Posted in 2018-2019, November 2018

Letter From the Editors

Hello everybody! We were nominated to take over Post Script, a magazine that has been up and running for four years now. We have been published writers, section editors, layout and design, and now, we are co-editors-in-Chief. It is so amazing how far we have come as people, as a magazine, and as a community.

There will be a few changes to the magazine in the upcoming issues. We have given our writers creative liberty to write in any form or direction their inspiration leads them. We have heads of departments such as the head of writers and editors and we have a trusted and experienced team of editors. We will be focusing on producing issues this year that our writers have been diligently working on and revising.

We are focusing on giving the magazine structure and communication this year. We were able to adapt the sections and deadlines to be more organized and easily accessible. We have paired our writers with our editors according to their working style and interests. We will also be shuffling the groups to make sure that both writers and editors get to work and learn from different people throughout this year.

Additionally, we will be hosting a release celebration to congratulate our fantastic team on another successful issue! Post Script exists to serve as a platform where we can share our stories as BISFA students and as human beings. We are all part of each others’ human experiences, so why not have the most fun and rewarding human experience possible?

We are so excited for all of the amazing things we will accomplish this year, and we thank you for coming on this journey with us!

With love,
Elizabeth Anders and Nicole Zimmerman

Posted in 2018-2019, Fiction, November 2018

Apple-Basil Stew

By Elizabeth Mcfarland

I don’t know if I’m dead, exactly. I don’t even know if I’m human. I think I look like a human, I guess. My hands do at least. Humans glow, in a halo around their bodies. I don’t glow, and I haven’t settled on what I think about that, yet. No human has ever done what I do to them to me. I Consume them. I think it serves a purpose. If one of them is glowing too much. I dip my hands into their shoulders and eat. Have you ever been depressed by a meal? I am, most of the time. It’s cold and still. A bit how I assume being human actually is.

It’s a part of them. I know what meat is supposed to taste like, what blood is supposed to taste like, and this is something different. Fluffier. At least I can believe I serve a purpose. I think I’m saving them. They’re too sad– too anything –and they glow too hard. I’m drawn to them like smelling cookies straight out of the oven, and I drink. I just know, I don’t know how else I would tell other than whatever feeling this is.

There was this girl, I think, in tennessee who was holding a gun to her head, shining the most appalling shade of red I ever saw. I came up from behind and reached inside of her. It was metallic and oily, like someone was cooking rusted iron. It tasted so good I felt like I couldn’t move. I’m getting used to being depressed by my food. She just dropped the gun on the floor and faded to a soft grey-blue.

Humans can’t see me. I think, if they did, they would have more objections to whatever I do to them. I once saw a man grab a woman in the chest and she slapped him. They both acted like it hurt. I’m glad none of them feel what I do.

I used to think I was the only one. I wondered what happened to everyone else, if there was anyone else. I had seen the feeling of lonely, drank it too, but I never thought I could feel it. I wondered, for the longest time, if it would be possible for me to die. I thought about trying it once or twice and it made me nauseous.

Then I met her. I was in a grocery store, and the fluorescent lights were flickering and made the halos hard to see. I followed her out of the frozen aisle into produce and she saw me. She wasn’t glowing and she looked right at me. Her posture dropped, and we stared at each other. The cold of the grocery store squirmed beneath my skin and we approached each other like feral cats.

Her eyes were big and round but the color was off. It was a watery plain gray. Not how some people say gray eyes, but grey, like a sad awful stone. Her hair was dusty blonde and long, but it was pulled back into a ponytail.

“What are we?” she said. Her voice was soft and crackly.

“I don’t know,” I said.

She nodded, “Do you call yourself anything?”

“What? Like a name?” She nodded again. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Why not? What, do you have a name?”

“No.”

Why not?” I asked again.

“I think it’s because I see too many.” She cocked her head to a family picking out apples beside us, “Their parents choose their names for them. I don’t think, if it were left up to them, they would be able to choose either.”

“We might’ve had names,” I said. “I don’t remember anything… before this, so we could have had parents. I hate thinking about that, though.”

“I wish I had a name.” Her eyes wandered to the grocery store tile.

“Why not get one?”

“I wouldn’t have anyone to use it with.” She glanced around frantically. “Apple,” she blurted. “I want you to call me Apple.”

“Like the fruit?”

“There are people named Apple.” Apple bobbed up and down on the balls of her feet. “You should pick one too.”

“Why?”

