Month: February 2016

A Love Story: The Beginning, the Middle, and the Never Ending

by Bryanna Vandever

It was all part of the beginning,

The middle of the beginning of the rest of their lives,

The middle of the end of their relationships,

But in the end, it was all part of the beginning

The beginning of their happiness.

The beginning of what they deserved.

Because those two had gone through more crap then most people go through in a lifetime.

I remember the first time she told me he was perfect and I told her that was impossible.

I remember when my mom and her mom and I went the store where they worked

And my only word to describe him afterwards was perfect.

He was six feet of blonde hair, blue eyes,

And a smooth Texas voice that made your skin cry out in goose bumps.

I remember when he finally told her he was single, and she painfully had to tell him “it’s still complicated”.

I remember the night we sat in her car,

Watching the stars, and reading the poetry he was sending her.

I remember meeting him for the first time and thinking that he had to have some type of deep dark secret Because this guy was just too good to be true.

I remember the last time I saw him

And he smiled at me with purest of happiness because he knew it was just the beginning.

I remember when they finally got together and she told me about their first date.

He brought her roses and gave her the stars.

I’ll never forget her mom telling her “he’s so cute”

Because he is.

I’ll never forget how much her face lights up when she talks about him

Or how much he teases her because he’s crazy about her.

I’ll never forget watching the New Mexico sky flash with lightning when I sat in her car for hours

Wishing I could have her life

A life with a love that was true and pure and real.

I’ll never forget where it all started.

In an Albertson’s in a town outside an air force base in the middle of nowhere that no one has ever heard of.

I’ll never forget the few days I spent with them

That convinced me that this was true love and completely meant to be.

I’ll always remember the beginning so I can tell their kids

That I remember the exact moment when the beginning of a possibility

Turned into the beginning of forever.


Dear Young Writer

by Morgan Sutton

To the adolescent writer:

You do not have to be tragic. Tragic things may happen to you, or tragic things may not happen to you, but you do not need to be a tragic person.

They say, Van Gogh was Sad and so he was an artist. They say, Sylvia Plath was Sad so she became a poet, but poetry did not heal her, and she killed herself, anyway.

Do not think, “if I am to write I must be sad.” Do not think, “it is much more poetic to be tragic, to be deadly.” Your mother, she cries because she thinks that you are so, so talented. But she cannot bring herself to encourage you, because you insist that you must be sad, must feel hopeless, in order to write.  (more…)

Some Advice


by Ellen Huggins

The best advice that I can give to a young person is: never get chubby.

Never let it happen to you, because it really does really really BLOW.

One reason why you should never get chubby, is that then you won’t have all these thoughts  about it that you can never really talk to anybody about, because you’re so afraid that you’re not going to hearing other people’s opinions will make you feel so much worse, so then you have to write a  so nobody can interrupt you and then you don’t have to write something awkward like this that you have to read aloud to 20 people.

I used to be so skinny. Like ridiculously skinny.  I remember looking in the mirror and saying dear god am I  skinny and dear god I am happy about that. I was so skinny, I used to make fun of fat people. I remember picking up a book at the book fair in the seventh grade, called How to Lose 5 Inches Fast and turning to my two friends and saying “Hey look, how stupid is this?” And then tried to make a double chin, but I was too skinny at that point to make one so I just pushed out my stomach like I was pregnant. Looking back at this experience, at the weight I am now, with the level of human kindness and decency that seem to have sky rocketed in the past few years, all I have to say to my past self is F*CK YOU. If I was at that bookfair right now, I would probably be straight up putting that book on my Amazon wish list. How did it all of this happen?  (more…)

I Hate Crushes But I Like You, Part Two: Let’s Talk About Me Talking About Asparagus

by Ellen Huggins

Where did we leave off? Oh, yeah, I’d told Asparagus that his hair looked like it was crafted by Jesus. And then we didn’t talk to each other for the rest of the year. Or the year after that.

But the fall of my junior year, my crush broke out like the acne on my forehead.

No longer abstract, but very real and very hard to get rid of. Asparagus now sits in front of me in Biology and I hate it. I honestly don’t want to be within five feet of him at any given time because I don’t know what to do with my hands and I get kinda sweaty, and that makes me feel like  maybe he can smell my sweat and then I get so nervous, I sweat even more. And then I try to slyly smell my armpits just to make sure that they don’t reek — even though, how will that help anything? —  and then he turns around to pass back papers, and he sees me smelling my armpits.   

