Stop and Smell the Roses

Stop and Smell the Roses

Angela L. 7A2

As the colors of dawn crept in through the stained glass windows, the mahogany door creaked open and a petite girl stepped into the front hall. “Hello?” her sweet voice rung through the empty room as she closed the front door. The clicks of high heels were sharp on the marble floor and a woman stepped into the room. “You are Miss Miriam, I presume?” the woman asked in a haughty voice. “Yes,” Miriam replied,”and you are?”

“Mrs. Malvolio, pleasure to meet you. I am your caretaker and I will look after you. I will not tolerate any funny business; you are allowed to sit in your room and entertain yourself with books, but you are not to roam the house or bother anyone,” Mrs. Malvolio said, looking down the bridge of her long nose at Miriam and raising a thin eyebrow. Miriam nodded and Mrs. Malvolio guided her towards her room. Her back was as straight as a ruler and her graying hair was tied neatly into an immaculate bun at the nape of her neck. As they entered a guest room, Miriam lace her suitcase and backpack on the floor and sat on the bed.

“Your clothes are dirty and you are ruining the covers, get off the bed!” Mrs. Malvolio reprimanded, Miriam shooting to her feet. “Sorry,” her small voice spoke as she looked down at the floor. “Get settled and changed and I will bring you lunch,” Mrs. Malvolio said, leaving the room and shutting the door with a small click. Miriam sighed, falling back onto the bed. Her thoughts clouded her mind as she thought about the whirlwind of events.

Her mother sang sweetly as her father drove through the winding mountain, humming along to her mother’s soft words. Miriam sat in the backseat as she watched the landscape blur by. There was a feeling of soft sunshine and hazy days, with the excitement of trips stretching smiles across her face. Soon, however, her world of blooming magnolias would wilt as a truck slid across the oil slick road. It tried to veer to the right, but it ended up rolling onto the side of the road, blocking the entirety of the street. Her father couldn’t pause in time, their car crashing head first into the overturned truck. Screams echoed through the abandoned road as sirens flashed blue and red lights. Miriam couldn’t yell, her head was a dizzying color of purple and her organs fought to stay alive and breathe.

“There’s a child and three adults!” a voice cried as the car was broken open. Miriam opened her blood crusted eyes and saw nothing but red. On the seats, on the windows, on her parents. Arms grabbed her and pulled her out of the broken vehicle, Miriam thrashing valiantly, her arms reaching for her parents.

“Mom! Dad!” Miriam finally croaked out, but it was too late. A nurse came to hug her, wrapping her dark arms against Miriam’s pale, red skin, stroking her damp blonde curls and humming a soft lullaby. Tears fell rapidly as two other men were tending to her parents. They were bloody and cut, deep gashes across both of them.

One of the paramedics paused before setting down his equipment, hanging his head as he whispered,” Name is Victoria Arrington, date is December 23, 2016, dead at 8:06.”

A scream was ripped out of Miriam’s throat as her mother was wheeled away in a body bag, simply tossing her away into an ambulance. The other paramedic was working vigorously, accompanied by a large group of nurses and the first paramedic.

Please, Father, I need you, please, Miriam thought as she watched them checking his stats and sealing his gashes. Suddenly, they all stepped back and their heads fell in despair.

“Dead.”

“No! No! He can’t be dead! Please! Help! There must be something you can do!” Miriam screamed, her voice cracking in hysteria. She fought against the nurses that were restraining her from tackling the doctors.“There’s nothing we can do.”

“Please! There has to be something!” Miriam wailed, her voice growing smaller until it was barely whisper, her legs giving up and letting her fall to the road.“There has to be something,” Miriam whispered, tears rapidly falling until she couldn’t cry anymore. Darkness edged into her eyes and she fell into a realm of chaotic sadness.

------

“May I ask why you are here?” Mrs. Malvolio asked, watching Miriam push around the vegetables on her plate. Miriam gulped as memories flashed by,”My parents got hit by a driver and died.” “And you are living at this residence because?”

