Get Rid by Dhiyanah Hassan
“the best way to know if he’s good for you is to close your eyes when you’re thinking about him – the first song you hear will tell you everything.”
i thought about this as she plopped down next to me. she started rummaging through the CDs on her bed, reading the back covers before tossing them aside, as if searching.
“do you think it would work?” i asked. our moms had planned this sleepover so i could look after her – she hadn’t said a word to anyone but we’d been talking on the phone for days. now that i was with her though, it seemed all she wanted to talk about was my useless crush.
“of course! if you hear a song you don’t like, forget him. it means he’ll definitely hurt you.”
there was a pause before she said, “i know i’d never want to be around anyone who doesn’t love the same songs as me!”
i wanted to argue, to have one of our long debates where we tried to sound older and smarter, contemplating methods of surviving things like home, school and living cities apart before winding down to check out her latest music. i wanted to remind her that we don’t agree on all the songs, but something in her voice stopped me. so i joined her in her search.
i picked up the CDs she tossed aside and started commenting on the album art – it suddenly felt like we were doing this for fun.
“i love that they put that there!” “these colors are terrible.” “wait, i thought she’s a blonde – oh, that’s not her on the cover? right.”
then she said, “i need you to throw this out for me. he forgot to take it when he left.”
i couldn’t help but snicker when i saw the album she was holding out, “ i can’t believe you have that!”
“it was Dad’s.”
“get rid of it. i never want to see it again. i’ve never liked the songs on it anyway.”
she dropped it on my lap and looked away. for once, i felt like there was nothing i could do to cheer her up. “alright,” i said, “i’ll throw it out for you.”
she sniffed and turned to me. her face was red and her voice was trembling when she said, “so yeah. if he doesn’t remind you of your favorite songs, get rid of him. it means he’ll definitely hurt you.”
Dear Blue-eyed Boy by Sara Trett
Dear Blue-eyed Boy,
I hope you’ll forgive me for this, but I’ve got a secret I have to share.
Blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy, you showed me the stars and how they fly. I stood witness to their magnificent tails lashing behind them as they raced like stallions, crossing our borders, crossing our worlds, with fiery manes whipping and igniting the air around them.
Then you told me to make a wish… What a silly, greedy girl I was – to have tried to wish twice.
You told me, that upon the first shooting star I saw, I was allowed to make a wish. So I did. Twice.
I have a bone to pick with you, Blue-eyed Boy, because my wish never did come true. However much I felt it in my bones, or caught glimpses of it in the candlelight on your dining room table, it was never to be. I suppose I can hardly blame you, though. I supposed you’re not really allowed to wish twice.
Because, let’s be honest, wishing twice for the same thing is rather greedy and selfish of me. It’s rather self-centered, in fact. I suppose that comet heard my first wish, and just as he was about to grant it, heard my second. I suppose the comet must be something like Santa Claus in that way, because Saint Nick would never reward someone who was greedy. I believe I’m quite right in thinking that as soon as the comet heard my second wish, he decided that I was impatient and bratty, badgering him on and on with my wish. To be perfectly fair, I probably wouldn’t have granted my wish, either.
It’s silliness really. What do I need so badly that I thought I could wish twice? But… I did want that wish pretty badly. Blue-eyed Boy? What was your first wish on a shooting star? Did it come true?
Actually, never mind. Forget it. I don’t want to know because then it just seems like I’m whining. I’m sure the star would hate me even more for that.
So I’ll be good, blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy. I’ll be good for that star. And I wont complain, and I wont pester, and I’ll stop making double wishes and breaking all the rules, and maybe… mayyybe. Just hopefully, one day that star will glance back down at me, when I least expect it, and maybe, just hopefully, he’ll see that I do deserve that wish, and that it was all a misunderstanding that first time.
If that happens, I’ll be sure to let you know, Blue-eyed Boy. Actually… you might be the one letting me know… Something to look forward to!
Talk soon! Always yours,
Pacifying Danger by Michelle Bunt
The summer I was 12, my dad and I moved into a cottage on Lanark St, which had carpets permeated with the stench of dog urine, and apple trees in the backyard laden with wasps’ nests. That was the summer that Jodie lived next door to me, blasting Spice Girls’ music, and the same summer that Sister Mary Francis gave me the energy drink “V” – which she described as having “strictly medicinal properties”.
Dad mowed lawns and unpacked boxes, while I spent hours ensconced in my first reading of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”, and for a while this was a summer not dissimilar to any of the previous years.
However, Dad’s moods soon grew in intensity, and at some point his depression turned into psychosis. Maybe the psychosis had been there before, but if it had been I had not paid much attention to it. He began seeing people peering through our windows; he heard voices telling him to do strange things, and he became convinced the world was out to get us. That was when he started not letting me leave the house, except in his presence, and that was when I, fearful and apprehensive, developed a bizarre superstition to cope with this newly-found chaos.
Isolated at home, I spent hours in my room listening to the Australian cricket coverage on the radio. The Aussies were on an impeccable winning streak, and somehow my psyche quickly became intertwined with that of the team – if they won, I won. Each victory the team had infused me with hope like saline flowing down an IV line. I became deeply superstitious as I listened, fearful of changing my posture or leaving the room in case a wicket fell and calamity ensued. I prayed for the team, I held my breath – I did whatever I thought would help them win, unwilling to admit that whatever happened was out of my control.
Meanwhile, I remained hyper-vigilant with my dad, alert to his every emotion, and trying desperately to placate him by being the perfect daughter. Australia was the perfect cricket team, and I was the perfectly quiet and undemanding child. As long as this formula remained intact, I knew I would be okay.
My Moon, My Ma by Al-Zaquan
I believed the moon was my Ma. When I was really young, still too young to know what being sad meant, my mum traveled to South Africa a lot for work — right before she went she’d stand with me on the porch and tell me that we shared the same moon. “Anytime you miss me, just look at the moon. Talk to it, and I’ll hear you”. I wasn’t crazy enough to talk to inanimate things, but I’d write letters to God and leave them in inconspicuous places. Under sofas, in a can where old keys were kept, on top of a shelf no one ever bothered to explore.
In hotels when we were travelling, these letters would get especially long. I’ve always felt lonely in hotels — a borrowed home, all that glass, how clean and impersonal everything looks; I think what my Ma wanted me to keep doing was to express how I feel at any given time, when those feelings seemed like they were about to overwhelm me. To tell someone how I felt, even when she wasn’t there to listen.
The four of us lived in big house, and my father would only be there half the time. He had two wives and five children, so we were half of a whole family. He’d take us out to dinner, to the furniture store, to buy DVDs, always away from the house. As if home for him was an intangible thing, a car ride with his five children. Our family has always been a bendable thing; people come apart and back together, and this has always been my normal so it never felt sad.
My parents were constantly talking or not talking, but the moon remained. Reliable as always, a good listener for the thoughts I had no one to confide to, full of light and giving. The day I’ve my own child, I’ll give him or her the same moon for company. It took me a long time to understand that even my parents were human, that adults had problems too. There would always be something to resolve, achieve and there are times when you’ll need to be at two places at once.
Al has been spending more time with his parents, whose youth and energy have only grown with time.