Adora Svitak's Journal
Thanksgiving is a pretty boring holiday by a lot of people's standards. Almost every American schoolkid knows the origins of Thanksgiving--a bunch of pilgrims came over on a ship, called the Mayflower, came to the New World (U.S.), starved, and were eventually rescued by the Native Americans. There was a feast, some Native American chief brought ninety or so men, and killed five deer, etc. That is the story of Thanksgiving, summarized version. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving seems to be an All-American holiday. Okay, it has roots in the mistreatment and persecution of the pilgrims in England. But it's not creepily ancient like Halloween, with origins steeped in the magical mystery of druids and etc.
The one great thing about Thanksgiving is the food. I am not remotely ashamed to say this but the only thing I was pretty much thankful for on Halloween--no excuse me, the only thing I was conciously thankful for--was the great food. I'm always thankful for the fact I have a laptop computer, the fact I don't have to go to a horrifically boring regular school and do banal cut-out construction paper excercises, but I don't think about things like this all the time. My--no, our--Thanksgiving was quite the event of the month. My dad wore himself out marinating duck, mashing garlic, cooking cranky cranberries with a bunch of the rest of the fruit shoved up into our freezer, mashing sweet potatoes, cooking rice (actually my sister did that), making shrimp salad, cooking salmon, making eggs-in-tea (a Chinese delicacy, which, in my opinion, makes the outside of the egg taste bitter and horrible)...
We also baked a bunch of mini-quiches, bought in bulk from Costco. I am addicted to these quiches and I can devour around twelve at a time--on Thanksgiving I ate around six. This filled up a great deal of my already bulging stomach and I had to force myself to eat rice, shrimp, sweet potato, and the delicious cold cranberry sauce. For dessert we had pumpkin pie, rhubarb and strawberry pie, and apple crisp pie, as well as French Vanilla Dreyer's Ice cream. I ate some more later. We also played the game Cranium. I was the captain of the losing team--my sister was the captain of the winning team. They were two spaces ahead of us and, since our Cranium was a turbo edition, acquired one or two more cards than us, before us.
And even if I didn't eat very much, there was always leftovers.
Current mood: bored.
It was a tiny sliver of odorous brown human waste, powdery and disgusting, lying at the bottom of the dirty toilet, looking quite impertinent as the fumes rose to the surface. One could hear my relative's groans and screams from a room at the other side of the house--every bit of fecal matter, forced out with a moan and a cry of anguish, seemed to have been brutally ripped off. It had not slithered out easily--no, it had lurked in its lair until the time came. Every one of my relative's screams was a triumph for it. Every scream meant more agony and toil, more writhing and shaking and torture--every scream meant some human waste forced out with fiery, blazing pain that stung and burned for what seemed like eternity, that seemed like deep gashes and bloody wounds on fire, that seemed worse than the pain of a thousand gruesome deaths, that seemed to be worse than burning at the stake or being stretched on the rack or being slowly drowned.
The toilet water afterwards was still colored a dark liquid sort of brown, and one was extremely foolish to get near the toilet without plugging one's nose; it would likely be suicide to bend down and sniff it, and who would want to, anyways? for it would be a most horribly gruesome and torturous sort of death. Forcing the fecal matter out was already, however, rather like death, for it was like being burnt a thousand times over, never free from the sting and pain and blood and toil and cries of
horror and terror and shock. And when you WERE free from that hellhole of misery, that area of doom, that hopeless tunnel of despair, then it was like entering a sunny paradise of flowers and food after being starved in a dark, barren desert--it was like the ray of sunlight coming through a neverending tunnel as you're just about to give up. When those torturous moments did end, it was like going to a strange kind of heaven after a strange kind of death. It was like looking up to a blue, blue sky after hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries of fog, mist, and rain, and knowing that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow was going to be sunny, and that everything would be alright.
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The described victim in this article is not myself. It is a relative.
Current mood: pleased.
Faeries--sometimes they're spelled fairies when they appear in children's storybooks or such--sometimes they appear faeries in more dignified, tattered-seeming tales. Sometimes they're quite "normal" seeming as faeries go--small and chirpy, dancing about for eternity in delicate frocks, other times they're stern and gruff, or plain odd.
They can be high-tech civilizations living underground who have the power to modify the memories of all above-ground people, they can be mysterious monsters who never come out in the sunlight, but lurk in the shadows, when humans are around.
Some faeries are mischevious, others helpful. Some are cherub-like flower faeries who dwell in peace with daffodils and roses--others are more like Cinderella's wicked stepmother or the evil witch of many legends, brewing poisons and potions in hidden lairs.
The question of whether faeries are real or not is one that usually has "no" for an answer. It really depends, however--if you believe there are faeries, you should have the ability to make yourself see faeries, and if you do not think that you believe in faeries, then the matter is usually closed. One may, however, be influenced by years of "faeries aren't real" from parents/friends/etc., or years of faerie storybooks that most wholeheartedly assure one that faeries are real.
