Aging With You

There are, I believe, many different dimensions to the universe. Each one is unique and ever changing. I like to imagine some to be ruled by dolphins, some completely filled with starlight. Some have the typical aliens, some are just like ours but with a twist, or maybe set in a different time period/setting.

Ours is definitely interesting. It’s a lot like yours, but we have something you don’t. A power that each person is born with.

Actually maybe I shouldn’t call it a power, more like a curse. Or a gift, depends on how you look at it.

Basically, we age normally like you humans do, but at your 216th cycle (18 years by human calculations) you stop. Aging, that is. Your skin stays smooth, your eyes don’t dull, you don’t have arthritis or anything, not until you’ve met your soulmate.

When you meet the person you are destined to be with forever the two of you will grow ancient together.

Wrinkles begin to appear, bones protrude a bit more sharply, limbs ache a little more easily. But if something is to happen to one of you, their partners biological clock seems to freeze again until another soul is ready to move on with you.

At 144 cycles I was sitting with my four Heart Sisters, Awanata, Serilda, Akila, And Svana, as we drew Henna across each other’s skulls. That day was when we vowed to one another our pledges regarding the Soulmate curse.

Awanata decided to wait until love found her and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life in the meantime.  She happily lived up to her name, which means Turtle, and she ended up adopting a few tortoises which can often be seen wandering our front porch.

Akila also followed her names definition, and went on to study and then teach at the Anthropological University downtown. She doesn’t really think much of love.

Svana was, as ever, as hopeless romantic, but although she’s had countless suitors and marriage proposals she’s never found The One.

I still remember as we were sitting there, Svana patiently painting the top of my head with a cold brush, Akila waiting for hers to dry, when Awanata asked me what my pledge would be. She already had the others written down on a piece of paper she insisted we sign after.

“Come on, Nova, we’ve all decided, you have to too.” Akila begged with a smile.

I sighed. “Fine. I think that Fate will find a way to bring me where I need to be to meet my soulmate. Until then, I’m working on being happy. Whatever makes me smile and feel good about myself I will work for. Swimming, learning, reading…”

Awanata nodded, finished her marks on the page and handed it to Svana to start signing.

Around 72 cycles later we had our coming of age celebration, and the whole town partied the night away in honor of us four. We had already managed to accomplish many of our goals and our family and friends were encouraging us in more of them.

Somewhere around 48 cycles after that wonderful weekend of fun, I am laying on the floor of our small flat, a ridiculously large hand of cards in my grasp, and a very determined Akila sitting across from me.

“You’ve never beat me before and you never will.” She grinned smugly.

Svana turned from the cake batter Awanata had her stirring to chirp “I think she has a pretty good chance of doing whatever she puts her mind to.”

Akila frowned up at her. “I beg to differ. Statistically, she has an extremely small chance at beating me an-”

Awanata cut across her to call for help with a large bubbling pot of stew. Giving up on the game I was obviously losing, I stood and seized a couple hot pads to help her.

“When will they be here?” Svana asked, trying to keep Awanata from noticing Akila sneaking away some of the frosting.

“Akila, stop that. In about an hour, so get that cake in the pan!” Awanata tossed a ladle to me before grabbing a bag of rolls to toss in a bowl.

A moan came from underneath my feet and I carefully stepped over Nata’s tortoise.

He cried again, yawning lazily and nudging his bowl, begging for lettuce or other scraps.

“Just a moment, Bingley.”

Since Nata was busy Akila helped grab him some snacks.

A loud beeping from our kitchen timer shocks everyone. Awanata goes to turn it off and then screams.

“I miscalculated!!! They’re going to be here in ten minutes, run! Nova, get dressed for heavens sakes! Akila, take the wrap off your henna, run guys, run!”

We run.

In the next ten minutes we prepare everything from outfits to the dining room to the tortoise.  The doorbell rings almost exactly on time.

We take a collective breath, and Svana opens the door.

“Welcome!” Her airy voice is soon joined by a dozen others of varying tones. In come many of our closest friends and classmates, hugs and smiles all around.

Once everyone is seated in various cushions around the living room, steaming bowls of stew in hand, I dim the lights and pull out my lighter, setting aflame a few candles on the mantle place.

