Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
These days I sit here amongst the trees, and even when I close my eyes, I see the brilliant gold light through my eyelids, making my vision bright pink instead of black. I inhale deeply and the smell of damp earth, of life, fills my nostrils. I can no longer hear the cars that plague this area, hearing instead the distant bleat of an old sheep and the crackling of leaf litter as I shift in my seat. Recognising every individual aspect of this moment gives me a feeling of peace that starts in my stomach and moves up to my heart, then to the rest of my body, making me smile without realising: this is my mind at peace. I am happy; I am calm; I am at peace with the world, just for this moment.
Finding yourself swimming in the thick velvety blackness of ones own mind, and realising that you can’t see beyond it, is never a comforting thought. You move through life day by day, never seeing the goings-on of the people around you, of your friends. You are so focussed on your own inky depths that the joys of life pass you by without a glance back at you. The velvet consumes you until you find yourself in so deep, you can’t see the surface; you can’t see even a sliver of the light that used to consume you with the same potency that the velvet does now. To you, dying seems like it would feel like floating on air: totally weightless, painless, free. Yet despite this, you can’t trick your mind into believing this completely. The brief moments of clarity in your mind reveal that you know how much it would hurt those select few who can’t live without you around, so you keep moving, keep living.
No matter whom you talk to, or what they say, sometimes it’s not enough. Their words can’t cut through the thickening velvet. They remain floating on the top: there, but unable to reach you, since you have realised that although you need a loving hand to grasp yours, and haul you above the surface before you drown, here in your private velvet, you do not want saving. But no matter what you do, there are people bothering you, talking to you about how you feel and why you feel that way, and bit by bit, their words do either of two things: some lift you enough to make you want to smile. Others will make you sink so far into the velvety depths of your mind that you wouldn’t care if you died and left the world to move on without you, which, you reason with yourself, it would undoubtedly do eventually.
Yet every now and again, someone comes along and sees you. Not just looks at you with a sympathetic smile, or a, ‘Cheer up sweetie’, but really looks at you, through your dismissive replies of, ‘I’m fine, just tired,’ into your eyes, until their gaze begins to pierce the fabric of your mind, fraying the velvet. And although you try to look away, to reinforce the barrier you created between others and yourself, you cannot; their piercing gaze holds your mind, gently sweeping away the cobwebs created by the refusal to utilize the mind’s skills…
You hear your name called softly as the space around you empties of people. As they reach your alcove, you wipe away tears, the last remnants that you were just crying again. They see your hand wipe them and she asks if you’re okay. You don’t answer, knowing that she already knows your answer, instead choosing to resume your previous activity in your sheltered alcove in the wall. The silence stretches out before the three of you, and then she holds out a piece of folded card and says ‘I hope this makes you feel better’. He nods, staring at me with the same intense gaze as he always gives me when he’s worried about me. I don’t meet his eyes this time, instead looking at the stiff card sitting in my hand.
… This is dedicated to a wonderful person who lets everyone in…
Their names are written proudly below. I unfold the paper and line after line of lyrics scream at me in fat black marker.
Sometimes it’s amazing how several lines of poetry can affect you. How they can completely destroy any mindset that you may have, no matter how different to the twisting rhymes your opinion is.
Reading their words is like having a blazing light forced into you, making you warm and happy, burning the velvet into embers that float slowly through your mind, settling where they can no longer grow into originality and consume you again. Tears slide over hot cheeks and a laugh escapes you. You stand up, turn to the writers and almost strangle them in a hug, trying to express without words, how their song has brought you back. You can feel the coarse material of her top and the warmth of his body as they hold you in a tight embrace with more feeling than you have wanted to feel in a long time. You apologise for crying again, explain that they’re not tears caused by sadness, but by love, for this is the wake up call from reality that you have been unconsciously screaming out for, even though you thought you did not want it.
Sitting up here, in the afternoon light, I see that there is no velvet:: the light burns any recurrences to the ashes of a memory with its intense orange glow. Despite the rustling of leaves overhead, there is no wind here where I sit, contemplating my life. Although I don’t get along with some people, I see that I am not who I am without their influence. After reading their letter, the hand that had been reaching for me caught me and pulled me back to reality so fast it left me breathless, the velvet in me burnt beyond recognition. Nowadays I go through life telling myself not to stress about some things – I won’t even remember them in a few months. For life isn’t about what people say about you, or think of you, or what your academic achievements are, it is about living through everything, no matter the difficulty, and surviving to see another beautiful sunset, another love at another time, all in the afternoon light.
Monday, 23 June 2008
I’m sitting in what could possibly be the most uncomfortable seat in the entire world, listening to a woman on a podium make an impassioned speech. Whether anyone is listening other than the select few scattered throughout the audience, I do not know. But I’m listening. With every word she speaks, she will come closer and closer to tears. I know why. Soon everyone else in this enormous room will too.
“What I want to tell you today is a story, not of myself, but of someone much more amazing …” the woman breaks down into tears and steps aside for a moment. To the innocent bystander, as most of the 1200 people listening are, this statement paired with the sudden tears may not make much sense other than that something bad has happened to the woman. By now, people are thinking that this is another of the same old speeches that they, while in school, are obligated to hear. They think that this woman is an abuse survivor, or a nurse, talking about a patient, or a loving sibling, recalling the incredible cancer recovery of a sister or father. The woman is none of these. They know neither who she is nor what she has endured. But unlike them, I know what happened.
I am here in the centre of this audience as her support: when she feels like she can go on no longer, she looks to the place where I am, and I smile, and she knows that she can get through this address. I am always in the same place, regardless of where, or to whom, she recalls the memories that wrench people’s hearts and make this woman’s tears their own.
Despite myself, I cannot help but drift into memories as the woman talks.
I hear the sigh of the wind blowing through the Sheoaks at home. Suddenly, the sigh turns to a shriek and I hear the sound of one metal slicing through another.
I return to the present with a small start; the teenager next to me turns and looks at me, then back at the tearful woman down below us.
The woman overcomes her bout of tears and continues, “It was my fault, I told myself over and over again, even though I now know that there was nothing I could have done to prevent what happened. Teenagers think they are invincible, that nothing they do will ever go wrong…”
Another memory seeps into my thoughts, though this time shapes accompany the sounds.
A long laugh blocks out the sound of the woman and a young man’s smiling face swims into view. I smile too: his happiness is infectious. He has the same wiry brown hair and blue eyes as he does in all of my memories of him, even when we were kids, playing in the tree house in his backyard. He returns to facing the front, still smiling. He turns in his chair suddenly, looking at me, and asks me something. I cannot hear him over the music blaring from the speakers beside me, but I smile back anyway.
There is another face to the left, partially obscured by a pink camouflage-coloured headrest. Singing along to the music at the top of her lungs, short black and pink curls flank her pixie-like face. Telling her to open her eyes and concentrate on not killing us, she replies with a sharp retort, turns the music down slightly and continues singing. I smile to myself: she always was a performer, even when she wasn’t on the stage. I look to my left and see a dozing boy wearing industrial-sized earphones that cover both his ears and the earphones inhabiting them. He does not care for hard rock music, preferring the sounds of the Inca, Maya and Native Americans. To my right, a blonde girl wearing reading glasses and holding a thick Bryce Courtenay volume is trying, unsuccessfully, to have a conversation with the boy in front of her, whom she has been secretly going out with for over a year. The final, and my most important, member of our troupe is sitting on my lap, my arms around her waist, slowly running her thin fingers through my hair. I lean in to her, her soft brown hair in my face, and whisper the three words that created the last smile I ever saw on her beautiful face:
I hastily wipe away the tear created by remembering the happiest time of my life. I must not let the woman see me cry: it will upset her more than she already is.
I have heard this address so many times; I can recite it word for word in my head along with her: “I believed I was being fair by letting him go, just this once. It was the first time my son had been on a road trip with his friends without a parent going too. I knew the other kids that were going, and they were sensible people whom I had known for well over ten years. ”
As the woman speaks, I see the events she refers to unfolding in my head, along with some she does not know about.
The blue-eyed boy arguing with his mother over why she does not want him to go with the others. Friends convincing their parents that they will not drink drive or take any drugs. The pink-haired girl packing her station wagon with a tent and camping stove. My beautiful girlfriend’s clothes spilling out of her unzipped suitcase onto the sidewalk.
Now that I think about it, if our parents had been more forceful about us staying at home over the long weekend, instead of taking the road trip into the middle of nowhere, the ensuing events would never have happened. The blue-eyed boy’s mother would not be standing below me today just like so many times before, giving the speech that was supposed to stop the same events from recurring.
I check my watch: 1:50 pm. It is almost time. “Everything was going fine,” the woman says. Only a few more seconds to go, I think to myself. “They had a full tank of petrol, a slab of beer in the boot and a ton of CD’s. It was going great until…”
Swiftly, I pull myself into a standing position, supported by my arm braces. I say in a loud, clear voice, so that the entire room can hear me, “Until a four-wheel-drive with an overloaded trailer careered towards us at a hundred and ten kilometres per hour and smashed diagonally into our bonnet and left side.” Every head turned towards me as I moved carefully from the row of seats and into the aisle, continuing, “Alexandra was sitting on my lap, without a seat belt. She didn’t stand a chance. Neither did the boy with the earphones in, Toby, or Samson, my best friend. They were both killed on impact. The driver of the other car, his passenger, Tibby, Abby and I were pulled from the wreck and sent straight to the nearest hospital after the other car’s passenger called 000. The last thing I heard before I passed out was the driver’s wife frantically saying ‘It was an accident! It was an accident! Is everyone okay?’.
“I spent over a month in hospital unconscious. When I awoke, I found out that I would never see my friends alive again. Tibby gave one helluva fight to survive before finally giving up. She was in a coma for two months after I awoke. She died on February 15th 2006 from brain haemorrhaging. The world will never hear her passionate songs ever again. Abby, who hid her love for Samson from her parents because they disapproved of him, died on the operating table December 30th 2005. Samson, the budding artist and my best mate, and Toby, quiet but ever assertive and extremely smart, were both pronounced dead on December 30th. The driver of the four-wheeled-drive barely survived. He lost his left arm from the elbow down and is now in a wheelchair. He will never walk again. His wife was lucky enough to have survived with only a few broken bones. Alexandra, my kind, beautiful, gentle girlfriend, will never say the words ‘I love you’ to me again.
“My name is Michael Robertson and I am 23 years and 2 days old. I lost almost everyone I loved and cared about in a car accident.” Having come to the bottom of the stairs, I ascend the stairs to the stage on which Angela stands. “This is Angela, Samson’s mother. Together we are making our way around
"Too many young people die from making poor decisions on our roads. Do not become just another one of the kids being zipped up in body bags," She says, finishing my sentence.
We walk out of the amphitheatre to applause. It seems that, just this once, our message might have got through.
**Although based on a series of government advertisements, this story and its characters are completely fictional, any similarities to actual names or events is coincidental and unintentional**
**needless to say, the story is copyright and i will be very disappointed in anyone that tries to pass it off as their own**
She is so tired, she cannot stand. She sits on the swing, moving back and forth slightly. The metal chains clink as they move against the steel frame. Her head rests on her hands, eyes closed, listening to the evening. She hears feet moving across the bark chips towards her, but does not look up. Although initially she doesn’t know who the figure standing above her is, as soon as she hears the smooth, deep voice, she smiles tiredly and manages to look up briefly, before dropping her head once again.
‘Zoe?’ he asks, running his hand over the top of her head. She moans a reply, unable to find the strength to speak properly. ‘You shouldn’t be out here.’ He says as his hand cups her face, lifting it so he can see her eyes. She keeps her eyes closed, the streetlight behind his head uncomfortably bright in the inky blackness that is night. His hands reach around her shoulder and knees and with a slight jerking movement, lifts her off the park swing and into his arms. She wraps her arms around his neck and rests her head on his shoulder, whispering into his ear, her breath warm on his ear in the cold night, “Take me home, Ben, take me home”
Zoe, does not exist. In any other place other than my mind, she is imaginary, a ficticious character my imagination created.
Yet she is more real to me than anyone i have thought about before.
I have the need, the desire, to tell you about her, about her story, her personality, her thoughts. She is the main character of the book that is compiling itself in my head every day.
So, from now on, if a post has Zoe in the title, it is part of the ongoing novel i am determined to write, and someday finish... maybe even publish when i'm old enough... it is not always in order, infact, the first post is the end of our story...
So read, and i hope you enjoy reading it as much as i do writing it.
Friday, 20 June 2008
This is heaven.
Relaxation, outside, warm but a cool breeze and a book lying on my stomach.
This statement is not unusual in itself, except for the fact that i have never seen a girl that looked like this before. This fact is unusual, what with the rising prevalence of this occurance within society.... or maybe it's just that i have never noticed it before.
The first thing i noticed about her was her wrists. pale, soft-looking, and so thin that you could see every single tendon clearly. then i saw her jeans. the can't have been more than a size 6 (a size 0 in america), yet they were so loose she needed a belt done up tightly around her waist to keep them up. Her jacket was thick enough to make her arms and rail thin body look relatively normal.
She was buying shoes with her mum, cautious and slow, not leaving the counter until her mum came back to her side. She bought a pair of white pointed shoes with a little heel on them. They were beautiful and delicate,just like her. They paid, then left.
I am old enough to know common courtesy: don't stare, don't point, don't talk about people especially if they are within earshot.
I am also old enough to know about anorexia and bulemia, and how to recognise it. I wondered in the shoe shop, as i do know, what stage of treatment she was in for the anorexia
I have never met this girl, and i doubt that i ever will meet her, but seeing her has made me need to say something, and i hope that every person that reads this, all the few of you that do, will listen to this:
For this girl, for me, keep healthy.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
there is the hug of a friend: close on the top half, but still about a foot or two apart at the feet. then there is the hug of a lover: full bodied, feet in between eachother, close, intimate, blocking everything and everyone else out. the hug that says "i missed you", "i trust you", or "i love you".
There are so many different ways to hug someone. you can almost strangle them with your arms around their neck, or hold their arms and lean your body into them, or wrap your arms around their waist. Personally, my all time favourite is the bear hug, when someone completley envelopes me. if they smell good and i like them, i can stay like this for hours on end. it gives me a feeling of safety and security, the best feeling in the world if i'm having a bad day.
So jump on the hugs bandwagon today and show someone that you care about them.
I am sixteen,
I have just been given permission to legally drive,
I have never drunk one standard drink,
I am halfway through year 11
I live in Australia.
I am a writer, an artist, a student, a teacher, a friend, a sibling, a daughter, a fighter, and a peacemaker.
I am a normal teenager trying to find my place in this life.
Come and walk with me along the road and i will tell you my thoughts on things, if you will let me.