REASONS I'M GOING TO HELL

BY SEAN CUBILLAS

If there’s one thing I know about where I’m going in life, about my dreams and aspirations, it would be that I’m probably going to Hell.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t believe I’m a bad person.  I don’t believe in murder, thievery, rape, and all those bad things, and I’m not exactly the poster child of crime and villainy.  I’ve even been referred to as a “good boy” by my peers and authorities for well into my teens.  The idea that I’m going to Hell is just an accepted eventuality of my beliefs and lifestyle.  When I compare going to Heaven or Hell, I just think that I might fit better in Hell.  The reason:  I don’t believe I’m happy, and happiness is the prerequisite for hanging out with God.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, look at the Seven Deadly Sins, a tenant of religion looked at more harshly than even the Ten Commandments.  Each sin resembles some “crime” against humanity that marks off an individual’s punch card to Hell.  A long time ago, I started to look really hard at what these sins meant.  I didn’t want to depend on some binary conscience to define them.  Being the responsible person that I am, I wanted to know what the deal was.

After looking at what each of the sins did to people, I realized that the worst victims of sin are the enactors.  Angry people are self-sustainingly frustrated.  Greedy and gluttonous people are just dependent.  Envy, itself, is just misery out of want and loss.  The realization here would be that the Seven Deadly Sins are just a means for people to become ultimately unhappy.  After I thought about this, the concept of Heaven and Hell seemed less arbitrary and more personal to me.  A longer time ago, the people upstairs decided that not everyone really wants to hang out with one another.  So, they decided to split the world by its major cliques.  Heaven is the place where people who had their lives figured out and satisfied go to do more or less the same.  The idea that Heaven is a paradise is a result of the people there living out their own paradise.  Hell is, of course, very different.  It’s where the less adjusted people go to try and figure things out.  The reason why Hell is depicted as such a bottomless pit is that the people there are a bottomless pit, and that’s okay.  If there’s one thing unhappy people hate the most, it’s happy people.  There’s not much to talk about.  And when unhappy people get together in one place, there’s a sort of cathartic effect where people actually feel better being surrounded by people of similar interests.

That’s why I believe I’m going to Hell.  I’m the type of person who’s never satisfied with simple answers and keeps on questioning and distorting things to my better interest.  Hell, for me, would be the best place to get into even more conversations.  The best storytellers and thinkers are bound to go to Hell.  Hell, the Inferno, the grand conflict, the factory of antagonists, is bound to be full of storytellers.  Now that I think about it, Hell must also be the place where all the best stories come from, since the best ideas of conflict and humanity come from Hell.  The Devil also seems like a cool guy.  Out of all of God’s angels, he’s the only one that has ever been depicted as flawed and challenged, i.e. human.  Whenever you see him in a book or TV, he’s always the center of attention and way more likely to talk to you than God.  He just really wants to make more friends.

He knows what unhappy people really want.


EMBERS

BY ASHLEY CHUKWUEMEKA

Hunnin

We were immortal once. Now we are the dregs of the earth, feasting upon the dregs of the earth at a garbage dump. Gone are the heavy laden tables of Odin, the raven god. The raven god himself is gone as well. He exists only as a wisp of memory in the minds of the people. When the sacrifices stopped, when the the reverence ceased, the gods were dried up. The members of the pantheon slowly faded away; lush, plump crimson became dry, brittle black. Now they are no more, and whatever essence that remains of them is too weak to recognize. Occasionally, a human will use a god or a goddess as inspiration, as a character in those things they call books or films. When that happens, the essence of the forgotten ones stirs. The seemingly dead embers glow, just a little, and they are reborn for a time. Thought is my domain, and as long as the humans think about them or even acknowledge that they exist, the deities live for a while longer. Odin once sent my brother and I on missions, and we informed him of matters concerning the realm of the mortals. At present, my brother and I exist apart from the league of deities. We were created to serve them, but they did not anticipate the strength of the minds of the humans. Human beings are truly one of a kind. Their thoughts have the power to restore the gods. We will live on until the last mind thinks its last thought; until memory and thought cease to complete each other. But one thing stands in our way: the enlightened ones. They see through the guises of religion and superstition, and they are coming.


DEAR ABUELITOS

BY RUBY GARCIA

ENGLISH: 

Dear Abuela Prisca, Abuela Ma, y Abuelo Jose,

     The last time you all saw me, I was twelve years old. After that, our family did not come to visit because Mexico became more violent, and too many gangs were robbing American citizens and even their own citizens. My parents did not want to take the risk. At the time, I did not understand why people were being so heinous. I did not understand how they could commit crimes and hurt other people, especially innocent bystanders and children. Mainly, I did not understand how they had the audacity to keep me away from you all. I still do not understand.

     Year after year, I would ask my parents if we would be able to visit Mexico that year. Every time, they would look at the TV and see the news announcing another shooting. They would turn back to me and over time the responses went from, "Not right now. Let this violent trend blow over," to "Not yet. There's still too much going on down there. Give it more time," to "Not this year. There was another shooting in our neighborhood. Even teens are joining the gangs now," to "....Maybe next year," to "....Maybe in a few years." Eventually, I just stopped asking.

     I used to see you all once a year. Even that small amount of time was taken away from me. I was afraid my little sisters would forget your faces. I would love whenever my parents talked about all of you in front of them and shared their childhood stories. If they could not see you all physically, I was hoping they could at least feel your spirits and characters.

     None of you saw me grow up. None of you were there to wipe away my tears as I struggled to represent my family in English. None of you walked around town with my family with the burden of understanding the racial slurs and ugly stares thrown our way while my parents smiled back obliviously. None of you saw me at age eighteen in my beautiful prom dress. None of you were there to help my dad scare away boys or help my mom bring them in. None of you saw my parents cry tears of joy as I became the first in the family to graduate high school. None of you opened the mailbox and saw a college acceptance letter. None of you were there to see me continue to persevere and move on to year three of college.

      However, what brought me the most sorrow was the fact that my eight years did not compare to the decades my parents did not get to see you before I was even born. None of you saw your own children age because they had to leave to create a better future for generations to come. They put their own lives and relationships aside for the sake of lives they will mostly never get to meet. None of you were there to tell your children they were doing an amazing job at being parents. None of you were there to tell them what I could not or did not know how to during their times of unhappiness and fatigue. None of you had the amazing opportunity my sisters and I had to see my parents be the true definitions of strength, diligence, bravery, and love.

     None of you will ever be forgotten because you are seen in the aura of my parents. Every day they look more and more like you. As long as I have them, I have you. As long as I am still alive, I have you. Then after death, I will have you for eternity. The decades’ long streak of not being within your presence will finally be broken. 

Until that day comes, Hasta mañana abuelitos. Rest in peace.

Con tanto amor,

Ruby Garcia

 

SPANISH:

Queridos Abuela Prisca, Abuela Ma, y Abuelo José,

     La última vez que me vieron, yo tenía doce años. Después de eso, nuestra familia no fue a visitar porque México se convirtió más violento y demasiadas gangas estaban robando ciudadanos Estadounidenses e incluso a sus propios ciudadanos. Mis padres no querían correr el riesgo. En ese momento, yo no entendía por qué las personas estaban siendo tan atroz. No entendía cómo podían cometer crímenes y herir a otras personas, especialmente las personas inocentes y los niños. Principalmente, yo no comprendía cómo tenían la audacia de mantenerme lejos de todos ustedes. Todavía no entiendo.

     Año tras año le preguntaría a mis padres si podríamos ser capaces de visitar México ese año. Cada vez, mirarían el televisor y verían las noticias anunciando otro tiroteo. Ellos me mirarían y con el tiempo las respuestas fueron de "No ahorita. Deja que esta tendencia violenta se sople.", a, "Todavía no. Todavía hay demasiado pasando allá. Dale más tiempo.", a, "No este año. Hubo otro tiroteo en nuestro vecindario. Hasta los adolescentes se han unido a las gangas.", a, "....Tal vez el próximo año.", a, "....Tal vez en unos años." Con el tiempo, dejé de preguntar.

     Antes los veía una vez al año. Hasta esa pequeña cantidad de tiempo que los visitaba me quitaron. Tenía miedo que mis pequeñas hermanas se olvidarían de sus caras. Amaba cuando mis padres hablaban de todos ustedes en frente de ellas y compartirían sus historias de la infancia. Si ellas no podían ver los físicamente, esperaba que al menos podrían sentir sus espíritus y personajes.

     Ninguno de ustedes me vieron crecer. Ninguno de ustedes estaban allí para limpiar mis lágrimas mientras me esforzaba a representar a mi familia en Inglés. Ninguno de ustedes caminaban por la ciudad con mi familia con la carga de la comprensión de los insultos raciales y miradas feas lanzados nuestro camino mientras mis padres sonrieron olvidadizamente. Ninguno de ustedes me vieron a los dieciocho años en mi vestido de baile de gala estudiantil. Ninguno de ustedes estaban allí para ayudar a mi padre ahuyentar a los niños o ayudar a mi madre a traerlos. Ninguno de ustedes vieron a mis padres llorar lágrimas de alegría mientras me convertí en la primera en la familia que grada de la escuela secundaria. Ninguno de ustedes abrieron el buzón y vieron una carta de aceptación de la universidad. Ninguno de ustedes estaban allí para verme seguir perseverando y pasar al tercer año de la universidad.    

