By O. Ryder
I realized that I didn’t own a hairdryer when my sister’s wet towel brushed against my skin last night. It was cold. It soothed the pain in my bear arms but I moved it away, onto her lap. Whenever someone wore a towel on their head I imagined the Virgin Mary.
She looked at me, big eyes glaring. “I just washed my hair.” Always glaring.
In that moment I felt stupid. Glaring eyes often made me feel as though I’d done something stupid.
Always glaring. Always stupid.
I felt uneasy as she pressed her back into my pillow. The olive green towel reminded me of my sweater: how it hung on her and how her gold strands clung to it as she rested against me.
I wasn’t attracted to blondes, I told myself. She was pretty but plain. I liked dark hair. I liked dark hair and warm eyes. No glaring. Never glaring.
My sister elbowed me. Woke me from my trance. Told me Dad wanted to talk.
My eyes left the green and my hands found the phone. I wondered why I had been in such a daze. Wet hair was soft, I thought. I haven’t worn that sweater in a long time.
I talked. He talked. He hung up.
Whenever we spoke lately he felt as though he was keeping me away from something. I just had trouble finding things to talk about. I wanted to hear warmth in his voice.
Everything died in the Fall. The plants, the insects, Granddad. Even some of the Angels died in the Fall.
Love blossomed in the Fall, but made me feel dead.
I was not fond of the weather. It was deceiving. Deceiving Canadian Fall.
The weather was as schizophrenic as our identity. Some said they felt it was bipolar…perhaps…perhaps.
Always glaring. Always falling. Always stupid. Always dead.
I wondered how anyone could rest their head in such a messy room. It smelt of burnt popcorn, wet towels and cologne.
And those golden strands had smelt like summer.
She was the Summer. I the Fall.
For once I had fallen, she had fled. As the warmth does when death comes.
She was Life. I Death.
Despite wishing, I represented the end.
“I love this sweater.” she said.
I said nothing.
She wrapped her fingers in mine. It felt uncomfortable.
I remembered the wet green towel. My sister was asking for the phone back. I placed it in her hand. I watched the television. You could get lost in the television. No thoughts. Always glaring. Always stupid. Always wishing.
Summer Says a Bad Word
To my little sister who is not so little anymore but still very competitive.
Many years ago, when Summer was a little girl—or at least younger than she is now—she learned a very important lesson about the words she used, and how they affected others.
It was the second grade. Summer was just beginning to make friends at her new school. That particular day Summer was playing a game with her friends, where the children were split up into teams. Summer was a competitive little girl, and hated to lose…oh how she hated to lose. Summer smiled excitedly before the teams parted their separate ways and puffed up her chest. She looked straight at her friend Azul and shouted, “I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS!”
Now this was not something little girls said.
This was not something anyone in the second grade said.
This wasn’t even something you heard the fourth graders say, and yet Summer said it. Summer said the “A” word.
Azul, stunned by what his friend had said, ran to the nearest teacher, “Mrs. McKinnon! Mrs. McKinnon!”
Summer stood with the rest of her friends puzzled, as the teacher approached.
“Summer, did you say a bad word?” Mrs. McKinnon asked.
Summer wasn’t sure how to answer. She felt very upset. Why would Azul ever accuse her of saying a bad word? All she had said was that she was going to kick his ass. An ass was a donkey; the Bible said so!
“Well, did you or not?” Mrs. McKinnon questioned. “Because those aren’t kind words, and we don’t say those kinds of things to our friends.”
That was when Summer began to cry. She tried to explain that she didn’t know that what she had said was wrong but it seemed like the teacher was still very angry with her.
“I’m sorry.” said Summer through her tears. “I didn’t know it was bad.”
Azul nodded. “It’s okay. I forgive you.”
Summer still, continued to cry. Summer didn’t like to hurt people’s feelings, and now she was worried that the teacher would send her to the principal’s office. Summer had never gotten in trouble like this before. She was a good little girl.
Summer’s other friends felt bad too. They didn’t like to see any of their friends upset. They especially didn’t like that they hadn’t gotten back to their game yet.
Finally Summer calmed down, and the teacher explained to her why she couldn’t say those kinds of things.
“Telling someone that you are going to kick their butt, is a threat.” Mrs. McKinnon told her. “Threatening someone is a very mean thing to do.” Mrs. McKinnon sighed gently. “Also the “A” word isn’t a word that we use because it is a bad word.”
Summer then again apologised to her friend Azul, and the children all decided that they would try to play their game again later.
Later that day the children all split into their teams.
Summer was a competitive little girl, and hated to lose…oh how she hated to lose. Summer smiled excitedly and puffed up her chest. Then she looked straight at her friend Azul and shouted, “MAY THE BEST MAN WIN!”
There is No Other Like the Dreamer.
There is no other like the dreamer.
The inventor of imagination.
With thoughts floating like an endless stream.
Beauty awaits him at every corner.
He is the artist behind each thought.
He is the writer behind every word.
The master of his own universe.
A dreamer like him; there is no other.
The First Piece of Writing that I Entered into a Competition.
It was Kris who was the first to react. He jumped up out of his seat and raced towards the closed door; eyes wide. His friends followed him with their faces pale as the three of them watched the knapsack fade off into the distance.
After Caz got his friends to calm down, Jackie decided to go and find someone who could help them figure out what to do. When she returned, she told the two boys that they had been advised to get off at the next stop and walk back to the other station—this was the train’s last root for the day. “Guys I’m really sorry…I should have kept better track of my things.” Jackie choked as she lowered her head.
As usual Caz tried to sooth her. He was always good at keeping things together. The three of them waited until the train came to a stop. Jackie said that she was told the last station was about an hour’s walk from where they were let off, and if they kept at a steady pace they could get there before it got too dark.
“Hey guys let’s try taking a short cut.” Kris suggested a sly smirk crawling across his face. Before the others could protest Kris had already started off into the alley on his own. He looked over his shoulder and grinned. “You guys coming or what?”
“I guess.” Jackie mumbled following in after him.
Caz hesitated for a moment but stormed after them. “Guys this is dangerous. We don’t know this city very well and—.”
“Don’t be such a baby.” Kris snickered. He pulled himself up onto the fire exit of an old apartment building and shot Caz a daring look. “Should I jump?”
“You’re an idiot.” Caz spat as Kris climbed up to the second set of stairs. He flashed his friends a devious grin that caused Caz to grit his teeth, “Kris you’re wasting time.”
“Guys, please not another fight.” Jackie choked. Without looking at either of the boys she fled from the alley in tears.
The two boys stopped and looked at one another shamefully. Caz waited for Kris to climb down before the two of them went off to look for their friend.
“Ever since you came along she’s been getting mad at me.” Kris said softly as they scanned the street.
“Maybe if you weren’t such an idiot all the time, she wouldn’t be getting so ticked off?” Caz spat.
“I wouldn’t act like such an idiot if she never told me that she liked you!” Kris’ voice echoed out through the darkness; in front of them stood Jackie alone under the glow of a street light. The tear stains on her cheeks added to the flushed look on her face. “Let’s go find my bag.” She mumbled glaring at Kris. She took Caz by the arm.