And can I just say that this is embarrassing to write about? It’s fine in my head because I can usually think in my own head without the judgement of myself. But when you write it down thinking, this is normal and fine and I feel great about telling people that I’m sorry, I don’t really know on a deep, personal level, the truth about the thing that basically consumes my life to the point where I’m not quite sure what to do with my time because I like this boy so much. And if anyone reading this or listening to this is thinking oh god, she is so boy crazy she’s ridiculous, this is honestly the most immature thing i’ve ever read, yikes! she is kind of pathetic, then I’m sorry. If I had to rate this from most to least fun feeling that I’ve ever experienced, I would put this near the middle. Do you think that this is fun?? It’s definitely not, because I’m legitimately embarrassed and I’m sorry.

I’m so sorry and I don’t know if I particularly love writing about this, but this is better than writing a song about it and performing it at the talent show. Because I was going to do that.

I wrote something along the lines of, “Am I too pudgy / is that why you dont like me / I’m sorry / I’m just a very big fan of pastries / because eclairs are better than those awkward stares / and I’d rather have cheesecake then pretend like you care.” And I pretty much spelled out exactly who “Asparagus” was. I actually think there was a part where I said something I liked about him for every letter of his name.

So, he would find out if I did that. Which, a part of me wants to happen, you know? A part of me wants to find out so I can just get the rejection over with already. I’d rather have that happen then have whatever is happening right now continue. Would that be worse? And what would even happen if he did like me back? Would he take me out on a date? Where? Where do people go on dates? For some reason swimming pools are the only destination that’s coming up, but I think I’m thinking of pool parties.  

But I really don’t think that he would ever want to date me, because I went to his work over the summer, which I feel is actually incredibly weird considering we’ve never actually talked in the past,I mean we have talked (i.e the discussion of hair on the bus) but we’ve never TALKED, and this lack of communication might be  foreshadowing my future as a stalker.

So my friend and I planned out a specific date and time, when we knew that he would be working, to go to Savers. That  morning, I decide to wear a Hawaiian shirt. Maybe to spark old memories for him? To remember me from Spanish class? I can just tell you know that whatever attention-getting stunt I was trying to pull then didn’t work in freshman year, and it didn’t work this time.

And I was pumped. I was nervous too, but I was so prepared at the same time. I felt like every formal, waiting to get asked to dance, every well placed glance in the hallway, every quiz in Tiger Beat on ‘Who My Perfect Boyfriend Would Be’, it all happened for a reason, to build up to emphasis how important this moment was. This was going to be real. Really real! Then I had this moment of clarity. What was I doing? I was going to be speaking, like, words. To Asparagus. Not meaningful glances, not quizzes, no more waiting, but I was actually going to do something. And what was this grand gesture, to say hi? Then what? What happens after that? I had planned to say, “Oh hey Asparagus, I can’t believe you work here!” And what was he going to say back,  “Yes, I do.”? That’s it. That is the end of the conversation. Then I’ll smile, and nod and say “Okay, well, see you in two months for school!” and then I’ll just leave? That’ll be it? Is this worth it? Is he worth it? What if he says to his friends, “That Huggins girl said hi to me at work, and it was so awkward. What a lame-o.” Well, he probably wouldn’t say lame-o, I think in 2015 only lame-os say lameo-o. Okay, no need to get ahead of yourself, Ellen. Just go in there, and when the moment is right, you will know what to do! Broccoli and I  rode the light rail and that whole time I was thinking, this is it. Goodbye, my past self, this is the new frontier. I can sleep tonight knowing that I am a changed girl,nay, WOMAN, who faced her fears, and my journey into that abyss of romance ended with me getting a very promising potential chance at actually dating someone, or, possibly, if it all goes wrong, have my self esteem go past it’s current position at rock bottom, and hit subterranean levels. When I asked my friend if I should be nervous, she shrugged and said, “I really don’t think that you  have anything to lose, but you definitely don’t have anything to gain” With that attitude, we walked up to the Savers.