“I want to have something other than ‘mister’ to call you.” It dawned on me right then that she was the only other thing like me I had ever seen. I looked around the produce aisle and my vision jumped from grapes, to pears, to zucchini, to spinach, to barley, to rosemary, to basil– basil. That sounded normal enough. As normal as Apple.

“Basil, I guess, is fine.” Apple smiled and gave me a deep, tight hug. I couldn’t reach into her. She got this intense smile and started shaking a little as she held onto me.

“I always wanted to do that,” her eyes got misty, “but I never could.”

“Do you think we’re ghosts?” I asked.

“Like, Beetlejuice, you mean?”

“No, do you think we’re dead and this is just what we do?”

Apple pulled away from me. “I don’t know,” she motioned around the store, “lots of people die, and… look.”

“I wonder if it matters.”

“It doesn’t matter.” She sat down in the middle of the aisle. “It’s not like anyone cares.” I sat down across from her. “It doesn’t matter what we are, it matters that we’re a we.

I nodded. “I sat in philosophy lecture at some Ivy League college— lots of very high strung people— and they all seemed to think it matters a lot.”

“How much do you hate this?” said Apple, lying down on her back “Not being able to feel things, for real?”

“No.”

“Sometimes, I go for days without doing it. I sat on some man’s bathroom floor and watched him cut both his wrists open in his tub because I couldn’t bring myself to taste that. It was torture, but watching him die was better than feeling anything close to how he felt. I could have saved him. He was glowing so hard it wasn’t even a color, wasn’t even light.” There was a long pause.

“Lighght.” I said.

“What? I said it wasn’t light.”

“It’s a poem. By Aram Saroyan.”

“That’s stupid.”

“It’s beautiful.”

After a while, Apple and I left the grocery store. It closed while we were still inside

We walked the streets for hours talking about what we think we are. Apple mentioned Cihuateteo, an Aztec goddess who drained the life out of people.

“I don’t think we’re anything like that,” she said. “For her, there was never the prospect of being hurt herself, or depressed by it.”

“Do you go to a lot of places like Mexico and all?” I asked.

“Yeah, all the time. I haven’t been to England though. China is nice, though. I like the jungles, and the deserts, and the…” Apple stopped walking. I turned around and saw her standing completely still, with her hands covering her mouth.

“What?”

“I can’t believe I haven’t told you! Oh god, you have to see it! You are going to love it.”

“Love what?”

“In China, there’s this place. It does something to you.” She giggled and started bouncing up and down on her toes again. “You have to come! We have to go now!”

I agreed before I even considered any part of it. China. I didn’t even know how far away that was. It was a whole ocean away. But what did I have to lose? I wanted to know her. Apple dragged me to a port somewhere in the city. I wanted to know her, and I wondered if this was how Adam felt when he met Eve, but on fire and resurrected.

The port was cold and bleak. A single cargo ship was being loaded with steel and iron exports that was heading to Hong Kong. Apple looked up at the monstrosity with absolute wonder.  

I followed her onto the deck of the boat. Men moved passed us in a perfect rhythm carrying boxes and crates, and even bigger crates swung above us carried by enormous looming cranes.

Apple and I fell asleep on the dec the first night, watching the city shrink away from us. It wasn’t until after the ship left the port when Apple bothered to tell me the ship’s course was a month long. It felt like a part of me cracked off and fell into the ocean. In that moment, I felt glacial and empty. But I dealt with it, like everything else.

The ship wasn’t how I’d imagined. Everything was cleaner, more modern, and cushier than the picture I had in my head. The sailors, even, were different. I didn’t picture pirates or anything, but they looked more like dads than bearded, rubber-yellow-hat-wearing, sailors. But that was fine. I preferred dads to pirates anyway. I got hungry almost every day. They glowed bright blue with boredom, loneliness, stagnation.  

Apple watched me one day, when I did it. My arms were buried up to the elbow in the back of this man, glowing the most intense blue. He was running a zippo lighter next to an oil barrel, watching the paint curl away. He tasted cottoney and intoxicating, like rotted strawberries. When he faded, and I left him, he turned and put the lighter in his pocket. He remembered he had something else to be doing.

“How did it taste?” she asked. Apple was paler than she was before the beginning of this trip. There was a bright red rash on her wrists and neck and she scratched at it.

I told her exactly how it tasted. “Are you ok?” I asked.

“How does it feel?” I had to think for a moment.

“Like when you stand on a high place and want to jump.”

“There’s no one happy, or even just content on this entire ship,” she said. A big teardrop clung to one of her bottom eyelashes. I bent down to her level. “I’m so hungry.”

