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100 Days of Blog Posts

Day One: Today one of my teachers gave us a an unwritten assignment, to do one thing for one hundred days. It doesn’t matter what it is, you just have to do it for one hundred days. Something as simple as smiling to someone in the hall is acceptable, as long as you are diligent.

I thought of many things I could do for one hundred days: I could write in my journal, or I could work out (I am very out of shape after all), I even thought of watching an episode of a telenovela everyday for one hundred days, but I felt like I would eventually give up on all of those.

I am not very good at creating habits for myself. I tend to give up when I am not running the risk of hurting someone else. I suppose this is the point of this challenge, its hard to get yourself to do something everyday for one hundred days. So I thought, if I did this on a public scale, it would be very embarrassing for me to give up.

I hope that by doing this I will teach myself what it means to keep going. A valuable skill in life is the ability to not give up on goals you set yourself. If you don’t give up on your own goals, you won’t give up on the ones other people set for you.

I also hope my writing improves along the way, I say I want to be a writer but I don’t even write every day. So, if I gain anything from this, I hope it is that my writing improves. Mainly I am bored and need something to do, so setting this goal for myself seems appropriate.

I have set some rules for myself:

  1. I have to write every day, no exceptions.
  2. I have to tweet and post to Facebook everything I write.
  3. I have to challenge myself creatively (this blog is not a diary).
  4. If I miss a day, I start over and keep going until I reach 100.

See you soon, December 12, 2015.

The Soldier’s Nightmare

The first time he saw her was in the park on an autumn day. Her hair blew in the wind different shades of brown catching the light. She sat on a bench – reading – her back hunched over the book. Her head was bent and her face evaded him, but he could tell she was beautiful. He watched as her head moved from right to left ever so slightly. He wanted to talk to her, desperately, but the trance seemed too peaceful to break. He watched her for far too much time than was acceptable, taking in her every breath, her every movement. Eventually she began to fade, the bench she was sitting on moving away. A panic struck up in him, he tried to move, to run to her, but he couldn’t. His body was frozen, his muscles refused to cooperate. He watched as she glided away, her image blurring as she went. He was baffled at her stillness, how she remained reading; her head staring down, her hair blowing in the wind, undisturbed at the rapid pace she was moving from him. Darkness began to surround her, a deep cloud consuming her. She was now a small dot, miles away from him. He began to scream, a deep guttural sound produced from the back of his throat. He screamed and cried, angry at himself for letting her get away. He thrashed his arms and legs, frustrated and tired. He did this until darkness was all that remained. Tears streamed down his eyes and he cried a loud, sobbing cry. His wailing came to an abrupt stop when he felt two hands on his shoulders. He felt his eyes blink open, wet and stinging. The figure of a man formed above him. Slowly his surroundings began to orient themselves: it was his friend, it was summer the woman wasn’t there, and he was at war.

 

The Famous Woman’s Earrings

The vendor stood in the bright sun, the tingling feeling of a sunburn all too present on his shoulders. People passed in front of him, rich and poor. They kept their eyes forward, ignoring him and his merchandise.

“Jewelry!” He shouted, attempting to gather the attention of anyone who would listen. “Handmade! Necklaces, bracelets!” One woman slowed her pace. A surge of excitement erupted in him.

“Only three euros, ma’am.” The woman looked at him, noticing his presence for the first time. She shook her head and gave an apologetic look, walking away.

The vendor sighed, it wasn’t often people bought his jewelry or even slowed to view it. Hours passed and the silver necklaces and bracelets baked in the midsummer sun. Dust gathered on the edges of the quilt he had set them on and his voice grew hoarse from shouting out advertisements. Eventually the sun ducked behind the red and orange Tuscan buildings and the vendor decided his day was done.

He knelt down to gather the jewelry and place it in the plastic container he had bought many years ago. He handled each piece with care, appreciating the value even if those walking by did not. As he went to pick up a pair of emerald earrings he noticed two feet in front of him. Looking up, he saw a woman viewing them by herself. She had long flowing red hair and wore a sun dress that he could tell was expensive.

“How much for those?” She asked as the vendor stood up to greet her. She was looking at the earrings, by far his most valuable item.