“Bradley is my brother,” Miriam said before looking down, not wanting to speak anymore. Miriam stood up and walked away from the table as Mrs. Malvolio’s face softened. Walking around the estate, Miriam heard the rustling of papers and the muttering of, ”I need to get this right.”Miriam peeked through the door to see a blond head of hair tilted over a stack of papers, his face twisted in concern and his blue eyes shining with frustration.

“Wanna get some ice cream?” Miriam suggested softly, poking her head through the threshold. Bradley looked up and glared at her,”Get out.” “Why?”“Because I need to work on something that could get me millions of dollars for Reflection!”

Reflection was a company that Bradley founded. It was a piece of technology that would allow family to know where each other was, built in a ring. It vibrated for messages with a secret tracking device installed in. “Don't you have enough money?”“What's some more?”Miriam nodded slightly and left, feeling defeated.

It’s my fault. That mother and father died. That Bradley hates me. I shouldn’t be here. I want to go home, Miriam thought, furrowing her brows in a desperate attempt to not cry. She walked to her room and picked up a book, immersing herself in a world of magic, hoping to obliviate any feelings of sadness as she curled up on the couch with a blanket wrapped around her. A small smile crept onto her face as she was whisked away into a world where frustration and anger didn’t exist, but laughter and happiness.

------

A few days later, Bradley walked into the estate with a bright smile on his face. Miriam was sitting in the dining room with a blank expression on her face as she ate her sandwich.

“I got the deal!” Bradley exclaimed, holding a pristine sheet of paper and pumping his fist in the air. Miriam had a ghost of a smile on her face and whispered,”Congrats, how much money did you make?”“I don't know, but the number has a lot of zeros.”

“Great. I'm happy for you,” Miriam whispered before exiting the room. Bradley didn’t notice her presence was gone. Bradley didn't notice the damp, stormy gray eyes or the tears falling in streams down her cheeks or the silent sobs racking her throat and her chest because money was all that mattered.

------

“Good morning, Mr. Arrington!”

“Top of the morning to you, boss.”

“Have a good day, sir.”

Bradley smiled as he was greeted by the many employees at his company. He walked to his office and settled down, sitting in an expensive leather chair. “Excuse me, boss, but I have some important files for you to sort out and sign.” Bradley nodded as a stack of paper greeted his desk. Clicking a pen, he read over the first few sentences before his secretary came in,”Mr. Arrington, you have an appointment tomorrow and a meeting in an hour. There are some people who want to work here and here are their résumés. We need someone for filing and Mrs. Kassel is requesting an assistant, whom she is willing to train.”

Bradley nodded and started to look through papers,”I will get back to you on this.” The door clicked quietly shut and Bradley started on the files, signing a few papers before switching over to a Manila folder of résumés, raising eyebrows at impressive lies and truths. The sudden hollow echo of knuckles rapping on the door caused Bradley to look up from the list of new employees and ones that second in waiting. “Excuse me, sir, but we have a meeting on the statistics of Reflection,” a meek voice said, accompanied by a petite young woman, who seemed new. Bradley nodded and stood up, taking his notebook and pen and leaving the pile of papers for another day.

Minutes stretched into hours and Bradley was able to finally leave the building. Sleep tried to succumb his body as he sat in his office, organizing papers, before he glanced at the clock. In thick, digital letters, the face of the clock read 11:37 PM. Rubbing his face, Bradley gathered his jacket and briefcase and exited the building, the cold night air wrapping around him.

It was one of those nights in the city, where you are forced to breathe on your hands, making them cold and clammy. Your breath is a cloud of silver air and the delicate touch of frost is nipping at your nose and your fingertips. Shudders run up your spine and cars run in a trickling stream, the low sounds of rubber on asphalt whizzing past you. Moonlight guides your way through the city, accompanied by the occasional flash of headlights, and the dark sky greets you with the blinking stars. Tonight, Bradley walks alone, the only company the stars, beacons of lost hope in the sky, and the curved moon, a scythe which cuts through the lonely horizon and allows new thoughts to grow. Silence fills the streets, but Bradley’s mind was all but silent. Thoughts about new ways to grow the company and ideas on gaining more money was in every nook and cranny in his head.

