Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Story

If you know me, then you'll know most of my life is just about writing. It's my passion, it's a big part of me, it's practically an addiction. I started writing creatively when I was about 11, when I didn't like the ending of a story I had read. Plus before that, my 4th grade teacher had wanted to be a writer and that combined, got me started.

Anyways, while I was away in Florida, I didn't do any writing. I mean, I think I wrote like two or maybe three pages of one story I was writing on, but that was it. It was RIDICULOUS. I've started and finished stories in that 4 month lifespan. Honest. So to do nothing, it kind of hurt. I mean, I just wasn't feeling it.

It took me another week to get home and all before starting anything. I did an exercise that my writing buddy, an online "pen pal" (coolest people ever kinda gal), had given me. She gave me a song, and while it played, I had to write. And write. And keep writing.

Anyways, "Chapter 3" is what came out. But I wanted to add something more and give my story a little more depth. So I had a few pieces before that and thus, I had a short story. I don't know if anyone will like it, but I do. I don't know if I'll do anything with it, anyways. But I like to write. And I don't care what others think of it. Actually, it might even be better if no one says anything, I don't know.



~                ~                 ~               ~             ~             ~                 ~              ~           ~            ~          ~


ONE

My knees shake beneath me, unsteady on this desolate landscape so lost to the world. Lost to all but me and my weak memory. Bloody fingers scratching my skin, I shudder and pull my hands away from my scabs.

          “Ry-Ryan?” My voice quivers as I reach the top, past all the trees and rocks. It’s bright out now, a brand new day waiting with possibilities. Except it’s ruined the only one I was hoping for, the only one I needed.

          Our little rock is still there, where I left it for him. Our little truce that I broke, not having thought I could be that na├»ve. What had I been thinking? It’s not like he would always put up with me the way I’ve been.

          Dropping onto my knees, I crawl breathlessly to the edge, looking down. A breeze pulls back my hair so I can see clearly below. His voice seems to beckon me over the edge, tugging me into the unknown. It’s not supposed to be like though- it should be the other way around. It always was.

          The pebble rolls around in my palm, red and sticky with my blood.

          Sorry won’t fix it, sorry won’t fix you.

          Are those the last words I am to ever hear from him? Is this my punishment? It seems too cruel and yet when I think back and roll through my memories; it’s the least of what I deserve.

          Like all else, the wind turns against me. Sharp and cold, it stings my cheeks and I shudder for I have no protection against the pain. Collapsing against a dead tree stump, I try to breathe and see if there is another ridge for me to walk, a pathway to lead me on.

          I can’t seem to find one now, now that I am all alone.

          I see him in the distance, laughing and smiling as though he held the sun in his hands and all it did was tickle him. That’s how it always was. The happy one, the golden boy who loved everything and everything loved him.

          Even I, who swore I never loved a thing, loved him.

          That was the first truth I knew in my life. At six years old, I loved Ryan McConnell, the golden boy. That dusty red hair that sparkled in the sunlight, the perfectly white teeth that gleamed in his lopsided grin, those hazel eyes that saw everything good in the world.

          He made me believe that there was even some good in me.

          The moment I saw him, I knew I had to make him mine. I had walked over and stared at him, trying to find something to say. After all, I was the shadow without a voice- no one could make me talk for anything. I never had anything to say.

          When Ryan came around, he made me want to sing. “Hi, I’m Ryan. You’re Penelope, aren’t you?” I could only nod; just when I knew what I could say, it wouldn’t even come out. He laughed, but he wasn’t laughing at me. Instead, he held out the dandelions he had been collecting. “These would look pretty in your hair, darling.”

          That day, after he gave me those silly dandelions, I claimed him as mine and he let me hang on. Our relationship was strange and everyone knew it, including the two of us. I want to smile at our silliness but to see where it has brought us now, I can’t.

          He said it was my pride. And every time it got too much, he had to walk away. When I thought I wanted to be alone, I left and he understood. So this was our place. Our silent place, where we didn’t talk or argue or even think.

          We came here to the ocean to simply be.

          That pebble would mean we were ready for a truce, to forget anything ever happened.
          He was supposed to take it, and wait for me here. Instead, he never even arrived. Ryan really didn’t leave. I wait here all night, my heart heavy and my breath shallow just in case I can hear him coming.

          But his timing was always impeccable. Of course, deep down I always knew. There was no way I could possibly win this, I never stood a chance. I never really had Ryan.



