Shivering through space, Daley tiptoed across the library in her overcoat, gloves and woolen hat. Every cough ripped through her throat like ice chips going up rather than down, the reverse of her favorite summertime treat, crunching posicles in the yard before they melted.
Her body was a nesting place for germs and it made her uncomfortable to be around people who could catch her diseases but she had no choice. The world hadn’t stopped when her fever had risen to 102. The shelf she was searching for was being elusive, skipping around the library and purposefully evading her.
Terry’s blue and black coat flashed in her peripheral vision and warring instincts kicked in. She didn’t want him to see her like this but she wanted him to see her, to remember she existed outside the universe of beer pong and lax boys sucking on helium balloons for a laugh. Terry wasn’t above that sort of thing – Daley liked to think she was – but he had something to him that was more than that as well.
She couldn’t decide what to do quickly enough, and so he was gone, slamming out of the library like everyone seemed to do, as loudly and disruptively as possible. The sound reverberated in her head and she still couldn’t find the shelf mark she was looking for. She wished she could ask for help but her voice was reduced to a crow’s scratchy caw and whispering hurt even worse.
It was time to give up, she realized, surprised that her body had already figured this out and that she was falling to the floor, knees buckling, hands pulling some books off the shelf with her just to make sure that someone would hear and come running.
At least, she thought before everything went black, some instincts are still working.
It sounded like fireworks, first. I thought it was maybe fireworks, like maybe one of the big kids brought them to school when they wasn’t supposed to. We’re not allowed to bring things like that to school. We’re not even supposed to have fireworks at all, but one time me and Adam and Jake and Hamed, we all had fireworks and we tried to light them but they were bust because they were wet. Adam got them from his big brother, but his big brother musta wet them before giving them to us. I bet he thought it was really funny.
So I didn’t know why there was fireworks at school. But it didn’t sound exactly like fireworks because there wasn’t that after bit. And there was a bit of other noise, like kids yelling and stuff. But I don’t know if I really heard that or not because Mom and Dad said that I might be imagining some stuff. I don’t know, I don’t really get it.
Anyway, Miss Anna, that’s our teacher, she got really angry when she heard the firework sounds. Popping noises, that’s how I heard other people talk about it. Popping sounds. So when she heard them, she got angry. And she told us all to be very quiet, but she didn’t yell it, like she sometimes does. I don’t know why, but we all did. We got quiet. I was kinda scared of her, I think. Because she looked seriouser than she did other times. I guess she wasn’t angry, I guess she was worried. I asked Mom about that and Mom said she wasn’t angry. Just worried. Everyone was worried. We were so worried, that’s what everyone keeps saying. Mom and Dad were outside when we ran out after everything, and they both hugged me and said we were so worried. I still didn’t understand why but the sirens hurt my eyes so I put my head into Dad’s stomach and he thought I was crying. I’m not crying, I told him, but I know he didn’t believe me and that’s when I got real mad and didn’t talk to him for a while. He always thinks I’m crying when I’m not. Just cause he cries all the time. I don’t have to cry all the time too.
Miss Anna first told us to get under our desks after the popping noises and then she did something she tells us never to do. She answered her phone. It was buzzing, not ringing, but we could all hear it, just like she can hear it if we try to play games with the sound off. She always says she has really sensy tev ears, I don’t know what she means, but I guess it means she knows when you’re using your phone even when you shouldn’t be.
She whispered into the phone instead of talking into to and I didn’t know how anyone could hear her on the other side because when I try to whisper to Mom on the phone she always says speak up. Then Miss Ann got down on the floor with us and I started to giggle a little because, well, it was funny. And Adam laughed too because he was next to me and he saw it was funny too. Mom told me after that it was okay that I laughed because I didn’t know what was happening and then it’s okay to laugh. But I still don’t really now so maybe it’s still okay to laugh.
But I guess it’s not okay to laugh because when I tried to laugh with some woman who had really nice red hair and was standing near Mom at the meeting where we saw the President, Mom told me to hush up. Sometimes she tells me to speak up and sometimes she tells me to hush up. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do then. Dad hugged me tightly when we saw the President speak. I know there’s a big P in President because Miss Anna taught us that last week in school.
There isn’t any school now. I just stay at home with Mom who isn’t going to work and Dad comes home from the shop for lunch and we all eat together. Which is really nice. But Mom keeps rubbing my hair a lot and she doesn’t let me watch anything on tv except for DVDs. And I want to watch something on the Disney channel but she keeps saying no, because she can’t see the news again. And then she cries. I still don’t really get why. I asked if it was about the fireworks at school and she looked confused, and so I said that popping noises and she asked where I heard about that. I didn’t want to tell her that I can’t sleep so good and that I hear her and Dad watching the news late at night, so I didn’t tell her. I said I just heard it somewhere. She said yes baby, it’s about that. And then she said thank god and she hugged me again. Parents are weird sometimes.
So this is what is going to happen for the time being. I’m going to keep this blog open for now and occasionally update it with fiction and such. I will also update it with any info I have about publishing. I still might close it, but right now is not the time to be making big decisions.
Well, that’s because I’m going through a big change right now. Not only is my summer vacation finished, but I am also now starting my junior year abroad at Oxford University in England. And, like many before me, I feel the need to record my exciting year abroad. For this purpose, I’m experimenting with a new blog.
I’ve been remiss in updating you on some of the recent happenings, including the reason for my very on-and-off blogging during the past few months. As some of you know, I was deeply involved in my sophomore year at college since September of 2011 – this past semester has been especially hectic and crazy, which is why I’ve been blogging less frequently. Here are some highlights of my semester:
-I assistant stage-managed for a production of Macbeth.
-I played the part of Cynthia in Tom Stoppard’s play “The Real Inspector Hound.”
-I read a few incredible books, including: “Cousin Bette” by Balzac, “Sons and Lovers” by D. H. Lawrence, “The Stranger” by Albert Camus, “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy, “The Brothers Karamzov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, “Snuff” by Terry Pratchett and “The Once and Future King” by T. H. White. Not all of these were for class.
-I spent time with amazing people who I love very, very much and who I currently miss with an ache.
-I discovered that I enjoy writing in screenplay format. (There’s so much white space!)
…and, last but not least:
-I got into a study abroad program and will be spending next year at Oxford University in Oxford, England.
I’m currently back in Israel with my mother and my childhood friends. Home base is strange after spending such a good year in New York and school, but I’m slowly getting used to it again.
And, I have a new project. Which will be the subject of my post tomorrow.
I’m in rehearsal tonight, as I am every single night. And I’m watching Mackers lying with his head on his throne, clinging a bottle and speaking the prophecy he received from the witches and which has now come true.
I feel like my creativity has sapped as my mind has become engrossed entirely in this play.
I keep trying to do my homework or write but in truth I need to pay too much attention to things onstage and so I… just… can’t multitask. Ugh.
I landed at Newark Airport a week and one day ago, at 6am in the morning. It was a long and unpleasant flight, but it ended, and I arrived at my destination safely, which is important.
Since then, it seems as if a whole month’s worth of events has already occurred.
My first day back, while I was still jet-lagged and hadn’t been on campus for even twelve hours, I volunteered to be an assistant stage manager for my school’s production of Macbeth. That same evening, I also went to the rehearsal of the weekly cabaret show we had. During those first five days, then, I had an average of about six hours of rehearsal a day. This week is a little easier, because I only have Mackers, which is four to five hours a day.
In addition, today was the first day I felt uncomfortable participating in class; I hadn’t finished the reading, which is something I hardly ever allow myself to do.
Then there is also the issue of several of my friends going through very hard time – I’m worried about them and feel responsible for some of them even though I know I shouldn’t.