“Thank you all for coming.” I said after a few minutes of pleasant silence.

“Happy Birthday, girls!” My cousin Eleanor gave me a side squeeze.

Beside me Awanata gasped quietly. Svana turned to her.

“What’s wrong, love?” She asked gently. “Is the soup too hot?”

Nata said nothing, just shook her head slightly. A moment later she stood up, moving almost robotically, and walked down the hall into the bathroom.

“Excuse us for just a moment…” Svana whispered apologetically and hurried after her.

The rest of us sat in slightly awkward silence, waiting in anticipation.

It wasn’t long before they returned, arms linked, both smiling widely.

“Tell them.” Svana nudged.

Awanata smiled shyly. “I’m aging.”

Silence, and then squeals of excitement.

“Ooh, do you know who?” Marlene giggled, her arm wrapped around her boyfriends waist.

“Um, I’m not sure…” Nata glanced around at everyone. That was when I noticed the small black tally mark on her wrist.

“Look at your mark!” I seized her arm, admiring the small line. “How exciting…when did it appear?”

“Just now.”

Everyone froze, Andy then immediately began checking their own wrists. If hers hadn’t only just appeared that meant that someone in this room would have one too.

After a moment of scuffling, one guy raised his hand high, a small black line visible in the candlelight.

It was one of Akila’s classmates, a tall, strong looking man with a thin build. His curly brown hair across his brow, wide black eyes meeting Nata’s.

“Hi, I’m Phoenix. Pleased to meet you.” He reached out and shook her hand.

Svana started shooing people out of the room. “Go, let them get to know each other.” Out we went, leaving the two to meet properly.”

It was so exciting, knowing that just on the other side of the door, soulmates were becoming friends.

Winter Homeschool Conference

This years conference was, in my opinion, the best yet.

Everywhere I turned I had friends or someone I knew. The speakers were incredible, booths were super fun, and the performance by the Silhouette Ballroom Dance Team was just amazing.

The dance after was split into four parts. First, a twenty minute performance by Silhouette, then a brief dance class so we would all know the two step, then another performance, Andy then the dance itself. It was supposed to end at ten but everyone was having so much fun it ended up going almost a half hour over.

Seeing the flowing skirts twisting around lightly stepping feet, people leaping through the air to show off their swing moves, dancing across the gym in couples or groups.

The dances at the conference are the best because everyone knows at least a little cha cha, waltz, swing, and probably other things too. So every partner you have has a slightly different style, tempo or step to go with the music.

I love all of the incredible actors and actresses I know from Shine Performing Arts Camp and how sweet and inclusive we all are.

Its like having a big family of crazy nerds.

Tis I, la frite française.

