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College Composition II 2.19.10
“What is beauty?” My brain snaps on. “What is beauty,” he asks, wearing a baby blue dress shirt that almost shines as he gestures around. He pauses as someone interrupts him and restates what he had been going on about (on about? Had been saying?) for clarification. “McCullough?” “Errrmmm. . .” Scenes from my last night in Europe spring to mind. I jump on to the bunk bed in front of the large picture window and to my joy I discover it easily swings open (swings open easily?). I gasp as night falls. The town in the valley below the mansion-turned-youth-hostile begins to light up. One by one, the street lights flicker to life, homes blaze like candle light against the bright starry sky. My heart rips in half and my eyes water. One single church is highlighted in a yellow blaze on the peak (top, crown, pinnacle) of a hill. I inch as close to the open world as possible, no bug screen to keep me from it. Only the bird excrement on the roof keeps me off of it. My best friend hops up next to me and I grin, noticing the other kids standing outside to see the heavenly sight.
2 “Last one down has to wake up first in the morning.” We jump down from the top bunk and sprint down the hall, my socks sliding me along the multicolored tile to the stairs. “Don’t fall!” She cries over her shoulder. “No? Davis?” I open my mouth too late, as usual. The lecture continues, my mind buzzing with a point I want to make. I sigh inwardly as the topic changes. The class seems to shift and grin (and groan?) in unison as the teacher is interrupted again, his arm gestures faltering like the point he was about to make. *** Escapism as defined in The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language:
Escapism— es* cap* ism [i-skey-piz-uh m]
-noun The avoidance of reality by absorption of the mind in entertainment or in an imaginative situation, activity, etc. ***
3 I slide my hat on and glance at the blinking red digital clock in the crew room as I tuck my bangs into hiding. “Heeeeey girrrrl!” Ellen croons, Her shirt is tomato red, symbolizing her higher pay grade and supervisor status— “What’s goooin’ onnnn?” She smiles, dragging out her words. “Nothing,” I respond, rolling my eyes. “Same old crap issues, same crap job. Hey, how’s the withdrawal going?” I watch the shock flash across her face and am shocked in turn when I see her expression go through a hungry transformation, her eyes sinking deeper into her scabbed face. Her skin deteriorates before me, the monster of addiction rearing its ugly face. “Not a lot. How are you?” I turn to leave, my eyes quickly raking her face. “Groovy, baby!” I head up to the drive through area and resume work as if I hadn’t left on Sunday. “It’ll be one minute on chicken,” Stephanie calls over to me. I stand in front of the presenter table and in the effort to ignore the staring customers, I imagine myself far away, living a life that doesn’t involve me working in the world of fast food. I take a detour toward the golden arches, my brain aching for coffee. When I swing open the door, I’m met with an unoccupied lobby. I head up to the counter and smile at the McDonald’s worker. “May I have a mocha, please?”
4 The boy nods. “Yes.” I nearly giggle at the pompous tone in the one word reply. I step out the glass door and am swept away by the crowd. It isn’t raining for once, so when I pass by Big Ben I am able to glance up and see the ancient clock bathed beauty. The setting sun makes the clock face appear to glow, rays of light shooting around the tower emblazoning it in a heavenly illumination. The pale red sky turns to an autumn orange as I trek across London. A nip in the air causes me to tug my raincoat closer, reminding me of the summer’s nearing end. I arrive at my flat, a folder of articles under my arm. I had been staying late at the office lately, and as the Opinion section of the Sunday Times was still behind schedule, I decided to finish editing at home. I take a sip of the strong chocolate laced espresso and pull out the last of the unedited articles. I tug a pink fuzzy comforter around me as I disappear in the cushy depths of the giant armchair. Looking around the front room, I sigh, almost sad to be leaving to return to America to resume teach— “Princess!” A prod in my arm brings me back, and I’m plunged in the unwelcome radiance of fluorescents. Stephanie resumes laughing at me, teeth fully exposed. I suppress a shudder, as usual. “Your order is up! You haven’t been listening to me talk, have. . .” Jabbering endlessly, you mean. Shutting the drive through window for the night, I turn to search out the night manager. As I spin around with one last glance at the clock, I am met with the silver button on a black shirt. “You can go,” the button rumbles. I back up and look at the manager to
5 thank him before rushing to the crew room for my coat. I disappear through the door, my back beginning to ache, my knees beginning to collapse. I start my car and all the night’s exhaustion slams into me like a sledgehammer as I throw the gear in reverse. Headlights flash by as I stare intently at the road. I pinch the back of my neck to try to stay awake, but my brain begins to beg for relief and I lose sight of the black tar and white lines. I’m driving home, gazing out the window. It’s suddenly daytime, and I’m wearing my aviators, which taint the world purple. I’m rubbing my pained neck and mouthing the words to “The Magic Position” by Patrick Wolf. It’s warm out, graduation is approaching. The melting snow reminds me of how quickly time has been going. My heart flutters anxiously when I realize the short amount of time left before the school year ends. The sun warming my skin as I drive, my mind begins to wander from the dreary road and I catch myself reliving old memories. I can see myself in preschool, playing House with Brittany Narverud. She interrupts me as I pour the tea. “You need to have a crush on somebody!” “Why?” I ask, turning to face her, my head tilted at an angle. “Because you do.” She turned me to face to circle of boys at the end of the room. “Pick one.” I frown. “No.” I glare at her, and finish pouring the tea. Her lower lip quivers, and she looks at me with big brown eyes, practically trembling with pleading. “Please?” My frown deepens, and I quickly examine the chuckling, farting boys. I
6 quickly point a finger, and sigh irritably as Brittany squeals and giggles over the new ‘love of my life’. I come back to the car long enough to turn on my blinker for the third of six turns I make during the drive from town. My imagined daytime scenario was nearly blinding compared to the nighttime surrounding me. Taking time to curse the van that pulled out in front of me which caused me to slow to 40 mph, I yawn and dive back into my stream of consciousness. My mind flits to middle school, sometime around eighth grade. The flickering fluorescents give my notebook an aged look and my head begins to protest. “Can I sit here?” The blond fro-headed boy asks, plopping down in the padded chair next to me. I smile, his pale eyes meeting mine. “What’s wrong? You’re thinking hard, again.” He searches my face, his body swooping in my direction. I almost chuckle, my eyes rolling to the white tile ceiling. I lean over, my eyes glued to his own once more. “I told you my plan parents to move this summer, didn’t I?” He jerked backward, rocking the chair into the wall. His eyes darted around nervously. “No. You didn’t.” He scooped my folder out of my notebook. “Where to?” “Oregon.” I say, confused at his behavior. “Oh. I used to live in Phoenix.” “I know.” I huff, “you told me the day we met, at soccer. Remember?” I’m baiting him, wishing he would look up from my communications folder. “What if I don’t want you to go?” He picked at the edge of my folder, where it was tearing from the weight of the papers inside.
7 “Well-” He shakes his curly hair out, and interrupts me. “This dragon and I will keep you here.” He points to the smirking, baby blue dragon on my folder. I try not to laugh, but my struggling smirk flees when he finally glances back up. My look, I think, melting. I have once again become the most important person in the world. The strand of hair I had been battling settles into place, the oncoming migraine begins to dissipate. “The dragon and I will guard the borders. You won’t leave me.” He almost voices it as a question, so I nod, unable to detach myself from the look of pure innocence and care shining in his eyes. “I’ll be there,” my best friend assures me. I begin to blush at his intensity, and nearly dive under the circular wood table when Scott, Brady, and Aaron appear. Instead, with one last glance at my knight in tin foil, I busy myself with class work. The look on his face quickly becomes boredom and makes my chest ache, my head beginning to pound once again. I come back to life to complete the fifth turn in my journey, and I realize I couldn’t remember making the fourth. I shake my head, acknowledging the ignorance that existed when I was in Preschool and in eighth grade. When I was little, my friends were caught up on a romance they knew nothing about, when I was in eighth grade, I was caught up in ignoring the romance that was under my nose. There was something so sweet and innocent about the awkwardness. It makes me sad to see the loss of that innocence through high school. Wanting to steer from the topic of school, I begin to relive the summer after my sophomore year, the pain in my body starting to revive.
8 My body is vibrating with anticipation. Shift left, left. . . back to the right. . . My cleats shuffle through the sandy dirt and grass, my body following the sashay of the attacking offence. I clench and release my fists, sweat trickling between my fingers, the mesh of the goalie gloves rubbing against my knuckles. I’ve given up on the vibrant orange sleeves of my goalie jersey, allowing them to hang loose despite the hundred degree weather. Shift left. . . Rightrightrightrightright! Knees bent, constantly shifting my weight, my eyes dart around, keeping the rest of the players in the corner of my vision. My heart thuds in my chest as the offence sprints toward me, having finally found a gap in our line up. With my defensive line trailing behind, the tall Minneapolis player allows a short grin. To the side, my brain tugs; and I dive left. The blonde girl winds up to plant the ball in the back of the net, but I have driven my body into the kick, causing her to miss and tap the ball before dodging backward. My hip pounds into the sandy ground, and a giggle escapes as I bounce, my shoulder slamming into the ground. I slam a hand on top of the ball, catching it just before it can roll in. I hear screams of triumph from Blondie and disappointment from my team, my body blocking the outcome of the kick that was so close to the line. “No!” I yell, on the brink of hysterics. My body continues to quake, but I do not move. The sideline referee jogs over and I look up. “It’s not three-fourths over the line,” I say, my voice trembling from the adrenaline rush rocking my system. There is a slight look of surprise on his face. I look back to where the silver ball is kissing the white line. Its exact center is a mile away from the goal line, as far as I’m
9 concerned. I catch a quick smile my way, and my head nearly explodes as blood thunders to my ears. “No good!” He bellows over the hollering girls. I hear the yells die down, only to start up again as both teams realize what had happened. I hear my team shriek and go wild, my defense jumping up and down as I leap up, ball tucked under my arm. I consider sliding to the ground and raising my arms in victory, but the look of pure hatred twisted on Blondie’s pale face is enough to keep me from gloating. I turn off my headlights and stare out my windshield in surprise. I attempt to remember the last leg of the drive home. I leave the garage and go inside, allowing my cat to streak past me, bowling my dog over. “Hey, Kriss. How was work?” I notice the receding hairline, the gray sprouting from his temples, the round stomach and a pair of hairy legs protruding from orange and white swim trunks. “Work.” I wonder away, dimly aware that he is mumbling something else, but I assume he’s talking to himself again. My mom is reclined in the blood colored (blood colored? Rustic red, carpet upholstered, dirty red) armchair, her water logged legs wrapped in medical tape. My cat rests on her chest, eyes half closed (his eyelids drooping wearily?) and purrs contentedly. “Kriss?” My dad calls, and I swerve (deviate?) from my course to the computer and return to the kitchen. “Cheese?” He gestures to the waiting plate with a block of cheese and grader. Being facetious (jocose?) I cut off a piece of cheese and eat it. “Thanks.” I turn to leave, but he calls me back and I set to work.
10 *** Insert of synonyms as stated by the Dictionary.com Unabridged: Related Words for: escapist dreamer, wishful thinker, avoidance, idealist, escape artist *** My mind exhausted, I crawl in between three layers of blankets, a Snuggie wrapped around my body. The space heater light cuts sharply through the darkness to assure me the bedroom will be warm by three AM. I set my Mp3 player on the bookshelf beside me and plug it in to the portable speaker. The sudden bright light from the screen makes me wince, and I quickly find my playlist category. To Sleep is the playlist I select, and Coldplay’s ‘Strawberry Swing’ frolics through the speaker as I fully submerge in the pool of blankets, my bear clutched under one arm and a handful of my pillow piles on top of the other. I shiver convulsively for a few minutes, my fuzzy sweatshirt and sweatpants unable to keep heat from escaping. Coldplay fades to ‘Fly’ by Ludovico Einaudi, to Sarah McLachlan’s ‘Time’, to Safetysuit’s ‘Gone Away’ before my mind settles. I close my eyes but do not sleep. I’m lying down, but my blankets are not under me anymore. The sun shines through my window, drawing me toward the warmth. I swing my legs out of bed and go stand at my window. It seems someone took the liberty of opening my shades for the first time; the disturbed dust particles sparkles and hangs around me. The ray of sunlight is oddly welcoming, making my skin tingle. I sit, reluctant to leave the paradise of my room. My cat runs in the room and crawls
11 on to his usual perch, my shoulder. The door is pushed open again and a boy sits at my side. My blood boils when his fingers brush my shoulder to pet Ve. “What are you doing here?” I ask casually, trying to find his Ireland green eyes under the glasses he wore, the sun glaring back at me. He grins obnoxiously. “Just visiting.” The daydream replays a few times, the conversation changing occasionally, the scenery goes from the woods out my window to the ocean, to the vineyards in Italy. The strange boy, and my cat, remain the same. “What is beauty,” enters my mind again, before I drift off to sleep. *** The medical definition of escapism as stated by Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary.
Main Entry: es*cap*ism Pronunciation: is-‘kA-”piz –m Function: noun : habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine
"Escapism." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 18 Feb. 2010. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/escapism>.
"Escapism." Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 18 Feb. 2010. <Dictionary.com
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/escapism>. "Escapist." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 476. Print.
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