Category Archives: Lifestyle

Float on Down

By Breanna Myers and Amelia Lowry

Every day as I walk to and from the different buildings where I have my classes, I like to look around and notice the curiosities of our downtown area. Sometimes, it’s the pedestrians with their little puppies, or the cars driving by with their windows down and loud music blaring. Sometimes, it’s the things I pass by everyday and never really take the time to consider. For example, the little float spa on the first floor of the Grand Piano building.

What was this place? Was it like a giant bath? What was this experience supposed to help with? Who would pay to float in a tank of water for an hour in the dark? Why Hagerstown? I had lots of questions. But most importantly: what was it for?

Eric Sarmiento and his family, who own and run Regenerate, were overjoyed to let us check it out and answer any questions we had. I ventured down there nearly every day for a week with questions from, “What made you decide to open up Regenerate?” to flat out, “What is it and why is it different from floating in my bathtub?” They were more than patient with my high school antics.

The story of the float spa began when Sarmiento heard from friends of floating’s power

and, once he tried it, it he was hooked. He loved that the floating experience gave him a better sense of mental clarity, along with the physically healing elements as well.

“Really, what is floating? And why am I going to spend $80 on it?” I asked cynically.

Apparently I wasn’t the only asking these questions. WHAG news did a story on Regenerate back in 2015 when they first opened and they describe it as “the latest health trend that people are doing to unwind after a long day.” The pods with their 10 inches of water saturated with 1000 pounds of epsom salt hold both mental and physical healing properties.

After so many visits, I felt at home in their calming lobby. Between aromatherapy, himalayan rock lamps, and soothing music, and even the employee’s light voices, both Amelia, a fellow BISFA writer, and I were fighting yawns every time we walked in.

Before we knew it, the day of the float had arrived. It was Earth Day, and Sarmiento greeted us with a smile as always. “You know who’s birthday it is today? Earth’s.” We just laughed nervously, wondering what the heck we were getting ourselves into.

Sarmiento opened the door to the hallway for rooms with the isolation pods, which we’d 98289_large_1.pngnever seen. It was even more mysterious than I imagined. It was completely dark, save for three closed doors, out from under which emerged glowing lights. It looked like something straight out of an 80s sci-fi film. Thankfully, no aliens came running out when Sarmiento opened the first door. Instead, there was what seemed like a large, white incubator that took up most of the room. This was a “pod.” Amelia and I stepped into the dark room, where green light was blooming from the corner. The room itself was very warm and had a very interesting earthy scent. Besides the pod, there was only a shower, and some hygienic necessities.

“So. First impressions?” Sarmiento asked. We just laughed, mumbling something about being excited. After a brief introduction to the room and how our session would go, I left Amelia in the first room and made my way to the second floating room, where the light was pink instead of green.

An hour later, I was sipping water and struggling to find equilibrium in the lobby while I waited for Amelia to emerge. Finally, she came out, hair wet and looking equal parts rejuvenated and loopy.

“How’d ya like it?” I asked.

“I died…” we all looked at her, startled. “In a good way.”

I understood where she was coming from, but it didn’t quite feel like death for me. Rather, I felt like I was enveloped in a thick, opaque fog. I could still do everything, but it all took a bit more effort. Additionally, I noticed Amelia and I were both talking slower as well, giddy on the 1,000 pounds of epsom salt we had just spent an hour in. On the way out, we ran into one of our teachers, Mrs. Taylor, and she looked at us like we had just come back from Narnia. “Where have you guys been?”

“We were trying out the float spa,” I said sluggardly.

“Woah! What was it like?” Mrs. Taylor asked.

“It felt like I was dead,” Amelia said, using her new catchphrase. “Because, you can’t feel your body ‘cause the water feels the same as the air, and everything is really dark, and even if you open your eyes it feels like they’re closed.”

“It was so freaky! I feel really… light. It’s odd,” I grinned stupidly. Mrs. Taylor laughed and walked out to her car saying something about seeing us tomorrow.

Amelia and I continued to our destinations, tripping down the sidewalk as we went along. “What were you thinking about the whole time?” Amelia asked me.

“How much I wished I wasn’t thinking anything. And how loud my breathing was. You never really notice it, ya know?”