I stood, and took a step back from her. “You’re hungry? Eat then.”

“I have eaten. I just can’t do that. I can’t live though feeling that anymore. The other day, that one guy was playing that video game and when he won, I ate that. It was like lukewarm lemon water. But it was better than wanting to fling myself off a cliff.”

“You’re starving.”

“But, I can feel things. Taking other people’s feelings, just isn’t the same, and sometimes it’s just too much.” Have I ever felt my own emotions? I follow wherever the hunger leads me, and eat whatever it tells me. I do what I want along the way, but it’s always… tinged, by whatever I consumed last.

“Halfway.”

I think Apple only eats the happy things. I don’t care. Everything almost tastes the same to me anyway, and it’s harder to find people happy. She and I didn’t talk for two weeks, we were so consumed by looking at the waves curl and dance against the boat. It wasn’t until we heard we dock tomorrow come out of a shipmates mouth, that we were whipped out of our trance. We both stood at the gate of the ramp and waited.

Hong Kong looked like any other big city but it’s road signs begun to morph from Cantonese to English. I looked at Apple and she grinned so wide I thought it might’ve been hurting her.

“Isn’t this place amazing?” she asked.

“I guess.” A mechanic scream erupted from a bus catapulting down the street. “It’s loud.”

There was a woman sitting on a bench outside a store front reading a book. I felt it immediately. She was glowing this bright sunny orange. I moved toward her, but Apple beat me to it. She dipped into the woman like paint, and the halo seeped into her. The rashes that had splayed further from the time I first noticed them, shrank into puckered scrapes, and her skin looked like someone was alive inside it again. The woman’s face spun from a soft smile to shaken emptiness.

There was a halo around the whole city when we left. From the people, and from the lights in the buildings. Apple and I caught a bus into a small village and spent the night there. The village was so silent. Soft light pulsed out of small houses but I stared straight up at the leafy ceiling above me. Stars peaked through and I watched the sky spin around me. I felt so empty. I felt like I could float, disappear, and never come back. Apple and I were going to take a truck full of jackfruit in some empty dirt road. She said she knew exactly where we were going. Beautiful she kept saying. Beautiful.

Suddenly I was overtaken. What if I die here? What would it feel like? If I’m not already dead. I tried to picture nothingness in my brain, the physical erasing me. Black, with inky purple swimming in it. I couldn’t do it. All the ways I could die played in my brain. I hadn’t had this little to do in my entire existence. I wanted so badly to listen to some professor, and take notes on some lecture. I wanted so badly to be distracted.  

My skin had started to burn and go pale with the same rashes Apple had. I was hungry. We walked a little longer, and I started to feel something.

“We’re getting close,” said Apple. Was this it? Some sort of energy field that made my bones ache. Apple swiped another big leaf out of her way, “Oh my god!” She shot ahead of me.

It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was a big clearing, encased on one side by a sheet of mountain rock. A small waterfall poured into a spring at the base of the rocks. The water was the clearest I had seen in my entire life. And the feeling was stronger, and I wondered if this is what being high feel like. This was better. It felt like I was buzzing.

Apple was floating on her back in the water, and I joined her.

“Oh god, this is cold,” I shuttered. It was the coldest water I had ever felt.

“Do you feel it?” she whispered. “I think this is what it’s like to be human.”

I felt each cell in my body dividing, every breath I took, every pump of my heart pushing blood through my body. I could feel my heartbeat in my eyeballs.

Apple sank under the water and bobbed back up. “I’d almost forgotten what this felt like.” She leaned back and floated at the surface of the water. “Have you ever felt pain, without being hungry?”

“No.”

Apple took me by the arm and rested at the top of my inner forearm. Her hand curled into a claw and shot down, sending a stingy salt and vinegar pain up my arm in a red firework.

“Agh, god what the hell?” I screamed, clutching my arm. She just fell back into the water laughing. “I’m serious!”

“How does it feel?” I stared at my hand. It was a small scrape next to my thumb and it was only throbbing now. I felt alive.

“Human.”

Human. I could live off that word.

Apple cracked open a pomegranate on the sharp side of a rock. When I took a bite out of it, spongy white membrane and all, it flooded my body with flavor. The rashes on my skin disappeared, and the burning disappeared. It was real food.

“Why did you ever leave?” I asked her.