As he entered the estate, he thought he heard the faint shuffle of feet and a miniscule sniffle. Bradley checked his watch, seeing the early morning time of 1:28 AM on the face of his Rolex. Shaking his head, he wondered why he would have thought of those things, surely nobody in the house would be awake this early in the morning. Bradley dropped his things and climbed the stairs to his room, falling into his bed as the carousel of thoughts slowed to a halt and the darkness succumbed him, swirling him into the beautiful chaos of oblivion.

Suddenly, the rambunctious blaring of the alarm clock jarred Bradley out of his peaceful slumber. His body urged him to stay in the cocoon of warmth, but his mind screamed to get out of bed. After the internal fight of to stay or not to stay, Bradley eventually stood up and got ready. As he entered the dining room, he saw Miriam. Her eyes were glazed with a glassy layer of sadness, her lips quivering in an attempt to smile, her cheeks stained with tears and emotions.

“Are you alright, Miriam?” Bradley asked, poking his omelette around the plate. Miriam nodded slowly, taking a shaky breath, almost as if she were trying to convince herself that she was alright. Bradley looked back down at his eggs and stood up,”I’m going to work now.”

Miriam murmured a quiet “goodbye” and Mrs. Malvolio went to take his plate and wash it, looking back that Miriam before leaving to the kitchen.

Bradley arrived at the building, smiling at his hard work. Sitting back on his chair, he felt the power rush through his veins. There was nothing on his schedule today, but signing papers, checking statistics, etc. He gazed at the stacks of paper on his desk and sighed, rolling up his sleeves and clicking his pen open. Reading through the files, Bradley got through a few packet before he got distracted in his mind. Thoughts raced through his mind:What if something happens? What if the contract is manipulated? What if I lose everything?

The paralyzing anxiety spread through his body like icy, liquid metal, shackling his hands to fists and covering his thoughts in an illusion of fear. Panic began like cluster of spark plugs in his abdomen, his breathing becoming rapid and shallow. Tension grew in his face and limbs, his mind a hurricane of one word: go. He stood up quickly, his heart echoing in his ears. Bradley almost sprinted out of the building, walking briskly through the swarm of workers and into the open street. He yanked his tie loose, stuffing it into his pocket and following the crowd of busybodies. Bradley breathed in the fresh city air and felt the knot in his stomach unravel. He trekked a path to the park, a wide, open space where he could sit and watch the sky as he forgot his worries. People walked all around him, breathing in the same air and feeling the same sense of relief. A pair walked by, a tall man, with platinum blond hair and an aristocratic air, followed by a young girl with bushy, brown curls, holding his hand as they crossed the street.

“Come on ‘Mione, Mom will be mad if we’re late,” the man said, pulling the young girl, ‘Mione, along. She didn’t seem to be listening, but rather looking at the landscape. The siblings left his view and Bradley watched with a look of longing, remembering his bond with Miriam, trying to find any good memories. Shaking his head, he kept walking towards the water.

Sitting on a bench, Bradley breathed in a deep sigh of relief. He watched as a man, around forty or so, walked down to the edge of the lake. He looked rich, holding himself in a way that made him seem superior to the others. Frown lines wrinkled his face, matched with a seemingly permanent sneer and bitter expression. Isolated hung in a misty gray aura around him, a fog of frustration sheltering him from emotion. He walked tall and proud, but with a weight of sadness dragging along his broad shoulders, ripping stitches from the man’s Armani suit. Bradley focused on the shimmering lake, rippling in the silver-blue water and with a strong fragrance of sweet, salty air.

As the man walked away, a young boy came into view. He seemed like a little prince, laughing a giggle that exploded into the air like TNT. He ran through the park, holding his arms wide against the breeze, ruffling his blonde hair. A million bells rang through the area as the Little Prince smiled, showing pearly, white teeth. Bradley looked longingly at the happy child, realizing how long it had been since he felt joy and laughed with someone who made him feel carefree and made him lose all his worries. As a pebble dropped into the mirrored lake, it created thousands of ripples, spreading outward and distorting the water, but making it all the more beautiful. Suddenly, Bradley started to run home, thrashing against the crowds of people and sprinting to his estate.

Bradley threw open the door, dashing to Miriam’s room. He opened the mahogany door slowly, letting the creaky hinges squeak open. Miriam sat, curled in a blanket, on the couch, reading a book. She glared at him and raised an eyebrow. Bradley looked at her, taking in the glassy eyes, filled with unshed tears, the dark lashes, brimming heavy with a coming flood, the bottom lip that quivered with unspoken emotions, the lump in her throat, holding down the screams and sobs that wracked her chest. Bradley relished in the soft smile that Miriam gave him as he asked,”Wanna get ice cream?”

My allegory, Stop and Smell the Roses, tells a story of a young brother and sister pair who are forced together after a tragic accident. Bradley is a 23 year old man who is succeeding in his dreams and overworking himself for money. His younger sister, Miriam, 12, is forced into his life and pushed into exile as Bradley focuses on gaining an “important” business deal. After he gains the fame and fortune, he has a stress induced panic attack, leading to a rush outside and an observation of a rich, isolate “King” and a happy, carefree Little Prince. Realization strikes him and he rushes home, hoping it isn’t too late.

Stop and Smell the Roses is an allegory on not taking the actually important things for granted. In this story, Bradley symbolizes a man who only thinks about money and doesn’t realize that a bond with his sister is something priceless. The pair that walk by, ‘Mione and her brother, symbolize what Bradley wants with his sister or what he never had with Miriam. The rich man is what Bradley will become if he doesn’t change his ways, lonely and rich, but with no one to share it with because he separates himself from others to work. The Little Prince is what Bradley wants, to be happy and carefree, but still have his dreams; to have fun with friends and family while maintaining his career. The pebble falling into the lake, causing ripples, symbolizes Bradley’s change of mind because, even though the ripples distort the water, it is still beautiful, as a change of mind makes your mind all the more amazing.

Stop and Smell the Roses is an allegory because it has two levels of meaning. First, it has an overlying story, the characters, the plot, and the surface of the story. The second meaning is the deeper message, the symbolism with the metaphors, foreshadowing, similes, etc. It describes an abstract idea of not taking people and truly important figures for granted, because they may not be around forever. The idea can be interpreted in many ways, as people who have gone through different experiences have different mindsets. The story is multidimensional, causing the characters to stand for something much larger than their actual storyline

Work In Progress

By: Leah C. 7A

If you ran up to me on an ordinary day and yelled, “LEAH, WHO ARE YOU?!” I would most likely: a) tell you to be quiet, and b) have to stop and think. I know myself well---I care way too much about grammar, I am loud, and also really dramatic. I take pleasure in skiing, acting, and steaming mugs of tea. I am sensitive and maybe a little insecure. I am nostalgic and pretentious. But once we plow through my surface, the descriptions and observations, you find my core. Even I don’t know what it is—I’m only through maybe  the first three layers. I know what I love and what I hate, my hobbies and dislikes. I know my pet peeves and things that make me smile (warm sweaters, my little sisters, chick-flicks, etc.). Sure, I can answer many trivia questions about myself, but I inevitably begin to question: do I know myself?

    Well, the answer is no. I am like a gold mine, where I keep digging for the treasure and finding valuable bits and pieces of myself along the way. My whole life is one big dig for riches. If you got to know me, I think you would discover as lot, but you would never really know me, because i am so very good at disguising feelings. You might find that I love talking to people. You might discover that I love knowing things--about everything. You might find out that I would do anything to be able to marry fictional characters. Who knows? But what you will not find is my core. It won’t drape itself across a silver platter for you. It won’t lay itself at your feet. It won’t do anything, because it is encased in so many undiscovered layers that it can’t budge. You will have to wait patiently for me to peel it all away. I’m sorry in advance.