Regenerate-Float-Saver-img.jpg“I had ‘The Great Outdoors’ playing,” Amelia said, gesturing to express the dramatic title of her “mood” music. We had been given options for the background noise beforehand, and I had picked “Gentle Rainfall” (a much less theatrical title.) “And so, the whole time I was kind of thinking about all the different places I had been outside, and it felt sort of like I was small again. Because it’s pretty easy to have that child-like sense of wonder when you’re in a little capsule.” I found myself being distracted by everything happening around me, my brain newly aware of all the extra stimulus.

I tried to refocus on Amelia, “I turned my music off right away, trying to get the ‘authentic experience’, ya know? Did you have your light on in the pod?”

“No, I turned it off as soon as I got in. I had to make sure to keep my mind away from horror-movie scenarios, because I knew that could get bad pretty fast,” Amelia said.

“I understand, I had a lot of trouble just surrendering. It was all so scary but freeing, too. I didn’t realize how much it worked until I tried to stand up, I almost fell over!” Amelia and I went our separate ways and I decided to walk home, savoring the invigorating and relaxing effects of the float.

The next day, I barreled down the steps to the first floor with my classmates as always. I glanced in, waving at Sarmiento and the other employees and smiling sheepishly as I realized just how loud and busy we all were. It was amusing to think about how just through those doors was a serene escape while we all babbled about homework and stress and everything else that comes with being a student at BISFA.

Breanna Myers is a Senior at Barbara Ingram and Amelia Lowry is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram.

On Dress Codes

By Maddie Sokoloski 

If only Little Red Riding Hood had a cloak that covered up her up a bit more. She shouldn’t have been tempting that wolf with all that exposed skin. If her grandmother had been wearing a ski mask to bed maybe the wolf would have been able to control himself.

With summer just around the corner and heat waves rolling in, young women across America are breaking out shorts and tank tops. Principals everywhere are blowing the dust off their trusty school handbooks getting ready to punish female students for breaking the most important rule: the dress code. Girls have begun crossing their fingers, hoping administration doesn’t punish them for “making other students uncomfortable” or “disturbing the learning process.”

dress code.jpgI hope I live to see a day when girls are not raised with the words “you are a distraction, your bra straps are disturbing the people around you” ringing in their ears. I hope there will be a time when little girls don’t feel like it’s their fault that they are victimized, when women aren’t made to feel guilty because they were “tempting him” or “showing too much skin.” It doesn’t make sense that people would defend the beasts and wolves, the abusers and rapists and denounce the girls who used to carry hope with them like a flag, who had innocence ripped out of their hands. I hope there will be a day when school districts become the safe zones they claim to be. Places where young women can go to the administration, sleeveless shirt and all, and complain about another student or, God forbid, a teacher who looks at her shoulders with the eyes of a predator. A female student should be able to tell people when they are feeling uncomfortable with other people’s actions without worrying someone will judge her or deem her “inappropriate.”

I hope, someday, there is a world where we don’t have to teach our daughters to look both ways before crossing the street, not because cars could be passing but because a predator could be following. I hope there’s a world where friends don’t have to guard each other’s drinks because men are taught how to be men and not monsters, people are taught to keep from slipping things into people’s drinks. I hope there is a world where girls can walk down the street without gripping their keys like a weapon, without knuckles whitening around hidden pocket knives, without women acutely aware of which part of their purses the pepper spray is tucked into, without old women who walk with canes or umbrellas just to have some sort of advantage if attacked. I hope that there is a world where we stop blaming young women for the actions of other people. I hope we can stop teaching our girls to throw on an extra layer because “There’s no way you’re going out dressed like that.” I hope there is a world where the victims are not blamed for the actions of attackers, where women aren’t taught that showing their shoulders or bra straps or legs or cleavage is like dangling a bone in front of a carnivore and expecting him not to attack.

It is my sincerest hope that, one day, I can send my red-cloaked daughters into the woods and the only thing I have to warn them against is dropping their baskets along the way.dress code [2].jpg

Maddie Sokoloski is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

Just Between Us

By Sara Ritchey 

Before I wrote this, I remembered the time you told me how much you loved the rhythm of my heartbeat — and when we hugged, you pressed yourself into me; our heartbeats colliding, dancing under moonlit skies. And when bright shooting stars flew across the night, you always told me you had everything you’d ever need.

