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English II Pieces

2003-2004

Sights at the International Marketplace

by Kelsey Toy

Though the darkness of night makes most streets sleep, there are some places from which the light never leaves. One of these places is the International Marketplace at Waikiki. The masses come alive at dusk and illuminate the sidewalks with their overwhelming diversity. Singers, dancers, and even mimes line the street outside of the market with their authentic costumes; swarms of people at their feet.

The entrance to the Marketplace is across the street from the ocean waters, nestled between little shops and ice cream stores. Walking in, I see massive, old trees covered with vines, leading the eye skyward into their canopies. ABC stores stocked with cheap merchandise are a popular attraction, but the real bargains are in the center of the market.

Carts full of jewelry, clothes, hula dolls, and other miscellaneous trinkets are scattered about. It is not long before a vendor pleads for my business. I cannot pass the brightly-colored shell necklaces for my friends or some blue board shorts for my own wear. Cart after cart, store after store, it seems as if the marketplace never ends. It is easy to get lost in the masses of colorful hibiscus flower shirts that nearly everyone is wearing. Finally, after pushing and fighting through the crowd, I find a crossroads that takes me either right, toward the short, pushy ladies selling t-shirts, or left, past the popular henna tattoo stands to the food court.

The food court has an array of different foods; from simple snacks to exotic and very spicy foods of the east. My personal favorite is the Dole smoothie window. There are tables, but with all the other tourists cramming into every open space, I decide to walk with my food. After a round at the food court, I notice an alley lined with vendors’ carts packed tightly together that seems tempting. All eyes are on me as I walk down the narrow path.

“How much you want to spend?” the ladies beg, attentively. The vendors fight intensely for my business, dragging me to look at their souvenirs. I learn that I must resist their wide, black-eyed stare and fast speech, unless an occasional buy seems attractive. My friend finds an intricate shell mobile: she brags that she bought it for a whopping two dollars.

When the carts start leading into the dark depths of the alley scattered with shadows of people, I know it is time to leave. It seems as if it is impossible to forge my way through the people. Then I see car lights shining from the streets and hope is renewed. I run to the sidewalk and out of the market, just in time to meet my friends. The performers continue their flawless acts and I am amused to see a girl clad in Hawaiian attire, playing a ukulele with her dad. When I escape the crowd, I look upward, and the stars seem endlessly bright, reflecting into the calm water. Flower-shirted tourists pass. Men with bright parrots on their shoulders beg to take pictures. Police patrol on motorcycles, and the waves of the ocean lap upon the sand. Each sight I witness tells a story.


Another Day at the Slopes

by Lily Berman
 

She is ready for the day: a cup of noodles, juice, snow gear, and her snowboard. She received her first snowboard from her father when she was seven, and has been snowboarding ever since. The snow is smooth and flawless; speckled with glimmers of light. It is ten in the morning, during Christmas vacation, 2003, at Brundage Mountain, and Claire Olavarria is ready to take on the day.

 Although a small mountain like Brundage can be repetitive for such an active snowboarder, Claire knows that bigger things will come with time. She says that her perfect snowboarding day would have to be: “No resort, just in the backcountry of Sweden or Switzerland. Maybe in the Alps, all powder, with big jumps and long powder landings.” Dreaming of bigger things can be great, but riding on a more local and laid-back mountain is rewarding. “My favorite days at Brundage are when it’s snowing so much that you can barely see anything, and there’s so much powder and so little people that you can weave in and out of the trees freely.”  

 After ten years of snowboarding on the same mountain, Claire knows Brundage like the back of her hand: “I remember when I was in third grade. My friend Cooper and I would race down the steep part of Main Street to see who could go faster. I’d always win. It was funny because he’d always say, ‘boys are better than girls at everything.’” Not only did Claire beat the boys when she was nine, but even now Claire is more advanced than many of the guys on the local hill.

 Devin Walsh is one pro snowboarder that has influenced Claire the most: “He’s done [snowboarding] for a long time and he’s one of the smoothest riders with the best style. He’s a genuinely good person and he doesn’t let it get to his head that he’s a pro. He’s evolved snowboarding to what it is now, he’s helped shape it.”

Other than her snowboarding career, Claire lives a pretty average life. She attends McCall Donnelly High School with a 4.0 grade point average, while still loving the simple things in life, such as reading, going on long walks on the beach, playing with her rubix cube, attending concerts, exploring her artistic side, and spending time with her family and friends. Music is a big part of Claire’s life, but without snowboarding, she believes that she would not have the same musical taste: “I wouldn’t like the same kind of music…everything would be different.” Another very important part of Claire’s life is her cat, Bugera. “She’s the only one that really listens to me. She doesn’t pass judgments or talk back. Bugera is always all ears and completely honest.”

Although the life of a snowboarder might seem perfect, it is far from it. Occasionally, Claire faces issues with other people on the mountain who do not acknowledge her talent. “Some skiers stereotype me for being a snowboarder and they just don’t like me because I snowboard. Just because I snowboard doesn’t mean that I do drugs or that I am a bad kid.” She might be put down by skiers, but that does not affect Claire’s positive attitude: “I think that freestyle skiing is awesome…I do believe that they followed the direction of snowboarding, but its still cool that they are getting out there and doing cool stuff.” At the end of the day, Claire knows that snowboarding is all about having a good time. “It’s fun. I get to watch myself and other snowboarders’ progress. I only do it because I like to do it…it’s just for me.”


Friends 

by Lily Berman
 

Morals,
truths, anxiety, torment, and anguish.
Too hard to keep a friend
who doesn't speak your language.
Best friends or worst enemies?
A pathetic excuse for a secret--
a fascinating sham.
Holding our own truths inside;
telling secrets to one,
talking about them to others.
Burnt hearts, souls stripped
naked only to weep for inner warmth,
an empty shell of alienation…
Fix it quick! Lick the wound
make it blaze.
The swelling
will die soon.
You are a poor
excuse for a friend,
did you expect me to swoon?
Before morning awakens,
we will communicate only with side glances.


A Trip to the Gallery

by Kelsey Toy

Stores in the back of malls can be creepy in appearance and in content. In the back rooms of the McCall Mall, The Granite Mountain Gallery is filled with paintings, furniture, rocks, and bugs. The main part of the store sports a multitude of rock figurines of many colors, obviously cut with extreme care. There are round, smooth globes of rock on stands, lining of the shelves and reflecting the light. There are also intricately-carved beads on the steps into the main gallery that are fun to look through.

On the lower level of the store, there are smooth, colorful geodes with rough, ordinary outsides that have been cut, revealing beautiful crystal insides. Rocks with fossils imbedded in their cores grab the eye and the miniature figurines of Buddha evoke a sense of wonder. Though rocks are the main focus of the store, there are many other objects on display. There are wood carvings of frogs and other creatures, tiny boxes, and transparent frame-like display boxes that hold deceased butterflies, large, hairy spiders and other insects. The colors of these bugs are invigorating; consisting of metallic blues and violets, bright yellows, deep, mesmerizing, colors, and even white.

Across the hall, there are paintings, hunks of purple amethyst, and dragons carved of wood. There is one picture that is very unique. At first glance it looks like an ordinary painting, but a close view reveals that it is really an arrangement of butterfly wings; which shine iridescent blues and purples in the light that comes through the window.    

The Granite Mountain Gallery seems strange with its off-beat treasures, but if given a chance, it becomes a place where a person can enjoy the wonders of nature. Passersby in the McCall Mall would undoubtedly find enjoyment from a trip to this gallery.


The Race 

by Kelsey Toy
                                                                                                        

Miles upon miles,
the race goes on.
Breathing hard --
short of breath,
lactic acid building,
burning fire in my legs.
My body wants to stop,
the pain unbearable --
but I keep running
like the engine of a car.  

The girl ahead steadily slows,
I sprint to pass her.
My mind races:
I must quicken my pace,
the Finish is beyond the dusty bend,
over the steep, grassy, hill.
My heart pounds a steady cadence
a drummer in a rock concert.
Sweat trickles down my scarlet face
as I turn into the finish chute.  

One last kick
is all I have left.
The final hundred meters,
I run like the wind:
eyes fixed on the finish line,
passing another runner.
One more stride,
my body leans for the finish line.
People chatter around me,
I slow to tell other racers "good job"
and am told to keep walking
to the end of the rainbow-colored chute.
My breathing is fast
my heart is still pounding a song
but I know that this race
is by far the best one yet.


No Business like Show Business

by Alex Niu

In the restaurant section of a travel brochure, a particular restaurant advertises the "perfect family atmosphere". What it should read is, "Caution! War zone. Enter at own risk". Whether it's a five-star restaurant, or a fast food joint, customers have no idea what is really going on with a restaurant's employees. All that you see are the fake smiles.

Even while you are eating your dinner, grenades of bitterness are flung back and forth like sailboats in the heart of a storm. Whether it is a feud between the cook and the waitress, or a fight between the owner and the food provider, it is all the same. Each has her own excuse, and will keep yelling until he gets what he wants. If a waitress wants a day off, but the owner cannot give it to her, both of their tempers will rise to the surface, and since both sides are just as stubborn as the other, the argument never gets resolved.

Restaurant owners usually work their children like employees. If you ever see a kid working, he will try to keep a smile on his face, even though you can tell it's just for show. There is nothing simple about the life of a child whose parents own a restaurant. These kids eat dinner when most children are already asleep, and are always forced to choose a side in the ongoing wars. When a child brings you a plate of food, he has a humongous smile on his face, and the customers cannot see past it. They cannot see the dislike for the job; the desperate desire for a family vacation where every aspect of the trip is a utopia. People might exclaim how lucky the children are to be working in a restaurant, but the truth is, luck is only offered inside brittle cookies.

The next time you and your family dine at a restaurant, do not be fooled by the smiles of the children, or the kindness of the waiting staff. Just be careful in what you say, because it may trigger a world war in the restaurant with the "perfect family atmosphere".


Everyone

by Lily Berman

Everyone lies,
pretending not to care.
Everyone ignores,
hiding cold stares.

Everyone cheats,
noon to blame;
sagging guilty heads,
all in vain.  

Everyone shows,
nobody knows,
the mind that wonders,
from eyes to toes.  

Everyone hides
feeling no light.
Capturing emotion,
holding on tight…  

Everyone hurts,
tears hit the floor:
naked and bearing;
nothing more.  

Everyone laughs
covering all,
world too big
feeling too small.  

Everyone cries
hiding soaked face;
healing the wounds,
feeling disgrace.  

Everyone loves,
taking it back:
frenetic hormones
planning attack.  

Everyone hates,
it’s all the same:
uncontrollable anger
only brings pain.   ignorance is bliss.
Taking a step,
waiting to miss.


The Heart of Lily Berman 

by Alex Niu
                                                                                                      

Some people see it as a heart-shaped box, while others see it as a decorative item. But for Lily Berman, this tiny box is her life. This heart-shaped gift from her mother contains memories that stretch back to when she was just six years old, and with each item, Lily Berman’s personality is revealed.

All girls like to make decisions. Unfortunately for Lily, one certain decision took a toll on her head. When she was six years old, Lily decided that she wanted bangs instead of parted hair. With this crazy ambition in mind, she got up at four o’clock in the morning and reduced her lengthy hair to stylish bangs. However, her mother did not agree with the stylishness of her new hairstyle, and Lily quickly learned from her little decision. A single lock of hair rests in her box, just to remind her, in case she ever forgets.

Every person has some luck in life. In fourth grade, on a rainy afternoon, Lily was just splashing around in puddles when she jumped into a particularly large puddle. Apart from getting extremely wet, she discovered that a pure white marble had extracted itself from the puddle. Because of its surprising exposure, Lily decided to keep the tiny marble in her heart-shaped box. 

 Lily’s friends love and care about her dearly. In 7th grade, a good friend of Lily’s wrote her an extremely pleasant note which Lily still keeps in her box. In 8th grade, another one of Lily’s friends created a beautiful poem for Lily, and that poem has meant so much to her, because it came from one of her best friends. Lily and her friends also love to have fun with each other. In 10th grade, Lily signed an agreement with her best friend that whoever got a boyfriend first, would be treated to five meals from the other person. No matter what the outcome of the bet turns out to be, she will still be loved by her friends.

In Lily Berman’s heart-shaped box, rest the most memorable moments of her life. From cutting her bangs to making bets with her best friend, Lily will always be considered a blast to hang around. With a personality that ranges from wacky to loving, who wouldn’t want to be one of Lily’s best friends, and have a token in her heart-shaped box.


The Race

by Kelsey Toy

Miles upon miles,
the race goes on.
Breathing hard--
short of breath,
lactic acid building,
burning fire in my legs.
My body wants to stop,
the pain unbearable--
but I keep running l
ike the engine of a car.  

The girl ahead steadily slows,
I sprint to pass her.
My mind races:
I must quicken my pace,
the Finish is beyond the dusty bend,
over the steep, grassy, hill.
My heart pounds a steady cadence
a drummer in a rock concert.
Sweat trickles down my scarlet face
as I turn into the finish chute.  

One last kick
is all I have left.
The final hundred meters,
I run like the wind:
eyes fixed on the finish line,
passing another runner.
One more stride,
my body leans for the finish line.
People chatter around me,
I slow to tell other racers “good job”
and am told to keep walking
to the end of the rainbow-colored chute.
My breathing is fast
my heart is still pounding a song
but I know that this race i
s by far the best one yet.


An Interview with Kicks

by Kelsey Toy
                                 

Erica Wood, an avid soccer player, comes into the room clad in a brand-new Letterman’s jacket with her name and a soccer ball delicately sewn into the blue, wool fabric. The McCall Donnelly High School soccer girls were state champions in 2001 and 2002. “There was a lot of pressure every game we played at state this year,” Wood says. “When they would announce us they would always say “McCall, defending state champions.” We lost the first game [at state] and we didn’t know what it was like to lose. We all kind of stared into space and I thought we may lose morale from the team but we stepped it up.” The team sure did step up. After a devastating loss, the girls finished in fourth place.  

This year the soccer team was split into Varsity and Junior Varsity due to a large number of girls joining the team. Erica said that with so many people, “it was fun, but there was not as much inter-team fun. We didn’t have as much fun just as a soccer team like when we used to have campouts, sleepovers…We get close.” When asked about the addition of a JV team, Wood replied: “I liked it better last year when everyone was held at Varsity standards. Now you know if you are going to be on JV.” Next year there are going to be tryouts for the two teams so it will be a competitive to see who will be on the Varsity team.

Recapping the season, the M-D soccer team only lost one league game. “Weiser, Payette, and Fruitland were the teams we played in our league. We also played larger schools like Lewiston, Moscow, and Kuna for practice,” said Erica. The team had about 18 games total, and instead of looking at a win-loss record, Wood added that “we like to look at the season as a whole.” However, there was the Weiser game. An article was printed in the Weiser newspaper in which the coach criticized the M-D team and said he was sure of a Weiser win. Well, the M-D girls responded to the insult with a win. “It was so exciting! We meet Weiser every year and when we cut them out, we were so psyched!”

After a win at districts, the ladies went on to state. Wood explained: “Districts were all right. I only got to play three minutes in two games so I was kind of hurt, but I still got to dress down and I received a medal.”

The trip to State in Bule was quite interesting. Erica recalls when she “accidentally called 911! When the lady picked up I said, “I didn’t mean to call, I was just trying to dial out of my room!” That was a very memorable moment. Since we were there during Halloween, we all dressed up and went trick-or-treating in the hotel. That was fun. In the past we would go to museums and stuff to kill time. This year we went to the Dollar Store and Target. I almost got hit in an intersection.” Unfortunately, the week before state, Erica had collided with another player and ended up with an injured ankle. Luckily, her ankle was healed for the last game at state. Wood says: “we were playing for fourth and after being out, I got to play. It was exciting to be playing again.”

Erica became a soccer player because, “my mom wouldn’t let me have the treats from my brother’s soccer team so, in order to get them, I had to play soccer too. I was a greedy little child who wanted chocolate! I was on the Warriors’ team in Salmon, and we would put black paint on our faces. I was a monster midfielder. My first goal was in fourth grade and it was my last game in Salmon.”

Practice is a big part of the dedication needed to participate in soccer. Wood says that along with playing, drills, and warm-ups, “we do up and backs, 5 sprint, ? McCall, and soccer baseball. We sometimes run in the morning with the frost on the ground and the ball; it’s fun.”

 Looking into the future, Erica says: “we have dedicated seniors coming up, the work will be hard and there will be tryouts, which I am nervous for.” With the help of an excellent coach, Lex Bernstien, who was honored with the Coach of the Year Award in 2002, and with many new players coming into the sport, the Lady Vandals have a bright future in the making.  


 

Morning Skies

by Lily Berman

Cool winds whisper:
tangle willow branches gracefully.
Green blades twinkle with dew.
Clouds slothfully drift across a blanket of sky,
arraying pigments i
n all their glory.
Robins swoop;
beetles creep under rocks.
Soothing rain covers emerald fields,
as small animals crawl along dark earthen floors,
to peer through cracks in wood and brush
Red hawks lurch above,
darting through morning skies.
Valleys roll for what
seems forever.


Making Music 

by Evan Fischer

The drummer thumps the bass drum taps the high-hat, and smacks the snare, keeping the rhythm the whole time. I gently strum the strings of my guitar, creating a mystical musical background for the melody. The lead guitarist now flies over the fingerboard, creating a wailing sound. We all play together in perfect time, in flowing harmony.

Quite frequently, I play music with my friends after school. Our jam group usually consists of a percussionist, one or two guitarists, and either an electric bass or a keyboard. We have given some structure to a few pieces we have created, but usually we just improvise while we play. Not only does this take more skill but it is more fun because we never know what will happen. The music is always spontaneous, and it never gets boring.

However, good music requires a great deal of effort. Playing with other people is the final product of a long and strenuous process called practicing. For two years I have practiced, and I still have a lot to learn about playing the guitar. When I first started playing, my fingertips would endure intense pain from holding down the strings. My fingertips would bleed but eventually they built up blisters that turned into calluses. Some nights I would do the same chord progression over and over until I could play it as well as possible. Since all the songs I was learning to play were songs that I already knew and loved, listening to my CD’s helped me sound a lot better, too.

In a band, the sounds that one person creates affect the sounds that the other people are making. Not only does one have to listen to himself, but he must listen to others while concentrating on what he is playing. It also takes concentration and emotion to make the music beautiful. But once everyone starts playing music and obtains that same feeling, nothing else matters. I remember one particular day when we were having a good jam session. We were stuck on a few notes and kept playing them over nd over again; we sounded great. I could tell from the look in everyone's eyes that they were having a good time. Once we started playing these few notes in the manner that we were, we did not want to stop. We continued to repeat ourselves for twenty minutes, but we just didn't want to stop. It felt so good.

It is wonderful to know that everyone contributed to the jam. Every person changed the music and made the song his own, while still keeping the theme going. the music does not belong to one person or even to us, the musicians. Music belongs to everyone who has ever had that warm glowing sensation that comes from playing music.


 

A Stop at Maverick

by Evan Fischer 

After work last summer, I was driving aimlessly downtown when I noticed that my gas tank was almost empty. I turned around in a video rental store’s parking lot and drove to Maverick, the most commonly-used gas station in the small town of McCall, Idaho. I kept my CD player playing as I stepped out of my car and went through the same process I go through every time I fill my tank. My concentration stayed on my music since filling gas is always monotonously the same.

With a loud roar, an extremely large truck painted a bright red pulled up beside me. The driver, a cocky-looking man with a handlebar mustache and a Budweiser baseball cap, stared at me with a territorial expression and revved his engine. He stepped out of his car like a bull rider dismounting his steed. When his whole body came into view, I noticed he was wearing a white, grungy, Red Bull energy drink T-shirt that was tucked into a pair of Wrangler jeans complete with a nice shiny belt buckle with the words “RIGGINS RODEO ” engraved on it. I decided that he was either confusing me with someone else, or he didn’t like the music I was playing. When the gas pump stopped, I briskly walked off in the face of his menacing glare, and pulled open the door to Maverick.

I had just cashed my paycheck, so I decided to treat myself to something to eat and drink. Not pressed by any time schedule, I casually browsed through the nearest aisle towards the drinks. I looked over the same drinks that I see in every other gas station across America: Pepsi, Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, Sobe, Starbucks chilled mocha, and tried to decide what I wanted to drink. I was contemplating getting a chilled mocha or a strawberry-banana Sobe when I noticed in the reflection of the glass that someone was walking down the aisle behind me. I was curious to see who it would be, probably because in the back of my mind I was trying to avoid the angry-looking man from the truck outside.

As someone walked past me, I glanced up and was relieved to see a short old lady, probably in her late fifties, with wiry gray hair that stuck out in all directions. She looked crabby, and paid no attention to me. I kept pretending to stare at the drinks as she grabbed a twelve-pack of beer and made her way toward the counter. I watched her in the reflection as she asked for a pack of cigarettes, counting the money she had pulled out of her pocket. I couldn’t quite hear the conversation but I could tell from watching their mouths that the employee was trying to be polite and conversational despite the crabby old lady’s poor mood and rude behavior. Beep! Beep! Beep!

The door sensor sounded, announcing the truck driver entree. I hastily grabbed the strawberry-banana Sobe without actually deciding whether it was what I really wanted, and made my way to the back of the store, avoiding eye contact with the Yosemite Sam character. As the ice cream station came into view, two middle schoolers looked at me guiltily, holding half-eaten ice cream cones. I smiled and turned to look at a rack of chips, allowing them to add ice cream onto their already half-eaten cones. Once they walked away, which they did quite quickly, I leisurely grabbed a hot dog and bun, carefully applying the correct amount of ketchup and mustard. As I did, another middle-aged lady approached, but this one looking much nicer and better-dressed than the gray-haired grump I had noticed earlier. She was wearing a black, knitted sweater over a colorful, collared shirt and white capri pants. She had a happy-looking little girl walking beside her, holding her hand. The mother made an ice cream cone affectionately and handed it to her daughter, who had large grin spread across her face. They walked towards the cash register, holding hands the whole time.

My mind began to wander as I watched the angry man impatiently wait behind the mother and daughter. I thought about each of these people’s lives, and about what had brought them to Maverick. Most of the time, I’m sure, they’re pumping gas and decide to get something in the station at the same time, just like I had. But I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps some people come just to get what is in this convenience store. Like, maybe the grumpy old lady came just to buy some beer and cigarettes. Maybe the mother had brought her daughter in just to have some ice cream. I suddenly became aware that I had absent-mindedly poured too much ketchup onto my hot dog. I grabbed a napkin and tried to wipe some of the ketchup off into the garbage, cursing myself at the same time. I again put mustard on because there was hardly any left after removing the excess ketchup. Finally, I walked up to the cash register after making sure that Yosemite Sam had left, and set my food down on the counter to pay.

“Do you have gas?” The clerk asked as if she had asked the same question a thousand times that day. When she opened her mouth, I couldn’t help but notice the huge gap between her front teeth. “Yes,” I replied. “I’m number two.” She quickly ran up the total and I gave her the money just as quickly. Vroom! Vroom! I heard the angry truck driver rev his engine outside and confidently speed off in his big shiny red truck. I was glad he was gone. The cashier handed me my change and gave a quick, meaningless, “thank you”. She didn’t care if I bought stuff or not. She’d just as soon have that the place stay as slow as possible. I grabbed my snack and headed toward the doors, listening to the Beep’s sound as I passed through. As I opened the door, the smoke from a cigarette shot up my nose and I turned my head to see where it came from. A scraggly-looking man with curly hair sat with his knees pulled up on the bench just beside the door. He stared off into the sky with a very thoughtful expression on his face as he ritualistically raised his cigarette. He wore ripped green shorts, and a gray sweatshirt with the hood pulled up. I wondered why anyone would want to wear a hooded sweatshirt on a hot summer day. Maybe he was trying to hide his face. He was barefoot, but his sandals sat below the bench. I walked past him to my car, which was still playing music.

Taking one last look at the hooded man, I got into my car and started the engine. I sat there for a while, not really waiting for anything, but just looking at Maverick. A strange thought suddenly came into my mind and, for some reason, I had a desire to be one of their security cameras just watching the customers all day one day. At last, I slowly pulled out and flicked my turn signal right, to go waste some time somewhere else.


Forever

by Kelsey Toy 

She stared into the smiling picture:
a moment captured so perfectly.
She remembered her friend;
they had giggled,
and played
all that wonderful day.
Their big, brown eyes peered up at her.
She wondered how they could have been
so small
and not cared.

Long had she been away from her friend--
they had been friends forever:
spending every weekend
making up stories
talking to imaginary friends,
wondering where they would be,
what they would do
when they were older.

"We were so innocent,"
she thought
as she pondered everything that had happened.
Neighbors for years.
Forever, they had thought.
But not "forever"
she remembered.
Forever was too long.  

It wasn't a fight
or a dislike
or anything of that sort
that had brought them apart.
They were still best of friends
and still talked frequently,
but not in person.
They could only see each other
a couple times a year.
Too far it was,
too expensive
to travel such a distance
often.  

Nearly in tears
knowing she couldn't simply
get together with her friend,
like old times,
she quickly put the picture away.
She dashed down the stairs:
a call was simply
irresistible.

She picked up the phone,
dialed the long number,
and waited for someone to answer.
It rang.
Again and again.
It was no use.
The answering machine picked up
and she clicked the phone
back on its lonely stand.

"Oh well," she thought.
"I'll try again another time."
She then wondered
if her friend were thinking of her too.
"Maybe she will call
or make an unexpected visit,"
she thought hopefully.
"That would be fun."
Suddenly aloud
she said,
"We could
make up silly stories
and play with all our toys.
We would talk about
pointless things,
and do what friends do,
Forever."


Breakfast with a View

by Lily Berman 
 

The clouds over the small town of New Meadows pour down rain and everything is dark. Hunched-over buildings bend into the street, greeting children who seek shelter on their way to school. Walking into the Granite Mountain Café in the center of town provides a dramatic change from the terrible weather that looms in the street outside.

A halo of smoke covers customers as they talk to their friends and coworkers. Tables and chairs are in orderly rows against the walls; the smell of eggs, coffee, and old cigarette butts hangs in the air. The game room in the back of the building is filled with toddlers playing with pool balls, pushing them across the table to see how far they will go. Everything is calm and peaceful; feeling at home is easy here.

The menus are crackled and old, although the restaurant is new. Waitresses run from table to table, almost anxious to greet the next customer. A woman rushes to the back and rings a small bell to tell the cooks that there is a new order, while another woman pours coffee. I lean back in my chair and make pictures with the ceiling shadows.


Away

by Lily Berman 

Watching her shoes
she ran away walking slowly.
Left.
Right.
Left. Right.
She had holes in the soles
from walking away from where she had been
too long.
Once-white
cheeks and sneakers now stained red with dust that she kicked up
with frustration: She began to run--
and was no longer a girl with red shoes
but a pony shaking her head, trotting wildly
through green, green grass and over hills.
She was the most beautiful pony in the world.  

From a trot to a run, and then to a sprint!
Nothing could stop her.
Frantic and free,
leaping over rocks and holes in the pavement ever so gracefully; now a dancer,
poised and pink, covered in satin bows.
Standing high as can be, with tutu and satin slippers,
balancing on her toes, the crowd cheered for an encore.
She was the most beautiful ballerina in the world.  

Spinning fast, faster, and faster still, she spun towards the sky;
she began to fly.
Her tutu stretched, clinging to her legs and smoothing into feathers.
Soft lines in her face became rough, pointing to a beak.
As an eagle,
Up, over her town she flew
above clouds, beyond the home that was long forgotten;
where airplanes and geese fly.
She was the most beautiful eagle in the world.  

Twirling and whirling in tiny circles,
zooming, tearing through silky soft air as quickly as she could.
When she was all out of energy she fell,
becoming a rock.
Hugging her knees tight with no sound while warm tears swam
down her once-white cheeks.
Grasping her sunburnt legs with tiny hands,
she aimlessly stared at the road ahead until her handprints swelled with stingy pains.
She was the most beautiful rock in the world.  

Her tears ran cold.
She rubbed her tears away and slowly turned to red earth, curling up on her side.
Harsh gravel welcomed her with sharp fingers, but she smiled to herself nonetheless,
and fell asleep under a willow sapling.


A Rose by Any Other Name… 

by Kelsey Toy 
 

Names are captivating. They can tell you who someone is, was, or wants to be. As labels, names are simply the best way to describe ourselves. Last names are very diverse, and range from the ever-popular Smith to the complex Przybylski.

The origins of names are interesting since many of the last names used today were changed at some point in time. Many foreign names were hard to understand, and were changed in both spelling and pronunciation. My English teacher's grandfather had his named changed from Furnari to Furnary, because it looked "more American" when he emigrated from Sicily. "Americanized" names were often selected by officials as if baptizing new members of the country with homogeneous names. Immigrants going through Ellis Island were lucky if they were permitted to keep their names the same.

Names can be normal, frequent, odd and embarrassing. I have personally experienced the odd and embarrassing, since my last name is Toy. How hard can it be to spell a simple name like Toy? Apparently, a three-letter word is just too difficult:

"Name please!" the cashier asks.

Of course I reply, "Kelsey Toy."

"Is that Kelsey with an I-E at the end?" she asks.

"E-Y," I reply.

"And was it Troy?"

"Toy."

"OK, I got it. T-O-I."

By now I am mad and have to explain: "No, it is T-O-Y. Like the toy you play with."

"Oh! All right. Ha ha! That is a cool last name. Do people make fun of you?" the cashier asks, amused.  

"Not really," I reply.  

Strangely, this dilemma has happened more than once. It does not just happen to me either; my whole family must suffer through other's boycotting of common sense. It is especially frustrating for my dad, whose name is Rich Toy.

Names often cause confusion. If you have the same last name as someone famous, people always ask you if you are related to that person in any way, and most likely the answer is no. For example, Cindy Crawford, an ice skating instructor in McCall, is constantly asked if she is the model, even though it is obvious she is not. Still, everyone wants to see her anyway. High frequency names also cause conflict, esecially in classrooms. If two or more students have the same first or last name, everyone gets confused. In my sixth grade Home Economics class, there were three boys with the last name Smith. None of them was related, but my teacher had fun with it, calling them the "Smith Brothers."

Names are a sweet and sour blessing that cannot be changed; unless you really want to. Ironically, my friend's basketball coach changed his last name to Hoops. People are always going to call you a name. Be it a first, last or nick name, it always seems to fit; whether you like it or not. Names, our own and others', can determine our reality.


Vanessa

by Lily Berman

How can you see behind closed doors?
Sweet expressions with rotten cores.
You can make it beautiful;
make it go away-
never come back and never stay.  

All the hate we've gone through;
all the pain and pride --
they just smiled their smiles,
pushing us aside.  

They couldn't see inside us
we hid it away;
creating a world both dark and grey.

You can make it beautiful;
make it go away,
follow your feet and run astray.

Tear apart dreams, hopes, and all --
pick it up and wait to fall.
You can make it beautiful;
make it go away --
Follow the shadows and hide from day.


Indian Beadsof Clay

by Kelsey Toy

Evan Fischer always wears a necklace with interesting beads strung into it. Two of the beads have sentimental value to him. The beads have intricate Indian inscriptions engraved in the clay. Evan explains, “My dad got the beads when he was a teenager at an Indian ceremony where they sang and danced...” Later, when Evan was six or seven, his father gave the clay beads to him. He strung the beads onto thick string and has had them around his neck ever since. “The beads are very special to me… I don’t take off the necklace unless I am required to,” Evan says. The beads in the necklace are a significant keepsake to Evan that will, without a doubt, stay strung around his neck.


The Green Chest

by Lily Berman

 I remember the rough and pungent smell. When I was four, I despised every last second of it. The smell reminded me of boredom; minutes seemed like hours in the labyrinth of antique stands that my mother pulled me through every weekend. If my mother said “five more minutes,” I knew that it would be five more hours. When my Power Ranger action figure wars became dull, I would drag my feet, whine, and complain until my mom could not take the madness any longer.

Back then our family could have room for more antique lamps, paintings, or rugs, but not more quilts: we had them all over the house already. They were everywhere! Huge cabinets and boxes throughout the house spilled over with quilts of every pattern imaginable. Everytime I passed by a quilt, or even smelled one, I dreaded the next weekend that my mother would torture me with her antique shopping. At age four I did not see the use of wasting my precious time purchasing something that the family already had too many of.

They were so old. I had no idea how anyone could have such a deep fascination with a blanket. Because we had so many of them, I thought they were common; something that you could buy at the local drugstore. There were quilts on my bed, on all of the couches, and even some hanging on the walls; the whole house smelled like mothballs and musky oil.

When I was about seven years old, my mother starting telling me about quilts. I had never dreamt that so much time, thought, and effort could be put into something so simple. I do not remember most of the stories and history, but I do remember the smell that I grew to love, since it stuck to my clothes and every nook of the house. In my mother’s green chest lay all of her most prized quilts, and the chest was in my area of the house, so I could take a whiff of the quilts whenever I wanted. From my only hatred grew my secret love; the quilts became a part of my life.

 Only now do I realize that “five more minutes” gives me five more wondrous hours of antique browsing. Occasionally I will rummage through quilts in a store, but the smell is never the same. Somehow, the green chest made my mother’s quilts special. All of her favorite quilts lie in that chest, along with the quilts that she will pass down to me. Someday, my child will be given the privilege of having my mother’s chest close to her room, so she can open it anytime she wants to smell the past.


The Creatures of the Sea

by Kelsey Toy

Sometimes, the most enjoyable thing to do is simply hang out with friends at the beach. I had the privilege of traveling to Hawaii with the high school cross country team last September, and the beach was where we spent most of our time. The second day we were there, we had a race at the base of Koko Head: a steep, dormant volcano with a spectacular view of the ocean. Coming from such a dry area, such as McCall, we found the heat and humidity to be intense, so running was difficult. However, we all pulled through and finished our respective races.

After the race, we went to the famous Hanauma Bay, where we tried snorkeling. On arriving, we endured an unexpected five-minute downpour, so all took cover under a rock hangover. Due to the mass quantities of people visiting the site, everyone was required to watch a video that instructed us to view the sea life from afar, and taught us that coral was dying and fish were being harmed by abusive tourists.

Once outside the theater, we could see the bay in its entirety. We walked down the hill, changed into our bathing suits, and equipped ourselves with snorkel gear. Because of the rain, there was a slight gray tint to the sky so viewing the fish at first was difficult. Soon the sun came out and we suddenly found ourselves swimming with the most magnificent creatures alive.

Colors that I did not realize existed lay within the scales of each fish. Creatures small and large -- electric blues, neon-like greens, sparkling silvers, bright pinks, purples, and vibrant oranges -- swam about. We swam to the fish, looking between the reef’s many secret caverns and gaps. Those who had underwater cameras were out of film in no time. My friend Jessica and I were constantly tapping each other to look at a fish and laughing to see their playfulness. Before that moment, I did not know that parrot fish really do look like parrots: beaks, colors and all. 

The surprise of the day was a magnificent green sea turtle, “honu” in the Hawaiian language. Jessica screamed through her snorkel when she saw the turtle swimming beside us. The peacefulness of his stroke evoked in me a sense of wonder, and I stared in awe at his presence. The turtle looked at us too, with his big, beautiful eyes, as if he were doing the observing instead of us. Though we wished to stay and gaze at him forever, we reluctantly swam away and let him continue in peace.

After our adventures underwater, we retreated to the beach where a sand castle was under construction. There were two demanding foremen, a queen, and a lovely princess commanding the rest of us, the slaves, to build! There was a moat and a barricade protecting the inner walls from sure destruction by the sea, a castle with towers, and pathways about the lands. It was a sight to see, as it was fairly large, and the people on the beach were giving us funny looks.

Again, Jessica and I took to the water, this time with Sarah. We saw many more fish and tried to find our turtle friend, dubbed “Tort” by Jessica. We did not find the turtle again, but his image will stay in my mind forever. I scanned the bay, a sight I long to see again: bright blue water crashing upon the reef; the sun reflecting upon its beauty. To me, Hanauma Bay stands out as one of the most intriguing and beautiful places I have ever been.


See 2000-2001 English II pieces by clicking HERE


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