Monday, June 18, 2007

Distance Without

Jacquie smiled at the now-familiar email address sitting benignly in her inbox. She could hardly wait to open it and read the wonderful things inside, yet she hesitated, savouring the moment of anticipation, just like the moment when two new lovers’ fingertips touch for the very first time.

How did this all happen? The email sat there, sent to her from a man from so very far, far away, on the other side of the world. From someone that she had met in a light hearted chat room a couple of months ago, but what seemed so much longer though. Someone that she would never have met, would never have known even existed all the days of her life without the intervention of technology. Cold, unfeeling, uncaring technology. Who would have thought?

And yet there it was. The connection. The mental bonding between two people that thus far had been spiraling through space in two very separate directions, never to meet, never to acknowledge each others existence. Living, breathing, laughing, crying… separately… forever.

Until now.

They had exchanged photos. Grainy little images that had stolen a fleeting moment in each other’s life and now painted a whole new picture of a whole new person, a whole as yet undiscovered new world. A frozen smile from someone who had now become very dear. Someone who helped while away lonely hours deep in the night, or long throughout the day, at opposite ends of the earth. Someone with remarkably the same thoughts, feelings, desires as her own.

Each of them waking up every morning alone in their own worlds, wondering what it would be like to abandon their own lives and take the plunge. Just wondering. Hesitant, afraid, wondering. Holding on to the present as if it were something very fragile, very precious, like a brand new butterfly still wet from it’s cocoon, but too afraid to startle it with a concrete and definite decision.

Was that all there was to be? They had spoken of the future. The desire to continue as is but the hesitation of falling so deeply that the miles between them could only be inevitably measured in pain and heartache. It was a real possibility. One could take the chance, or the other. Who would? Would anyone? Who knew?

She sighed, yes this was the way it was. Her hand poised over her mouse and stroked the email lightly with the pointer, her computer unaware, uncaring of the life energy that was being generated in her, the pulse leaping from her fingertips. Pausing just a very tiny moment to savour the feeling of joy she felt every time she saw a new email from him. She clicked.

(Written by Tania)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Silent Tears

She looked at herself in the mirror. Again. That same mirror that she looked into every morning, the reflection that brushed her hair every morning before school, the reflection that shared her pain when she plucked her first stray eyebrow hairs.

She sighed. Why does she feel so sad? Why is she so angry? Why? Why? She’s sixteen years old. She’s supposed to be having the time of her life, a boyfriend, a million friends, parties and fun. Ok she has friends. Parties come and go. But what she longs for most, what she understands least... that which will calm her soul and which inevitably comes with leaving adolescence… is just… tormentingly... out of her grasp.

Tears well up in her eyes and she fights them. She silently curses all those people who have told her she is beautiful and that she shouldn’t worry about anything. Oh yeah? If I’m so damn beautiful then WHY don’t I have a boyfriend? Why? Huh?

She knows she doesn’t understand something, something about her, something about life in general. She just cannot work out what. If only she knew! She would be all right. She knew she would be. She would have to be. Nothing could be as awful as how she feels now.

She looks around her room. When did she get so apathetic? A dinner plate smeared with crusted gravy and a shriveled remnant of carrot from two nights ago lies on her study desk. Ugh. That’s just gross, but who can be bothered, really? Damn. Am I really ugly? Are these people who tell me I’m beautiful.. are they liars? They must be. There can’t be any other explanation. I hate people. I hate everything. God I’m fat.

She turns on a CD, something that she knows will really annoy her parents. She turns it on loud. She looks at herself in the mirror again and cries. She cries so loudly but even she cannot hear herself sob over the CD. Silent tears. Tears of an anguished teen.

(Written by Tania)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Birthday Wisdom

March 30—

I have so much to do today and I have no idea how I’m going to get it all done. I have two papers I should have finished over spring break but there were so many other things to do, not the least of which was consuming way too many beverages of an impossible shade of blue, while working on my tan. It’s coming along nicely in case you’re interested.

Spring Break. It’s like a rite of passage. I feel like I’ve entered a new stage of my life; a new understanding about my place in the world. I feel all grown-up. How did this new maturity emerge, you ask? It began by being officially more hung over than I ever wanted or expected to be. The end result is that too much partying has lost some of its allure. I didn’t feel grown-up at all when I had my head out the window of the rental car, puking my way down Sandsong Avenue . But I felt about 150 years old the next morning and I emerged from the adventure knowing who my true friends are. Melissa is the best friend a girl could ask for. Anyone who would be willing to tuck me into bed and then go back outside and clean up neon blue vomit from a rental car is indeed a true friend. Everyone should have a Melissa.

Anyway, we got home last night. We’re here through today and then we’re driving back to campus tomorrow. I know I need to work on those papers, but today is Will's birthday! That is so much more important than 18th century literature. Please, the literature has come and gone. The birthday is now. He’s got some party or something with his friends later tonight, but I think I’m going to take him out for lunch today. It’ll be one of those big sister/baby brother outings where I give him lots of advice and he pretends he’s going to take it. I think I’ll begin by extolling the evils of blue alcoholic beverages.

(Written by Elizabeth Webb)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Dear Diary,

It's hard to believe, but it's already the start of another new year. I remember when I was a little girl. The days crawled like weeks, weeks lasted for months, and years were something I could not even comprehend. But now as I am in the dimming years of my life, the years seem to pass as quickly as the weeks once did, and days last no longer than the blink of an eye. I put my hand to my neck, and feel the silken caress of my pearl necklace, and there is a memory for every pearl.

I remember holding my daughter in my arms for the very first time. Her tiny red face was the ugliest little thing I'd ever seen, with those eyes scrunched up against the light, and her teeny hands clenched themselves convulsively around my finger, but I stared at her in awe, wondering at how exquisite she was, how perfect, and how God could bring such beauty into the world. Another pearl. I see my daughter holding her daughter in the hospital room. "Mom," she whispered, "she was so ugly when she was first born, but she was still so beautiful."

Another pearl, and I feel my husband's strong hands clasping my own. "For better or for worse," he was repeating. "Until death us do part," but he and I both knew that nothing, not even death, would ever part us. And here is another pearl, and I see him dying, but even now he is never very far away from me. Why, I can almost feel his hand lightly touching my cheek.

Here is another pearl, and I remember lightly floating down the stairs in a poofy pink dress. Mom and Dad were waiting downstairs, along with my prom date. He carefully pinned on the corsage of white roses, and I pretended to be embarrassed while Mom and Dad took pictures, but I was secretly happy that they loved me so much that they wanted to share in my joy and excitement.

And another pearl, and I see a row of graduation pictures lining the hall at the family home. When Will graduated from high school, Loren and I took him out to the lake. We just sat around and talked. Well, we talked and drank what seemed like a lot of beer, but probably wasn't. The three of us always stuck together, the “young'uns“, as Jean, Mae, and Eddie always condescendingly referred to us.

Here's another pearl, and this one tells me to remember when I laughed so much I cried, when I cried so much that it hurt, when I hurt so much that I could hardly move. It tells me to hold on to all of my memories, those that are beautiful and those that are sorrowful.

I've had a rich, full, wonderful life. It has been something of a marvel, and I can only imagine what adventures lie ahead of me in the next world. In the meantime, I hope I live to be a hundred and one, and have two or three more grandchildren to spoil and take care of. I hope to do a little more traveling this year. And I think that I shall even tempt the fates, and make a resolution or two. Surely I'm not quite perfect yet. I'll do a little soul-searching, and see what I can come up with that.

Good night, dear diary.

(Written by Faith Stencel)