“Who do you think I am,” she hisses. “Huh, what you see when you look at me?” My childhood friend, Shelly stares back at me with tears streaming down her face.
"I see a sad girl who has yet to find a friend to tell her the truth," I say fiercely, "I see a sad girl who has yet to find someone to tell her what she’s doing wrong. I see a sad girl who has yet to find who she's looking for. When I look at you I see heartbreak." I whisper my voice breaking. This is not the Shelly I once knew. We have been friends since kindergarten when I spilled grape juice on my shirt and she lent me her jacket. Fast forward ten years, Shelly has found a group of friends to hang out with. It's not that I'm jealous of her being with them, it's what they do. Delilah and her posse are troublemakers wreaking havoc in our small town. Everyone knows to stay away from them, but for some reason Shelly wanted to join their group.
“Well I’m sorry that I can’t be Miss Perfect like you,” she says walking away.
“You don’t need to be perfect! Hanging around with Delilah and her gang isn't helping you. Stealing and beating up innocent people, Shelly that's not you,” I say, going after her. The wind whips through our hair.
“Well maybe that Shelly is gone, Meghan.” She runs off and I’m there standing on the sidewalk as drops of rain fall from the dark clouds.
"She's in there somewhere, and I intend on finding her!" I scream after her. She's running away from her problems. This is not the way to live.
It's been 3 days since that fight. I decide to call her sister Maya and see if she's okay.
"Hey, its Meghan, I’m looking for Shelly." I settle in the couch in our living room. There’s a pause.
"Shelly is not here," she murmurs. There's something wrong with her voice.
"Well, where is she?"
There's another pause before Maya says, "She's dead." There’s a silence, as I take in, what Maya just
said. My mom passes by holding a basket of laundry not noticing the blankness covering my face.
Dead? As in not living?
I should have called her before. I'm too late. I feel like my heart just broke. My mind stops. I can’t breathe. I drop the phone and fall onto the ground, my living room becoming a blur. Realization dawns on me. She's gone…
The green branches of the trees clash noisily together. I rest my elbow on the small triangular opening of this 60 foot tower, my evil mother put me in since I was twelve. I never knew why, she just told me I had to stay here forever. Now I’m twenty years old, and bored to death.
“Help! Someone please, I’m trapped in this disgusting, cold, and dark tower!" She visits me every morning and brings little food that never satisfies me. Along with the it, she comes with a comb and brush to maintain the waterfall of hair on my head. It takes hours I can guess, just to wash it with the buckets of water I am provided with. Imagine wearing the same thing over and over again. It's horrific! Sighing, I wait for my knight in shining armor to rescue me. The pink and purple dress swish just above my ankles, as I rub my feet together in annoyance.
Suddenly in the distance, I hear something pounding against the ground in a hurry.
“Here I am, my princess!” I lean over the window to see Prince Christoph with his beach tan and sparkling brown eyes, getting off his white horse and coming towards me.
“Oh no, you don’t! I am going to save my princess!” Prince Julian, his green eyed twin brother, was now getting off his brown horse and coming towards me.
There are two princes fighting to save me. I wonder who is going to get here first.
Smirking, I watch the two guys race to rescue me. They are both trying to climb the wall at the same time which proves difficult. Prince Christoph is mischievous, handsomely daring, and a ladies’ man. He charms every woman’s heart with just a smile; or so the magazines mother lets me have, say.
“You don’t belong here Julian. She does not want you, wart face!” Prince Christoph says, pushing him to the ground.
Prince Julian on the other hand, is a bit of a, oh how do you say this? A bit of an airhead when it comes to socializing, a nerd when it comes math and science. The man is brilliant, but also stupid.
Prince Julian quickly gets up and head butts Prince Christoph, saying, “You don’t deserve her, you uh, rat!” He falls to the ground and does not get up. Prince Julian stands over his brother for a few seconds, realizing what he has just done. A small smile creeps up his face, and with a fist in the air, he exclaims, “Finally, I've beat my brother!”
“Adanya, Adanya, lay down your hair.” Prince Julian says smiling up at me.
I roll my eyes feeling the annoyance boiling. I yell down, “Lest I remind you, that this is not a Rapunzel story, it’s an Adanya story! If you’re going to save me, get your metal behind up this tower.”
“Oh r-right I’m s-sorry,” he stammers, climbing up into the tower. I hop onto his skinny back, and he carries me back down to safety.
“Thank you, Prince Julian. That was a courageous and noble thing to do,” I say sincerely.
“I’d do anything for you, Princess Adanya.” And with that, we rode off into the sunset, and lived happily ever after. Well, I lived happily ever after, in our (my) huge mansion with six horses and all the food and fashion I can ever ask for. Prince Julian on the other hand, not so much. He had to put up with this diva.
Three months later
I admire the gorgeous figure situated in the mirror on a pink cushion. Brown hair flows in waves, resting by her ankles, complimenting the creamy chocolate complexion, in a red satin night gown. Sharp but knowing hazel eyes pry behind a crinkled button nose.
“I am cursed with beauty and charm. Something people wish they could acquire.” The room behind me (though not as pleasing) is lightly decorated, a white marble bathroom, with golden streaks along the walls. Dimmed lights above the mirror give it an ominous feel. My favorite part other than the mirror, are the golden rods and knobs. They just make everything look... special. The bedroom though, is simple with a huge bed in the middle and multiple paintings decorating the walls. Sadly my “special” moment is ruined when a certain someone comes in yelling like a madman.
“I've done it; I think I've finally done it!” Taking a deep breath, I swivel around and stand.
“Let me guess, you have successfully completed yet another scientific experiment,” I say bored.
“Why don't you sound excited?” He finally calms down as I push past him to the bedroom.
“Julian,” I say cautiously.
“Yes, my dear?” He stares confusingly at me, his arms defeated by his side. The dirtied lab coat is stained with the chemical of the day, as he likes to say.
“How long have we been together?” I hated using the word ugh married. It curdles my blood just thinking about it.
“Uh, three months, why?” The sweat forming on his forehead shines in the lights.
“Julian darling, have I ever, even once, been interested in any of your experiments?” I don't give him time to answer as I continue, my voice rising. “Do you really think I care about Sodium Chloride mixed with Phosphate or the fact that you know fifty-two numbers of Pi by heart?” The knife of my words cut through him, crushing his heart. “No, I do not care, okay? So stop involving me in your stupid lab experiments.”
“But you're my wi-”
“Hold it right there,” I hold up a finger. “I only...married you because you saved me from my prison. Not because I actually have some kind of feelings for you, Julian. If you didn't know that before, let it be known now.” I turn my heel and leave him in my dust. The plush bed calls out to me, and I reply by jumping under the soft, white covers.
“Your brother would have been a better match,” I mutter.
The man went into the house and cooked himself some macaroni. But the macaroni contained something he would never imagine.
Phil Satcher was a lonely man. He had no friends, family, or even acquaintances. His house was small, three bedrooms, and a gift from his deceased grandparents. Life was pretty boring for Phil. At work, he sat in his bland cubicle with piles of loose papers strewn across his desk. Conversations were brief and not amusing. One thing though, his boss liked him.
“Phil, you’re here earlier than usual!” Mr. Don Michaels, the CEO of Craft Store, storms down the gray carpeted floor, pass decorated cubicles, to Phil. He pushes his chair back, standing slowly.
“Yes, I wanted to finish the proposal as soon as possible,” he says in monotone. Mr. Michael nods, placing a finger on his chin.
“Phil, you are a hard worker, you know that? You come in, get your job done, and make this company richer! I want to promote you to Assistant Director.” Mr. Michael smiles very wide, baring yellowed teeth. Phil is shocked, the whites of his eyes showing prominently.
“Wow, this is an honor,” Phil mutters. Going to the grocery store after work, Phil develops a pep in his step. He smiles at the employees walking around, saying hi to fellow customers. He picks up a couple boxes of macaroni, a bottle of red wine, and two Congrats balloons. Home is no longer a bore, to Phil. He cooks up some Mac n’ Cheese, opens the red wine, and dines by himself. A sliver of cheese dribbles down his chin, the hot deliciousness melting his heart and mind.
Phyllis Sather was a lively woman. She had so many friends and family, and a couple acquaintances. Her house was large, with six bedrooms, a lease put in by Uncle Mark. Life was pretty exciting for Phyllis. At work, she sat in her picture filled office, with a neat stack of folders on her desk. Conversations were long and amusing. One thing though, her boss hated her.
“Phyllis, you’re late again!” Ms. Cami Maguire, CEO of Hardware Heaven, strolls down the auburn carpeted floor, pass bland cubicles, to Phyllis. She pushes her chair back, standing hastily.
“Ugh! The proposal is not due until four,” she says loudly. Ms. Maguire shakes her head, placing her hands on her hips.
“Phyllis, you are a negligent worker, you know that? You come in, sit around, and make this company poorer! I want you out of here, you’re fired!” Ms. Maguire exclaims, baring her small white teeth. Phyllis saw this coming a mile away, a sigh escaping.
“I hate you too,” she murmurs as Ms. Maguire exits. Going to the grocery store after work, Phyllis develops a hitch to her gait. She frowns at the employees sulking around, saying mean things under her breath to fellow customers. She picks up a box of macaroni, two bottles of red wine, and a feel better balloon. Home is no longer fun to Phyllis, even with her sister Sarah, coming over. She cooks a box of Mac n’ cheese, opens both bottles, and dines with her. A drool of cheese slips down her chin, the lukewarm stickiness crushing her heart and mind.
Every Friday we agreed in the coffee shop across from the bookstore where we first met. NOT a date, just casual meetings, something to look forward to.
Our lives were struck,
Burned with distraught,
Speckled with hope.
A long week ended on a happy note, two hard workers, and a cup of coffee or two and four slices of cheese cake.
Every Friday changed to Friday afternoons and early Saturday mornings. We were drawn to each other like the opposite sides of a magnet, or the sun to the color black.
Similar in like,
But similar all the same.
One day you arrived at the door step of my apartment, only to be let in… it was raining after all. You broke the rules, now our meetings are not casual any longer. There’s something to it.
More than something to look forward to,
More than an escape from horrible reality,
More than a silly love interest.
We no longer meet in the coffee shop across from the bookstore where we met. But at my place or your place, watching old classics, singing along to 70’s music and eating caramel popcorn on the ratty couch.
Having a good time,
Not just a casual meeting,
Not just something to look forward to.
It was a spark or two,
A fallen star,
A light bulb over the head.
“I’m so excited!" I exclaim. "It’s 24 hours until she comes home!” I jump up and down on my messy bed.
“Who?” Dana, my friend asks. She flips through pages of some trendy magazine, its colorful images flying by. I roll my eyes.
“Amanda, my sister that's in college, remember?” Tomorrow, we’re all going to Disney World for a whole week! I have waited for this since school ended two weeks ago.
“Oh yeah I forgot,” she says, taking a bite of the chocolate chips cookies, my mom brought us. Her mousy brown hair flickers into her face, and she pushes it back behind her ear. "Well I'm going to head home now." She stands up and gives me a hug.
"I'll see you next week." I tell her.
"Have fun." She opens the door. “Don’t forget to take lots of pictures.”
The Next Day
We just finished putting our luggage in the car and were eating our breakfast when I hear a car door slam. I race to go open the door, thinking its Amanda. Instead, there’s a policeman standing there. “Hi there, are you Amanda’s sister?” His mustache moves with his words.
“Where is she?” My heart pounds hard against my ribs.
His blotchy face becomes dark as his eyes lower. “I have some bad news, he says.
“What type of bad news?” I scream. My mom and my Dad come running to the door as I sink to the ground, still clutching the doorknob. My dad tries to console me to no avail.
This has to be a joke. A very sick joke.
"Your daughter was in accident, and she didn't make it." The officer shifts from foot to foot, not comfortable with this part of his job.
“You’re telling me Amanda’s dead?” I yell, tears streaming down my face.
“May I come inside?” He asks.
“Sure come in.” My dad says.
The officer comes in and closes the door behind him. He sits on the velvet couch. My parent sit across from him, their faces solemn. I sit next to my father and put my head on his shoulder.
“It’s okay sweetie,” he whispers, patting my head softly.
“So how did she… die? My mother says, trying to keep her composure. Though she looked like she was about to break any second now.
“Amanda got hit by a car at the airport, and the driver sped away,” he explains.
“A hit and run?” My father yells.
Officer Pikes, as his name tag reads, stands to leave. He regards at me with sympathy and says, “I’m deeply sorry for your loss. We will do all that we can, to find the person who did this.”
“Thanks,” I reply. I closed the door and turned around to face my parents. “She’s not dead.” I say.
“Didn’t you hear what Officer Pikes said?” My mom asks. “Maya-”
“No! Don’t try and convince me otherwise!” I yell, stomping up the stairs. I get to my room and slam the door shut. I jump on my bed and get in the covers, and cry so hard, I can barely breathe.
It’s all a lie, or a joke. Amanda’s not really dead, she’ll knock on the door and then we’ll be on our way. I better go downstairs and wait for her, there’s no way she’s gone, no way.
I walk out my room and walk down the stairs. With each step, I’m getting more and more confident, that she’s still alive.
“Honey, what are you doing?” My dad asks, as I sit on the floor in front of the door.
I give him a blatant response. “Waiting for Amanda.”
“Oh Suzie, don’t be a wimp!” Jonathan taunted. He and this other kid from the block decided go inside the supposed haunted house. I told them that it was a bad idea and they dared me to go with them. The wind whipped my short brown hair. The sun started to set as the looming house stood before us on the deserted street.
“There is nothing to be afraid of,” A boy said, climbing up the rickety steps with Jonathan right behind. He pulled me up there, and I had no choice but to follow.
“You go first,” he suggested, pushing to me the door. Shakily, I turned the knob and it opened noisily, darkness beckoning me in. I took two hesitant steps over the threshold.
“Ahhhhhh Help!” The door shut, leaving me trapped.
