Firsts

     There’s a first day for a lot of things but today was special. It was the first day of high school and I was nervous. Adrenaline pumped through my body as I tried to squeeze past people to get to my block A class, which was in Room 222. I was worried that there wouldn’t be any familiar faces in that room. After looking downstairs I made my way up only to find the class right there across from a huge library.
     I walked in the class to see my best friend sitting uncomfortably at her desk. I quickly looked around the classroom; there were numbers and posters everywhere and it struck me: my classroom was the math room…dun…dun…dun… “Noooooooooooooooo!!” I screamed inside my head. It’s not like it’s every eighth grader’s dream to walk into the math class the first day of school, so don’t blame me for being disappointed. It turned out not to be as bad as I thought it would be. I mean hey!!! Math is kind of fun.
     School was going great, I was getting good marks and making new friends. It was a quiet Wednesday afternoon when our principal announced over the loud speaker that we were going to have a hold and secure. I just thought, “Hey it’s okay, whatever is going on is outside…” It didn’t stay that way for very long.
     Approximately five minutes later we transitioned into a lockdown. A LOCKDOWN!!!!!!!! It was my first ever real lockdown. We all walked to the corner and huddled up against each other. Hot bodies all pressed up against one another, staring toward the door as if we were waiting for a monster to come through. It was silent in the school; the only sound was the worried murmuring among ourselves. One hour and ten minutes later we went back to hold and secure. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to leave the classroom, not even to go to the bathroom.
     We waited a while until the police came to our class and escorted us out. It was a bit windy outside with a tiny bit of rain. I looked around; dozens and dozens of worried parents were standing outside, frantically looking for their child. The moment they saw their child you could see the relief flood through their faces. It was just like we were the most valuable thing in the universe and nothing else mattered. We were all safe! Our parents were leading us to the safety of our vehicles. It was a scary experience but, thankfully, no one was hurt and it was just the police making sure we were not in danger.
     High school is pretty nice, there’s not as much homework as I expected and I love having lockers to store all my supplies in. I like all my classes and most of them are with my besties. I hope all my years at Brookswood are like this (except for the lockdown part).
Signy Spencer
Catpack 8

Dream

“I want to be an adult.” This is what I said when I was a kid.

“I want to be a kid.” This is what I’m saying now.

When I was a kid, I really wanted to grow faster to become an adult, because you can do more things than a kid. Your parents are your model, you want to be like them in the future. You don’t have your own thoughts, what you want is to follow your parents’ shadow; as time goes by, their shadow will leave far away from you. You have your own opening and thoughts.

Right now, I really want to turn back to become a kid again, because you can do more things than an adult. More freedom and no pressure. Dreaming about your parents and your future job, no pain at all. Didn’t have to make things hard for  yourself. Didn’t  have to choose between anything. Didn’t have to cry by yourself at night and wet your pillow. Your have your own freedom and thought.

By Rocky Cheung

Life’s Great Hypocrisy

The hills of the highlands are no longer visible, blanketed as they are with the corpses of the fallen. Some who fought for their homes others who sought to take those homes, all side by side in the sweet indifference of death. As I stare out across the expanse, words ring out in my mind yet again, promises of glory, calls to duty. Yet no duty can I see, no glory. Only the threads of life cut short by the tailor of fate using the blades of fools as his shears. Useless, unnecessary. The only victors I can see are my fellow witnesses, the vultures. After witnessing glory’s facade crumble before my very eyes to reveal the depravity underneath, did they really expect me to return to my village, find a wife, live a normal life and even toast this hateful battle? There is no way I’ll be able to go back to where and, more importantly, what I was before.

Suddenly, some movement catches my eye. Another survivor, another…enemy. My vision clouds red: he did this, caused all this senseless slaughter. At a run I snatch up the closest weapon. With a tortured cry, I jump onto him, beating him mercilessly with that armament. When I return to myself, even the sun has hidden its face from the monstrosity I have committed. The kid, no more than fifteen, grins up at me grotesquely, his skull gaping back at my mollified visage. I see my hands, red and wet. I see the gauntleted arm in my right hand, deformed almost beyond recognition but still raised as if for another potential strike. I see, even, the dark depths of my soul. The nature of which is to kill.

I ask myself: Is anyone different from me? Would any man hesitate to kill for a “good” reason?

By Carl Gervais

The Real You

 

            When you’re ready to wake up you’re going to wake up and if you’re not ready then you’re going to stay, pretending ‘oh poor little me.’ But there comes a time in every person’s life when you do finally wake up. You often tease yourself with some kind of flirtation with waking up and so you never actually completely envelop it. Sometimes you stray away from it, holding yourself to the past. Holding yourself to death. Like you aren’t part of the bigger picture of the universe. When you see that in the way of waking up; what you do is something that the whole universe is doing here and now. You are something that the whole universe is doing in the same way, a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing. We are all remnants of the big bang, we are all grains of sand to the infinite landscape of the cosmos. In the same way our star is part of a galaxy of other stars. The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around. The real deep down you is the whole universe.

So, it goes to show that when you die, it isn’t just a the fatal ending of everlasting non-existence. The world will still be here whether humans go extinct or not. Try and imagine going to sleep and never waking up. Death can be like our final sleep, yet it is similar to our first wake. That is when you were born. And when you are born you are put into a state of existence with all this strange and weird stuff happening. But you isolate yourself from all others. And so you define your own individuality, which is important, but you also fail to realize that all people are you. Only because you experience it one at a time. You are part of existence which makes you part of everything else, like a single grass thread to a forest. This shows that, almost without effort, you immediately know how to breathe, recognize your mother’s face, and you understand how to feel, cry, and whine.  All of this knowledge is gained immediately. Doesn’t it really astonish you that you are this fantastically complex thing, and that you’re doing all of this and you didn’t have any education on how to do it? We are not all separate individuals, we are the whole universe just scattered about. But if everything were once again in unity then we may even come to comprehend the meaning of god. However, with all the hatred and discrimination in the world, we become further apart. Spreading further and further into a world of loneliness. And then this is where all the pain in the world comes from. It is from the fact that we all see ourselves as superior and apart rather than one infinite race. Our hate is causing our own extinction and we will be left with nothing until we find love within our own hearts.

 

–Connor Mullin

Memory

Memories are unique. With every moment of happiness, sadness and unpleasantness we experience in life, we collect them in our little memory box. It is where the secrets stay hidden, where stress loses its sting and where unforgettable memories become a bottle of wine that lasts forever.

When we were children, our little memory boxes were pure. Full of satisfaction. However, as we grew up, deep inside our hearts, we start losing the real us. The box is like an unripe flower- growing, blossoming and withering. Slowly and helplessly.

Jill Li

Round Midnight

Calm breezy night. Small alleyways lit by lamp posts reveal a stray black cat. It spots me, stares for a brief moment, then continues on its way like nothing had ever happened. But during this so short-lived moment, I felt something I’d never felt before in a dark, shady alleyway in the middle of a suburban town full of bright neon signs and alcoholics passed out on the curb. It was the feeling of warmth, that which one feels on a snowy day, curled up by the fireplace with freshly made hot chocolate and fuzzy slippers. The warmth emanating from the cat faded, but I continued to smile. I found a friend in this old rundown place, or at least the comfort that comes with one; but it was brief. As I pondered, observing the bright lights beneath an endless sky glittered with more lights, I came to a realisation. All that is bright and alluring is not always what it’s built up to be, while feelings of warmth, peace, and happiness can come from the most unexpected places.

Ryan Ly

The Last Day of Freedom

One day you’ll be handing in your last page of homework. One day you’ll have your last pop quiz and your last agonizing earthquake drill that wasted your time. One day you’re going to leave behind all the friends that you have had amazing days with and made thousands of stories to remember by.

 

You’ll sit in your last class, listening to your teachers knowing that you will never see their faces again. One day you will take your possessions out of your locker and punch in your combo for the last time and take those slow steps out the doors of your school.

 

One day we’ll all be standing side by side accepting pieces of paper with people you have known and grown up with for years.

 

If you think about it, one day you’ll forget about all the people you once cared for and you’ll barely remember the memories you had even when you see their face when browsing through your yearbook.

 

One day you’ll be old enough to live by yourself. You’ll pack your bags and move your things into your new house. One day you’ll hug your parents goodbye and say farewell. One day you won’t be in high school, you’ll be doing a job you either hate or love for the rest of your life.

 

We’re all so ready to just get up and leave everything we used to dedicate our lives to.

 

Sydney Noble

Vegetarianism

“How’s the roast turkey?” Another question I can’t answer. I sigh, throw on a fake smile, and lie through my teeth, “It’s really good!” As I’m slicing the meat I take a moment to question my life choices. Specifically, the ones that led to me being here, working in a deli. I don’t eat meat, ever. I’m a vegetarian. No, don’t look at me with pity. Don’t feel bad for me or ask if I miss it. Don’t assume that I never liked meat. Or, that the poor animals I feel bad for are simply meeting their eventual end. It’s not like that. And trust me, the last thing I need is some ignorant fool telling me that “it’s the circle of life.” If your simple justification allows you sleep at night, then good for you, buddy.

 

The problem is, people don’t know the facts; it’s not as simple as slaughtering an animal for meat. To ease their conscience, people would like to think that it’s a clean and easy process. But it’s so much worse than a fast, painless death. The real problem is everything up to their awful deaths. It is the fact that humanity is making other innocent living creatures feel pain and suffering. Their lives are pure hell from the moment they’re born.

For example, I bet you didn’t know that they grind up all the male chicks because they’re obsolete to the farmers. Or, that they impregnate cows so that they’ll produce more milk. When the calf is born, they rip the mother away from the baby within the hour and then, in most cases, kill the calf. Or even that many animals, like chickens and pigs, are kept in cages so small they can’t even turn around. Despite the fact that pigs are smarter than dogs, they are treated with unbelievable cruelty. As a farm animal’s life comes to an end, they are packed one on top of the other in a food truck. They stay there for days with no food or water until the truck reaches the slaughterhouse. Pretty horrific, right? So many people inflict great evil on defenceless animals all for profit on the meat you eat.

So, the next time someone tells you she’s a vegetarian, don’t lecture her about getting enough protein. Don’t laugh or roll your eyes. A simple, “good for you,” will do just fine, thanks.

 

Maya Orazietti

Finding Strength


Maya Orazietti

Slap, Slap. My feet hit the pavement and I’m gone. Away from the house engulfed in an aura of anxiety. The stress rolling off the roof in waves. The tension rising up into the air like steam.

I needed the sweet relief of the cool air on my face. The wind running its gentle fingers through my hair, I fall into a calming, steady rhythm. Feel the energy travel through my muscles, contracting and releasing. I feel it run through the bones down to the tips of my toes, where it is released in a steady pulse every time my foot pushes off the pavement. Adrenaline rushes through my veins. As sweat trickles down my neck, my pent-up anxiety is flushed from my body like a toxin.

I take in the green foliage lining the path and the crystalline waters of my beloved lake. I feel at ease looking out over the still, glassy surface, completely uninterrupted, except for the occasional ripples caused by the falling cotton. The mesmerizing landscape and the effort of simply running, one step at a time, holds my focus. There’s no room for unwanted thoughts.

And then, after some time, I’m ready to head home. Back down the streets, past the dogs who bark in unison, and around the corner. I almost feel disappointed that it’s time to re-enter reality, but it’s OK. Because I know that when I get back, the world will seem a little brighter, and my problems, a little smaller, because running gives me the strength to take on another day.

The Girl on the Stage

She is hunched over, writing meticulously in her note book. Copying the text from the sheet over and over again trying to commit the words to memory. Clad in a forest green t-shirt tucked into black shorts, she perches on the edge of the stage. The people around her distract her from her task, causing her to stop what she is doing and engage in a short conversation. She smiles while talking, her face lighting up at the action causing her soft features to pop. Her short hair tickles her shoulders at the movement of her going back to her work as the conversation ends. Her blue pen glides across the page as her hand resettles into the task of copying. The notebook perched on her lap moves ever so slightly under the pressure of the pen. Her left hand tries to hold it in place but it can only do so much. The micro movement cause her writing to be slightly messy. The bell rings interrupting her once again. She sighs closing her notebook, unhappy as the words on the page are unfinished. She gets up from her sitting place, grabs her things and saunters back stage towards the green room, then out to the hallway where she makes her way to her next class.

 

I find myself saddened because I was not apart of these interactions. I was left on the outskirts of the group simply observing, living through what I was seeing. I wish I could have the courage to sit as she was on the stage, center of attention, yet still ignoring her surroundings, focusing on her own task. She is not too wrapped up in her own world to be rude to those who engage with her; however, she didn’t lose her place in her work. I wish I could multitask like her. She can concentrate on something important while holding a conversation. That takes a special kind of talent. Although I saw only a small snippet of her life I am envious of it anyway. I don’t know anything about her and yet I wish to be her.

 

I find that this happens a lot in life. You see someone walking down the street rocking an outfit you wish you had the confidence to pull off and you become jealous. You don’t know the person you have never seen them before nor will you see them again but you paint a picture of their life in your head, and suddenly you want it. You want to be that person or, rather you want to be the made up version of this person. Why do we all do this? Are we all just subconsciously unhappy with who we are so we try to create scenarios about strangers’ lives that we wish were our own? Even though I had only saw a small part of this girl’s life I had created an entire persona for her. I thought up a life that didn’t exist. I don’t know her, I don’t know what struggles she is facing and yet I still want to be her. It’s borderline insanity, yet I will never stop creating these fictional lives.

Lee Strutinski