TWO

          It was stupid, that’s what I had decided. All the crap we put up with and then they want to control our futures? That’s just ridiculous. I grew up burdened with things a child shouldn’t even understand or think about. So for strangers to take over the last of my freedom was not about to happen.

          He never understood, mostly because I didn’t tell him the secrets.

          I think, though, deep inside, he knew. He saw the scars and he saw the tears. He saw me wounded in a way words could never describe and though Ryan never said a word, he didn’t leave me either. I thought that would be enough for eternity, to keep us bound.

          Maybe it was, but I chose to break our ties anyways. After all we went through, after the fun and frustration, after I had held onto him for so many years. After everything, it’s like I gave up, I’m the one who ruined everything.

          There used to be more color in my world.

          He taught me how to make the sun shine brighter during the day and how to make stars sparkle in the night heavens. My scars would fade and when I opened my eyes with his hand in mine, we were always someplace new and transformed.

          “Then let’s go,” he promised. “We can get away. No one to watch us, to tell us what to do. No one to hurt us- either of us.” The last part is a guarantee for me, his constant promise. The promise that kept me grounded so I wouldn’t fade away in the wind or die away in the storms.

          The summer promised us luck and a stupid freedom we couldn’t turn away from. So we took his car and found the desert. We found places, people, adventures, and even a spark of hope.

          I could open my eyes and I could almost see something up ahead. “If you squint hard enough into the sun, you can see the future. Your future, our future.” His grandfather had told him this as a kid and we would blind ourselves, praying we would find something good and wondrous.

          With Ryan, there was hope, inspiration, and even love. We had something different but we still thought it was special. We had created something out of nothing and two lonely hearts had found one another in the big world so it seemed like quite the miracle. Maybe it could have been destiny. He was my darling and I was his.

          “You have to learn to live,” he would tell me.

          “And what have I been doing for the last several years?” I would look at those hazel eyes, curious but there would be a smile because I always knew he would have an amusing answer, something to lighten the mood. He was my sun.

          “I don’t know,” he would say, and make something up. “A mummy?” We would smile like it was an inside joke, and then that’s when the car windows would roll down simultaneously to feel the wind in our hair and we would scream into the wind. He was the inspiration that kept me alive for so long, he was my reason to be here.

          I don’t leave for hours. The sun comes and soon it’s gone. I don’t really pay attention. But when I blink, the stars are blinking angrily down at me, as though they are threatening my very existence.

          It turns the knife more sharply into my heart. Every muscle inside this hollow body of mine aches, wishing I would stop. There used to be a reason for everywhere I went and suddenly, there is none. Stumbling down the hill, I find myself back onto the road, an unfriendly and lonely pavement. The yellow paint seems to scream at me as I limp my way down from the cliff.

          This wasn’t supposed to happen. Just another mistake that should have been fixable. The car trip should have never ended, maybe, but we returned to town because it’s always pulled us back. We were never able to escape, not for long.

          Or maybe, it’s just chained me down. He’s in the wind now, far gone.

          Memories dance like an angry whirl pool inside my mind, splashing around in the empty cavity of my heart. Hollow now, since he took it and crushed it. Ryan probably didn’t mean it. The golden boy can’t go bad, can he? He’s only human, and eventually he had to let go of me. Everyone does.

          “Ignore them.” His arm wraps around my waist and I try to ignore the voices, the calls, the annoying grit of their primal existence. His grip tightens when I try to slip away but I give into him, because I’m too tired to fight.

          Instead, I take the keys because I want to drive. It’s a rare occasion seeing as I’m not licensed but to feel the power of the metal, it helps me breathe. Taking on the speed of a cheetah without a sweat is such a fascinating experience, one I don’t take often.

          He lets me, because he always does.

          Cranky and restless, I cannot stop and I cannot remain calm. Our conversation does not grow any better the farther we get from town. Blood boils beneath my skin, ready to burst from my veins. Fire pumps my heart and it seems to force the vehicle faster down the road. Peace is nonexistent as we fight for ourselves as well as each other, louder and louder.

          It’s a sharp bend and I miss.

          We collide.            

          The fog rolls in and can feel the mist sinking into my skin, chilling me to the bone. Shivering, I reach our place. This is empty, too. Turning on the shower, I slip in, bare to the bone. A warmer vapor fills up the room, like a poisonous steam that I wish would bite me. Sliding beneath the water, I pretend I’m dying. It doesn’t feel much different.

          It’s a thick fog here when my eyes finally open again to the world, still very much alive. My skin turns red but I’m still cold, I still shiver.