“Suuzziie come here,” a voice whispered. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I turned around to face a little girl in a tattered nightgown with two black holes for eyes. She raises her hands out to me.
“Hahahahaha!” She cackled. I lurched forward into the air unable to move or scream; my mouth gaped open. I felt her sucking the life out me. My body started convulsing and my eyes rolled backwards.
“Oh man we’re going to be in real trouble Jona-
Suddenly, the door opened and Suzie walked out calm and unharmed.
“Suzie, you’re okay! We thought we lost you in there,” Jonathan said. He squints at her. “Hey, what happened to your eyes, they didn’t used to be black.”
The glittering lights of the protruding silver machine invited me in. I pressed the blue button and the door slid open to reveal a small closet like space. I step inside hesitantly and the door closes with a thud.
“Okay Evelyn, you can do this. Just type in the numbers and you’ll be on your way,” I say, prepping myself. This is a huge mission that could change history forever. A key pad on the right of me blinks and I dial the numbers, feeling the machine shake and sputter.
April 14, 1865, the sun has long left the sky, as I slip inside the looming red and white Ford’s Theatre dressed in boyish attire. This will fool any suspicious onlookers. I open the worn out rear back door, and look up. There sitting in the presidential booth was none other than President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary. I take a deep hesitant breath and head back out. Fixing my hair under the small cap, I hear a noise behind me.
“Something has to be done now,” a voice whispers. “We can’t wait any longer, he has to go!”
The assassin! I have to hurry.
Quickly but quietly, I head up the stoned stairs breathing heavily. There the couple sat laughing merrily behind the white and gold curtains. I creep up behind them arms outstretched.
“Mr. Lincoln,” I tap his shoulder. He turns around confused.
“Well hello there boy, how may I help you,” he smiles and his eyes twinkle which made me smile back. Seeing him up close was surreal and a bit scary.
“You need to get out of here, someone is about to come and kill you!” His wife Mary turns around.
“Do you understand the monstrosity of what you’re saying!” she yelps. I look at my pocket watch: 10:11pm
I’m wasting time! Two minutes left.
I tug Mr. Lincoln by his arm. “Come on, you have to follow me before it’s too late!”
“Stop what you are doing at once young man!” he exclaims. Major Rathbone in his soldier’s uniform, gets out of his seat to pull me away. I collide with the ground just as John Wilkes Booth enters through the curtains, first glancing at me then pointing his gun at the president.
“No!” I yell. I grab his foot, taking him off balance but it was too late. He had shot him already.
I failed my mission.
Discretely, I exit the theater, stooping in the alleyway to cry.
I’m sorry I failed you great grandfather.
Will we ever go back to Earth again?
That’s the question I’ve been asking myself for the past three days. Ever since the evacuation from Earth, all the adults have been busy in the spaceship. There’s no one to ask or talk to. It’s probably because I’m the only child left. Why, I don’t know.
“Uncle Eden, can I ask you something?” I ask. He huffs and puffs as he picks up a heavy brown box then sets it down again.
“Not now Sylvester, can’t you see that I’m busy? Why don’t you go explore the rest of the spaceship okay?”
“I already did twice,” I say sulking away. I have no one to play with or talk to.
“Sylvester!” My grandmother Ellie calls. Her tired wrinkled face turns into a smile that makes me race into her arms.
“Hi grandma!” I take in her sweet scent and lean closer to her apron. “Are those cookies I smell?” She pulls out two chocolate chip cookies and hands them to me.
“I got these just for you. Come, let’s go sit by the window.” The stars are brighter in outer space and even prettier.
“Grandma, when are we going back home again, I miss Earth.” I lay my head against her chest.
“I miss Earth too, but this is our new home now. We’re never going back.” We sit for awhile, just gazing, wondering and maybe hoping. Days, months and then years go by until there’s only a few of us left.
“Oh come on, Sylvester! It’s your eighteenth birthday, we have to do something,” Myra my thirty-two year old cousin pleads. I roll my eyes.
“Fine, but I’m not in the mood for a party.” She squeals like a little girl and runs off to tell the others in the kitchen. We’ve spent fourteen years, looking for another habitable planet and so far, we’ve found none. After all this time, no one has told me why we left or why I was the only child to survive. Now that I’m eighteen, I’m able to accompany the captain and I cannot wait for that to happen. Maybe I can find out some information. Finally, Myra comes out with a small round vanilla cake and puts it on the wooden table. Eighteen blue candles are lit as everyone waits expectantly.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Make a wish and blow out the candles!”
I wish we can go back to Earth.
Cheers erupt as I blow out my candles and smile.
"Hey you guys! I have some great news!” Our captain Simon yells. “Earth has been deemed habitable again. We can go home! We can finally go home!”
“You were wrong grandma, we are finally going back.”