Il était une fois, il y avait une alevins. Il n’a pas eu beaucoup d’amis, et c’était probablement partiellement dû au fait que sa chose préférée à faire était de marcher dans les rues de Burgerville et d’appeler les passants “Tis I, la frenchy fret.” Il était plutôt snob et proclamait souvent sa grandeur. Il regardait les autres et les traitait mal. Jusqu’à ce que, après un certain temps, personne d’autre ne l’écoute. «Nous en avons marre, disaient-ils, avec cette alevée narcissique. Et ainsi, pour lui enseigner une leçon qu’il n’oublierait jamais, toutes les autres frites de Burgerville l’ignorèrent. Pendant des semaines ils ont agi comme s’il était un fantôme. Invisible, inouï, et seul, son orgueil était grandement diminúe. Au bout d’un certain temps, alors que l’ailier français était assis seul dans l’ombre de sa porte, il entendit des pas étranges descendre la route de pavés cassée. Les autres frites étaient partis il y a quelques semaines, et le petit lutry a regardé intrigué, se demandant, qui pourrait-il être? Et puis de l’horizon, à cheval à chapeau à la main, vint un étranger tout rouge. Un paquet de ketchup. De son cheval elle lept, et sa main elle frissonna avec empressement. «Monsieur, est-ce vous qui m’avez parlé? Est-ce que vous êtes les alevins qui courraient en criant que vous étiez la plus fameuse des frites? Le frangin a hoché la tête tristement, regrettant la façon dont il avait agi quand ses voisins lui avaient parlé avant. Le ketchup sourit large, et lui demanda de lui dire tout sur lui-même et pourquoi il pensait qu’il était le frenchy fret. Mais avec des larmes salées coulant sur son visage, il a blubered tranquillement tandis que le ketchup a attendu. Finalement, étouffant, il haleta une seule phrase. «Tis I, les frenchy fry. Après un certain temps de lutter confusément, essayant de communiquer, le ketchup a finalement utilisé le bon sens. Avec un crayon et un papier qu’elle lui offrit, il essaya de lui raconter une histoire, une histoire très triste. Une malédiction était sur lui, que tout ce qu’il pouvait dire, à moins qu’il ait été enseigné d’une autre manière, était cette phrase terrible. «Tis I, les frenchy fry. Personne n’avait jamais pris le temps de communiquer réellement, et tous se demandaient pourquoi il ne disait rien de plus, mais ne se donnait jamais la peine de lui apprendre le reste de leur langue BurgerVille. Le ketchup hocha la tête consciemment et elle l’aida pendant des semaines à apprendre de nouvelles choses, de nouveaux mots et de nouvelles phrases, des noms et des adjectifs. Écrire et lire avec beaucoup de facilité et de compétence. Et puis enfin, lui aussi, pouvait parler et chanter et expliquer ses sentiments. Et pour la première fois de sa vie, il avait quelqu’un à qui parler qui s’intéressait vraiment à ce qu’il avait à dire. Lentement, le conte de la frite qui a appris a fait son chemin vers les autres frites, qui avaient quitté dans leur détermination à lui enseigner une leçon. Un à un ils erraient à la maison, se demandant si ce qu’ils avaient entendu était vrai. Et en entrant dans ce village désolé, ils virent à la porte un paquet de ketchup. Elle se mit à rire et se pencha sur le bras de son amie, la frite française, qui avait appris non seulement à parler, mais à pardonner. Et pourtant après tout, avec BurgerVille animée de gens qui ont ri et a aidé les autres à apprendre et à grandir, les alevins étaient souvent encore connus pour errer et aider à rappeler aux gens de se rappeler de se dire: «Tis I, la frenchy fret. ”

 

THIS STORY WAS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH AND THEN PUT THROUGH GOOGLE TRANSLATE AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW MANY THINGS ARE LOST DURING TRANSLATION. I APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCOHERENCE OF THIS POST, BUT I PROMISE THAT ORIGINALLY IT REALLY WAS MEANINGFUL. THANKS FOR READING (if you did in fact read it)

Death Wants His Paycheck

– I’ll kill you.

– Darling, I’m already dead.

– Ya well, I’ll hurt you.

Death sighed. Reaching out a skeletal hand and beckoning, it mentally prepared itself for the angry screams sure to come. And sure enough…

– NOOOOOOOooOoOooOoooooooOooOoOOoOOoOoOOoO you can’t, stop, stop, go away…

The man collapsed, cowering away as Death advanced, rather boredly.

– I…I have a family! A wife, kids.

– No you don’t.

– I have a good job!

– You were literally just fired, do you not remember?

– Um…

The  man sighed.

– Fine. I guess my life is just meaningless. I may as well be dead, who will miss me?

– That’s the spirit!

Death grabbed his wrist and pulled him away into the swirling abyss.

– Now, you’re atheist aren’t you?

The man stammered, gasping for breath a son the storming wind around them stung at his lungs.

– Y-yes, I am…

– Well that doesn’t narrow it down much. What do you believe awaits you after death?

– N-nothing, but I don’t want to be alone…

– Okay, so you can get off here. There are a few others like you already waiting through that light. Enjoy!

Death shoved the man away from it and he fell screaming, seeming to shrink away almost completely before disappearing through the star-like light below.

Brushing its hands off on its long robes, Death turned and zoomed away. It’a shift had ended, it was don-

A loud DING sounded from its tablet. After a moment of struggling to extract it from its many layered robe, it saw a yellow light blinking and a small note scrawled from Hermes about a suicide coming up.

– You know, a little overtime cash wouldn’t be bad…

It twisted the air around it until it was at the coordinates that’s Hermes had included in his text. Death dropped out of the sky, landing gently atop the roof of a car.