“I got so lonely, and it felt like I was going completely insane.” I wondered if you could get lonely with another person. I don’t think I could get lonely with Apple. We laid down next to the spring and stared up at the sky, alight in reds and oranges. I took the last bite of the pomegranate and threw the husk into the bushes. Apple rolled over and plucked another off the tree.

Posted in 2018-2019, Non-Fiction, November 2018

Type of Love

By Gabriella Snyder

She offered the type of love that looked like tired eyes at 4:00 in the morning. I gave her my time, my sleep. Her mornings began when my afternoons started. When rolling out of bed late for school, she woke up to brewed coffee and eggs on the stove. The type of love that rimmed my eyes with dark circles, her eyes bright with energy. Lights in my room remained on when facetiming her, making sure to comeback my desperation for shut eye. Her lights were always off, preparing to drift to sleep. At times I wondered if I should allow my lights to turn off and for my eyes to flutter close. Maybe I should have allowed my muscles to loosen the tight knots of deep care, just as she did. I let my sleep deprived thoughts silence when remembering her. The type of love where I convinced myself that she cared for me, even loved me.

She offered the type of love that sounded like whimpers for attention. I never questioned why I put all of my focus on her. I told myself that she was my soulmate. The type of love where my eyes were fixed on making her wishes my command. I made sure every beg for attention that quivered from her lips were met with my comforting hands. The type of love that made sure her blue thoughts transformed into ones of yellow hope. Her praise was quiet, nearly a whisper. She made sure there was no other sound that could be heard past her whine of seeking security and admiration. I could never match her whimpers of attention. She was the center of my world. The type of love that adjusted my hearing to the pitch of her cries.

She offered the type of love that tasted like honey in my throat. The type of love that was sweet and thick. She didn’t know what love was. She thought it only consisted of the sugary kind of taste. The type of love that only existed in romantic movies, with boxes of chocolates and bouquets of flower. The taste of love that would blanket across your tastebuds but only last a second. She has flooded my taste of love with honey.

She offered the type of love that felt like pins and needles tracing my body, cutting into my hope for us. I loved her past the pain she caused. I told her I would never leave her, never let the pins and needles poke too deep in my skin. I held onto the past experiences I had with her: This is when our love was like flowers blooming in my chest, was like love growing in my belly, vines lacing my throat. Her words of poison unrooted my flowers, leaving stems and thorns behind.

It’s quiet now. The type of love that I’ve been wishing for.   

Posted in 2018-2019, Fiction, November 2018

Six Months

By Hailey Stoner

Sarah is driving home after a thirty-six-hour shift at the hospital. She’s exhausted and struggling to stay awake. Her eyes become heavier with every blink. Sarah is only two minutes away from her apartment when her eyes slip shut while she’s at the wheel. She runs a red light and t-bones a minivan with an eight-year-old boy in the back seat. A police officer calls her husband to meet them at the hospital. He finds Sarah sitting on a bed in the emergency room clutching her wrist to her chest. The boy was killed on impact, while Sarah suffers only minor injuries.

It’s been one week since the accident and Sarah is unable to sleep. When she closes her eyes, she sees the dent her car left in the side of the van. She gets up and goes to make a cup of tea in the kitchen. Sarah sips it and turns around to see the boy from the accident standing in front of her. Sarah drops the cup and it shatters. Then he’s gone. “Sarah?” Her husband calls from upstairs. He comes downstairs and into the kitchen. “Sarah? Are you alright?” He walks towards her, avoiding the chunks of glass. “Honey, what’s wrong?” She doesn’t move.

It’s been a month since the accident and Sarah has started seeing a therapist. The therapist asks about the last time she saw the boy. It was yesterday. She was sitting in her husband’s car in the driveway. Her eyes were shut, her hands were on the steering wheel, and she was taking deep breaths. But when she opened them, she saw the boy in the back seat, through the rear view mirror. The funeral was a week ago, and the therapist asks Sarah if she had gone. She did. Her husband drove her. But once they parked and were about to go inside, she burst into tears and couldn’t stop crying. The therapist wants Sarah to meet with the boy’s parents, once she’s ready. She thinks it’ll help Sarah forgive herself. But Sarah doesn’t think she’ll ever be ready.

It’s been four months since the accident and Sarah is finally meeting with the boy’s parents. The three of them sit in the living room. They offer her a cup of tea and start chatting. It’s all small talk at first, learning more about one another. Then they begin talking about the accident. About what caused it. How they handled it. Neither party coped very well. But it’s understandable. They talk longer, and the boy’s parents tell Sarah to stop torturing herself. They say they’ve forgiven her. Now it is only a matter of forgiving herself.

