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  • Like Us: Chapter 1: Annabeth and the Spaghetti That Started Everything

    Chapter 1: Annabeth and the Spaghetti that started everything Tick tock. Tick tock. I looked at the clock. It was moving slow. I wasn’t even supposed to be in this class. It was my free period. But my best friend was about to give a presentation, and she was a terrible public speaker. She always stuttered and got clammy and freaked out. Her anxiety had a habit of getting the best of her. So instead of enjoying my study hall, I was watching terrible presentations put on by average middle-class American teenagers, talking about things that mattered to them, that really didn’t matter at all. “Alexandra Marks.” Mrs. Johnson called out, after the clapping of the last presentation ended. Lexy stood up slowly and straightened out her sweater before turning back toward me with a nervous smile. I nodded encouragingly at her, but I knew there was really only one way this was going to end. I had sat through every presentation she’d given in English this semester. I had helped her practice each one. I knew she knew the stuff she was talking about. But I also knew it would be painful to watch. “The common reasons many teenagers turn away from their parents and start trying to practice magic or other supernatural things.” A mouth full in itself, but Lex rushed through it. She was always that kind of person who didn’t like boring. And she had been fascinated with the supernatural world since 7th grade when we discovered my house was haunted. Now, we were freshmen, and her obsession had tampered off a little, to only watching Ghost Adventures on Saturday nights, a show that only terrified me, but had been our tradition for 2 years now. But this project had opened a whole new can of worms. If I had thought she was obsessed in 7th grade, that was nothing. This was her project for the next four years. This was her baby. Bringing to light the similarities between religions and fables and cultures. Anything and everything, she had 100 pages already. It was what she loved to do in our free time. Some would call it crazy, but I knew it was because there was something different about us, and she just wanted answers. Finally, she stumbled to the end of the presentation and the bell rang. “You did great,” I told her as we picked up our books and made our way to our lockers. “It was disaster.” She replied with a sigh. “I should never be allowed to speak in front of anyone ever again. This was a thrilling project that should have had everyone’s attention, but instead those who did pay attention were laughing at me, and everyone else was thinking about random stuff that was totally irrelevant and way less entertaining than my presentation.” “You listen to people’s thoughts while you’re up there?” I laughed as I traded my books for my lunch. “Well, I can’t block them when I’m trying not to throw up.” She answered, her tone defeated. “Maybe that’s your problem.” I told her, nudging her as she closed her locker. “Well, I hope not,” She let out a chuckle, “it’s not a problem I can fix.” I shook my head as she put her headphones in. We were headed to the cafeteria, and if the noise level there wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t imagine how loud Lexy’s head used to get. I used to wonder why she sat alone during lunches, just listening to her music. I always thought it was weird. No one ever sat alone during lunch. I mean, even the weird kids seemed to have a group. But I learned later that it was because she couldn’t bear the flood of thoughts. There were too many people to block out and she couldn’t handle it. Music though, could drown it out. A trick she had figured out forever ago. If she turned it up loud enough, she could ignore the thoughts protruding her head. Now though, I didn’t allow her to sit alone. But we had an agreement. In winter, we would go make an appearance in the cafeteria then eat in the library and when the weather was warm enough, we would eat outside. The cafeteria affected me too, so I was never opposed to eating away from it. Not since I discovered I could feel other people’s emotions. That’s how I learned about Lexy’s problems. I felt she was upset one day. We weren’t even in the same class, but I could feel someone was upset, and then when I closed my eyes, I saw her crying in the bathroom. Me, being young and stuff, didn’t understand, so I went to the bathroom only to find out her dad was having health problems and she was in a tough spot. Of course though, that was only the beginning for us. Neither of us told the other about our gift for a while. But the closer we got, the easier it became to talk about it. The more we understood that we were different. I nudged Lex as our mutual friend passed us in the hall, and she immediately pulled an earphone out so we could talk to them a moment. She made it look so natural, you would never have guessed she even had headphones in to begin with. “How did the presentation go, Lexy?” Marianne asked. “You already know.” Lexy answered, making it sound like a joke. Marianne laughed at the joke. “Are you guys eating in the café today?” “Nah, we gotta hit the books.” I answered. “Grabbing drinks and going to the library.” “You guys are no fun!” She called back at us as she walked away. Lexy smiled as we turned back toward the café, but her headphones were already back in. The cafeteria was louder than usual when we walked in. I turned toward Lex to make a comment about it, but she had her game face on, and her music loud. Sometimes, I forgot she wore the headphones. We had signals that if I needed her, I could get her attention. But most of the time we could be together in a comfortable silence. We then separated like we normally did, where she would go buy her meal, and I’d go buy the drinks. But as soon as I got out of line and started walking to our meeting spot, some idiot was not paying attention and ran right into me, dumping his spaghetti all over me. I let out a sharp gasp and looked up to see who the perpetrator was. A guy with jet black hair and the greenest eyes I had ever seen was looking down at me. In other words, Jake Graening spilled his lunch all over me. “You have a noodle in your hair.” He laughed. “Yea thanks to you!” I exclaimed in frustration. “Annie,” Lexy gasped, coming out of the meal line herself. “What happened?” “Can we go?” I mumbled. She looked at me confused but nodded. “Come on, let’s go to the bathroom and get you cleaned up.” I could feel the stares of everyone as we walked away. But I didn’t turn around. Knowing it was happening was enough. I heard Lexy sigh as she picked the noodles out of my hair. Only a real best friend would spend time picking noodles out of my hair rather than eating the ones on her tray, which had disappeared into the trash before I could even stop her. “How bad is the damage?” I asked. She gave me a smile that made me almost instantly feel better. “I think you’ll recover.” She answered, taking a wet paper towel to wipe the sauce off my face. “Your shirt on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. But lucky for you, your best friend has a fear of not being prepared enough and has one right here for you. I know it’s not your style, but it will have to do.” I smiled too, as she reached into her backpack, pulling out a t-shirt with some sports logo on it. “Thank you, you’re the best.” I responded taking the shirt gratefully. “I know,” She replied, laughing, adding a hair toss in there. She wasn’t a cocky person, but she liked to pretend she was sometimes. Like she was out of this world or something. And maybe, in a way, she really was. I mean, I didn’t know, even back then, many other people who had her patience or kindness. It was sometimes a dreary world out there, and if you didn’t think your best friend wasn’t something else, they weren’t your best friend at all.