If I could pinpoint the exact time that I knew that I had made a terrible mistake, I think it was in hour two. Asparagus had already passed us at least eight times, moving kiddies pools around from the register to the back of the store, which is where I was standing. I remember that I was in between the erotic novels and the teapots, and I was completely petrified. I couldn’t do anything. And my friend was no help, she stood near the VHS’s and kept her head down, and every time I tried to talk to her she mumbled how ‘she didn’t even really want to come’ and said, “Ellen, just talk to him so we can leave, I have to be home soon.” Okay, now this was too much. I came here to find love, and now there are scheduling restraints? And the chances of me actually finding that ‘love’ became less by the minute because what was I going to do, tap him on his shoulder and say “I was looking at this teapot in the shape of a goose, and browsing your wonderful erotica collection for the better part of two hours, and it just now struck me to say, ‘Oh hey, Asparagus, I can’t believe you work here!” Everything was falling apart, my supposed support system, my supposed romance. I felt like a piece of popcorn kernel stuck on a tooth. I really wanted to go home too, but at the same time I just had to stay for a reason that I can’t really describe. Was I really going to do anything? Probably not, but maybe.Eventually my friend and I walked out the door, but that maybe was still nagging. I felt like I missed something and I couldn’t just leave. After all that? No, something had to happen, good or bad.Here’s the thing about Savers, it has a dock on the side that people drop stuff off at, and the employees move it from there into the store. Specifically, Asparagus, Asparagus was out there. Well, I thought, this has got to be some kind of sign.That the universe wants us to together so much, it is  giving me a slim second chance to talk to him. I turned to Broccoli. This was our dialogue.

Me:  “I have to talk to him.” Her: “Okay, Go talk to him.” Me: “Can you come with me?” I really need you there with me.” Her: “No. You can go and embarrass yourself, but I am not involved in this.” Me: “Why do you always have to do this? Why can’t you ever just support me? Not everything is about you.” Her: “I came out here to do this with you, I never said that I would talk to him. If I talked to him with you, he might think that I have a crush on him.” Me: “That is ridiculous and you know it.”

The stress was getting to us, there was just too much tension. I should’ve taken whatever shred of dignity I had left, and walked away right then, but come on! Showing up to a guy’s work that you have a crush on just to talk to him, that’s one thing, but showing up to a guy that you have a crush on work and not saying anything? That was just a step too far, even for me. Broccoli  and I calmed down and brainstormed ways I could approach him. “Okay,” she said. “I have an idea. This is a donation place, right?” “Right.” “So donate something. Go up to him, right now, hand him something you want to donate, and then walk away, super natural.” “Alright.” I said, so desperately wanting to talk to him I didn’t care how idiotic the pretenses were. “But I don’t have anything to donate.” I looked around in my backpack. But all  I could find was a banana, and a book, that I had been reading on the Light Rail. “That’s perfect,” my friend told me. “What, this book?” “Yes, just walk up to him and give it to him!”
“But,” I argued, “I like this book.” “I hate that book,” Broccoli asserted. “And I own it. You can have my copy of it, after you give yours to him.  Just go, and get it over with.” This dock at the side of the store, where Asparagus was moving things, was where people dropped off huge boxes full of old junk, recliners, bed frames,  and enormous piles of clothes. My plan was going to walk up to him, with a single book in my hands, handing it to him, without a word, and walking away. There was no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t not think about how weird this act was, but at least he would be thinking about me, right?

I’m on the move. I take one step out into the emptiness of the parking lot. This is one of those moments where your entire life flashes before your eyes, your first day of school, losing your last baby tooth, your little brother being born. And, as corny as this might sound,  I could feel everything shifting, like a train switching tracks. My future was moving a little to the left, and I knew everything was  going to turn out differently. Maybe he would take me to the prom. Maybe he and I could get lockers side my side. Maybe I could meet his mom, and she would say, “I must’ve raised you right, Asparagus, because that girl is something else!” Maybe…. SHIT, he saw me. I duck behind a car, and I squat-run all the way out of the parking lot, down the street, and onto the Light Rail.

That epic saga of events is the thing that keeps me up at night. And I now I have to always remain on the good side of Broccoli, because if I don’t, she has plenty of good of blackmail material against me.