“One hundred euro,” he responded, a hopeful glimmer in his eye. The woman peered at him then back at the earrings. “Although, I would be willing to give them to you for seventy,” he stammered, afraid she would back away.

She shrugged, “Alright, seventy it is.”

He almost laughed in excitement. Seventy was much more than he could expect to get on any other day. He took the woman’s money, carefully placing it in his pocket and handed her the earrings. “I’m sorry I have no bag for you to carry them.”

“That’s alright,” she said, smiling, and reached up to take her current earrings out. “I’ll just wear them right now.” He watched as she looped the metal into her earlobe with ease. The emeralds dangled off her, as if they were an extension of herself.

“Thank you!” she shouted with a wave, as she left.

A week later, while the vendor was buying a bottle of water, he noticed a magazine by the cashier. On it, he recognized the woman who bought the earrings. She was smiling, her auburn hair blowing in the breeze. He picked up the magazine. Peering closer at the picture, he could see little dots of emerald glimmering through her hair. “Who is this?” He asked the girl scanning his water, holding the magazine up so she could see.

“Catherine Fredrick,” she replied with a confused tone. “You don’t know who that is? She’s probably the most famous woman in Hollywood.”

He took a second look at the picture in disbelief. They were definitely his earrings; he knew his craftsmanship well. “I’ll take this as well,” he said handing the magazine to the girl.

When he got to his usual spot and set up the jewelry, he ripped off the cover of the magazine and placed it in front of the jewels.

“Jewelry!” he yelled. “Jewelry, worn by Catherine Fredrick herself!” A few people snickered as the passed by, but as the day wore on more and more people grew interested. He told them the story and showed the earrings he had sold to her. Soon enough, a large crowd gathered around to see the famous woman’s earrings. He made more money that day than the past few weeks combined.

Day Dreaming

The clock struck midnight, Catherine’s face twitched, her arms resting, heavy and cumbersome, on her lap. She lifted her numb body off the leather chair. Slowly, painstakingly, she made her way to the window. Snow fell down in large clumps, each flake pausing before her as it passed the window.

The street was wet and shimmery, tall lights reflecting off of it in golden orbs. A car sped past and Catherine imagined herself inside. She flew down the slippery asphalt. Catherine pressed down on the gas pedal until she thought it might fall through the floor. Snow pelted the windshield, appearing then disappearing.

Catherine closed her eyes, her hands clutching the steering wheel. The feeling of freedom made her stomach churn. Faster and faster she went. She smiled and laughed, screamed with delight. The rapid thuds of the windshield wipers mixed with the crescendo of the song that was playing arose in her a euphoria she had not felt in a long time.

Soon enough, the car found its destination. A meadow spread out before her, yellow and gold, tall grass waving in the summer air. Catherine was no longer cold and the weather no longer gloomy. She left the car and stumbled into the grass. Catherine ran, her heart racing and legs bouncing. The tall plants tickling her feet. Eventually, she found a tree. A man was leaning against the trunk, reading.

“Hello Catherine,” he said as she approached. It was her neighbor, Frank McCloud. “I have something for you.”

He reached into his pocket and fumbled around. His hand surfaced, wrapped around something small and square. Catherine looked down at him, perplexed. He closed his book and set it aside. Shifting his weight, Frank moved onto his left knee and propped his right before him.

“My dear Catherine,” he said. “We have known each other for some time now, and although our parents may not approve of it, I know that I love you and that I will always love you.”

Tears formed in Catherine’s eyes. “So, without further ado,” he continued. “Will you, beautiful, intelligent, too-good-for-me Cat, marry me, your awkward goofy neighbor?”

Catherine smiled her sheepish smile and nodded her head. Frank’s eyes lit up as he received her reply. In his excitement he dropped the ring. The couple laughed and fell to their knees, their hands frantically rummaging through the grass.

“Mrs. McCloud,” a far off voice said. “Mrs. McCloud, what are you doing on the floor?”

A hand clutched Catherine’s arm. She looked back to see a woman wearing scrubs. She was on her hand and knees below the window.
“Let’s get you to bed. You need rest for your daughter’s visit tomorrow.”
Catherine found her way to her feet and looked at the woman quizzically. “My daughter?” she asked.

“Yes, your daughter, Annabelle.”