           Who am I? I do not know. What am I? Well, I am a sculpture. I am gradually being whittled away, creating Leah. It is quite the tedious process. I am waiting to see what I wind up as. I don’t know if I will end up as a masterpiece or an abstract hunk of stone. Maybe I’ll have to be destroyed and then rebuilt. Maybe I’ll end up in a museum, or locked away in an old studio, collecting dust. I am a heap of marble with so many futures.

           However, I am not entirely undiscovered. I have two younger sisters that I adore. I would do anything for my family and friends. I am adventurous and bold. I hate sappy things. I think I am a half-carved sculpture. I am pitifully pretentious.  I am twelve and still a seven year old at heart. I love happy people and pretty sunsets. I hate cheese and know-it-alls. I love positive thinking, and yet I consider myself a “realist.” I have spent twelve years discovering who I am, and only to peel away 3 layers (3 and a half on a good day).

          So to reiterate (because I am a repetitive person) whoever asks me who I am will have to be patient, because I have spent years and years looking for who I am, only to spend years more. I am adjectives, likes and dislikes, thoughts and sentences, family and friends.I am a million things. I am one thing. I am one person. I am Leah M. C. born twelve years ago on the twelfth of September, and I am a work in progress.

WHO AM I? THAT IS THE QUESTION

By: Elizabeth R. 7C

Feeling awkward, determined and passionate at twelve can be a lot to handle. For example, just last week I was too shy to raise my hand in an assembly, even though I had a good question. I guess that’s just who I am for now. When will it end? I predict never. Hopefully I’ll be able to cope with it.

My social-awkwardness is definitely my best and worst quality. My social skills aren’t very good, even though I come in contact with people everyday. It can be hard. I really only communicate with close friends. They probably know me more than I do myself. Do you know how I got those friends? Pure awkwardness. The fact that I hit them with my book bag by accident, noticing their My Chemical Romance shirt (a band), got us to be friends. Also, telling other awkward people it’s okay because something worse happened to you is a great way to make friends. Famous people I admire are also awkward so we’re all in the same boat. You can make your way through the world, one black and blue at a time.

Determination also guides me through life. I’m determined to do the best I can. I’m determined to make my dreams reality. And if someone doubts me*cue Twenty One Pilots*, I ignore them. I don’t listen to criticism unless it’s going to help me. For example, when I was trying out for Mark Twain, a bunch of people told me I should change my handwriting and story-style for the Creative Writing test. And guess what? I didn’t. The people who graded my test liked my story, and that’s why I’m here, right now. I knew what I liked to write about, and I was determined to show that to the school. Even though determination does a lot of good in my life, it gets in the way sometimes. When I want to do something my way, and I can’t do it my way, it’s tough to transition.

I have many passions in my life, like music and anime. I try to make the most of every piece of the one song about closing the door (AKA ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ by Panic! At The Disco) and trying to savor that theme music of ‘Attack On Titan’ (Seid ihr dass Essen? Nein, wir sind der Jager!).  Passion also brings the last two things I talked about full circle. I’m determined to make my passions a career, and my awkwardness will be expressed in the songs. It can also attract people with my personality.

I think I can understand the person in the mirror now. She’s a little less… FOGGY *hysterical laughing*. In case you can’t tell, I just made a mirror pun. You don’t get it? Nevermind. This is just another example of how awkward I am.

Did I Mention?

 

by Genevieve R. 7A CW

 

 

    In Tom Sawyer, Tom at one point is whitewashing a fence in front of another boy. Tom looks at the fence critically, like an artist, polishing his work to perfection. My persona cannot be polished like a fence or a work of art. It is like a tornado, more likely to destroy a fence than be one. I’m open to interpretation and constantly changing. I’m completely improvised, I have no idea what I’m going to do next, yet I’m excited to see what interesting thing it will be. I know myself better than anyone because I am me, but in some ways I don’t know anything about what I can do.

I think everyone in the whole world is just a reflection or piece of everyone around them, a collage. I'm a collage, a smiling freckled face patched together from other faces. My personality, appearance, and clothes, are all pieces from everything that influences me. Friends, family, music, artists, food, and books influence me a lot. I really enjoy baking sweets and then, of course, eating them. I also love to read thought provoking books and listen to music my dad listened to when he was younger. Out of everything, my parents affect me the most. My dad is an intense, talkative person filled with random facts, while my mom is a hardworking, creative, perfectionist. Both my parents inspire me continuously.