  • Song of the Month: August

    I don't know about you guys, but I tend to obsess about a single song for about a month, sometimes longer. This month, the song is Like the Movies by Taylor Acorn. I'm sure you're all thinking the same question: Why this song? Am I going through a break-up? Did someone die? Were you left? And the answer to that is simply, no, no, and no. The truth is, there's a single line in there that seemed to fit my entire life at the moment. As I have been sick for the better part of a month, and am in the process of moving to my parents house, this one line makes me repeat the song, over and over and over again. "The world, it just keeps going on while your going through hell". That's the line. And that's how life feels right now. An artist who I found via TikTok got my whole life into one line there. Currently, it just feels like everything is going a million miles an hour. Currently, I feel like trash, but am sitting at my one job, writing this post. Currently, my mental health is pretty much non existent. But yet, I still have to go to work. I still have to get my life together for a move. I still have bills and responsibilities that I have committed to despite the fact that right now, I am going through hell. And everyone could say that, it's all about perspective and keeping an open mind and blah blah blah. When you can barely get through the day, for one reason or another, that's not helpful. That's not something I want to hear because it makes me feel worse because I know the world doesn't revolve around me. And I know that the Universe doesn't owe me shit. And I know that I am lucky. However, when your going through hell, and it's hard to even breathe, that's not helpful. The world doesn't stop for anybody or anything. It simply spins regardless. And I think everybody knows this feeling of being almost left behind. Like no matter how hard your trying, you're not keeping up. You're not being seen. You're just falling helplessly, further and further into those depths of hell. And all anybody in those moments want is to pause, and be seen. The rest of the song is honestly quite relatable as well, but to me nothing hits home quite like that single line. But give it a listen, and let me know what you think about it. Does it hit home for you too? Till next time CC