Before I wrote this, I sat memorizing your mesmerizing eyes and got lost somewhere in between blue and always. Your eyes took me to blurry places, where I couldn’t make out my own goddamn name. You made the words in my head jumble; a jungle of tangled letters, until I could only make out three words. I love you.

Before I wrote this, I realized I love you’s could be lies. Trampled on words with muddy shoes until they are so far in the dirt, they begin to decompose.

You see, before I wrote this, I repeated it to myself so much it lost it’s meaning. I love you, I love you, I love you, I — it played over in my head like a scratched record. Your words echoing off the sides of my head, until I had to slip in headphones to drown out the sound of your voice.

Before I wrote this I scratched my skin, where your fingertips had traced. Lines of red paint fell down my arms as I continue to scratch trying to get any sign of you off of my skin.

I remembered the time you engraved words into my bones, and I let you, being sure to lay still as you took your time. You liked digging every letter deeper than the last, and when I winced you shrugged it off, continuing your work of art. When you were finally done, you let me see your masterpiece. It was a picture of another girl. Maybe in a different time, you said. Maybe if you were anyone else.

Sara Ritchey is a Freshman at Barbara Ingram

Facing the Unthinkable

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By Derek Frazier 

Scrappy Frazier the Pug passed away March 10th, 2016. May his memory never be replaced in the hearts of his family. Rest in peace old friend. (A continuation of Man’s Best Friend”)

“Scrappy isn’t feeling so well today.” My mother told me as we drove home from the grocery store. “He had another accident and his breathing isn’t good. I’m sorry for having this conversation in the car but… frankly I don’t know what else to do.”

I could feel the tears slide down my face as I heard the pain in my mother’s voice. Each salty tear drying and melting into my flesh. In my mind I thought to myself I need to be brave, I need to be brave and strong for my mother and little sister. Scrappy had been having accidents with his footing and breathing for the last few weeks, each attack was like a seizure and they were growing more frequent. This left my mother with few options and a feeling of helplessness. Those who have read any of my work will know just how much this dog meant to me, and for those who didn’t I will ask you to visualize in your head the relationship Timon had with Pumba in Disney’s The Lion King.

When we got home from the store, I grabbed a bag of groceries, a carton of milk from my mom’s car and dropped it off on the kitchen table. I had grabbed two more bags and had made it halfway to the garage door when I heard my mother gasp “I can’t do this… I can’t do this.” She was sitting on kneeling in front of the kennel.

Laying on his pillow, his black muzzle flecked with grey, and relaxed in a look of serenity was Scrappy, he wasn’t breathing and he never would again.

I have never seen my mother that shaken. Her face was the color of her dark red hair and she couldn’t keep calm long enough to dry the tears from her face. Her voice shattered with every sentence she said over the phone or to my grandfather. I kept telling myself be brave, be strong, do it for Mom.

The next few minutes where a blur. I remember just going back to the car in shock and unpacking while my mom and sister hugged. Get these unpacked Derek, I kept telling myself, don’t think,  just keep moving.

“Why?” I yelled to the ceiling. “Why now?” I yelled at the airplanes full of people who were blissfully ignorant, to the stars that weren’t hidden behind the clouds. And lastly to the God I loved. I was angry, angry that he chose now for the time to take Scrappy. And that the way he chose to take him home was through passing away in his kennel, in a cage. My father always said “the worst part of being a pet owner, is saying goodbye.” Later that day my grandmother said; “He gave me a look today. Something in his eyes said that his work was finished and that it was time to rest.”

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to him, only good morning. But if I did I would have said something along the lines of: thank you for always being there.”

We all had our ways of coping that night. My mother called a few friends and they spent the evening with her. My little sister, Evee, broke out the popcorn machine she had gotten earlier in the week and made a giant bowl for dessert. I went upstairs and called my girlfriend, someone who I could cry to without being ashamed. Then I wrote for a little bit.

We Fraziers are built tough. We may not be the strongest or the fastest people, but we are built to last. Two incidents with poisonous mushrooms and even his obesity couldn’t take down that pug. In the end he lived to be thirteen years old, two years older than the average lifespan of his breed. Two years of surviving through pain simply because he loved being a part of our family.  

