It was a couple of days later when Michael finally snapped. It was after a particularly long practice and Robert had easily outrun him once again. Afterward Michael overheard Robert talking to Ana. "What do you think he was doing when he went missing? He's completely lost his edge." At that moment the snake took over. Michael watched as his skin transformed before his eyes until it was coated in a think layer of black scaled armor. His muscled writhed and he wanted to scream, but no sound came out. He was the monster now it felt so horrible yet in a sick way he enjoyed it. Michael flicked his forked tongue out from between his lips. The snack took charge and he struck fast as lightning he crossed to area between himself and Robert. He sunk his fangs into Roberts soft fleshy chest and toppled over him. When Ana would describe the moment in years to come she always changed her story slightly. This probably happened because she never was able to fully understand what happened. She and Robert had been talking when all of a sudden Michael had lunged across the space between the, with alarming speed. In his hands he clenched two pens that Ana had been using to take notes earlier in the day. Michael tackled Robert and stuck the pens into his chest. Ana remembered screaming and ripping the two boys apart. All the while Michael was hissing like a deranged cat. From there she had screamed at Michael and said she was going to call the police. When she mentioned that he turned and sprinted away. Through his slit eyes Michael watched as Ana screamed in a furry. What was she so mad about he had finally taken out the blight in his life that was Robert Adelborrow. Then his vision swam and he saw what he had done. At that point there was only one thing that he could do. He had been doing it his hole life and had gotten quite good, Michael ran. Michael ran jumped in the car and drove to the one place he knew the snake couldn't take over his body again, he drove back to Zurnö.
The small red droplets blurred as Michael's vision swam as the sweat dripped into his eyes. He ground his teeth together and forced his screaming muscles to stand, and then run. Robert had pulled ahead when Michael twisted his ankle and fell cutting his hands on the small red pebbles that made up the track. Robert crossed the line a full two seconds before Michael. With the Olympic time trials in just two weeks Michael knew that his chances of beating Robert were slim. It was the third time this week, thought Michael. The third time that Robert had beaten him. It was the third time and Michael hated it. The nightmares had come back and with the the scratches. One morning Michael had woken up to find a bruise that extending from his left hip all the up to his sternum. He couldn't remember what had happened on the night, and that terrified him more than the actual purple flesh. Michael might not have realized it, but he was loosing his mind, slowly and surely it was rotting away. The process had started when his father had first forced him to go to camp with his brother, and had continued through the rest of his life. The pressure it seemed had finally built up to a tempest, and it wouldn't be long before the storm hit shore.
Michael replayed how the conversation was going to go over and over and over again. He would say how sorry he was, how he had overreacted, how all he wanted now was to forget what had happened, and yet when the car bounced into the driveway his mind went blank. Michael walked up the worn stone steps and seized the brass knocker in his hand. Before he could hit the smooth metal against the door, the hinges blasted open. Michael stood face to face with Ana. Behind her stood the Pitacways and Robert. There was a moment of stunned silence and then Ana barked, "Well get dressed we go out in ten." Michael opened and closed his mouth a couple of times in shock finally Ana made a shooing motion and he turned around and walked back across the lawn to the dorm rooms. He pushed open the door and took it all in. The rough wooden floors that so often would leave splinters in his already tormented feet, the beds that were too small, the creaky dresser that always got stuck when Ana was screaming for them to get dressed or else. He took it all in and as his eyes drank in the room the slightest bit of paranoid energy entered his limbs, and for the first time in a long time the black snake writhed in his stomach.
Nadia rolled over. The sheets were gently rippling as a cool breeze blew in through the cracked window. She ran her hand over her face and reached out for the reading glasses that rested on the old wooden bedside table. Her fingers brushed over the book that she had been reading. Nadia sat up and peered across the small bed at the open book. Two of the slightly yellow pages had been folded in on themselves so that the edges were tucked under the crease in the center of the book. The effect was that the pages seemed to make a heart. Nadia pulled the book to rest on the folds of the blanket. She opened up the pages to find five words scrawled across the page in dark black ink. A promise is a promise. Nadia smiled slightly sadly as she realized what it meant. Michael had left Zurnö; he was going back, just like he promised
Michael gasped as his leg slipped out from under him. That was the third time he had almost fallen while climbing up the smooth rocks that lead to the top of the water falls. He dried his hands on the already damp shirt and continued up. Nadia sprung up the rocks in a way that he realized that while she might spend most of her time cooking she was anything but un athletics. She leapt from rock to rock, with the lithe grace of a leopard, and in that moment Michael realized that this was perfect. His world. If suddenly everything was snatched from him beside the girl on the rocks he would still be happy. He had been in love for a while, but it was the first time that he had realized it. Realized that all he needed was this girl, for that was perfection. Michael pulled himself atop of the last rock outcropping and gasped at the world that lay out before him. The late afternoon sun shined out over the tops of the trees lighting the world before Michael. He was standing in a painting. The clouds pink,orange,purple,blue yellow,white were the swiping brush strokes of the artists hand. The sharp trees drawn by a small charcoal pencil, their distinct sweeping boughs leading up into a canopy of blotted pastels. The water was pure paint poured onto the canvas of the world, reflecting the setting sun in a mirage of swirling lines. And the center piece was the girl. Her golden hair, a mix of honey and fresh wheat. The eyes pure emeralds, the lips rose petals, the tanned body carved from polished marble. And the smile, the smile must have been not painted, drawn, or sculpted by the artist, but came directly from God itself. For the smile illuminated and embodied everything that Michael could want and ever want. All his desire was focuses through the strait white teeth, and Michael was shaken to the core with the primal feeling so pure that it had no name. Because no word can truly describe love. Love is ancient, young, harsh, delicate, light, dark, white, black, pure, complicated timeless, but only lived in a moment. Love is all these things, for love is everything. And everything is just enough. Nadia plunged off the cliff diving into the water. Michael edged closer to the drop, peering out I over the lip of the rock. Nadia's voice called up to Michael like a siren urging him to join her. He never would have because he was terrified of heights, but the want for what that which waited down below was greater than any fear he might have. Michael ripped off his shirt and leapt into the unknown. The water sped toward him; his stomach rose to his throat. He plunged into the water. His breathe was snatched away, and he spiraled through the gurgling currents. When he surfaced he saw her. Nadia swam toward him laughing at the look of shock that was plastered to Michael face. Then her face darken strikes with worry. Michael looked down confused. Nadia stretched a slender finger toward Michael's chest, delicately tracing the scars that were scrawled along his chiseled torso, shoulders and back. Michael pulled back shivering, he went to cover himself only to realize that there was nothing there to hide the scars. "What happened" Nadia croaked. Michael immediately felt the word nothing being formed on his lips, but then it all just fell out. The whole story from the very beginning. Michael told Nadia it all, the snake, the hate, the dreams. When he was done he slumped down waiting for her rebuke, maybe even disgust that he was so weak, but instead she swallowed and simple said, "You need to go back. You've given up too much." Michael swept toward her through the water. "Thank you." He whispered. "For what?" Nadia said searching through his face. "For understanding" was all that Michael said as he leaned over her. "Michael promise me you'll go back." Nadia said as he drew nearer. "Yeah sure" "Michael promise. Promise. Promise." She said growing fainter every time. They were so close. Sharing everything. "Michael" Nadia croaked barley audible over the tumbling water. "I promise" and then their lips crashed together in a desperate embrace. An animal urge took over. Any and all space needed to be taken away so that nothing separated them.
Nadia pulled herself out of the water, running her hands through her caramel waves of us streaked hair. She payed out in the sun commanding, "Get the blanket out of the back and set it down over by the willow tree that looks over the lagoon over there." Michael hurried to the car to get what Nadia wanted as she sprawled out in the sun the water lazily running off her slender back to make small puddles on the fresh grass. Nadia purposefully made Michael wait knowing that he would be hungry when she finally picked her head off the grass he was practically bouncing with anticipation. Nadia pulled the wicker basket over to the worn blanket that her grandmother had gotten from a small town in southern Indonesia. She ran her hand over the swirling pattern that had always reminded her of waves and dolphins. She remembered laying this blanket out on the the floor and twisting herself up in the intricate threads of fabric pretending to be a mermaid. Nadia snapped out of her daze and gazed into Michaels emerald eyes. Such beautiful eyes to such a beautiful boy. Nadia had always used to scoff at her sisters as they swooned over the boys that would constantly be doing stupid things for attention thinking that the type of love they wanted did not exist. When she first started baking she thought that she had realized that she was wrong, that she had found such love in the art of baking, but now she realized just how working she was. The love that she had for the kitchen was pure, but what she felt for the boy in front of her was so much more. The tightness in her chest, the feeling of falling, the fireworks that shot across her skin when he ran in fingers over her, all of it was pure like the other love, but it was so much more intense. Michaels voice cut through her thoughts. "What, sorry I missed that." she mumbled only to realize that she was speaking in French. "Are you alright?" Michael said as he leaned over across the wonderful blanket. He pushed a lock of still slightly damp hair behind her ear the concern that was written all over his face was all to obvious and Nadia felt her heart patter in her chest. "Yeah I'm great she croaked out." This time she managed english. "Should we eat." At the mention of food Michael's face cleared and he rubbed his hands together. She pulled the basket open and laid the assortment of all sorts of fine food across the space space between them. They dug in laughing as they ate the delicious French food, under the sun, beside the gurgling water.
"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."
Thinking is a way to teleport yourself back into what once was. In the moment your senses are almost too overloaded to be able to truly process and experience the things that are going on around you. Fenn has been one long experience for me that has been broken up into lessons that i have been imprinted with. Even small things like a friend running down the hall to greet you can become something that you treasure. You can come to understand and appreciate things that you never would have thought important. Learning to be able to reflect on the results of your experiences is a valuable skill to acquire. I have come to appreciate this more through my time at Fenn.
I have made friends and learned so much here at Fenn. Even though I may not have enjoyed struggling through that particularly hard math problem, once I think back on the process I came to learn more than the math problem. I was able to understand that being persistent and working hard can reap benefits far greater than you could ever have imagined.
My friendships have taught me how strong the bonds you make can be. It as though an invisible string connects me with my fellow classmates. After thinking about this a little more I realized that not only have I come to understand what makes a good friend no why they're important, but also how amazing loyalty is.
The most important thing I learned I Fenn might have been the importance of self worth. Having a strong grasp on who you are and how others perceive you gives you a clarity in life that can not be rivaled.
I find it a fascinating idea that what is happening now could be something that I look back on and realize just how important that moment was. Even writing this could end up being important in the future and I won't realize it until I sit back, kick up my feet, and reflect.
A Budding World
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
~ Meister Eckhart
Now You Know What Real Struggle Is
“Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier;
I have seen worse sights than this.”
~ Homer, The Odyssey
I shifted the pillow underneath me searching for a more comfortable position. I was deep in that trace like state that one can acquire when you are reading. It's that wonderful feeling where everything else seems to fade away: time, thought, and worries as you nestle down into a book. I was currently reading The Odyssey, a book that has been tested by time and proven itself well worth the trouble of sitting down and stopping your life to read, and though I didn't realize it on that particular Tuesday night I was being supplied with life lessons and building blocks that will be with me for the rest of my life. It might not have been easy all the time, but sitting down to read The Odyssey was going to be very beneficial.
"Okay boys, go to your emails and download The Odyssey." The Odyssey. A book that has most likely ensued terror in the minds of teens from the beginning of time. Well maybe not the beginning, but I most definitely had my reservations when Fitz said that we were going to start reading this epic poem. I knew that I wasn't going to to be able to get through this challenge by myself, luckily I had help, mainly Sir Ian Mckellen. I found that I was able to focus so much better when I had the help of listening to the audio. The depth in which I was able to understand and comprehend the book was vastly improved when I was took the time to listen. Time. This was the main challenge that I faced when trying to read. My days are not very hard compared to others in the world, but I would still find myself complaining about how I was going to have to go read. It's funny, thinking back now I probably wasted more time complaining about how I didn't have enough time than actually reading. That is most definitely one lesson that The Odyssey imprinted on me, do something now not later, because your challenge is still going to be there if you procrastinate, the only thing that will have changed is the amount of time you have to complete it. Most of the time my challenge was overcoming my own little voice in my head that said, You can do that later, or Just read in the car tomorrow morning. Let me tell you from personal experience trying to read fourth five pages of The Odyssey in a bouncing car at seven fifteen on a Monday morning is a form of torture that you should never put yourself through. And the truth was I was reading in the car that morning because of me no one else. It was my fault that I hadn't sucked it up and gotten myself up to take on what I was supposed to be doing. It really is up to you to shape the way your life is lived. Another challenge that I faced when reading the book was keeping my interest. Especially during the chapters when it was just Telemachus I found it really hard to keep my focus. After some particularly bad chapters for me, where I was lazy and didn't read as thoroughly, I realized, me not doing my work didn't effect anyone else at the table when we were discussing the chapter, I was only hurting myself I did have some more help beside Ian Mckellen once my journey of taking on this book started. My classmates and I would discuss the reading the day after, and I always felt as though they had helped me better understand what had happened in the chapter. I felt as though all of the reading and lessons led up to one day. We centered ourselves, clearing our minds on the wrestling mat, well as though that is what we were supposed to be doing. Reading those last few chapters I felt as though I was rounding the last bend in a race I hadn't even realized I had been running. It felt so good to know that I had faced the challenge in front of me and conquered it. I was left with more wisdom, though I still don't have very much, than when I started out with.
I learned that attacking a problem when you first see it is much better than letting it grow too big. From the actual text in the book I learned that family will form bonds that you will find no where else. Also reading The Odyssey really puts a perspective on the life your living, how can you complain about the amount of homework you have after reading about fighting a giant cyclops! And finally sometimes it's better to take on the something that may seem undesirable because you might find out that there is hidden treasure under the rotting chest.