  • Can't Catch a Break

    It started out about 2 months ago in the beginning of June. I honestly don't even remember the first piece of bad luck, but I do remember almost everything since June. At the time, I was working at a daycare, and I had been in a class I really liked, and when June hit, I was suddenly moved from that class. It's a daycare, and as assistant teachers tend to be in daycares, I was bounced around. I was not a fan. Then, 2 weeks before I'm supposed to go on a 2 week vacation to the beach with my family, my mom falls and dislocates and breaks her wrist. She needs surgery and our vacation gets majorly shortened. And I work 2 jobs that I don't get paid vacation for and I am already scheduled off, so this is financially a problem. A few days before my trip, my sinuses start to get bad. I have a sinus infection. The last thing you want right before a trip where you're supposed to drink all week. I get medicine to help, it's manageable for the trip, and me and my youngest sister leave to go to the Outer Banks. My sister and I were not even an hour into our drive when our tire light came on. Yikes, right? Soooo we pull over and check. We're not driving either of our cars, we're driving my mom's, so we're just like uh does the light always come on or what? We pull over, we check it, it ends up being fine. About halfway, our oil light comes on. Great, another thing to the list. So, when we get to Williamsburg, where we were staying the night, we get an oil change because we weren't sure if there was a place to get one on the island. We are now officially on vacation, so everything is fine now, right? Wrong. We managed to get lost a bit on our way to get wrist bands and other things we needed for the neighborhood we were spending a couple nights in. We had one embarrassing moment at one of those lift gates, where we didn't pull up far enough and we just sat there like idiots. lol. But the worst part of the vacation was about half way through, when in a house of 26 people, the stomach bug went through. About half of us all got it. So for the 2nd half of my vacation, and the whole week after, I was sick, and it was MISERABLE. So, finally, I was back at work, working a job I hated, when just a couple measly weeks later, I catch what's going around at the daycare - hand foot mouth. Yes, normally, only kids get it. However, I am the exception to all rules medically. I get it, and it turns into bronchitis. Then within a week, I am also fighting a sinus infection, all during the time that my mom is having another surgery. Talk about a rough couple months, right? So, the last 2 and a half months have not been my friend, however I am extremely grateful for my support system as I try to navigate this crazy thing called life. That's all for now, see you all really soon. -CC

  • Moving back in with my PARENTS

    At 24, this is something that I really had no intention of ever doing... Unless someone was sick or dying, it wasn't something I ever wanted to do. I love my parents, however, our relationship is much better now that I don't live with them. However, I was bound to fail. Living on my own has been great. I absolutely love it. But the world isn't built to be lived in as a single person with a fairly low income. I love my job, however, I got myself into a financial situation that I just can't seem to get out of. So, now I have to move back in with my parents, even though I have been living on my own for nearly 2 years now. Me, my bunny and my cat, And I know I am really lucky to have a fall back plan. I know so many people just don't have that option. However, there are so many feelings involved in simply just moving back. I mean, you leave your parents for a reason, right? The feeling of being a "failure" is unbelievably strong, and the past lingers not far from my thoughts. Will this time be different? Will I struggle the same as I did before or did they grow? Did I grow? Is this worth it? Will my mental health deteriorate again? Will I still be loved or will they hate me? Will I be used as I was before? The scapegoat? The worst child? As unreasonable as some of these questions are, they run through my mind, the more I mull things over in my head. Simply the thought of moving back in brings anxiety. However, it is now a reality. And I have to face it head on. As I start to pack my things, I try to remind myself how lucky I am to have a place to go. And I remind myself that many people have done the same as I have including some of my family members. As I attempt to look at this as a glass half full situation, I have decided to take you all on my journey. Going forward, we will delve into my past, my present, likes, dislikes, future and more. I am the main character of my story, and this is me writing it.