          Soon, I give up. Wrapping a towel around my weak and pathetic body, I slowly make my way to the bed. They told me to sleep, that it would get better then. They live their lives full of lives, and I wonder if it hurts them as much as it hurts me.

          “Ryan? Ryan!”

          I scream but it’s not a hand over my mouth, it’s something else- something poisonous. My eyes open to a blurry, harsh world. Unfriendly ghouls wander before me, pulling every good thing apart until there is nothing left.

          “He’s gone. No pulse. Time of death-”

          They lie.
         
         

          THREE

I stare out at the ocean, confused and lost. There’s a boat over on the horizon and I almost feel like I belong there. Trailing around without direction, surrounded by the blue, trapped by my actions and my fate.

The wind is cold and damp and I wrap my jacket tighter around myself but it doesn’t seem to help.   Almost like a message from the heavens, tugging me this way and that just to taunt me once more. I close my eyes as I stagger up onto my feet, tired of waiting.

Darling, I loved you and I lost you.

Was it my fault? Could I have done something, anything to fix it? To change it, at least?

We all know the truth, though they all deny it. I won’t, not anymore. I ruined this, Ryan, I ruined us. The wind grows stronger as I drop my jacket, giving in. I stand in front of the sun, where you belonged. You belonged everywhere for me, darling. I take a step and I lose you all over again. It hurts just to breathe. My heart is breaking, pushing against my ribs to fight free to curl up and never beat again. Time has failed me and I have failed you.

In the end, we couldn’t win. Like we were destined to be like Romeo and Juliet, our stars were fated since the very beginning. You were more than the golden boy, I was just scared to believe in us.

So why am I the one still here? Shouldn’t I be with you?

Another step away from the world and a step closer to you, I pray.

My eyes find the boat again, drifting aimlessly and hopelessly. My lips are chapped as I swallow hard and drop my arms to my side. My body is ready, tired of fighting. I’ve lost you for too long, my love is done sitting on the shelf.

I need you.

Another step and I pause at the cold. The water is chillier than I had imagined- but that’s okay. I don’t stop. I won’t stop, because this is for you, darling.



~         ~         ~           ~         ~            ~           ~        ~           ~            ~           ~        ~    ~              ~

So that's all I have been able to write lately (which isn't much), but it's a good start. It's choppy and all, but I like it.

(If you couldn't tell, the italics were past occurences, etc)

Ummm but yeah. I mean, you're supposed to share your talents and "not hide them under a bushel" so I figured here was as good as anywhere to share a little. People were always just wanting my inspirational poems that I could write on a dime, but... I've sort of progressed into something else for a while now. I don't know what it is, but it's intriguing.



Thanks for reading, whoever's there!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Characterization~


I met a lot of literal characters whilst at the parks. Towards the end, I wanted to meet them all but realized that was a little crazy. So I ended up meeting who I could and then just meeting my favorites! Lines varied- I had pamphlets, time sheets and Character Attendents [the cast members dressed in blue shirts, kahki bottoms and make sure we don’t jump the Characters but also know the times for most characters] to help me out. 

The waiting time varied from a minute [being there early helps] for Mary Poppins & Alice in Wonderland and up to an hour and fifteen minutes for Rapunzel [so long!]. But hey, it was a lot of fun all the same! Most of them really do look a bit like their characters and it can be fun. I mean, Goofy stepped on my foot sure, but he also gave me some great hugs and a ton of kisses and made fun of Pluto. I saw Donald play with a little toy, Dug lick another dog, Princesses leave kisses on little boys’ cheeks, and more.



One of my favorites was Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen. I think the fact that I met them on my last evening in the parks had a bit to do with it. Plus, I’d wanted to meet Prince Naveen [mostly because of my sister Jenessa and her love for The Princess and the Frog]. Anyways, Prince Naveen comes out most evenings but only as it starts to get dark. It wasn’t my first time trying to meet him- I’d just had really bad luck last time because he was out of town or something. So they said I’d have to have really really bad luck not to get him next time.

Surprise. He wasn’t there. So I stayed in line to meet Princess Tiana and I got to her and asked where he was because I really had to see him. She apologized and said he’s always playing around. She’s conversive so she asked my name and where I’m from. I told her San Diego and that I was actually leaving to return that night. I mentioned I had really been hoping to see Naveen, since he wasn’t there last time I had come around. That’s when she said that I could come by the back gate in about two hours and he should be there then. She left a spot for his name on my bag and said she’d remember me. 



