, it does not count. But hey, her brother was with her when she saw it but he didn’t see it…

3. …so the government says her brother saw it and that it’s super lucky.

Since the protagonist’s brother is going to be Broodmaster when he comes of age, the government wants to let everyone know that because an arie boy has seen the sign of luck, luck will come to the dragon farm (arie).

4. The government and temples of Asha are all run by men. No girls allowed. 

The Temple, the central government run by men, believes that women taint the sacredness of the Asha (their high god) and sends an over controlling male general who changes the story to claim that the protagonist’s brother, Darien was the one who saw the dragon. The general believes that females cannot see signs of Luck such as the Summer Dragon.

5. Female dragons are not allowed to go out and hunt, instead, they are only allowed to stay inside the pens and breed. 

The background is that each child of the family that owns the aries (dragon breeding ranches that breed dragons for the military), is allowed to bond with a dragon qit (baby) and grow up with them, creating a strong bond. Each female dragon that is part of a bond in the family must become a breeder, while the males go out to hunt and fly.

6. Girls are not allowed to go train and fight in the military.

Men believed that women could not fight because of how weak most of them were, along with their dragons. Due to women only bonding with female dragons, men could not spare any female dragons to go fight. They also thought that female dragons would slow down the group and not fight as hard.

Nightfall: The Same Trio

You assume books are similar to snowflakes, each unique in a significant way.

Nightfall, a novel by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski, established a plot that contained an awfully common archetype – Two Guys, One Girl. Just like many other archetypes, this recurring symbol can be found in millions of books throughout the writing community. In reality, many readers enjoy texts that contain the “Two Guys, One Girl” archetype such as Harry Potter (J.K Rowling) and other various books. One line that seemed cliche and stood out was “When Line showed up – with Marin in two – Kana decided to play it casual as if the three of them going was the plan all along” (58). The three protagonists go on an unlikely adventure, fall in love, and have their lives threatened. This is a common recurrence in Harry Potter where the three protagonists, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are faced with the same plot. The internal conflict is usually always the same as well. The female protagonist and one of the males end up with an attraction to the other while the other feels left out and “third-wheeling”. Although many of the archetypes such as “The Mother Figure” and “The Hero” are enjoyed for the authors’ creative ways of making their own story unique, it wouldn’t hurt to view a text that had an uncommon archetype.

TV Show Analysis: The Lucy Show

(This video is taken from Youtube.com)

For my TV show analysis, I chose a monochrome television series called The Lucy Show that first aired in the 1960’s. My selection of show is due to the need for our individual television series having a separate plotline for each episode. The certain episode of the series is called “Lucy Visits the White House” and contains the storyline: “Lucy and Viv accompany their boys’ Cub Scout troupe to Washington, D.C. After Lucy calls President Kennedy to tell him about the pack’s replica of the White House built from sugar cubes, they’re all invited to present it to him in person” (The Lucy Show | Episode Guide). In this post, I will discuss the key points of the following:

  • major dramatic question
  • protagonist’s goal or desire
  • internal and/or external conflict
  • resolution
  • deus ex machina

In the beginning, the major dramatic question is not very clear but continues to develop throughout the course of the episode. In this case, the major dramatic question is simply, “Will Lucy give the president her gift?” This was my concluded question because, over the course of the show, the protagonist Lucy and her partner Viv face obstacles that hinder their journey. Lucy and Viv’s original goal was to accompany their cub scouts to Washington D.C and deliver their homemade replica of the White House to President Kennedy. As their journey to Washington progresses, their replica is smashed, forcing Lucy to go and find sugar to recreate it. She soon faces obstacles, leading to the external conflict she faces.

The conflicts the protagonist faced were mainly external, problems ranging from not being able to fit her sugar cube replica through the door of her cabin on the train, to getting stuck in a priceless historical chair in the president’s waiting office. These obstacles all occurred due to Lucy’s actions, revealing her to be a reckless and determined character. In relation to the major dramatic question, the resolution was also very creative as well. Aside from being creative, the ending of the episode seemed fairly “deus ex machina” (having a good resolution that saved the day). In the final scene of the show, Lucy rebuilds her replica perfectly but is so nervous that she has to sit down, coincidently (obviously) sitting in “Abraham Lincoln’s baby rocking chair” (which leads to more turmoil). As the episode draws to a close, President Kennedy’s voice can be heard from the other room, forgiving Lucy for her innocent mistake.

Legacy: A Reinterpretation of “Ordeal by Cheque”

“Legacy. What is a legacy? It was planting seeds in a garden he would never get to see.”

 

In my reinterpretation of Wuther Crue’s “Ordeal by Cheque”, I focus on a path that doesn’t always tell you what happens. Just like how the cheques are given, the reader must infer about what occurs in this story. The story follows Lawrence Exeter Senior and his son, Lawrence Exeter Junior as their lives begin to spiral out of control. Lawrence Senior experiences the hardships of raising a child and the fears and joys that come along with it. the story progresses, the story is presented a somewhat foggy by the cheques so I narrate the story through Lawrence Jr’s point of view instead.

SPOILER ALERT

Lawrence Jr. soon has an accident that no one is sure of, which leads to the death of Lawrence Jr., unable to tell his parents what had happened during his travels.

 

A state of anxiousness fell upon the Exeter household as the days his wife sat in the hospital passed by. Lawrence’s fears about his unborn child haunted him, forcing him to constantly call Dr. McCoy to see how his wife was coping. Once the darkness of night crept into the house, not a sound was heard. Silence. Dead silence overtook the once peaceful atmosphere of their home. As the world slept, he lay awake as unease crawled through his skin. He swallowed, his throat so dry he could barely do so. A muscle feathered in his jaw as he gazed blankly into the swirling gloom of his room. At ages 40 and 36, this was a late stage in their lives to try and start a family.

He reached for the familiar comforting feel of his wife. The cold was what hit him first, embracing his fingers in a hushed chill. Without his best friend, he was utterly helpless; she was a crutch he’d become too reliant on. He didn’t dare sleep – not when his wife could conceive at any moment. Yet just lying in bed, not moving… some of the tightness that held him eased.

* * *

Exhaustion was a blanket over his senses as a faint screech cleaved the air. Facing the direction where the sound had erupted, he glimpsed his son streaking towards him, his teacher trailing behind. Despite himself, a low groan escaped from his throat. The Palisades School for Boys couldn’t handle his son, no school could. Transferring him was the best option but fear of what could happen to Lawrence Jr. in a military school had always blurred the lines for him.

“Your son needs to leave,” a steely voice brought him back to the scene that was unfolding before him. Focusing his mind, he let his gaze slowly trail its way upwards to meet the angry eyes of his son’s teacher.

“What?” he whispered, feeling the delicate tug from his son on his pants leg. 

“He’s not welcome here, not anymore.”

The words hit something low in his gut, and he was grateful for his son tugging him away from the furious lady, if only to hide the burning in his eyes.

* * *

He could have sworn phantom talons bit into his palms. His chest collapsed in longing as his son held his gaze with such fire, such fierce love that Lawrence Jr. had concealed all these years. Lawrence Sr. slid his gaze to the weeping female beside him, wrapping his weak arms around her. The bittersweet memories consumed his mind, allowing him to relive the frustrations of when Lawrence Jr. wrecked his first car, and pride when his son ventured off to Stanford College.

He felt it then – stirring awake as if some stick had poked it. As if this moment, amongst his family, had somehow sparked it to life. He felt love. He hadn’t felt it this deeply since the day Lawrence Jr. was born. A fragile whimper sounded from beside him, and he wondered if all sound had indeed left him.

There was only the roaring void inside him as Lawrence Jr. hugged his parents goodbye and stepped back, painfully turning to climb into the taxi behind him.

* * *

*Lawrence Jr.* He only continued on. Conversations just wasted energy – and time – especially the ones with parents. He didn’t have time to speak with his folks he decided, shutting off his phone and tucking it into his pocket. He couldn’t bring himself to tell his parents he was busy pursuing his hidden dream of becoming a florist in the city of love – Paris.

Lawrence Jr. stopped and steadied himself as he took in his surroundings. Bright yellow and red lights illuminated the streets as vendors and boutiques littered the sidewalks. He had no inkling of the path he planned for himself, but he didn’t care.

A faint scent of candies and pastries swarmed his nostrils, luring him to let his gaze fall upon a delicate sweet shop tucked in the corner on the other side of the crowded plaza. A fountain was parked in the center, but he could clearly see the twinkling orange sign of the shop through the spurts of waves: Cocoanut Grove Sweet Shoppe. 

