Illusion

“But what if it’s not the right decision? Or worse? What if I screw it all up?”

“Everything will be fine; you just have to make a choice.”

That is what I have been trying to tell myself for days; just make a choice. But how am I supposed to decide when both options seem good and there are no downsides?

“I know that, in theory, but it is impossible in practice.” I realize I am whining, but it reflects how I feel so I don’t fight it. “No matter what I do, someone is going to get hurt.”

“And prolonging the inevitable is only going to make it hurt more in the end. I know it’s hard, but the sooner you do it, the sooner everyone can move on with their lives.”

I know she’s right. She’s always right, that’s why I go to her. Or did, back before the cancer. I look down with a heavy sigh at the tombstone as I stand back up. I wish my mother could still be here, instead of this brief illusion. I still have moments where I can trick myself into thinking she’s still around, but reality quickly sets in.

Somehow, I will make everything work, and I will do it on my own.

Paper

I have always been a fan of paper. I prefer paper books as opposed to electronic, but it is so much more than that. For as long as I can remember, whenever I needed an escape, all I needed was a piece of paper and a pencil. Then I could create anything I wanted. I could rant about what had happened that day, or create an entirely new world to get lost in. I could write about the parents I wish I had, or write myself surrounded by friends.

As I grew up, I learned that I had to sometimes put the paper down and let life in. I had spent so much time hiding behind my notebook that it started to become an issue rather than a solution. So, I have learned to embrace life (sometimes), and, even though I always have a notebook on me, it doesn;t mean I always have to be writing.

Bottle

I don’t know why it is such a hard thing for people to understand. Just because I’m twenty-one does not mean that I HAVE to drink, or that I want to. But whenever I say that people look at me like I’m crazy. I’m not crazy, I’m just scared.

I’m afraid that if I take a sip, I’ll turn into my father. I do not want to rely on the bottle for my happiness, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to fight it. My dad couldn’t. I used to look up to him, admired him even. When I was little, he was my superhero; always there when I needed him, never a bad word to say. But as time went on, things began to change.

I think it all started when Mom left. It was a week after my fourteenth birthday. I heard them arguing in their bedroom (I later found out that she had had an affair) and it ended with her leaving. She never came back. She phoned a couple of times, tried to keep in touch, but it was over within a year.
Dad did not adjust well to Mom being gone. He managed to keep it together for a while, only cracking into the beers after work, but he slowly started drinking more and more, until he started to wake up drunk. He died last year, and I have been on my own ever since.

So no, I do not want a drink, and I am certainly not a baby because of it. I am avoiding alcohol in order to stay strong and stay in control. I am not drinking so I do not turn into my dad. I am not drinking in order to stay myself.

Distant

Everyone I know is telling me that it can’t work, but we have to try, right? Our interests are sending us to different colleges, and we will only be able to see each other on the weekends (if that) but we can totally make the long-distance relationship work.

We have technically been dating since we were fifteen, but in reality, we’ve been together pretty much since birth. Our parents have been friends for years, and we became friends while we were still in diapers. We have been there for each other through all of the ups and downs, and we have no secrets. He is my best friend.

We technically dated several times growing up, but they were all just saying it, not actually doing anything with it. It wasn’t until we got to high school that things really started to change. I had known that I’d loved him for years, but things slowly started to turn into a romantic love as opposed to the friend love that it had been for so long. I guess he felt the same way because he asked me to the homecoming dance, gave me a kiss on the cheek when he dropped me off, and things just went from there.

And now we are going to be further apart than we ever have been before. It’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time. I am excited to experience this new independence and everything that college has to offer, but I can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen to our relationship. Will one of us meet someone else? Get sick of the traveling and call it quits? Will we just slowly stop talking as much and grow into distant strangers? Or will we meet up again at the end of it all and do the house and kids like we have planned?

I guess only time will tell.

Portion

“Ms. Alexis Simpson has left a will clearly stating what she wanted to go to whom.”

This is ridiculous, I think, looking from the lawyer to my sister, but I say nothing. This is apparently what Mom wanted, even if it would have been much simpler to just leave it with me and Lexie. Or, better yet, me. I am the one that lived with her and took care of her up until the end after all. Lexie couldn’t be bothered as it was “too sad.” Yeah, no kidding it was sad, I had to stay there and watch our mother die while Lexie got to live her life.

“She has left all of her clothing, including the dresser they are kept in to her eldest daughter, Alexis Cromack.”

Okay, that makes sense. Let’s just say I inherited Dad’s “big bones” as Mom liked to say. Not that I will ever know, so I guess I’ll just have to believe her.

“The bookcase, along with all of the books will go to her youngest daughter, Elizabeth Simpson.” Again, that made sense. The only use Lexie would have for books would be to hold something up.

We continued to go through all of the things that mom owned; her knick knack collection, the jewelry she had accrued over the years, and other odds and ends. And I couldn’t help but think that we were each receiving a portion of her life; a portion of the things that made her who she was.

Finally, it came down to the big one. Mom left a quarter of her bank account (which had about ten thousand dollars saved up) to Lexie, and the rest to me. She also left the entire house and nearly ten acres of land to me, and me alone.

I look up at Lexie, who is trying very hard not to lose her temper. This just makes me angry, knowing that this meeting was just her recieving a bunch of free stuff. I hadn’t seen her cry once since I told her Mom had passed away, and not for years prior to that either. This house was the only one I had known my entire life, but she just saw it as a paycheck. Well, too bad for her because I am going to do everything I can to keep it.

Buff

I always wanted to be buff

Like all of  the guys on TV
Why does it have to be so tough

Why is it only about what we see?

No one cares if you’re kind or mean

As long as you look like an actor

No one cares about the things unseen

Our feelings are never even a factor.

People try to hold onto hope

But they cannot let it show

Vulnerability is a slippery slope

One where no one wants to go.

To do that would be to risk

The strength you try to convey

Your image would snap like a disc

And the damage is there to stay.

We feel like we have to be strong

To not let our “weaknesses” show

But I think that is wrong

These feelings allow us to grow.

So go ahead and cry
Shout out your frustrations

Do not wonder why

You have no obligations.

A friend will never leave you

Despite how you may be feeling

Just be yourself, be true

And finally start the healing.

Survive

How to survive in a preschool classroom.

Preparation:

Go to a heavy metal concert. Do not wear earplugs. Be ready to not understand anything you hear, and not being able to hear anything directly around you.

Initiate a fist fight but do not hit back. Be ready to have bruises all over your body, half the time not knowing what they are from.

Plan your whole day out step by step. Watch it all go to hell. Be ready to not get to the majority of your intended plans.

Go to the zoo. Yell at the monkeys for being monkeys. I dare you not to get frustrated.

Get a recording of multiple questions and put it on repeat. Get ready to answer the same questions over and over again.

Actual Classroom Participation:

The first that hits you will be the sound. There can be up to twenty small children all talking at once, and it can be overwhelming. Remember your training.

Then, you will be bombarded by all sorts of questions, from seemingly innocent faces.

They will all ask you multiple questions, and most of them will be repeated for each child.

The longer you are there, the more you will see that they are actually monsters, tiny, adorable monsters. They may yell, spit, bite, and cuss, and you are expected to help protect them, as well as those around them during these moments. It will be hard. It will be stressful. But you can do it.

You will quickly discover that these little monsters also have huge hearts, and you will quickly fall in love with them all. They, in return, will love you, and let you know all the time. They have an uncanny ability to sense when you are upset, and they are often more willing to give hugs and affection during this time (though sometimes they go the other way and are exceptionally difficult).

Slowly, you will come to realize that even the challenges are tolerable when you get to work with such young, creative minds. You will look forward to the questions, and each hug will give you a newfound strength that you didn’t know you had. Every. Single. Day.