The Joy of Summer

Summer is more than just a season to me. To me, it’s the anthem of teenage freedom, the epitome of happiness, the release of stress. Every year, summer gets better because I learn to enjoy it more. From the outrageous heat to the cooling ocean, from late nights out with friends to weekends with family, summer is the season I live for and thrive in.

The heat wraps its arms around me when I step outside and although I relentlessly complain about the warmth, I am ever so grateful for the sunshine. The bright light pours down on me, leaving my skin sunkissed and my hair lighter. The long days under the sun feel like an eternity of bliss. It’s tangible happiness that makes me both long for the coolness of fall and desire to soak up every ray. Finally, after twelve hours of light, the sun bids the world goodnight and paints an incomprehensibly beautiful sunset. The pink and orange mix with the blue and purple on Mother Nature’s canvas, leaving me in awe and wonder.

A true blessing of summer is the liberty of swimming in the ocean for hours. The waves of Laguna Beach save me from the scorching heat and free me from all my responsibilities. Shocking coldness sends chills up my body but once I jump in and plunge my head under the salty water, it’s as if everything is right in the world. The ocean is a huge basin of excitement that allows me to float on your back, dive under the waves or ride them to shore. It’s calming and exhilarating, addicting and tiring all at once.

The beauty of this season is the joy of being with my loved ones. There’s nothing better in the world than making last minute plans to ride the trolley and hit the beach with my best friends or drive down to McDonald’s late at night to grab ice cream with my family. Adventure is everywhere and summer enables me to share those adventures with anyone at almost any given time. The long days and late nights are memories I will never forget or trade for anything.

Happiness can never be stripped from me and my smile seems to be etched into my face. I am joyful, I am energetic, I am forever in love with summer. And I hold onto these feelings and memories throughout the school year, reminding me that it’s only a matter of time before summer 2019 begins and I get to experience summer all over again.

-Jessica T.

Bipolar Bears

The tall wheats grew beside her, moving and swaying like her golden, thick hair. She looked up at the sky waiting for the clouds to pass by. She sighed. She had the bear riddle suck in her head, running through over and over again “…polar bear, the polar bear”. What if there were two bears? Would it be a bipolar bear? Now, bipolar bears were dancing through her head…“Bipolar bears, bipolar bears”. She looked up at the sky. Smiling, the clouds ambled across the atmosphere. Glooming over her, a gray cloud seized the sky, taking it as its own. Stupid cloud, why couldn’t it become fluffy and carefree as the others? Frowning upon the wheat, she realized she didn’t want to be here anymore, she didn’t want to be on this planet anymore, but who said she lived on a planet? Was it a planet? Was she actually alive? Why couldn’t these clouds leave? Why wouldn’t the voice saying “bipolar bears” leave? Why couldn’t she leave? Why was she stupid enough to let this grey cloud take over her life? But most of all, why couldn’t she be normal?

She looked over at the squirrels, crawling to their hideout to protect their precious acorns. Was that a way of living? Just protecting your acorns? Using all your willpower to protect some nut? Did they have a voice saying anything like, “bipolar bears”? If not, then she wanted to be a squirrel. Actually, no she didn’t, a squirrel seemed boring, just protecting nuts. “Protecting nuts,” she laughed. She would protect her bear’s nuts, if she had one. But who would have her? Other bipolar bears? Squirrels wouldn’t, they would hide even more, not only to protect their acorns, but to hide from her.

-Kimi M.

The Catcher in the Rye Spin-Off

Boy another day, another day of the countless tortures I’ll have to suffer from all the phonies in the world.  Ugh, why does this have to happen to me? Can’t I live a happier life at some point? Anyways, I endured the numerous agonies at Pencey with nothing to see, nothing to do.  As day ends, and night comes, I have the unwanted privilege of having Ackley in my room, as if this goddamn day couldn’t get any goddamn worse. I try to ignore his pitiful presence by reading Out of Africa.  His great ramblings consisted of his hatred of Stradlater and oh yeah how much he hates everyone else.  At this point, I was hoping for someone to kill me already, but as usual my prayers weren’t answered. As I was about to tell Ackley to keep his goddamn mouth shut, in comes Mal Broussard, a decent guy from Pencey.  I never thought I would be so happy to see Mal in all my life as I was fed up with Ackley’s crap. Mal came over to ask if Ackley and I wanted to see a movie. If you thought being with Ackley was a pain, watching a movie with him was worse.  Actually watching a movie with both Ackley and Mal was worse. During the entire movie, they would laugh at parts that aren’t even funny. They are stupid enough to actually fall for that Hollywood crap with even more phonies than the ones I’m surrounded by on a day to day basis.  I don’t really care what movie they pick since no one gives a damn about my opinion, and they aren’t even good friends of mine.

Anyways, the movie they suggested was one they already saw.  On the outside, I’m willing to do whatever; on the inside, I’m screaming: “THANK GOD”  So, we decided to go to a burger joint not too far from Pencey. A burger joint is a burger joint: nothing special but it’s goddamn better than the crappy food at Pencey and a phony movie combined.  We head in, and it already kills me when Ackley actually jumps to a table, making himself look like a moron. I seat myself down in this goddamn squeaky chair that’s hurting my butt like mad. I’m six feet two inches tall; this was the last thing I needed.  

Anyways, I take a look at the menu, which I’m happier to order from than eating the typical Pencey crap of steak and mashed potatoes.  Finally, some waiter who looks unexcited to be here shows up to take our orders. I order the “classic” cheeseburger with fries and the “classic” vanilla milkshake.  By putting “classic” before everything is probably just another way to say, “This is the food that sucks less compared to the other goddamn items.” Mal orders the “classic” double beef cheeseburger with the “classic” cheese fries and the “classic” chocolate milkshake.  Ackley orders practically the whole goddamn menu. I’ll sum it up for you: the burger supreme with every topping imaginable, chili cheese fries deluxe with an extra side of mayonnaise and to put the goddamn cherry on top, apple pie ala mode with a mint chocolate chip milkshake.  No surprise here, that Ackley would do something this stupid, so at this point I shake my head to the point where it’s about to fall off. As if being in the same room with a moron of a guy like Ackley was bad enough, I had to eat in the same room with him as well. Practically, the only normal person at this table was Mal, and when you think about, that isn’t saying much.  

Anyways, the food arrives; I can’t wait to be disgusted already.  My food is okay; the burger is medium rare when I asked for it to be medium, the fries are nothing short of dry, and the milkshake is a nice way of saying, “Enjoy your melted ice cream sir.”  My food experience was also ruined because I was watching the terrifying site of Ackley eating his food. You could tell he adored it, almost too much. He started off by devouring his burger as if he was the predator and the burger was his prey.  It was like a python attacking a pig. Some call it entertainment while I find to be quite phony if you wanna know the truth. Ackley swallows the burger whole, pardon me he tries to swallow it. It would have been funnier if he choked on the burger to tell you the truth.  After a good five minutes alone with the burger, he moves on to the fries, not as bad as him eating the burger but pretty close. It was like a vending machine sucking up your goddamn money, one after another after another. I’m surprised he wasn’t breaking a sweat at this point.  After a good minute and half of him inhaling his goddamn slimy fries, he finishes off with the milkshake and pie. I wish I was kidding as I’m about to say this, but he began to gurgle his milkshake with the pie. Every ten seconds, he would slurp and gurgle, slurp and gurgle, and slurp and gurgle.  It was never ending. I had never seen anything like it in my life. The mint chocolate chip milkshake was probably the only “mouthwash” or any form of dental hygiene he’s used in his entire life. I couldn’t have been any more goddamn disgusted, what a moron that Ackley kid is.

Anyways, after Ackley’s eating fiasco, I look at Mal closely; I can’t tell whether he’s used to this kind of behavior since he’s on the wrestling team or whether he was equally disgusted as I was.  I immediately go to the cashier up front to pay for the crappy food. Then, Mal, Ackley, and I head home as I watch another beautiful site of Ackley cleaning his teeth from all the schlop he ate tonight.  Boy, what a guy!