Personally I do not believe in the existence of the legendary magical creatures known as faeries but I still think them a most interesting subject.
Please leave comments about whether you think I am completely mad and that my essay is composed of balderdash, or whether you think faeries are interesting. Or your thoughts on anything written on this blog.
Current mood: crazy.
The King's stewards came to claim
The taxes every year
Sometimes it was twenty coins
Sometimes it was ten
Sometimes it was a bag of grain
Or the hide of a newborn deer.
But the King was always to blame
Because he did not care to stop his men
His grand feasts left eighty peasants eating weeds
His palaces, his games, his wardrobe
It was always the same
The peasants would pay thirty, twenty, ten
Sometimes it could be a bag of grain
Or the hide of a newborn deer.
Current mood: cranky.
It was a cake
And that was obvious.
It was a cake
With swirling, twirling
Layers of chocolate cream
That seemed to dance
Before your eyes
Making your mouth water
It was a cake
With sugar-plum fairies
Guarding an ice cream realm
With all kinds of flavors--
Vanilla, chocolate, dark raspberry
Creamy coconut too
Then flavors that had never been heard of
Paradise flavors that melted in your mouth
And seemed to give you eternal life.
For a few minutes anyways.
Current mood: creative.
To any ladies and gentlemen out there who have been to Europe and knows what it feels like to get jetlagged, and also those who have not entered that beautiful continent and eaten French crepes and chocolate buns and Italian gelato and pizza, here is another oh-so-tragic--and at times, if you really think so, oh-so-comic-- tale about my unfortunate--and more fortunate-- experiences in and out of Europe.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" as I stepped off from our enormous international plane, still feeling slightly queasy from our rather rough landing. I was of course, relieved to be in England after a tiresome day watching T.V. reruns on waxy earphones, attempting to wake up a snoring sister so I could play Twenty Questions, sleeping, waking up to go to the bathroom, coming back, and sleeping again, but I could not say I was feeling my best in that airport either. It was hot, humid, and sweaty, and the smells of bad perfume, sweat, and thousands of unwashed people (including myself, I might add) were all mixed together in one long line at Immigration and Customs that seemed to twist on and on and on for eternity. It took us about one hour or more to finally reach the end of the line, and by that time there were thousands of other poor saps in the back who were looking at us enviously.
Once we had had our passports stamped and all the special things were done, we idly walked around a little bit pretending to be doing things until we finally came to our senses and went outside to wait for a taxi. There were quite a few other people there and there was some conversation but for the most part we sat huddled together, sometimes crouching or squatting, other times standing or pacing around, waiting and waiting and waiting. I was rather surprised when three large black cars drove up. I was used to the Yellow Cab taxis of America but realized these were taxis--England style! Those were followed by a few others, not all solemn black, one a glorious, majestic, shining red, a few with ads painted on their doors. One was a gorgeous dark purple, but, alas! again, we had to wait.
Finally we caught a taxi--black--to our hotel, the Sheraton--and here we will begin a new chapter, telling the tale of that pleasant place, and all our adventures in it.
THE SHERATON HOTEL
The Sheraton Hotel was a very glamorous-seeming hotel, with a shiny floor and a well-lit lobby and an enormous reception desk in the front. Our room was not the best of rooms in all of my experiences but it was still quite spacious and nice. There were two large beds with fresh sheets perfectly lain out and striped blue coverlets, and we were provided with a lovely bathroom and a table, on which we ate a meager dinner of snacks we had saved from the plane and some free snacks provided by the hotel. It was a great hotel but a measly dinner.
We spent one night there, and in the morning we went to the apartment our mom had rented, even better than the hotel. Unfortunately, something would go wrong that day. Very, very, very wrong.
TO BE CONTINUED
Adelaide's chemise was wrinkled, her dress was mussed
Nobody made too great of a fuss
As her bright-red braids swung from side to side
She laughed and said "I tried, I tried".
She tried to look neat and clean
Perfection in every fold and seam
But instead there was dirt on her gown
She honestly looked quite like a clown.
Her father shook his head with a grin
Even the fishes waved their sparkling fins
Her nanny shrugged with a smile
As she washed the bathroom tiles.
She walked to church with her dress inside-out
And yet she never even tried to pout
She smiled instead, swinging her braids
And that is the story of Adelaide.
Current mood: cheerful.
Like the desert sand
Tinged with orange
And sparkling white.
With hope for
Sometimes dusty gray
With pessimistic brown
In every corner.
Thin, sometimes pursed
Sucked into her face
Some people would say
But sometimes it was light, light red
Without showy lipstick
Full and content-looking
Some people would say
Lips that were always smiling.
Current mood: annoyed.