Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Decision That Was Made for Me

I have once again stayed too long away from my blog, but it has been for a good reason that led me to a major decision.

Due to some extremely unusual circumstances, I will not be returning to Major University for the Fall semester. I tried, after conditions became apparent for what they were, to work out a way that I might commence classes in the Goldlands, but in recent days it has grown obvious that attempting to do so would be difficult at best and would likely end in my having to pull out before the end of the term anyway.

Let me assuage any fears regarding my health now: I am perfectly fine, as are all my family members. The factors behind this development aren't bad. They're just odd.

I got a taste of exactly how true that was when, after assurances of confidentiality on his part, I explained to Major University's dean of academics the justification behind my needing to either take a semester off or schedule my final exams for earlier than normal.

"Wow," he breathed, clearly at a loss of what to say. "I literally have never heard that before."

"I know," I sighed. "I know."

"And you wouldn't be able to go to your professors to ask if you could take your exams early..."

"Exactly. What would I tell them?"

"Right. Well,"

I haven't officially withdrawn from classes yet, but I'm in the process of finalizing my choice. Major University makes a distinction between those who drop out and those who take gap semesters, and I want to ensure that my intentions, of utilizing a temporary leave from college, are understood.

In the meantime my internship at Major University has ended, my bookstore job is still there, and I'm soon to start searching for a second place of employment.

I agonized over how to handle a delicate and somewhat bizarre happening and despaired that taking a semester off from school would be horribly irresponsible, but now that, after weeks of internal debate, the decision has finally been made, I feel at peace with it. I'm happy even. I find myself looking forward to Fall without college, Fall without midterms, Fall without tuition and loans.

This autumn will be the first since I was four years old that I won't be enrolled in school. That's bound to be weird.

There are certain considerations I've made regarding this, things I'm determined to do. First of all, I will find a second job and I will work a great deal. A money-making opportunity like this must be exploited. Second, I will maintain the vibrant social life that has made the last year and a half of my life such a joy. That will likely mean heading to Major University for weekend bashes, so I may not be wholly absent from campus.

Other than that, I'm taking things one day at a time and doing the best I can with that.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Captain Vanilla and the Great Adventure Part I

The following is the first part of my short story, Captain Vanilla and the Great Adventure, which follows the journey of a nineteen-year-old boy on an unusual and unlikely odyssey.

I am posting it here as a trial entry; if reader response is positive enough, I will continue to upload the various parts. If there is not sufficient interest, I will refrain from adding any more of the story to this blog and will take no offense.

I hope you enjoy and I look forward to hearing opinions.

Early afternoon sunlight poured in through the classroom windows, illuminating the copper hair of a young female instructor who stared with an anxious look at an orange-haired boy.

"Vanilla, I think you should stay."

He paused, then looked toward the door, from which he could hear the echoes of laughter as the other students left for the end of the semester.

He turned back to his professor.

"No, I don't think so," he replied, brushing a long lock away from his freckled face. "I don't think I can."

"Vanilla," she said, her brown eyes looking into his bright green ones. "I know it's been hard. I know it's been difficult. But the first year is trying for many people."

The boy turned away and did not answer.

His professor had worried about him all this year, concerned for the quiet student who spoke little and seemed to drift into a different world from the others. Often, during tests or while giving lecture, she'd circled the room to find him doodling in the margins of his notebook, fantastic images of flying ships and huge lizard birds.

For all his brightness, though, she sensed in him a loneliness she didn't know how to alleviate. It was improper at the university level for her to inquire into her pupils' personal lives, but still, she wondered.

"I miss my family," he said finally. His eyes moved to the floor as he said it. "And my friends, from before. This place is not for me. It doesn't make me happy."

"But Vanilla, what will you do outside of here?" she asked. "You're an intelligent young man, someone I know could go far. You're nineteen years old. Where else would you be?"

"Anywhere," he answered immediately, his pretty face turning into a sad smile. "I'm sorry, Professor. I have to go now."

He swung his green backpack over his shoulder and hurried from the room, leaving her standing alone, as worried as before.

He dashed through the gardens outside, fighting the urge to cry.

"Vani!" a girl's voice called.

He turned around to see Stacy, a smiling brunette from his music class.

"Where are you going?" she asked.

"Home," he said, and ran off.

During the bus ride back to his apartment, he stared out the window. Paris was such a beautiful city in the summertime.

When he arrived home, he sat at the kitchen table munching on a candy cane. The apartment was his alone, a luxurious, wood-paneled affair complete with a chef who came every other day, a gift from wealthy parents.

The sun dipped lower beneath the horizon as he ate and read, until one moment he looked up and the silhouettes of the city's tallest buildings were laid out on his living room floor.

He called his sister, who was studying far away, and reached her voice mail.

"Hey, sis," he whispered into the receiver. He wasn't sure what he wanted to say or why he wanted to talk to her. "I miss you. Call me."

After the sky had darkened to black, he turned on the shower. He'd meant to get in and out, wash his hair and be done with it, but the shower was his thinking spot, where he went when something was bothering him, and subconsciously he'd been drawn there that night.

Why was he like this? It was something he wondered often.

He'd just made a major life decision, the decision to drop out of college after one year, and he didn't even know why. Was it something to do with everyone else, the way their interests seemed to diverge from his so sharply, the way they spent all of their free time in nightclubs when all he longed for was a field filled with daisies? Was it that his chosen field, architecture, didn't really inspire him but that he didn't know how to quantify what did?

How do you tell the world that the things you love the most are blue skies and bright flowers, and chocolates and sugar cubes and warm blankets on cold days? What did any of that mean?

He got out of the shower and pulled on some underwear. Before he went to bed, he wiped the fog off of the bathroom mirror and stared at himself in the glass. Who was he, anyway? Who was this person with tiny shoulders and long orange hair and a smooth face that had never known a razor? It was almost like he'd been trapped in a child's body, never to grow up.

It would have bothered him if it weren't such a lovely thought.

As he walked into his room, he stared at the stuffed pink rabbit that sat on his dresser.

"What are we going to do now, Lapin?" he asked.

The bunny didn't answer.

He climbed into bed and fell asleep straightaway.

His dreams were always magical, but that night they were truly marvelous.

He was flying upward through a green sky, passing through fluffy clouds that were so realistic he could feel the cool moisture coming off of them. Next to him, soaring in the air, was a black-haired boy about his own age who waved over at him.

The boy yelled something, but Vanilla couldn't make out what it was.

"I can't hear you!" he shouted back.

The boy cupped his hand to his hear and shrugged. For some reason, it made both of them laugh.

Vanilla's head smacked against something hard, and his vision went black.

He was in bed again, his sleep disturbed by the sounds of morning. Birds chirped in the gray predawn light, and tree branches blew back and forth in the wind. The noises were oddly loud, though. Had he left a window open before turning in?

Without warning, a draft of freezing water doused his face, waking him as he gasped and sputtered.

He jumped out of bed, and his bare foot came down on a wet wooden board.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where Have You Been, BB?

I would like to apologize for my prolonged absence from the blogosphere. I had a very legitimate reason for being away, but it is not one I feel would be proper to discuss here.

I will resume regular entries within the next few days but will first post the inaugural installment of Captain Vanilla and the Great Adventure, a short story I'm working on. A late Hair Update will be arriving soon as well.

I am eager to catch up on everyone's blogs and get back into the groove of my own. Thanks for waiting for me while I was gone.