“I didn’t know I had a daughter,” she mumbled.

The woman sighed and guided her to the bed.
Drifting to sleep, Catherine saw the clock strike 12:01.

100 Days Later

Day one hundred:

One hundred days ago, I started this project with no confidence in myself. Seriously, I thought I would give up by day ten, but the more I wrote the more I surprised myself.

I would sit on my couch, up right, my laptop resting on my knees. The TV was always on in the background, my family speaking around me. I would stare at the blank box on WordPress and dig into the deep recesses of my mind to find something to write about. And, miraculously, a story would always come.

Every night I procrastinated, taking a while on my homework, some times purposely, before I had to think of what to write about. My friends asked if it was stressful. I told them no, it wasn’t stressful, tedious at times, yes, but not stressful. Writing is comforting, it allows me to escape from the chaos into another world of my own creation.

The stories I wrote, ranged from a squirrel trying to cross the road to CIA operatives attempting to save the world. I wrote about whatever came into my head and at times it was rather repetitive. I found that have an affinity for action and drama, and I can be a little dark at times. I also found that I didn’t necessarily need to know where a story was going to write it.

My relatives were very supportive of my project. My aunts, grandma, grandpa, and even cousins praised me on my writing. My parents wouldn’t go a day without mentioning my blog. It was pleasing to hear how impressed they were. Honestly, I didn’t think I deserved it. In truth it wasn’t that hard. After the first couple of weeks writing became a habit. I knew I didn’t want to give up, because I knew how it would feel if I did, so I just kept going. A perseverance appeared in me that wasn’t there before.

I think back to the countless times I have quit something I started and I wonder how that even happened. All it took to do this was a decision that I would not give up. It was so unbelievably easy, but I know that me from 100 days ago would be reading this in disbelief. One hundred days is not a long time. It went by so fast and I can’t believe its gone.

Through doing this, I have learned a lot about myself and my abilities. I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. I can write many more words in a much quicker time. Essays are no longer hour long expeditions, filled with pain and agony. I can sit down and write anything with ease, and that really surprises me.

I don’t know what I am going to do now, and I feel a little ridiculous writing this  like I won the super bowl or an Oscar. I assume I am going to continue writing on this blog, but maybe not every day. What I know now, however, is that I will someday write a novel. I have no doubt about it because if I can do this I can write anything.

Resistance

Day ninety-nine:

I lay in bed restless and uncomfortable. I could feel the breeze from the fan brushing my face. My legs ached from the need to move and I felt like I would never sleep.

Explosions erupted in the distance. I twitched at each one. The need to do something was insufferable. Listening to the explosions lying hopelessly awake, I couldn’t take it.

In one quick motion I pushed off my covers and leaped out of bed. Quickly I dressed, pulling on a pair of boots that didn’t fit me any more. I sneaked upstairs, I could hear my father snoring. Slowly I opened the door, wincing at the loud creaks that erupted.

My father’s snoring paused for a second and I stood still holding my breath. Then it continued. I bolted out of the house and into the quiet street. No one was out and I was thankful for that.

I ran down the empty streets following the bright white lights of the explosions. Hiding beneath the hood of my large sweatshirt, I made my way to the town center. As I grew nearer the screams grew louder. It was euphoric, fire glowing in the windows of the buildings, smoke flowing through the air.

I stood watching, unsure of why I actually came. A woman ran up to me.

“Run!” she must have yelled, though I could  not hear her over the chaos. She kept yelling, she held my shoulders shaking them. I was paralyzed and confused, and before I could do anything I felt something hit my back. I was knocked to the ground, my face smacking the cement.

I woke up under a blanket of ashes. My eyes burned when I opened them and it took a minute before I could really comprehend what happened. Lifeless bodies were strewn around me and I panicked. Moving my body hurt but the desire to leave was too great. I struggled to my feet and fled the scene, stumbling around.

When I reached my home my mother hugged me. Tears were in her eyes and her face was pale.

“I thought you were dead,” she said.

“What happened?” I asked.

“They bombed us.”

“Who’s they?”

My mother hesitated, casting her eyes to the floor, she looked at me a hopeless expression in her face. Horror rose up in me.

“Did he?”

