REPORT A PROBLEM
and then she laughed!
Last night, I dreamt in Spanish. The words that laced my doze were that of my tattered vocabulary list.
el desperdicio, la salchicha
It was sort of odd, the way normal words mingled with those that chill hearts. I suppose that's life. People live in layers, cushioned by good and bad feelings. But where am I? Am I floating on the top, never truly connecting with anyone, or am I on the bottom, crushed by the weight of the world?
To go where you want, you have to know where you are.
We were fairies together. Four years old, we jumped off the end of the world wearing homemade wings and gave each other beauty makeovers with my Tita's old cosmetics purse. We both fell asleep in the back of my mom's old red Trooper after partaking of the Sleepytime Tea at preschool. Our families did everything together- and still do. But last night, everything was the same. Which, I suppose, was the problem. She called her parents on her plastic pink cell phone, giving excuses with a pinch of sugar. I stood alone, estranged by my opinions. Something's changed here. Me.
Writing every day isn't a particularly hard thing to do. The hard thing is getting my entry down to a meager hundred words. I have a Darwinian approach on it- if a word isn't doing its job, it's gone. Survival of the fittest. However, I have more empathy than Darwin did. Chopping off whole sentences and beautifully worded introductory clauses makes me feel the pain of an amputee. And where do those words go when I press the delete key? Do they vanish off the face of the earth? Where do those wonderful ideas go?
Is there a word heaven?
So here I sit in the school library, cartoonish steam billowing from my ears. I'm mad. The dessert of my day was to be the solace in the darkroom I would find after school. I'd been looking forward to it all day- through the stifling awkwardness of Sex Ed and the continuous ranting of my Algebra teacher. But after riffling through my messy backpack and digging through my even messier locker, my search unearthed: nothing. No negatives. I know my teacher is forgiving, and that she'll accept my late work. But myself? I don't know how forgiving that person is.
Among the song lyrics and homework assignments in my planner lay strains of Hebrew. Those who can read my slanty right-to-left pen scratchings have access to all my teenage crushes and darkest secrets. A jumble of misconjugated verbs and horrible transliterations, it's a language that rests in the palm of my hand. My perpetual fear is that one of the orthodox Jews at my school (such as the sullen goth in my photo class whose tzitzit mingle with the chains hanging from his studded belt) will take a glance at a November entry and say, "So, who's this Matt kid?-
He's wonderfully blunderfully jewishly himself and I feel brave and smart and oh so allie when I crane my head to talk to his more than six foot personage and I bet he could pick my five foot two self and swing me around so my cocoa curls go flying and he makes fun of himself and me and my falling up stairs and sometimes I see him looking my way and my friends giggle to themselves when they see him and me within a half mile of each other because secrets don't work for me and I'm in crushland
My father says that I have a real problem with tautologies. It was when I was talking about how if the Catholics are right about us non-Christians going to Hell, then Hell is going to be this giant party, with me and the Dalai Lama limbo-ing across the brimstone. "No, Allie,"he says wearily. "Hell...is Hell. It can't be fun."Well, then, I say, it'd be better than Heaven. I mean, stuck up there with all those self-righteous angels singing blasted heavenly choruses all the time? My dad rolls his eyes and sighs. "Where did you come from?"he asks.
Who am I? I'm a curlicued commitment-phobic aggravated budding writer with a fear of falling. I'm a perpetual optimist with a skewed moral code, a spelling-freak and a moon dancer. I'm a primadonna with a spotlight allergy, an avid flirt with an unexpected shy streak. I love sliding on the kitchen floor in tube socks, strobe lights and holding hands. I'm a little girl who insists on buying a smiley face cookie every time I pass the Giant bakery section, a grinning adolescent with a penchant for turquoise eyeliner and loud music. I'm me. That's all I want to be.
After Hebrew School is over and the other fourth-graders have left, he rests his tired head on the table. I put my hand on his shoulder, saying, "It's one of those days, huh? I know how it feels."He looks up at me, blue eyes squinty. "You have depression too?"he asks, his voice elementary school high. His eyes are sad and weary. "A little,"I blatantly lie. His gaze cuts through me. "Ben,"his father calls. He leaves without turning back. I stand there watching, thinking about the sadness I saw in his eyes.
But why did I lie?
It's when a guy and a girl (or, I suppose, a girl and a girl or a guy and a guy) are together but they don't have this huge emotional bond. Synonym:
There's no weird commitment thing or introduction to the parents (and siblings.) The l-word does not even come into the picture. People in movies have them, swingers in the big city have a new one every week. It's the life of the fast and fun, the swanky and popular. It's a life of epiphanies- all the high points without the awkwardness.
Synonym: what allie wants.
I sit here in my dad's computer chair, and I am my favorite self. My cheesy five-dollar "Make like a tree and leave"shirt is splattered with photo developer, leaving light maroon streaks. My fingers and forearms have the pungent odor of fixer. Black ink vines creep up my wrists from when I was bored in Spanish, and under a set of wiry turquoise bracelets lies Aria's cell phone number. My mother took one look at me and said, "You're a wreck,"but I like it. No, I love it. Sometimes you have to wear your soul on the outside.
Ever since I was a little kid, I've had a dream and a destination. I want to write a book, a wonderful book about life and the way I look at it. It will be something that will make my black-dressing friends realize that the world isn't all barbed wire and chain-link fences. When they are sad or alone, my book will comfort them. After my wonderful book is published, I won't have to worry about anything ever again. My world will be all coffeehouse cheesecake and midnight swing dancing.I will live in the sky, forever floating, thinking, and writing.
A pretzel of sweatshirted arms and legs, we laid on the floor of the cold middle school cafeteria. We were a pile of overgrown girl scouts, giggling as we poked each other's ribs. We whispered secret stories about evil exes and unrequited crushes. We blushed and laughed till we felt the tears coming. They live in tillyworld and we live in oaktonworld, but for an hour or two a week, our worlds fly out of orbit and crash into a spinning vortex of teenage hormones. It's our secret weekly clubhouse with a neon sign on the door: No boys allowed.
I do think the beatles might very well be the soundtrack to my life I was morosely unappreciative before my young-old neighbor played them in the car everyday of first semester and now they have emerged from the muffled world of musak speakers to fullblown coolhip art and I hear them when everything else is silent ringing echoing their druginduced multisyllables clinging to the walls of my head and watching yellow submarine with my brother today we simultaneously broke into song and we proclaimed ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE and the truth took flight and
love is all you need
Allie's travelog, day one:
Oh my. I'm a full-fledged blob. They should be making cheesy 50's movies about me. Now I'll make like a scary anorexista and write my food count:
Bagel con un shmear
Some incredibly good coleslaw
Corned beef on rye
Large chocolate-dipped cookie
Fanta from street vendor
Absolute vat of angel-hair pasta
Half of Jake's fettuccinie alfredo
Chocolate mousse cake
I'm eating my way through New York (but kosherly, might I add. No trayfa girl this time.) Oy vey. This is really hard to do without a computer. Signing off, live from New York.
Allie's nyc travelog, day 2:
Time doesn't exist in this half of the clockless hotel room. The rest of my family are asleep on the other side of the door, sprawled over two double beds. Me, I get the couch. But I don't mind. Because when they disappear behind that door, allietime begins. Ever since I was in kindergarten, allietime was special. When someone closed a door, my mind opened. It was a world of princesses and kung fu and cute boys. I would sit criss-cross-applesauce on my bed and dream with my eyes open. Know what? I still do.
There's a two-hour delay tomorrow for school. I love that. It turns people from moaning zombies into wonderful happy personalities. Though it is sort of a letdown (Yay! Instead of waking up at five, I wake up at...7?) The thing I like best is waking up and seeing the sun and knowing that it's a new day that hasn't been written yet. That you can do anything you want to make the plot line different. And that there will always be new characters.
And that The End is many pages away, and that a "happily ever after"comes before it.
And now it's poem time!
There's a wall in my brain
Where a river should be
And it keeps life from being
The way it should be
There's a wall in my head
And a wall in my heart
They make me and break me
And set me apart
I feel like I see
From a bird's eye view
And I act like I'm wise
But I don't have a clue
And I'm flying so high
That I fear I could fall
And it all could be different
If I could break down that wall.
Allie: poetry :: fish: water
It snowed today. Not just measly little sprinkles, but big thick flakes that looked positively delicious. The first flakes hit the ground during my Algebra class, luring the mostly junior-filled population to the window to oooh and ahhh. After history, when the bell rang for lunch, I raced outside, dragging a hapless chain of people through the overheated cafeteria. We twirled and screamed to the heavens, freezing snow burning our bare fingertips. It wasn't like a scene from a movie, with lovely majestic music playing and everyone laughing in slow motion. It was real. And that's what made it worthwhile.
Inauguration today- we metroed down to DC as marshmellows in goldenrod "Scout Volunteer"windbreakers. I'm the free-thinking Democrat type, and being immersed in a world of Bushites was pretty intense for me. During the parade, I began to have minor hallucinations. I would stare at whatever Texan band was marching by, and the ground would tilt. I felt like I was being pulled along with performers. The whole world was topsy-turvy. Getting dragged along with the fate of our country is inevitable. But you do what you have to do to get over it. Even if it makes you queasy.