I sort of fought over it after that because I’d really been hoping to see him but I hadn’t planned to stay there any longer. She was expecting me to wait another two hours? I wanted to go to Hollywood Studios and do Star Tours one last time, for goodness sake. But in the end, I stuck around.

I watched another set, where Princess Tiana met two little boys, gave them big kisses on the cheeks [left a mark] and played leap frog, jumping over to the gate like frogs. It was so cute! One was so little he didn’t understand and just sort of hopped/walked to the gate. About then, Peter Pan was heading inside but stopped at the exit gate to watch, and decided he wanted to join in! So he came inside, and beat them all. He laughed and joked around for a minute. (But once people wanted to get pictures with him, he shook his head and said he had to go)

Super cute!


(I do have a picture of Peter Pan, Princess Tiana, and the boys, but I have yet to upload them to the computer, sorry) BUT you can enjoy Peter Pan and I until then!!

FINALLY, after wandering around for two hours, I came back around and got in line. I asked the character attendant, “he’ll be here this time, right?” and she NODDED. You can’t imagine how much relief poured over my shoulders in that moment. I swear if he wasn’t going to show up I probably would have curled and died or something.

And I saw him walk out! Now Tiana always walks the long way around from her gate over to the little gazebo mostly because the line starts next to the gate where she enters the park/exits the meet and greet. Naveen however, glanced around and smirked. “I’m going to try and beat her!” He decides, opens the rope and smirks at us waiting in line. “Hello, sorry, excuse me,” he laughs and makes his way through us to get to Tiana.
Quite the first impression!

Anyways, after that I just sat down and waited. I was towards the end of the line, third in last I believe, so it was almost thirty minutes before I got close. But somehow, thank goodness, waiting in line for characters seems to not take that long.

The girl right in front of me was about 2 years old, and with her dad. She gets her hat signed while still in her dad’s arms, but won’t look at Prince Naveen. They realize that and her dad says she’s really shy and kind of scared of him. Scared of Naveen! 

He apologizes, and leaves the little gazebo to stand behind the photographer. The dad also hands him his iphone to take a picture with that. Naveen suddenly poses, confused that the iphone doesn’t really take a picture of him. But he’s soon restless and bored after that, and starts going behind the flower pots beside Tiana to get in the picture! He nearly tips them over, grabbing onto the gazebo to make it into the picture, posing on the other side of the dad! He manages to wave to the little girl who doesn’t burst into tears, and that’s a wrap.

My turn!



Princess Tiana did recognize me though. Prince Naveen asked my name and where I’m from, and I told him. He got really excited. “That’s- that’s really close. You know, to us- I mean Disneyland! You’re so close to Disneyland. Do you go there often?” I told him yes. “Great! Did you get to see us there?”

I had no idea what he was talking about, but it did get me excited.

“When our movie came out,” he explains, “we got to go on the river on a big party, and Luis was there and everything!”

“Luis was there? That sounds great!” I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of this. “I can’t believe I missed out on that!”

He nods, saying how fun it was. Then he sees Tiana’s name already there- with a “and” mark just waiting for him. “Aww,” he says “she was waiting for me!” And I explain I had already come by and was trying to find him as well.

Then I also ask for their signatures on a notebook. “Could you sign one more time? I need something for my sister, she’s an even bigger fan, such a big fan of you two!” I explain.

“Of course! What’s her name?” Naveen asks cheerfully. I tell him it’s Jenessa, and she’s away at school now. 
“Okay, but make sure you tell her hi, okay? Naveen says hi to Jenessa!” I laugh, and nod. He’s trying to close the notebook though, and I tell him I need it from Princess Tiana one last time as well.

He apologizes then, since he took up the whole page with that autograph. I laugh, shaking my head. “No, it’s fine. The bigger the better, you know?”

He smirks. “You should have told me that before! I would have done one letter each page!” But we laugh about that and she finishes that.



“But make sure she doesn’t kiss any frogs,” Prince Naveen tells me suddenly. “Don’t kiss frogs. No kissing frogs- unless they have really good teeth. And- and really good eyebrows! You see my eyebrows? Beautiful. Very good teeth, too.”

Tiana nods at me. “It has to be a good frog. Any frog that looks like Buzz Lightyear.”

“What is that?” Naveen asks. “He is bald.”

But Tiana shares a look with me. “It’s the teeth, you know?”

“Oh, I know,” I nod back at her.