My mother nodded her head, biting her sleeve and blinking back tears. I sat down, my hands trembling.

“You have to understand, he did it out of necessity-” My mother started to say.

“Out of necessity? Since when is it ever necessary to commit mass murder against the people you are in charge of protecting.”

“Your father’s work situation is complicated. You must not judge him.”

I gave her a repulsed look. It was horrific to think my father was the cause of all that harm, but what was even more unbelievable was that my   mother defended him.

“Where is he?” I asked.

“He is not here right now, he was flown out of the country and soon we will be too.”

“I’m not leaving,” I said.

“Please, Jack, don’t do this,” she pleaded.

I didn’t respond and went to pack my things. I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing, but I knew that I had to leave. My father was a murderer, my mother a sympathizer and the last thing I wanted was to be associated with them.

My mother watched as I left, her eyes wet and her face pale. I refused to look at her, knowing it would be too difficult.

I walked for miles until I found the headquarters of the resistance. The leader, a man with tattoos covering his arms, let me in.

“I hope you didn’t let us down,” he said.

I produced a file, “trust me I didn’t.”

First Christmas

Day ninety-eight:

My fiance and I watched as white flakes drifted through the sky. We snuggled together in our cold, small apartment, a mass of blankets wrapped around us. It was our first Christmas.

We spent the pass few days attempting to make it the best Christmas ever. Both of our relatives happened to go on vacations this year and we simply didn’t have the  money to join. The idea of our own holiday was appealing and exciting.

I planned a Christmas dinner, bought candles, lights and decorations, even looked at churches to attend. I imagined the perfect Christmas, just the two of us happy together in our small one bedroom apartment. I imagined every decoration and candle placed perfectly. Little Santa figurines and an elf on the shelf. I imagined a large tree with our own ornaments and numerous gifts underneath. I imagined hot cocoa, Christmas music, and a warm fire.

The first set back was the tree. We looked at all of them in the snowy hardware store parking lot, our hands shoved into our pockets, our eyes squinting in the cold.

“What do you think of this one?” Mark asked holding up a skinny tree with sparse branched.

“I…I mean it has character,” I said. To be honest it was the best tree we had seen so far. We waited too long and all of the good ones were gone.

“Let’s just get this,” Mark said picking it up with one hand. “It will be our charlie brown tree.”

So we bought the skinny balding tree, attached it to the roof of our Sudan with bungee cords, and anxiously drove through the city. We dropped money we didn’t have on a tree stand and lights. I sighed, it wasn’t how I imagined. Then it got worse. We waited so long that all of the stores were out of decorations. I began to long for the Christmas I knew, the Christmas from my childhood.

I looked for gifts for Mark, but everything I thought of getting was also too expensive. It felt useless. I eventually settled on an ornament, feeling guilty for not being able to afford anything else. I started to think this Christmas would never feel as I wanted it to.

I then put all of my energy into the dinner. I bought a ham, although I didn’t know how to make it. I googled traditional Christmas food and texted my mom for recipes. I spent all day Christmas eve cooking, and stressing. Mark tried to help but I told him to leave me, that I was going to figure this out.

In the end I burned everything. The smoke welled up in our tiny apartment and our single window was of little use. The smoke was too much so we went to the nearest bar to wait it out. Tears welled in my eyes.

“It’s not your fault,” Mark said. “I couldn’t have done it any better.”

I sniffled, “I just wanted this Christmas to be a great one. It’s the beginning of our tradition.”

“This Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect. If anything, we can only go up from here,” he laughed.

After a couple of hours the bar became boring and we decided it was safe  to go back. As we walked toward our building I noticed Mark on his phone a lot. It bothered me but I didn’t say  anything, too worried that I had already whined enough. My excitement for the holiday waned and I simply wanted it to end.

We went up the elevator in silence, Mark still on his phone. I was irritable and angry and dreamed of crawling into bed. I walked ahead of down the hall and reached the door before. Tears were in my eyes as I shoved the key into the door. I opened it, and immediately dropped my keys. Before me were at least fifty candles spread across the room, they all shimmered a warm gold and I lost my breath. Then, I spotted a little red present in the middle of the floor. I ran to it and tore it open. Inside, I found a gold angel ornament. I smiled.