Sometimes I’m an actor, trying to appear one way, but unconsciously revealing that I am, unfailingly, me. I might try to appear to be loud, outgoing, and easy to talk to, but I’ll still be as introverted as ever. When I meet new people I’m very quiet, but I’m eager to get to know them. I play different parts in every scene and sometimes I am surprised how different I am in different situations. Ms. O’Brien gave my class a quote, “I am not who you think I am. I am not who I think I am. I am, who I think, you think I am.” Right now I think that you think I’m a writer, and I think I’m a girl who doesn’t know exactly who she is, so there’s a disconnect. If Ms. O’Brien’s quote is true, then I would be a writer because I think that you think I’m a writer. Why can’t I just be a girl who doesn’t know who she is but writes about it?

I like to fool myself into thinking that I am average height, but I’m just short. Despite my saddening height, I love to swim. I could stay in the ocean all day if I had a choice. I have loved the water since I was three, but I have been swimming seriously since fourth grade. I don’t swim on a swim team, but I do play water polo. I love the sport. It’s swimming except not just lap after lap, there’s action and pressure and reliance on my teammates. Whenever I play, I feel this rush of adrenaline that I don’t feel anywhere else.

I hope I’m not misleading you to think I’m only a contemplative person because that’s just one side of me. I love to sing, act, read, eat and draw. My dad calls me melodramatic, my mom calls me creative, my brother says “Genevieve be quiet, I’m trying to play video games!” and 6 year old boys call me “annoying.” I am what the people in my life think I am and I am what I think I am. I still don't know myself, but I'm getting to know her a little better.

 

The Dream of Myself

Chiara C. CW

 

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” -Langston Hughes

    Who am I? I am a dream. I have not yet taken shape, and I’m discovering myself. My many feelings, thoughts, and memories do not have a set form yet. But I know that when they do, and I know who I really am, I’ll be spectacular.

    I am fiercely loyal to those I love. I care for all my family and friends. Like a cat, I like to think I’m aloof and independent. But I’m not. I am very social, but one of my irrational fears is that people I’m friendly with actually think something bad about me. Maybe it’s because I have such an active imagination-- I can dream up anything.

    I read so many books, there’s not even room on my bookshelves for all of them anymore! I like studying the subjects of science and math, and the multiverse theory is fascinating to me. I like to imagine that in another universe, all my wishes are possible. Of course, I love fantasy books and those with other worlds and magic. My dream is to travel all over the world someday and see everything it has to offer, every beautiful country.

    I’m private, even with myself. I don’t like writing about myself. I can’t really understand my own thoughts, untangle the web of whatever makes up me. I prefer, if I have to write, to analyze what I see. That’s easy to write about, and I can put more detail into it and make it sound beautiful. But when I write about myself, it feels like I’m just taking out pieces at random and examining them. You have to see the whole picture to get a good idea of me, and sometimes there’s a part of my personality that I don’t want the world to see me as, or even to see myself as sometimes, but I never want to take it out of the picture. I have very deep feelings that vary a lot. I can be struck by a small moment, or let a large one not affect me at all. It depends what I put value into. I love small moments when there isn’t so much thinking as feeling, whether watching a sunset, looking up at a huge city full of light at night, or seeing a snow-covered, silent forest as daylight shines across it. I am made up of a million small moments—every dream, memory, wish, idea and second change, shape, and define me.

“We are such stuff  as dreams are made on.” -William Shakespeare

    Who am I? Everyone is different, and I am just one person, shining and confident and full of light. As a dream, I don’t know exactly what I am or what I will be. I just know what I can guess of myself. It’s like looking in a mirror— you see what you look like, but maybe that isn’t how others see you. It’s like being someone else and trying to guess what I see in the mirror of myself. I have a thousand reflections, some I don’t know and some I keep inside, but I love them all.