Standing maybe 20 feet in front of it was a young girl, shaking nervously at the edge of a drop down to crashing waves below.

It would only be a few seconds and it could collect his 13th spirit of the day. Oh hey, 13th! Lucky number bonus.

But as it watched, she waited. She couldn’t quite seem to bring herself to do it.

Meanwhile, Death was battling with its own internal struggles. Should it help her? It’d been warned countless times not to interfere until the person was actually deceased, but she was young, and alone, and suicides were never pleasant. It could prevent a lot of misery… oh but its lucky number bonus! No, it would follow the code.

– Stop!

– What are you doing?!? It screamed internally.

The girl spun around, away from the cliffs edge. She clutched her own arms as though they were the only thing keeping her on earth.

– Who are you? What do you want- woah.

The wind had blown off Death’s hood and she could see its sunken face.

Death stuck out its arm, allowing its sleeve to fall back, revealing bones bleached white.

– Hi, I’m Death. Care for a cup of tea?

She stared for a moment before nodding mutely and stepping closer to it.

– Are you… are you actually, you know, dead?

– Duh.

– Ah. Right, well…

They stood awkwardly, looking each other over.

– So um, is this your car?

She twitched as if a fly had touched her shoulder.

– Its my stepdads. But he won’t be needing it anymore.

– Oh no? Why not?

– He’s dead. Died just about an hour ago. I got the call when my mom found his note…

Her voice broke some. A chill went down Death’s unprotected spine, and it wasn’t from the wind and ocean spray.

– Er, what was his name? It wasn’t-

– Tim. Tim Allred.

– Dang it.

The girl moved closer.

– Did you know him?

Death pulled its robes closer around him, its tall frame shrinking away in shame. Now it remembered this cliff, but it’d seen it from the other side of the ravine. That’s where it’d picked up Tim, just a short while earlier.

– Didn’t you?

The girl was much closer now, and it could see tear streaks on her cheeks, from the cold or crying it wasn’t sure.

– Well only for a short while. He seemed…nice…

Death trailed off, the girls eyes were dark and angry, and her voice was terrible, cracked and broken.

– You took him didn’t you.

– Its my job! I mean, I didn’t kill him, that other guy did, but-

– OTHER guy?! What other guy? Are you part of a cult or something?

– NO! No, I mean the guy with the gun, the human. He shot your step dad I just cleaned up his spirit…

With every word she seemed to be getting more and more confused and upset.

In an attempt to calm her and ensure its old bones safety, it backed up and continued with its request from earlier.

– Come on now, how about we discuss it over a nice cuppa’?

She straightened up, and a cold determination set into her eyes.

– No.

And with that she turned and ran back towards the cliff. At the same moment, two more cars pulled up, one a police, one a beat-up chevy.

Officers jumped out, trying desperately to get to the girl. Two more women had gotten out of the chevy, Death guessed probably the girl’s mom and grandmother.

They ran toward her too, but it was too late. Death felt nothing as the older woman hobbled through him, falling at its feet.

Death shook its head at the scene and floated up and over the drop off, past the officers staring sadly at the waves below.

They couldn’t see it, only those close to dying could, so they caused it no trouble and showed no interest in a cloaked skeleton soaring down the rock wall.

Up came another spirit, the girls, blown up out of the water below. The spirit still had tear streaks and wind blown hair, but this time she took Deaths arm without hesitation, and it flew her up into space, and then on to her afterlife.

Well, it had gotten its lucky bonus! Thirteen spirits in twelve hours, nice.

Back at the office it logged in its hours, filed the paperwork on its spirits and said bye to Mary at the receptionist counter.

– See you tomorrow!

It waved over its shoulder and continued into the parking lot. Death could see spirits walking around it, but once again, they couldn’t see it. The Afterlife and Co. Headquarters were in the middle of London but no one except its employees knew.

And so, they alone got to experience the surreal feeling of two overlapping dimensions, watching the world around them without being disturbed by it or disrupting it at all.

Death saluted a veteran wearing an Air Force cap, then wandered through him towards his car.

Being collecter of the deceased payed surprisingly well, and as a result Death had a rather nice vehicle. Feeling cool as it drove home after a long day of work was important to it.