     Sin embargo, lo que me trajo más dolor era el hecho de que mis ocho años no compararon con las décadas mis padres no podían verlos desde antes de que yo naciera. Ninguno de ustedes vieron a sus propios niños envejecer porque ellos tenían que irse para crear un futuro mejor para las generaciones que vengan. Ellos pusieron sus propias vidas y relaciones a lado por el bien de las vidas que la mayoría nunca llegaran a conocer. Ninguno de ustedes estaban allí para decirle a sus hijos que estaban haciendo un trabajo increíble en ser padres. Ninguno de ustedes estaban allí para decir lo que yo no podía o no sabía cómo durante sus momentos de infelicidad y fatiga. Ninguno de ustedes han tenido la oportunidad asombrosa que mis hermanas y yo teníamos en ver a mis padres ser las verdaderas definiciones de la fuerza, la diligencia, la valentía, y el amor.

     Ninguno de ustedes jamás podrían ser olvidados porque son vistos en el aura de mis padres. Todos los días se ven más y más como ustedes. Mientras que los tengo a ellos, tengo a todos ustedes. Mientras todavía estoy viva, tengo a todos ustedes. Y después de la muerte, los tendré para la eternidad. La décadas larga racha de no estar dentro de sus presencias finalmente sera roto.

Hasta que llegue ese día, hasta mañana abuelitos. Descansen en paz.

Con tanto amor,

Ruby Garcia


WHERE IS THE SUNRISE?

BY LILLI HIME

The dark stands in stoic silence, residing over all things, dressing them in a uniform of indifference, for nothing is distinguishable in the pitch black.  Life stands still in this time, as if mindful of the sophisticated grace of the darkness.  Then, as if the clock began ticking, hints of light steadily begin to pollute the horizon with airy shades of blue, foreshadowing the main event.  And suddenly, the symphony of golden hour begins with the arrival of the boisterous sun, shrieking with laughter the colors of red and yellow. 

“You’re not seeing the sunrise, you know. “

The wistful knowing in his face meets the obstinate confusion of mine.  I look again at the horizon, at the shattered clouds speckled in the sky and the hue of soft and radiant colors.  I motion at this and he smiles in that juvenile “I know something you don’t know” way before saying something that made no sense.

“Sunrise doesn’t happen in the sky.  It happens on the ground.”

I follow his gesture to the cracks and crevices of main building, whose rough stone texture was used by light and dark to play hide and seek.  Out farther are the fields where silhouettes of the soccer team stand stark against the glowing sky.  The sun continues to squirm in eternal discontent, casting any lingering darkness into the long shadows on the ground, clinging for dear life. The light and dark dance flirtatiously, weaving between blades across the whole lawn.  A light breeze through the trees brings my notice to the leaves posing as nature’s stained glass, eagerly catching and holding the beams of light for a moment of admiration before casting them elsewhere.   A veil of unspeakable beauty rests lightly upon this whole scene.

At one point, it becomes obvious.  This stark contrast between light and dark, the never-ending battle, is where the beauty lies.  Just as joy can’t be appreciated without sorrow or music without silence, dark is equally as necessary to love the light.  The darkness selflessly sets the stage for the light so it may have a glorious entrance into the world each morning.  The light, in turn, asks the dark for the first dance of the day, giving all other creatures permission to take the floor of the world as well.  It is precisely this impassioned romance that we love the sunrise for.

“Don’t worry.” I say.  “I see it.”


ROTHKO CHAPEL: A RESPONSE

BY JASMINE KIM

I was fifteen and wore pinstripe skinny jeans and my arms were decked out in bead bracelets. My nails were painted black and I had red streaks in my hair that swooped over my eye if I straightened it just right. I thought screamo was a legitimate and acceptable genre of music and my parents just didn’t “get me.” I questioned anything and everything about my life, and Angst was my middle name. 

I was fifteen when I had my first spiritual experience. I’m not going to tell you about a time I had a dream and Jesus told me to follow him and I’m not going to tell you about a time my pastor spoke in tongues and made me see the angel Gabriel or anything, because it wasn’t like that. It was just me and a chapel, the Rothko Chapel to be exact. My first and only spiritual experience consisted of me just looking at a black canvas, and it was the heaviest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.

There’s been this air of skepticism around modern art, questioning how it could be considered art at all. My dad was a classical painter at the time, so I was one of those people that looked at minimal paintings and thought to myself “I can totally do that.” So I didn’t really understand at the time why these people dedicated an entire building to this Rothko guy, and why they called it a chapel.

Wasn’t a chapel supposed to be a religious building? How are these black canvases supposed to be even closely related to any spiritual entity or experience? What if this was actually hedonistic or something?

I didn’t understand the building’s location either. