There’s a Swingset

There’s a swingset out back, next to the large jungle gym that has the rock-climbing wall. This swingset is not new. It has been behind this school for years and years, and it creaks if you lean on the poles. But it captures the kids’ hearts, more than anything else on the playground. The recess bell rings, and then you see them, the children running all at once, trying to be the person that gets to the swings first. Everyone wants the blue swing, you see, because it’s the highest one, the one that sways the farthest. I am one of those kids running, my hair in two braids and my socks pulled high. I don’t get the blue swing, but the yellow is just fine. I swing with the other kids, all of us laughing and trying to touch the pine tree branches. Only Elijah does, he’s the only one who ever can.

I’m still one of those kids, but now my hair is in a tight ponytail and my sleeves fall pass my fingertips. I don’t get the blue swing, but the red is alright. We all try to knock out the pine cones as we kick the branches. Only Elijah does, he’s the only one who ever can, and it makes Marc mad. I’m still laughing with the others, but now they leave the swing next to me empty, and I’m not sure why.

I’m still one of those kids, but now my long dark hair is let down and I don’t feel comfortable in my too-tight jeans (but I wear them, because all the other kids are). I don’t run towards the playground anymore, I just walk. None of the kids will let me have the blue swing, anyway, or any swing at all for that matter. I watch as the girls giggle to one another as they sway, talking about boys. I sit underneath the rock wall and watch as they all try to jump the highest. They try to hit the highest pine tree branch as the soar through the air, and I bet if Elijah was still here he would be the only one who could do it. Marc comes close, but he can’t quite reach.

I’m no longer one of those kids. I’m only here because I’m volunteering in the kitchen for one day. My hair is chopped short and I don’t wear any socks with my shoes. I sit at the blue swing, and I sway back and forth, watching the little kids scramble for a seat. The set creaks more than ever, so much I worry it might fall apart at any second. I swing with the little kids, and they don’t mind. We all are laughing and trying to touch the pine tree branches. Only I can do it, and for once I’m the only one who ever can.

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How Were the ACTs, Lena????

So I totally meant to post about this yesterday, but I came home from testing and literally fell asleep until the next morning. I’ve been nursing one hell of a cold/flu sickness for the past few days, and the feeling of death was most certainly upon me. I apologize. I mean, I know you guys were totally sitting on the edge of your seats, wondering how I think I did, right?

I crack myself up. Let me have that one.

Okay, so the test wasn’t actually as bad as I had predicted it to be, overall. The day went as such:

Mother walked into my room, coffee cup already in hand. “Lena, wake up! It’s test day, you gotta get there early.”

I dressed in my laziest of clothes, the required “I CAN DEW” Mountain Dew-sponsored shirt that all the Juniors would be wearing today being tugged over my head without me even remembering to do it. I was in such a sleep, sick daze that I was stumbling through the motions, no thought process included.

I was dropped off at the doors of the auditorium at my school, where I awkwardly walk inside by myself, since my sole friend at the school cannot currently be found. For some reason, I distinctly remember mentally jotting down in my head the way my footsteps echoed as I made my way towards the noise of the crowd, staring at the quote from a philosopher that was engraved in stone on a wall. I wanted to keep that feeling in case I ever needed it for a book.

There was a line of people waiting for me, seniors who forced me to make eye contact as they said, “Good luck on your ACTs!” I tried smiling at them in reply, but I’m pretty sure it was warped and looked more like I was trying not to cry.

The school provided us with breakfast, and since I find it impossible to talk to people (especially kids from school), I kind of just stood in front of the tables, waiting as the students stared at me. Finally, one of them said, “Would you like a sandwich?” I nodded in relief and took it, along with the bag of apples, which were sour, and a bottle of water. I wish they had provided coffee instead. I was already feeling the effects of my morning caffeine wearing off. I sat on¬†a part of the bleachers, trying not to look like I was the tragically alone girl that no one likes and who can’t get along with most of the student body. It was like I could feel their eyes making a physical burn on my neck and shoulders. I tried to eat my sandwich (which I had to take the meat off of) as casually as possible. I’m pretty sure I failed.

When the bell rang and they dismissed us to evacuate and head for the busses, it seemed like a terrifying new young adult novel. Here were all of these children, young teenagers herding on to metal buses like brainless cattle. I started thinking up conspiracy theories, of course. What if this was all a lie? We weren’t really being sent to take a test, they were shipping us off to be killed!

I’m rather ridiculous, I’m aware.