And tomorrow it would get to do it again, except after gathering many more souls. Competition Week at the office was starting tomorrow and whoever logged the most souls by the time it ended would get a huge cash bonus and a gift card for dinner and a movie. Death had won four times in a row and wasn’t about to break its record.

 

~ To Be Continued ~ 

 

 

 

 

Melting for You

Once Upon a Time…

There was a Little Marshmallow. She lived in Brenda’s cupboard with the rest of her marshmallow family. Just down the shelf from them, past the Hershey’s bars, Graham Crackers, and Starbursts, lived a small tin full of another family.

This tin was full cocoa packets, neatly lined up waiting for their turn in the hot water. One of the packets was about the same age as the Little Marshmallow, and although it was forbidden by their families, they soon developed a close kinship.

All Autumn long they would have long conversations that lasted long after the kitchen light had been shut off and no more shining slivers could be seen under the cupboards hinges.

But as Winter drew near, their lives became threatened. Winter was the season when cocoa with marshmallows was eaten the most, and one day when Brenda came to the cupboard to get herself a cup, the packet she grabbed was Little Cocoa, Marshmallows best friend.

Panicking, Little Marshmallow squirmed to the top of her bag, refusing to lose her best friend.

It worked, and Brenda was soon dropping Little Marshmallow and her siblings into the cup of Little Cocoa.

Cocoa pleaded with Marshmallow, begging her to hop out while she could. He couldn’t bear it, he said, if she was gone. But her arguement was similar, and she refused to leave.

Soon the boiling water was taking a toll on Marshmallows sugary outsides, and they began slipping away, swirling white and cream in Cocoa’s chocolatey depths.

Cocoa cried, but his tears only made the water hotter and stronger. The last thing he heard was his best friends voice, calling to him as her tiny face dripped away.

“Some people are worth melting for.”

 

Looking Back

Jamestown, New York

Looking Back on the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival

A few months ago I was given the opportunity to travel to Jamestown with my grandparents for this festival.

So, in Jamestown there were many different people, but they all shared one love, and that was of Lucy Ball and comedy. She was born there, and it created enough publicity to bring great business to the town. There were bus tours, cruises on Chautauqua lake, chocolate wrapping and grape stomping activities, vendors lining the streets, conga playing classes, comedy nights, live bands filling the streets with song and so much more.

The food itself was worth the trip. Everything tasted fresh and rich and the restaurants were clean and cozy. Their was a breakfast diner we went to nearly every morning and they remembered us and what we liked. There was a fancier place we managed to get reservations for one night, and although it was our waitresses first day she did an excellent job. The cafe across the street from our apartment made sure they were able to accommodate my grandmothers dietary needs and were always happy to give us a refreshing drink when the humid air was slowing us down. All in all, Jamestown had food as good, and better than, anywhere else I’be been.

Then for the tours. Guides were funny and brilliant, pointing out each little detail of the quiet town with eloquence and humor. We were able to travel around seeing old buildings, Lucy’s childhood haunts, wall murals of the show and beautiful brick roads. We stopped in the cemetery where Lucille’s memorial is (although she is buried elsewhere, if I’m remembering correctly) and our guide was able to tell us the ancestry of the headstones around us.

The cruise on Lake Chataqua was wonderful, once again the guide she and the food were fantastic and the service was great. I had the good fortune to meet a young family of five who invited me to sit with them. They were sweet, smart, talented and kind. We laughed and told each other about our home towns and shared stories about beloved pets. Their two daughters had costumes from the show and were wearing a different one each day. The cruise gave us the opportunity to enjoy good company and beautiful views.

One of the crowning events this year was the unveiling of the new Lucy statue. Before, there was the infamous “Ugly Lucy”.

Who, needless to say, did not go over well.

This year, they revealed a new statue who was done beautifully.

You can see this here. Everyone was very pleased with the new, elegant portrayal of their towns heroine. Fun Fact: each of the polka dots on her dress (look up the full picture to see the skirt, it’s lovely) each dot was hand done by the artist.

Over all, I hope to be able to go back to Jamestown, which is a quaint town with kind people full of spirit and pride for their legacy.

I strongly suggest that if you too ever get the chance to visit this amazing festival, do so. And please, comment below about what you thought of my views on the whole thing.