She's beautiful. Those were his exact words. Of course, it was a setup. Andy waved the pregnancy ad around, teasing me about an age-old inside joke. I pretended to get offended. "Do I LOOK pregnant?"He laughed. "You're fine, beautiful, whatever. Isn't she beautiful?"he asked the guy who makes my heart flip. I looked away, expecting him to make a wisecrack. But he just said it. And something inside me burst and flooded into my face. I forget the way he said it- sarcastic or sincere? I don't know. But the words must mean
...so now what?
They don't really accept me. But I shrug. The leaders look at me like I'm some sort of exotic marsupial and try to glaze over differences in their minds. In their heads, everyone is perky and popular and Protestant, and if that's the way they want to live, fine. I like splashes of color in my world. I live for the sharp and spicy moments that break up the sluggish oatmeal of everyday life. The highs and lows, the moments of heartbreak and epiphany. I love them all.
But if you want a bland boring beige world, fine with me.
Oooo. I love this song that's playing on the radio right now. It's the one by Maroon 5, the one me and Ari danced to on her boat last summer. I don't dance a lot in public. I'm not the most graceful person in the world. But on that June day...I don't know what happened. It felt like the music was part of me. So I danced. It probably wasn't very pretty, but that's okay. The world isn't pretty in general, but we love it for what it is.
I wish that I could be on that boat forever, dancing.
I didn't realize how far we'd grown apart. Maybe it happened when she started liking girls (well, I guess she always liked girls, so when she started saying so) or maybe it just happened with the changing of the wind. Today, during health, we discussed music. She fiercely defended Marilyn Manson, contesting that it wasn't him who bit the head off a dove, it was Ozzy Osborne. But, I replied, he did toss puppies into the audience and wouldn't start playing until they were dead. What did the puppies do to deserve that?
She just looked at me and sighed.
You don't really know me. If you read over my past entries, you can tell the simple things: name, age, favorite band. But do you really know me? If we met each other on the street, would you recognize me? If I wrote a book one day, could you identify its author? If I had a headlining article published in papers worldwide, would you look at the byline and say, "I know that girl?"You wouldn't, I know you wouldn't. But yet here, you have access to all my hopes, my dreams, my fears.
What a convoluted relationship we have.
Inside my head, I'm screaming. Not one of those long, painful screams that they whine about in stupid emo music, but a pure release of energy. If my family wasn't home and my cat was securely locked in the basement, I would let out a scream that would be so loud that it'd crack the good Passover china. I would scream so loud that the whole house would float into the sky. I would scream so loud that time would stop and the laws of physics would melt like a Creamsicle on hot pavement.
But I can't, so I won't.
Happy half birthday to me! In honor of the occasion, I went on a poem spree. Yum. Poetry. Here goes:
Let me whisper by your shoulder
Let me swing you through the skies
Let me think you're one day older
Than the little babe that cries
Let me take you to the circus
Let me hang you by your knees
Let me lead you through the garden
Where we'll linger as we please
If the world zoomed out of orbit
And the sun fell from so high
Let me hold you tight and wonder
As we wander through the sky.
Stupid people. Stupid smoking people. Can't you watch as your lives melt away? Can't you see it? It's right there in front of your eyes. Transparent.
It's hard not to judge
When perceptions won't budge
And it's hard not to say
What you think
And the worries come fast
When I know it can't last
And their ship is beginning to sink
But what can you do
When they don't let you through?
And they won't let you into their head?
You try hard to say
But they just glance your way
And it's better to go back to bed.
She hugs me in the corner, near the soda bar. "We can find you someone, you know. You're great...Any guy would be lucky to have you."I stare at her curiously. "Hellena, I have good self esteem. You know that. And I'm fine."I love her, but I hate the pity in her stare. It's a fact: When people get fixed up, they have the urge to fix others' love lives. But I really don't need a boyfriend. I'm fifteen, for God's sake. I've got awesome friends, a good family...I'm fine the way I am.
Still, it'd be, y'know, nice.
Today I ate in a sushi restaurant for the first time. With my first bite, I felt immediate rollings in my stomach over the rawness of the salmon. Why am I so averse to eating raw meat? I feel the same sense of disgust when my mom samples her meatloaf before baking it. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Dead animal at room temperature, dead animal heated to a few hundred degrees. Of course, I don't like to think of meat as dead animals. I like to think of it as a pink mush wrapped in Styrofoam. Typical American.
The beginning of life is too short to measure. It happens with a flash of light and a breath of air. The end of life is shorter- a smile in the eyes and a fluttering of the soul. We spend most of our time on Earth sitting in the middle, thinking about those nanoseconds that compose our beginnings and ends. This always confuses me. Why can't we be content to be in the middle? There's nothing better in life. That's why this entry isn't The End. It's the middle.
And the middle is the only place I want to be.
The Tip Jar