“Did you do this?” I asked.

Mark was leaning against the door railing and smiled. “Yes. I know that right now we don’t have much, but I just wanted to let you know that I don’t mind. I don’t need a perfect tree or a perfect dinner. I don’t need a perfect Christmas, because I am happy right here with you, the rest is unnecessary.”

“Well, aren’t you cute?” I responded crying even harder this time. That night we gathered our blankets and sat in front of our icy window watching the snowflakes drift by. I felt warm next to him despite the bitter cold of our apartment. The snow was breathtaking and, for a moment, I felt as if I couldn’t ask for anything better in the world.

 

 

Fashion Show

Day ninety-seven:

“You’re going to sing at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show,” my agent said over the phone.

“Really?!” I asked surprised and elated. “Wow!”

“Yes, it is you Taylor Swift and Drake.”

I could feel the nerves bubbling inside me, the dreams being made feeling rising inside me. Victoria’s Secret was one of those few performances that a musician dreamed of.

Two weeks later, I showed up to the first rehearsal eager and ready to preform. I soon realized, however, I was the happiest person there. The models greeted each other unenthusiastically, grumpy and competitive. Taylor and Drake had yet to show and I was informed that they do not rehearse, they already know what they are doing. My energetic mood quickly transitioning to slight annoyance.

Then it came time for me to preform at the rehearsal. I stood in the middle of the runway and listened to the director tell me what to do.

“So we’ll start playing the track and you can just lip sync,” he said.

“Wait, wait. I don’t want to lip sync,” I said. “It’s not really my thing.”

He gave me a miffed look. “Listen,” he said. “This show isn’t about you. Either you lip sync or you leave. You weren’t even our first choice anyway.”

I raised my eyebrows and put my hands on my hips. “I will do as you say, as long as you treat me with respect,” I said, unsure of how to approach the situation. I knew I wasn’t going to give up this opportunity.

“Whatever,” he replied.

I went home that night and cried, in denial of the reality of the situation. I knew I was just starting out and this was a major opportunity, but it didn’t feel right.

The show quickly approached, however, and I was under contract so I could not back out. Rehearsal after rehearsal went by and I felt worse after each one. The models were increasingly competitive and jealous. They gossiped about each other’s walks and the arrogance of the “Angels.” I had yet to see Drake and Taylor, and was doubting whether they would really be there. The director was as rude as ever, to the models more than me. He commented on their bodies like they were pieces of meat , it made me sick, but I had no way out of it.

The day of the show I was bursting with nerves. I had no idea how I would be treated and the whole production intimidated me. I got ready back stage in my rather dull outfit.

“You can’t outshine the models,” the stylist explained when dressing me.

Taylor and Drake had, in fact, showed up, as glorious as ever. Taylor greeted all her model friends giggling with them like a school girl. Drake looked the models up and down and occasionally grunted in approval. Neither of them knew who I was.

Finally it was my turn to go on. The announcer introduced me and I walked down the runway, smiling and waving, a powerless microphone in my hand. I stood in the middle and began lip syncing, the first model was going to come after the first verse and I was ready.

I could hear the models steps clinking down the runway and I moved to the left as she walked around me. I then moved to the right a second time and then to the left again, dodging models and their gigantic wings left and right. I bobbed and weaved around the models, unsure of how this was ever going to work. I attempted to keep lip syncing but I got off track after I almost tripped from a wing shoving my shoulder. I nervously kept with it, however, praying it would end.

When I went back stage the models gave me dirty looks, I messed up their show, apparently. Taylor approached me.

“You’ll do better next time,” she said, smiling and giving me a hug. I said thank you through a clenched jaw, anger rising inside of me.

My second performance was worse than the first. This time the wing actually hit me and I fell on my face, my dress slipping up to show more skin than the models. I quickly scrambled up, threw caution to the wind, dropped the microphone and strutted down the runway, blowing kisses and smiling as my song kept playing.

I left the show, happy with myself although my agent was not happy with me. It turned out, however, that the show brought me more fame than it ever would have if I didn’t take the risk. I revealed it for what it was. I booked countless interviews after that show and my agent could not be more proud of me. I never sang at the show again and instead, moved on to bigger and better things.