Inside, the barrage of scents and smells overwhelmed him; almost drooling, he took a gaze at the small cafe. It was beautiful – the outer shelves contained the most vivid of colors of pink, red, purple, and yellow. Sweets of all shapes and sizes, colors and textures, their sugary scent making his eyelids flutter with hunger.  On the inner aisles of the bakery, pastries sat pleasantly inside glass displays, their soft dough-like features making his mouth melt.

“Excuse me?” a soft voice sounded from behind him. “Would you like anything?”

That’s when he saw the most stunning woman he had ever laid eyes on. Her pale brown hair cascaded over her slightly freckled reddened cheeks, her dark green eyes reflecting off the city lights. The fluorescent lighting inside the shop highlighted her beauty, allowing her honey skin to set aglow.

He knew she would belong to him. Even if he had to spend all of his life chasing after her.

* * *

*Lawrence Sr.* The dull wall phone’s ringing echoed throughout the house, jerking him awake from his relaxing slumber. He considered going back to sleep – for just a hesitant moment. On the third loud, blaring ring, he uncoiled himself from the mattress with a groan, trudging his way through the house to the phone.

Tony was on the other end, a family friend in France that had been Lawrence Jr.’s guardian while he was traveling. Tony, the everlasting optimistic friend of his childhood group. Strangely enough, Tony didn’t seem too excited now…

* * *

He couldn’t imagine it – the loss, the rage, and grief. The feeling of love and hope being ripped from his chest. It was like a punch to the gut that ripped the air from his lungs, The grip of despair was so brutal tears stung his eyes. He shot into the room where his son lay, permanent pain etched onto his handsome young face. His wife was left to scream beside him, her hands running themselves all over his son’s face. She cursed the world, cursed Fate, and cursed life.

“Junior,” he whispered. “Tell me what happened.”

Grabbing his son’s limp hand, he slowly lifted it to his face, jerking slightly from the unusually cold chill coming from the brush of his fingers, a single tear flowing from his reddened eyes.

His legacy lay on the bleak hospital bed, his breathing shallow as he stared at his father, a harsh whimper escaping his lips before his eyes gradually clouded over, his pale brown eyes darkening with a foggy gaze that shattered their hearts.

 

Death’s Race: A Reinterpretation of a Poe Passage

 

In the short story “The Tell-Tale Heart“, author Edgar Allan Poe narrates his story through the eyes of a madman, driven mad by the feeling of judgment from the eye of an old man. In my reinterpretation, I retell my story through the eyes of a character who is always watching. Death is personified, an arcane character who lurks “in the darkest shadows of the room feeding off of the old man’s fear” and tries to “beat Life to the eye”. My story’s point of view becomes third person limited, erasing the thoughts and actions of the madman from the picture and makes the crazed man seem as a good person, feeding Death another life.

Death

He was eager for the man’s fate to be sealed. Another beautiful specimen would die, joining him in his dismal haven. Every night, skulking in the inky blackness of the old man’s bedroom, silently cheering on the madman. Seven nights had already passed, Life barely beating him to that d*mned spot. Even for the symbol of hope and aliveness, she couldn’t win the race every night…

Eight – a beautiful number; a sign of luck for some. Eight was his savior, bringing forth a night in which Life could not win. On the eighth night, he knew he had done it. Death heard the low groan of terror as he felt the fresh waves of fear pulse around him. Many a night, just at midnight when all the world slept, the sound had become a comforting echo. Every night he sat, lurked in the darkest shadows of the room feeding off of the old man’s fear. He loved this feeling, watching the story unfold, chuckling softly to himself as the old man whispered false suppositions to himself every night this past week.

He was well aware of the other foul presence staying carefully – oh so carefully – still in the old man’s room night after night: a dark shadow opening a door and sticking his head in, his manic eyes darting carefully around the room, searching for the old man’s eye. However, Death was always late, running from the gates of the Underworld to keep Life from closing the d**ned eye. Every night, every time the crazed madman came to fuel his anger by gazing upon the eye, that cursed “do-gooder” angel had already beat Death to the eye. He was late, always late. Life would close the eye preventing the madman from shining that beautiful exposing light upon the eye. He knew he had done it; waking up before the first soul could cross the gates of the Underworld to open the precious killer. He gleefully watched as the madman separated the old man, stuffing him into the floorboards, so cunningly, the human eye – not even his- could have detected anything wrong. Soon, Death would welcome the old man’s spirit and guide him down to join him, smirking as shame fell upon Life.

Finally, he opened the eye so the man could die. He won the race. He had beat Life; beat her to the eye, beat her to this man’s fate.

The Other Side of the Story (Life)