Tiana grins at Naveen. “See, it’s a girl thing.”

“What? I don’t understand, I don’t see.”

Princess Tiana nods. “Yes, because it’s a girl thing, isn’t it? You wouldn’t understand.”

“No?” Prince Naveen looks at us, pouting. “Fine. Can I just stand here and look pretty then? I don’t see.”

I laugh, and agree. “That’ll work fine.”

“Okay,” he beams. “Now let’s take the picture. And make sure you tell your sister hi, yes?”

“Can do!” I promise him. “Thanks so much you two!”



And that was the best character interaction I had. Sure, Rapunzel said I looked lovely in my dress [purple and gold means royal, so you must be a princess!], and I was wished well on my many adventures of course. I received quite a few kisses- especially from the Monkey king in the Jungle Book. 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Finis.


FINIS.

It’s hard to believe I just closed the pages of such an adventure. Those were the fastest four months of my life, they just flew by. I cried, I laughed, I yelled, I lived life in a way I’ve never done before.

Orlando was so different for me. I saw the world from the inside out, the world I only judged but never came near. Everyone’s morals were so different, I was a little afraid I might even lose myself towards the end. After all, I went to church only a handful of times whilst there- whereas usually I’m there every Sunday. Everyone swore around me and shared words and stories that made my skin crawl every time.

That and the fact I came home to find condom packages around the living room- you would have thought it was a dead mouse. In fact, I would have preferred a dead mouse over that. Even a live mouse.

So yeah. The people factor was a tough part.

Then I was spending about $88 a week on my apartment that was so worn out and disgusting. We all worked odd, hard hours and never had time to clean much. So usually, most of us didn’t. Whenever I got home, I’d drop my things, shower, and then go to the kitchen to clean up the dishes no one had time to deal with that morning. Everything was left out constantly- and I’ve never been so freaked out by a shower. It was so disgusting!

But anyways, that was just the bad part.

The good part? Disney. I did their Animations Studio a few times- a fun corner near the Character Spot in Hollywood Studios. Three times I went and drew: Chip the chipmunk, Pluto, and Woody! Very cool. I’ll take pictures of those for you all. To me, it was SUPER EXCITING seeing as a kid, that’s all I had ever wanted to do. Draw, do art of some kind. SO COOL.

There were rides, parades, adventures, activities, characters! So many I don’t even know how to begin! Although I do know I need to go over each park with you all, just in case any of you ever get the chance to go. And, maybe, a Disney Trivia one??

Speaking of Disney Trivia:

There is a cast member exclusive party called Goofy’s Mystery Tour in WDW [It’s Minnie’s Mystery or something like that at WDL]. I did it on the tenth, my last night there. After Hollywood Studios was closed down for the night, we ran around the Streets of America in teams of four [tethered together by bungie chords, SO HARD], with sheets of paper of Trivia, activies, and logic puzzles to get another clue! It was hard and fun and we didn’t win but it was cool all the same.

After that event, since I didn’t get home until after 1 AM, I started packing some more and made some cookies. I got into bed about 2 AM, but my sister texted me at 2:30. Plus I’d already taken off my sheets and packed the normal pajamas so I was just shivering and lying there for a while. I dozed a bit but my alarm had me back up at 5:50 to get going!

Seana, a lovely friend and coworker, drove me to the Magic Kingdom to be there about 7:30 AM. Ropes unleashed at 8:00 AM but nothing really opens until 9 AM. However we got to take a few nice pictures before getting started on our tour, "Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom" which was fun.

I'll save that sort of information and fun for another post.

Finishing up my day:

Played in Magic Kingdom till 7pm
Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios at 9pm
Wandered Epcot until 12:30pm [pictures with friends, etc]

Arrived at airport about 1:30 am
Dozed till 4am [apparently not much happens out in front until then so I couldn't turn my luggage in or anything]
Got my ticket, turned in my luggage [one suitcase was too big and had to even it out into another SO ANNOYING]
Boarded at 8:45
Arrived in LAX around noon. Dozed in five hour flight. Got two cans of soda
Boring layover
Boarded second plane 2:45
San Diego at 3:40
Waited till 4:20 before family arrived

They took me to Hometown Buffet where I REALLY got to eat for the first time in a long while. (My diet there consisted mostly of poptarts, muffins, pasta, apples and the occasional bananas or salad, weee) Then we watched the Tuxedo.

But I started falling asleep during that. So I went to bed and slept for eleven hours! Yay!