I don’t know, but you know what, Beyonce doesn’t write her own songs. I don’t know if that relates to anything, but i feel like it’s important to remember that you can’t do everything. Bey is an amazing singer, actress, performer, and mom but is she not a writer. And that’s not her fault. just like how it’s not really my fault that I am being ridiculous. Maybe I am just a ridiculous person. Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past me. I’ve been questioning my coolness. Its existence mostly. Am I cool? That’s something I legitimately wonder sometimes. I still listen to the Jonas Brothers. Do I have subpar coolness levels? Or am I so exponential, that like Mario Kart, my competitors are so far behind me that’s the reason I don’t see anyone at my level?

But what’s more likely is that I pass someone, and think wow I’m cooler than them, when really I’m three laps behind and am in 13th place? That’s the deal with this love thing!!!! You think I’m joking? Wait, it gets worse.

I Hate Crushes But I Like You, Part One: Meet Asparagus

by Ellen Huggins

I feel RIDICULOUS. I hate crushes. You would think that by the time I’m 16, I  would stop having them but I am a literal child. I get all the acne and the bad grades of a teenager, but I have the maturity and life plan of a 5th grader. Typical. And I feel like no one cares. It used to be so cool to tell my friends I like a boy and they would say “Oh zoo wee mama! ”( because this conversation  takes place in 2011 and Diary of A Wimpy Kid was very popular at the time) and  I would  say, “What the heck, don’t get so carried away! It’s just a little crush. It’s not like he likes me back.” And if he turned out he didn’t like you back, you’d be pretty disappointed but wow, it was the social event of the semester with that little romantic escapade. Middle school crushes are the best as long as you’re slightly pudgy and have a blonde bowl cut, because there’s no chance anyway for you to date anyone! High school is where everyone dates, and as I moved into freshman year, I knew that the stars were going to align, and I was going to get some action myself.

Weeks passed. Apparently, no one thought my Adventure Time shirts were as cool as I thought they were. I had to re-invent myself.  But how? You know,  people love Jack Black. He’s cool! He’s funny! What if I just dressed like Jack Black for the rest of freshman year? I could be the hawaiian shirt wearing, lovably dopey, early 2000s sidekick Jack Black of any 14-year-old boy’s fancy! Looking back, I’m not sure why I chose Jack Black to inspire my wardrobe. For one thing, he’s a man.And he’s not exactly a sex symbol. Not that it would be any better to say, “I’m going to dress like Ryan Gosling from now on,” but choosing the  46-year-old man from “Nacho Libre,” there’s something a little off there.

I’m not going to lie. I went through all these wardrobe changes because I had a crush on a boy named Asparagus. (That’s not his actual name, I named him that because he looks alot like the asparagus/human man on Veggie Tales.) I had a huge crush on Asparagus since the moment I met him, the first day of freshman year. And I had two classes with him. Spanish and History. I barely passed either of those classes that year because I was too busy seductively buttoning up my Hawaiian shirts and looking adorably confused. But the worst part of the year was when Asparagus and I were paired up together for a history field trip to the museum. We didn’t talk to each other the whole time because I was being shy, praying that he would say something first. But he didn’t, not until we got on the bus. He sat in front of me, turned, and  asked me what the homework was, and — not to delve too far into the  details — the conversation, short and blubbery, ended with me saying that his hair looked like it was crafted by Jesus.

We didn’t talk to each other for the rest of the year.  

Or the year after that.

But I still liked him. Yes, my crush was like Betty White. Against all odds of time,  it survived. It was underneath the surface, constantly wanting to show itself  but too elusive and vague to really take shape. And then came my junior year — but I’ll wait until next time to tell you about that. [Stay tuned for more…]

Red Envelopes

By Caleb Pan

 I’ve been given many definitions of what hope is supposed to be. A penny thrown into a well. The ticking of a spin of a wheel. A tooth placed under a pillow. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is defined as: “to cherish a desire with anticipation… to desire with expectation of obtainment.” That definition is too straightforward, too shallow. The Bible mentions it as, “For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?” At the time of first reading it, it was too cryptic for me to decipher. But the answer washed up one day.

 Being an Asian-American, there are certain perks that most of my peers don’t have access to. My particular perk is Chinese New Year’s, a holiday filled with crimson firecrackers and dandelion dances that rival the Fourth of July. It’s unique, an untouched ancestral tradition. It outmaneuvers American commercialism, eluding the cheap (more…)