It’s been six months since the accident and Sarah is sitting at the boy’s grave. The hallucinations ended shortly after meeting with his parents. She lays a bundle of flowers on his grave. “I’m sorry,” she whispers, and stands. Sarah takes a deep breath and the wind begins to blow. She wraps her arms around herself and walks back to the road. She gets into the car.

“Are you okay?” Her husband asks from the driver’s seat.

Sarah says, “No, but I will be.”

Posted in 2018-2019, November 2018, Poetry

Worry

By Silvie Sandeen

I am the one who causes you
to hesitate, avoid risks, to fear.
The darkness creeping over your mind,
the what ifs whispering in your ear,
the churning in your stomach.

I make you second guess,
bite your tongue,
miss out on opportunities.
I make you indecisive.
With me in your life,
everything will end in crisis.

I crush creativity.
You will bring yourself down.
I am the weight on your shoulders,
you must carry me around.

Wait—
Is that a glimmer of confidence?
That is not who you are.
Too meek, too timid,
too easily scared.
Feeling carefree?
Not around me.
I’m in control of your life.

I’ve spent so much time
making you uptight.
Acting with certainty?
Ha! We’ll see.
Listen to me!

I am Worry.
Made of fear.
Of conviction and self-assurance
replacing me here.
Boldness and positivity
make me cower.
Acting with courage,
now you have the power.

Posted in 2018-2019, Non-Fiction, November 2018

On My Mother’s Sister

By Patrick McCarthy

I don’t see you as much of an aunt anymore. Sure, you have the same dark, thick hair as the rest of your siblings. You have the same sharp nose. The same creases on your face, running from your nose to the corners of your mouth. The same rigid jawline. The way you cackle, exposing your Long Island roots, matches the rest of the family. Yet my tongue struggles to place the word Aunt before your name. You seem like an old acquaintance.

Dad says that you’re manipulative. He has seen the way you corrode your siblings, has witnessed my mother fall under your hypnosis. Mom stays away from you. She says that you can tug at grandma’s loose strings until she rips open and gushes out cash. She describes how you used to stumble back home at 2 A.M reeking of vodka. She told me about when she called the cops on you. Told me about your first time in rehab, and your second, and your third. Told me how you would spit on her, and kick, and punch, and scream at her. She says that you stole her Beatles records when you were younger. “Probably pawned ‘em for drug money.”

A few years ago — around November — Mom sat me down at the kitchen table. She fumbled with her fingers as her throat began to twist. She said that you probably weren’t going to make it to Christmas.

An immediate silence rushed down the walls and filled up the room. My hands were the first in the room to respond. I trembled as I smeared snot into my sleeve. Tears seeped from my eyes like bubbling tar. I didn’t say anything; the air in my lungs was too thin to create words. Mom brought my chin to her shoulder. She held me in her hospitable embrace as I began to regain my composure. She didn’t tell me about familial dysautonomia, or about how your nerve cells were withering.

I didn’t visit you in the hospital. Mom didn’t want me to see how sick you were. She didn’t want me to hear the rattling of your emaciated ribcage. She didn’t want me to know how much of you had dwindled away.

So I wrote you a letter. I slowly pressed my pencil to the wide-ruled paper. I spent minutes on each word, making sure every curve and angle was drawn perfectly. I told you that I loved you and that you were going to get better.  I don’t know if your achy fingers ever lifted the paper. I don’t know if your tired eyes ever crept through the sentences. I wonder if the letter helped you during recovery. If it helped you sneak past Christmas. Did my blind optimism ever nourish your starving muscles? Did my “I love you”s ever brighten the crimson of your blood?

The last time we spoke was at your daughter’s graduation. We hugged the moment we saw each other. Your shoulder blades pierced through your shirt and scraped my arms. Cigarette smoke plumed from your lips. Your voice crumbled into gravel. “You’ve gotten so tall,” you said with a sharp grin. Your coffee brown eyes were growing misty.

I wonder where you are now. Is my contact still on your phone? Are you still on Long Island? Are you still letting pills release fog into your skull? What tattered house are you inhabiting? Whose fingers are interlaced with yours? Who is falling in love with the deep milky white of your scars? Who are you screaming at with your shattered glass voice? What drink is rushing down your throat, stinging your esophagus and landing in your empty stomach? Do you know about your new niece? Do you know that she looks just like you? That she has your coffee brown eyes? That I feel sick when I stare into them.