As a twenty-one-year old college student, I’m well aware that I’m still living in a bubble of parental care and structured life, even though I’m encouraged to act independently and take on responsibilities of my own. Still, once I graduate (in two and a half years) I will need to deal with a monster scarier than in any horror story you can imagine: the infamous Real World. I sometimes wonder if I’ll be able to handle it. I’ve decided that there should be a specific school that teaches how to be an adult. Here are the courses I imagine:
-How to Manage Your Money 101 (a required course for the following electives: How to Be Frugal Without Being Stingy; The Bare Essentials: What Are They?; How to Take a Vacation Without Regretting it Forever; and the ever-popular How to Pay Off Your Student Loans.)
-Being Single (a required course for the following electives: How to Know When It’s Time to Break Up; How to Dump Your Partner with Kindness, Courtesy, and Minimal Ego-Damage; How to Survive Rejection; Bars, Beaches and Bowling Alleys: Meeting People; The Online Dating Scene: Going Digital)
-Tax Returns and Living Alone: Life Skills (a required course for the following electives: Leaving Home: Tragedy or Jubilation?; A Corner of One’s Own: Living with Roommates; How to Pay Taxes Without Tears; I Rented an Apartment: Now What?; Health Insurance: Step by Step; Robbers and Rapists and Muggers, Oh My – Getting Past First-Time-Out-of-the-Nest-Paranoia)
People are already returning to my school today. My flight leaves tomorrow night. I should get to bed so I can wake up early and pack.
It’s with mixed feelings that I’m leaving. In many ways, I’m glad to go back. There are good things waiting for me back at school, in all avenues of life. But there are good things here, too. I guess this is kind of the best possible problem to have, right? Leaving one happy place for another happy place isn’t really something I feel comfortable complaining about.
“A Wrackspurt… They’re invisible. They float in through your ears and make your brain go fuzzy…” – Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I’ve had a Wrackspurt in my head all day. I didn’t have any classes and an interview I was supposed to have about my school’s Oxford program was canceled: I had a whole free day to do lots and lots and lots of work in. Total amount of time actually working? Probably about two-and-a-half hours. That’s all. I napped for too long, I messed around on the Internet for too long, and now I’m writing in my blog instead of working on the story I need to send to my writing teacher or continuing to make some headway with the notes I’m trying to organize on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Ugh.
I hate when this happens. I begin to feel guilty about not having done enough and it takes the pleasure out of the things that I do for fun. Even when I try to tell myself that I actually do have enough time, that things are going okay and that I’m mostly on top of my work, actually, I still somehow end up feeling guilty. And then I get stuck in obsessive thoughts; for example, I woke up from my nap at 4:50PM and then lay in bed feeling back about having taken a nap until 5:20PM, wasting another half hour that way and not managing to release myself from those obsessive, judgmental thoughts.
If anybody knows of a potion to get rid of wrackspurts and unfuzz the brain, let me know. Also, any un-guilt potions would be helpful.
My dorm room has three windows; four, if you count the one that’s in the emergency exit door, which I don’t, because I keep the blind down on it at all times. The reason for that is that I’m on the first floor of my building, directly overlooking, from two windows, the main entrance used by students to come and go from main campus. The window in the exit door overlooks a little hill on which people sometimes sit and smoke when the weather permits. The last window overlooks an ugly tarred roof and from it I could see, if I wished, the windows of the apartments in what I can only call the second wing of the building. I keep that blind closed most of the time as well. So really, I have very little light coming into the room during the day, and at night all my blinds are closed except one, and that window is blocked by a screen so that the people walking below won’t be able to see me changing.
I’m a pretty private person, which is why I’m still ecstatic to have this single room, even if the windows aren’t quite as useful as I’d hoped. There are other downsides to the room, though. Since it’s right by the entrance, I get to hear all the drunk partiers who go out to smoke at one, two and three in the morning. At first, it really irked me. But lately I’ve grown used to it and have even come to see it as a plus. I can’t recognize people’s voices because of the echoing quality, but I can sometimes pick out some words and I try to remember them, to weave stories from them, to put images and faces to them.
I’m back at school after a lovely mini-break with my brother and his girlfriend in Washington D.C. I’m halfway through the semester. There are bright sides, too.