Scrappy had always been there for me. We read comic books, watched Lord of the Rings together, and even sat outside looking up at the clouds on beautiful summer days. It was everything a stereotypical relationship between a boy and a dog was; friendship, trust,  understanding. Scrappy was more than just the household dog. He was a friend, a partner in crime, a furry brother. A world without him was something that I always hoped to never arrive.

But the day finally did, and now I was left to live in a world without the sound of his claws on the hardwood floor of my kitchen. Scrappy isn’t the type of dog you can replace. You could live your whole life without meeting him and never bat an eye, sure. But whenever someone met him, their life was changed in a positive way because of who he was. I have only good memories of that dog, and photos that will be here with me even when I’m too old to remember when they were taken.

I didn’t get to say goodbye to him, only good morning. But if I did I would have said something along the lines of; thank you for always being there and for always staying true to yourself. You never made me feel like I was the master and you were the dog, rather you made it feel like we were brothers despite the fact that I was several feet taller than you. I would like to thank you for the bottom of my heart for all the memories, and I look forward to seeing you again.

Derek Frazier is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram. 

If Donald Trump Were President

By Maddie Sokoloski 

I haven’t been to Hawaii in a while. Or Alaska, or Canada, or Mexico, or anywhere, really. He put up his wall, but it isn’t just between Mexico and The States. There is a wall around the entire country. We only have forty-eight states now. He said that immigrants from Mexico would sneak around and come in through Canada, and that Hawaii and Alaska were too high of risk factors because we couldn’t put a wall around them, too.

Mr. President says that Hawaii and Alaska and all the islands of the U.S. don’t want America to be great again. He says they’re working with immigrants to take us down from the inside out. When asked about this issue, Trump was quoted saying, “You’re asking me about the islands? A lot of people ask me about those islands. And I tell them that I love those islands. Really, I do. I love ‘em. But we can’t have good American people there if there is no wall to keep out the terrorists and Muslims and Mexicans and rapists. We will make America great again. I tell you that is the goal. To make America great again.”

The Statue of Liberty is in France now. Trump said that we didn’t need it anymore since we closed Liberty Island. He gave it back to France, saying: “We don’t want your stupid statue. We don’t need something from France to represent our nation. The French are trying to prohibit us from making America great. I tell you we will do it ourselves because we’re Americans and we are proud people. We need to make America great again.”

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Some people claimed that putting up the wall would hurt our economy. Yes, we don’t have any imports or exports out of the country, we don’t have any revenue from tourism, and the expenses from the wall, a small loan of 35 million dollars that we took from several other countries, put us even further in debt. However, illegal immigrants can’t get into our country and take jobs from us. So I guess that’s good.

Not only did he manage to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal, he made being gay illegal altogether! Anyone who is part of the LGBT community is immediately charged and thrown in jail. If Trump finds someone liking any Facebook or Tumblr post in support of LGBT rights, they’re put on a watch list. Trump has said that the United States is supposed to be a good, Christian country, effectively getting rid of the separation of church and state and the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. This is a great way to get all of the sinners and disgusting people thrown in a prison where they belong.

Some other new laws have been put in place: feminism is illegal, abortions are illegal, helping the poor and less fortunate is definitely illegal, immigration into the States is illegal, moving out of the States is illegal. Trump even managed to pass a new amendment that made making fun of his hair illegal. In essence, he is finally making America great again.

The opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Post Script Magazine

Maddie Sokoloski is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

Look Out! Spring Holidays You May Not Know About

By Sara Ritchey

March 20 –
Extraterrestrial Abductions Day
Proposal Day

Get yourself a ring man, cause today is National Proposal Day. But before you propose to your beautiful wife, be sure to check the sky. It would be a terrible day to remember if you were abducted by some little green guys before she can say “yes.”

April 14 –
Look Up At The Sky Day
Ex-Spouse Day
International Laughing Day

April 14th, you can look up at the blue skies and maniacally laugh. Besides the awkward stares, I’d assume this one could be pretty fun, but before you get too comfy, you may need to grab yourself an ex-spouse and drag them through this with you. That is absolutely what you should be doing on a beautiful April day in my opinion.

May 13 –
The only Friday the 13th in 2016
“Blame Someone Else” day

For me, Friday the 13th was always filled with silly theories like don’t look in the mirror too long or you will be frozen in time, or if you see a black cat you could be cursed with bad hair days (or something like that) forever. It’s quite alright this year if you see a black cat though, because you can just accuse someone else, since this Friday the 13th is also National Blame Someone Else Day.  Friday the 13th, 2016 is the date that keeps on giving.

Sara Ritchey is a Freshman at Barbara Ingram

The Hollowed-Out Home

By Maddie Sokoloski

This isn’t the house I grew up in. The one filled with laughter and family movie nights, the one with eight-foot-tall Christmas trees under the high ceilings. It’s no longer the house where my brother learned to walk and talk, the house where he got and I lost a first tooth on the same day. This isn’t the place my grandparents would come to visit on Easter and Thanksgiving.

This house was always there, hidden beneath layer after layer of good times. This is the house I saw countless years ago, the first time I ever really saw my parents fight, when my dad drove away and threatened never to come back. It is this house I briefly viewed when my dad and his brother got in a fist fight in our living room, the place I left as I ushered my siblings — in only their sweatshirts and pajamas — out the door into the snow. This house is the result of the fight I overheard a year ago from my bedroom, when I realized my parents’ divorce was on the horizon. This is my house, but it is not the same, and it is not my home.

I enter the house through the door that leads in from the garage to an empty space. The floorboards, brighter where the carpet was rolled up and moved out, are covered in dust that collected under the couches.The few chairs that we left in the living room are pushed up against the wall, huddled where we left them in our haste to move the big things into the garage. A few unused boxes that didn’t get swept into the moving van lie on the floor exactly where we dropped and forgot about them. It is quiet in a way that it’s never been before. For once, the only sounds are my footsteps that echo in the big empty room with no furniture to muffle it. There are no distant sounds of my siblings in their rooms. There is no sizzle of food my mother is cooking, no scent wafting from the kitchen. Everything feels sad and abandoned, left by a broken family who were in too much haste to fall back and pick up the leftover pieces.

Moving house

The living room was cheerful. Brown leather couches surrounded the TV on one half of the room, red and orange paisley-print chairs rested in the other, the two sides separated by a big fireplace. I remember running in from the pool behind the house and pushing the present-covered coffee table out of the way. My sister Lily and her friends dragged themselves away from their pool party long enough to open the presents. Lily tore through the small pile of gift bags, her friends and siblings sitting awkwardly on the paisley-print chairs, water seeping through our beach towels. When tissue paper carpeted the floor and no presents were left on the table, my mother brought out the cake and we sang. After Lily’s wish was made and the cake was eaten, we left to go swim some more. Year after year, every birthday party was held in the living room. Countless presents were opened, countless candles were blown out, countless wishes were made. The living room was always a happy place; I never thought it could be so lifeless.

I walk past the living room and the kitchen with no pots and pans and the dining room with no table or chairs to “the green stairs.” Before, the stairs were the sights of many games. My favorite was one we never named but played very often. The objective: get out the front door before either of the guards could catch us. The game started with the guards sitting on the green-carpeted stairs counting to ten while the rest of us ran and hid. Then, the competition began, an all-out war of wits, speed, and sneaking skills.

Squeals of delight, groans of frustration, and the rhythm of many little sets of feet running from soft carpet to hardwood floors became the dramatic soundtrack of our battle. The game ended when everyone had either been caught or managed to sneak their way past both of the guards and the heavy wood door that creaks when it opens. We would play round after round, often grabbing shoes and jackets to keep away the cold that crept up as the sun set.  Finally, the tournament would end with lots of panting, taunting, wiping sweat from our foreheads, and sprawling across the carpet to catch our breath.

When this house was my home, my mother put four baby pictures — one of each of us — on the wall next to the stairs. Now, all that’s left of these are the nails they used to hang on. Sticking out of the wall like porcupine quills, they leave me feeling sick. These nails were only ever seen when our games were interrupted by someone knocking a picture to the ground. They were only ever seen when there was a mistake, a pause in the game where someone had to hang the picture up to make things right again. These stairs aren’t supposed to be a permanent reminder of all the mistakes we, as a family, have made. They were always filled with so many positive experiences. Those good memories were replaced with the image of the raw, exposed, porcupine-quill nails that only serve as a reminder that there will be no one to fix the mistakes this time. The echoes of squeals of friendly competition and the pitter-patter of sneaking feet faded, covered by the heavy footfalls of tired, worn-down people using the stairs only to get to the top floor. The steps aren’t home base anymore — they’re nothing more than stairs.