So we finally all got to the hall, where tables were lined up in some twisted version of an alphabetical order. Before I knew it, the test were being handed out. First was the English test, which I wasn’t worried about (I took a practice test in class a couple weeks ago that I got like ninety-nine percent on). The math started out okay, but like the last fifteen questions were all WHAT IS THIS LANGUAGE I DO NOT SPEAK MARTIAN JUST A LITTLE GALLIFREYAN. The reading portion was easy, the science part I bombed (though that may have to do with the fact that I was having a tough time staying awake; by this point one of the monitors had set a tissue box on the edge of my table because they were tired of walking back and forth). It was like a back and forth thing, ¬†apparently. The essay was alright, but it was a question I don’t really know much about so I had to fool my way through it while still sounding well-educated, which actually wasn’t too hard since that’s basically how I get through my everyday life.

Well, it’s over now, and I’m still sick. I guess we’ll find out how I did in a few weeks, and if I have to take it again it won’t be the end of the world. I’ll just be a little more broke.

When You’re Drowning

By the title, I don’t mean water-wise. I mean I have a horrible cold, and with my breathing issues it feels like I am drowning inside of my own lungs. It’s a great experience, let me tell you. I’ve been keeping myself busy by listening to good music on Spotify and studying for the ACTs (WHICH ARE TOMORROW AND I KEEP HAVING NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS ABOUT IT).

Every Friday, my Enriched U.S. History teacher asks us a question after giving us the rundown for the day.

“More importantly,” he’ll say, “how is everyone doing today?”

Usually, we’ll all grumble. “ErggUUHHH.”

“Well, you should be good,” he’ll reply. “You know why?”

By now, we do, but we humor him and ask, “Why?”

Then he lifts his arms and does this dance as he speaksings, “‘Cause it’s Friday…” This past Friday, he added to this little song. “‘Cause it’s Friday and we don’t have school again ’til Monday but sike we have Monday off hashtag thanks Pulaski and then you guys technically don’t have school on Tuesday because you’re taking a test that will affect your entire lives hashtag no pressure.”

We all went from laughing to hushed as the dark mood settled over after that. I don’t think anyone is prepared, personally. I know I’m not. Also, here’s a fun fact: the writing portion doesn’t show up on your final score, and the English portion is rumored to not really matter at all anymore! Yay! The only part of school I’m good at means absolutely nothing on this huge test that I’m going to fail!!!

Also, I’m going to be sick while taking it. You’ll probably be able to hear me coughing and blowing my nose from miles away, since it will be dead silent in the bingo hall we’ll be at.

Ugh.

In other news, I’ve sent a copy of my novel Worlds Apart (which is on my Wattpad profile, if you’re curious) to my aunt. This should be exciting…. I’m kind of really nervous about it. I’m still trying to get used to the fact that it’s okay to let people you know personally read your work. It’s just so….uck.

How is everyone else doing today?

What’s the August Rush?

Whoa. How the frex is it already almost the end of June? That’s insanity. You know what’s even crazier? My mind, because I already can’t stop thinking about going back to school. To be honest, I was thinking about it on the last day of my sophomore year. Despite all the happiness and slight freedom I felt as I left the geometry classroom and ran out the school doors, I couldn’t help but feel dread because I knew that all too soon I would have to come back.

This summer is making things even harder. I’m having such a great time! I’m staying in my room, getting up when I please, watching films and drinking tea or coffee or Diet Coke, and I’m writing and reading. If I’m not doing those things, I’m getting up early, but for a good reason. Like, for instance, I got up on Thursday morning because I went to Summerfest. Good thing we did get there early, too, because I saw Pentatonix and MET AND TALKED TO MITCH GRASSI AND IT WAS ONE OF MY FAVORITE MOMENTS OF ALL TIME (picture below). I also later on got to go see THE LADY GAGA and she was so amazing (despite the long and torturous wait we had beforehand). It was SUCH a fun day. My aunt and I had a blast. I’m also going to more concerts soon, so there’s that. And there are days when my mother will wake me up to go driving, and we’ll just drive around the city playing Fall Out Boy and talking and sipping coffee. I love these days. Sure, I still struggle with some of the same things that I do while in school. It’s not like because school stopped I was suddenly problem free and always happy everyday. There are some days where I get to sleep until I please and that will be around 1 in the afternoon because I can’t bear the thought of getting out of bed and facing reality. Which is kind of pathetic, I know, but still. I am not welcoming August. Let’s hope that this summer drags out!

Enough about me. How is the summer break going for everyone else? What are some of your plans?

Oh, and like I mentioned, here is the picture of me with Mitch (he was so nice too oh my goodness; I would go into details but don’t want to bore you all):

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