Anyways, I am back in my room, trying to pretend I never saw what happened at the burger joint and have a marvelous dream that I am an acclaimed executive chef at the burger joint where I chop and cook decadent food that everyone adores.  I am like a musician in my dream; the kitchen utensils are my instruments, and I am the magic behind it, working in perfect harmony. My dream is suddenly ruined by the sound of Ackley vomiting the night away in the hallway. I’ll get the goddamn mop.  

-Whitney D.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Stress to Service

Stress:

Google says it’s “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances”

According to psychology, it’s “uncomfortable emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes”

And students agree stress is “AP exams, finals, CIF games and oh, those two projects I won’t be starting until the night before”

In the wee hours of the night, students strive to obtain the intense desire for success

And the wee hours of the night cook the perfect atmosphere for boiling stress.

A child, a baby: a mere fifteen, sixteen, seventeen year old

Persisting, working, sweating like a mule until their transcript shows all gold.

Who can expect a student to sleep eight hours a night but juggle five hours of work?

The expectations, I’d say, are more than enough to irk.

Every year the college acceptance rates drastically drop

And little boys and girls suddenly forget what it means to take a break

and just stop.

Tell me why students who sacrifice their health and sleep

Are still expected to be a lively teen and not weep.

Convince me that students are making the right decisions

In cheating on tests, just to get the “A” and fulfill their college envisions.

Persuade me that the education system is treating their students right

and brainwashing us to believe that a score of 5 is what makes us bright.

Let’s start to encourage using our passion and our voices

To stand up and help society make the right choices.

To be politicized and involved while we’re youthful, proud, and loud.

Time is running out, we can’t wait around.

Third world countries await our kindness, shelters demand our service, feminists deserve our support.

In all due respect, that is more important and influential than a chemistry lab report.

-Jessica T.

Untitled

The sun shone through the window. It was a new day, a fresh start. The brightness made it easy to forget the dark events of the previous night. Horrified images began to take over her mind. The screaming echoed in her ears. It was a mistake, she cried to herself. She knew she wouldn’t be able to forget it, that all she could do was find a way to live with it. No one would ever know her secret. This new day was her chance to become someone else, someone incapable of the horrible truth that was her mind.

She stared at the rays of light, imagining this, when a spot of red on the wall caught her eye. It was small enough to go undetected, but she knew its source. Tracing her eyes along the wall, more spots appeared, forming larger and messier streaks of red. There she could see it clearly, as if the color was the very paint on the wall, the color she would now wake up to every morning. It dripped down, drying at the bottom, collecting together to create a puddle.

Even with all her strength, she couldn’t pull her eyes away from the scene. It was all her fault. No amount of paint would ever cover up her pain from last night, no amount would make the tragedy disappear. It was forever stained in front of her.

In her own blood. Who would do such a thing?

 

Trapped

Trapped

The wood screams as I rip through it, scratching another jagged line in the floor with my rock. Another tally mark. The pattern is etched onto the majority of my floor, making it harder to hide under my rug each day. 267 days to be exact.

267 days I’ve been here. And with each day I’m closer to leaving, closer to my freedom. Hopefully. I can only dream that one day I’ll be given the chance to escape. It shouldn’t be much longer now. The money is with me, almost the whole five thousand, my bail money for this jail cell. When I’ve collected it all, this time I’ve spent in my dark cave will feel like a dream as I begin a new life on my own.

I reach down from my position on my bed and run a finger over the dust I’ve created on the ground to make my artwork smoother. Without this to keep me busy, I would’ve lost my mind. Alone in my room, unable to leave, I don’t see people much. The windows I have are boarded up with little rays of sunlight to expose me to the outside world. I should be insane by now. But I’m trying everything to prevent that while I still have my dream in mind.

I can almost picture the apartment I’ll get with windows stretching from the ceiling all the way to the floor, to bathe my pale skin in sun and give life to my sullen figure. All the food I’ll eat after getting used to scarce flavorless meals each day. And the city. The best part is the city. Streets busy with people, rushing to jobs or important meetings. Bright lights lining the roads and buildings and entertainers on every corner. I can see myself bustling along in the crowd, getting swept through the sea of people and not caring where they take me as long as I keep moving. Far away from here.

A tear drips from my eyes and wets the woodwork below me. My heart feels warm, taking me away from reality. This fairy tale is the only way to keep me safe from the horrors I face now.

-Sabrina C.

Nature!

Writing Prompt: Describe a character experiencing an unorthodox morning and their reflection following the morning’s events.

Unfortunately for me, and quite controversially to my motto “life is dumb and I want to sleep”, I found myself stumbling in the muted shimmering light of the rising sun out to sidewalk with a water bottle in hand and athletic shoes snug on my cold feet. Yawning, I let out a puff of air, my breath leaving it’s mark in the air. Not that I was against physical activity or anything but sleeping in until nine o’clock then rising to sip some tea while reading a novel was just, simply put, preferable.

My childhood friend, Jax (that garrulous, manipulative rascal), somehow made me comply to going on a hike at five thirty on a Saturday morning. Last night’s phone call was still vague and fuzzy in my groggy mind. I picked up my pace, feeling the cool air seep into the seams of my leggings and weave through the strands of my ponytail.

An hour or so later, the sun had fully peeped its head out from behind the mountaintops and illuminated the windy path up to 48 Wiles Way, a crooked condo that perched itself on top of a hill overlooking the beach, surfboards and sandy towels scattered around the front door and on the balcony. Ten minutes of hacking through tough vines and unforgiving cacti led me to a meditating Jax, who was gazing at the surf, probably rating the day’s waves. My audible gasps for breath made him spin around and chuckle as if my failure was the best thing he’s seen all morning. “Hey, partner, let’s start this hike, yeah?” and without waiting for my response, he jumped up and his tan hand latched onto my fleshy, pale one and dragged me to the trail that led down to the rocky shore.

The narrow trail, I discovered five minutes in, was home to various creatures, including cockroaches, rats and squirrels, who I was tempted to feed crumbs from my jacket pockets but thought better of it. I didn’t need a line of squirrels tracking me down looking for more old peanut butter toast bits. I was preoccupied with not tripping on  my shoelaces and faceplanting.

An overwhelming wave of sea air blew our direction, rustling the luscious foliage and invading my nose. It proved to be a new scent as my senses were accustomed to the wonderful aroma of brewing coffee and new books. Still, there was an appealing, delicious feature of the ocean air that made me want to grow wings and fly right over the cliff and into the sparkling blue waves. There was a beautiful array of flowers in the bushes we passed, a spectrum of magenta and fiery orange hues. Birds sang songs to each other but quickly flew away, startled when our dusty tennis shoes would slap the ground, sending up delicate clouds of brown dirt in our wake.

By ten, the warm sunshine began to slowly engulf me, creating dark pools of sweat on my back but leaving me feeling exhilarated, empowered and free. I tore my jacket off and released a satisfied, exhausted whoop of excitement. Jax barked a laugh and followed suite. If a stranger were to look up from the sandy nadir, they would see two obnoxious teenagers, pounding the ground, making a rowdy mess of things. But if you saw it through my eyes, you’d see two individuals, sparked into happiness by the energy of the sun, starting the weekend off right in joyful relaxation. As we came to the final stretch, our shouts subsided and we let our huffing breaths fill whatever air the chirping birds and crashing waves didn’t. All too soon, the challenge came to an end and my beating heart leapt in time with the pounding water. When Jax and I found ourselves sprawled on the warm sand, still saying nothing but letting the summer atmosphere speak for us, singing about nature’s unique beauty and awesome power over humans, I scolded myself. Why had I never took up Jax’s offer on a morning run before? This is so beautiful and worth the early morning alarm! Jax turned and gave me a knowing grin as he watched my illuminated face, eyes studying the ever changing waves, lips curving into a permanent smile.

Nature, I concluded, entices us, provides for us, awes us, and inspires us more and more, each time we step foot outside.

-Jessica T.