At the top of the stairs is the room that used to be mine. As I walk into it, my footsteps sound different, as if I’m walking on a mock version of the home I used to have. It’s like a cheaper knock-off posing as my house but missing a few crucial details. The only things in this room are an old TV set on a little, broken table, two giant mirrors that have yet to be moved to my mother’s new house, and about fifty empty nails and hooks. I can see the secrets I tried to hide with posters and furniture: the hole in the uneven wooden floor, the place where the paint chipped, the places where we missed a spot when we painted the walls pink.

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This room isn’t mine anymore. It doesn’t smell like my perfume or candles or laundry detergent. The soft mountain of pillows and blankets from my bed were packed up and moved out. Yet I can still imagine this room as everything it used to be in the nine years we lived here: Lily’s room, a playroom, a guest room, my bedroom. I can see the walls in every state they’ve been in: blue, brown, black, pink; covered in painted clouds, flower stickers, posters, picture frames. I can picture myself in every version of this room, sleeping or playing or hanging out with my siblings and friends. Through everything this room used to be, I never thought I would see it look like a crude imitation, a second-rate version of itself. I never thought that it would stop feeling like home.

My mom’s new house is not home, not yet. It is different, smaller, made for five people instead of six. My room there is almost the same as it was; it’s painted the same colors, has the same bedspread and knick-knacks. The biggest difference is the box labeled “Maddie’s Pictures” that sits beside my desk. Inside are all of the pictures and wall hangings from my old bedroom. I have yet to hang them on the walls. I’m afraid this new house will become too real, too permanent. I’m afraid to create a bad imitation of my old room and hold on to something that isn’t real anymore.

Most importantly, I’m afraid to lose my home. At the old house, my dad put the nails in the wall, stood on my desk chair to hang the pictures. In the new house, my dad won’t be there to help hang things up just like my mom was too busy unpacking  to set up my knick-knacks like she did when we first bought them. I’m afraid because the new house is so different and my home is an empty shell of itself. The place that was my home for so many years doesn’t exist any more: it was replaced with this replica version that’s missing all of the love we put into it. My home is nothing more than a sad, fading echo in the gutted, hollow house.

 

Maddie Sokoloski is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

I Should Have Kissed You Longer

By Sara Ritchey

We were seven when you sang “Happy Birthday” to me all by yourself, holding a purple balloon in your left hand and my pinky in your right. The sky turned foggy, so we released the balloon and you accidentally let go of my finger. You apologized after I slipped my hand back into my pocket. You didn’t mean to break your promise, and I knew that I could trust you.

We were nine when you asked me if I wanted to go to the park with you and your family. I tried to impress you by doing the monkey bars all by myself, but I landed on my stomach, but your mother and father didn’t seem to notice. You rubbed my back gently and I realized that even after I caught my breath, I couldn’t help but lose it again when I looked at you.

We were twelve when you started skipping class. I left notes in your locker during study hall. They were filled with poetry and things that made you smile, because you said you liked how I could turn my thoughts into words. I always told you how much I loved to see you smile — I’d do anything to make it show. You grabbed my wrist softly and told me to stop worrying. You told me that you were okay. I tried not to worry, but when I hugged you, you smelled like smoke and too much cologne. It was hard not to worry when I saw you hiding away your pack of cigarettes when we came in from lunch.

We were thirteen when you kissed me in the back of your parents’ car the night it broke down. Your parents were in the gas station, and I watched your eyes from the seat next to me and they seemed to lighten, from a dark sky to a subtle ocean. You put your hand on my thigh and told me you loved me. We were sitting at that damn gas station for over two hours, but I couldn’t seem to bring myself to say it back. I wanted to. I swear, I wanted to.

We were fourteen when I had to visit you pale-faced and breathless. I never got to tell you how proud of you I was, or how I regretted not hugging you longer; not loving you longer. I didn’t know that kissing you goodnight translated to a final goodbye. I didn’t know that touching your chest meant feeling your heartbeat pitter-patter for the last time. I didn’t know that when I failed to say I love you, I would never get the chance to say it again. I should have loved you a little longer.

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Sara Ritchey is a Freshman at Barbara Ingram 

Man’s Best Friend

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By Derek Frazier

 I remember the day I first met Scrappy. I was three when we went to get him. He was found online by my mother, who had fallen in love with him instantly. His previous owner had other dogs who were much larger, and they couldn’t raise all of them at the same time. We parked on their driveway and exchanged hellos to the owner. I don’t remember how the man looked (I was too young to remember faces), but I remember his whistle. It was sharp and clear, and rang loudly in my ears.

Scrappy, as he would later be called, came charging down the hill.

He was small and thin, with creamy tan fur on his body with black fur running down his back. A dirty face with a pushed in snout was complemented by fudge brown eyes and a painting pink tongue. Before I knew it, he was sitting in the front passenger seat in my mom’s lap, trying to eat her fries. Scrappy or “Scrap” was now officially a member of the family; his full name: Scrappy Doo Frazier.

I have never met anyone else who name their dogs full names. They are a member of your family, and therefore they deserve a full name. Out of all the dogs I have met in my lifetime Scrappy has the most human of personalities. What he likes and dislikes reminds me of humans.

He enjoys:

  • watching CSI
  • and the early morning news.
  • Listening to heavy metal or rock.
  • Licking peanut butter off whatever he can find.
  • Late night head rubs.

I remember sitting in my tv room one afternoon, just surfing through channels. Scrappy waddled into the room, his freshly clipped claws tapping on the hardwood floor. He sat down at my side and growled when he saw me watching a British comedy. He continued to huff and snort until I changed the channel to football, I guess the Steelers are his favorite team.

I love Scrappy — he’s my best friend and my “furry brother.” He’s been there for me through thick and thin. When I was sad he was always there to hear me vent. When it’s the last day of school he’s there to celebrate alongside me.

I only have sisters so it’s nice to know I have someone who can be a brother figure to me. Granted he’ll never be able to play video games or chess (he is all fingers and claws), but his presence is enough for me.

 

Life isn’t beautiful because you can keep it forever,

life is beautiful because it ends.

    

As I was growing up I never thought about a life without my dog. Innocently, I dreamed we would be friends for eternity. I was in the first grade when that all changed. We were living with my grandparents at the time on their property in Mount Airy. Scrap and I went walking on the back of the property, I didn’t see what was coming next.

It has rained badly the day before, so badly that giant mushrooms had started to grow on the edge of the property. Large as tea cup plates and dark as pitch, clashing with the jade green of the long grass around us. I don’t know why he ate them — to this day I can’t believe he did — those mushrooms were poisonous to dogs. Scrap ate a few massive chunks out of the mushroom before he made himself sick. I remember running my fingers through his course fur, the fur that needed brushing. He was shivering under my fingers with a fever that threatened to consume him, despite being tucked into my mother’s quilt. I remember the face he gave me, it was apologetic and sorrowful. His eyes were the real problem, deep brown with flecks of gold from the nearby lamp. They were full of fear and agony and I was scared for him as well. He was my best friend and I didn’t want him to die, we had gone through so much together for him to just slip away.

Scrappy spent the next day at the vet and we got a call that said he was fine but he was going to spend the night at the clinic. The day he came home was one of the happiest of my life, he was back. He was so full of energy and enthusiasm, it was almost as if he had never poisoned himself. He sat by my side like always, and read books over my elbow. He smiled at my jokes and barked his laughter. Nothing comes close to that kind of bond.

Years have passed and each winter has taken its toll on my old friend. He’s fourteen, grey fur has mixed into the cream color of his neck and shoulders. His eyesight is fading and he has arthritis in two of his paws that makes him  limp noticeably; it gets worse when it’s cold. After two mushroom poisonings, hundreds of door run-ins, and a very humorous confrontation with the neighbor’s husky, Scrappy remains one of the toughest friends I’ve ever had.

 

Out of all the dogs I have met in my lifetime Scrappy has the most human of personalities.

 

But even the strong fade. My mother doesn’t like to talk about it but there is a rumor that this winter will be his last. The last winter was almost too much for him and his limp is becoming ever more noticeable. I don’t like seeing Scrappy in pain, but I don’t want to watch him go. He is my best friend and my brother — family aren’t the people who you leave behind.

I understand that it’s almost his time, but I’m still afraid of letting him go. Despite my fear I’ve learned a lesson. I’ve learned that life isn’t beautiful because you can keep it forever, life is beautiful because it ends. When it does, it’s over and they’ll never come back to this world, but in your heart they still live on. All that is left for us to do is be brave and carry on with life, warmed by the memories of friends and family who we were blessed to know. I’ll miss Scrappy, I’m not denying that. I’ll miss the piles of dog hair in the tv room and his impatient scratches on the back door. But he’s been in my life so long that he deserves his rest. He has put up with me for as long as I can remember, and I’ll hate to see him go. But he is in his late eighties; If he was a human, he would have earned retirement by now. So until the time he finally must go, I will save his spot during SVU and remember just how beautiful life can be.

 

Derek Frasier is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram. 

I’m Only Human

By Derek Frazier

With October being Annual Breast Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to credit this piece to my Grandmother, in honor of her bravery and courage while facing cancer.

“It’s ok to be angry,” my mother said. All my life I have tried to keep my emotions in check — I have a temper that I’m not proud of and it tends to be destructive when I loose control. I become agitated, and I yell, and I feel a strong desire to break things. I have had a pretty strong grip on my emotions but that control slipped through my fingers when my mother told me the news. My grandmother was battling breast cancer. “She didn’t want to tell you guys because she wanted you to focus on the last few weeks of your schoolwork,” my mother continued.

I’ve always been close with my grandmother. Closer now than ever before. This was because of her and my grandfather’s decision to move to Hagerstown with us almost a decade ago. Nana is the one who picks me up when school is over, and we have strong heart to heart conversations on the ride home. We talk about the weather, and politicians, and media when we aren’t trying to outplay each other in the “punch buggy” game. I couldn’t believe that my Nana was sick. I had grown so accustomed to her presence. Her laughter. Her wisdom. Her sarcasm. I couldn’t imagine a life without her.

My sister Evee was riding shotgun when Mom told us the news, I was in the back seat. It was easier for me to hide the tears that slowly  trickled down my face. Though trying to keep my breathing steady was difficult. Mom could hear the uneven rasps as I tried to breathe just as she could see my sister’s tears.

” I know you guys are sad,” my mother said, “it’s ok to be sad. It’s also ok to be worried for her and it’s ok to be angry.”

It’s ok to be angry?  I remember thinking. To me nothing about this was ok. I was angry at her cancer, and angry that we were having this conversation in a car. I wanted to scream. I have never felt so overwhelmed.

I had too many questions. How advanced was the cancer? When was she getting treatment? Will she be ok? Was the cancer terminal?

The worst part: I couldn’t do anything! Due to my height and personality my family nicknamed me “the Gentle Giant” and I was raised to always be positive, to help others. But it’s frustrating when this is something I can’t do anything about. I can’t combat it with cheesy one liners or humor. I can’t make the cancer cells go away with a hug or a warm smile. No matter how hard I try. The feeling of uselessness was unbearable. I don’t like being angry but that’s all that I seem to be right now.

I’m not mad at my Nana, with all that she’s been through, I don’t think I ever could be. I’m angry at cancer. I’m angry that it’s put her through hell. I’m angry that it decided now is the time to act up, when my family needs stability.

I’m so proud of my Grandmother. Nana has overcome so many challenges following her diagnosis. Hurdles and problems that I could never face and defeat in my wildest dreams. Her strength and resilience is the only reason I haven’t broken into pieces yet. Both her courage  and my mother saying it’s ok to feel anger. I’m allowed to be mad and enraged because sometimes that’s the only way we can comprehend and handle things like this. It’s what makes us human.

I made a vow when my mother told us about the cancer — I promised myself that I would be strong for my grandmother. I swore to stand by her with confidence and determination as she has healed and fought these past few months. I would never let her see my anger, only my smiles. I hope one day that she reads this piece. And I want her to know that I will stand by her even after her last dose of chemotherapy, she has been my role model and an endless source of inspiration.

Derek Frazier is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts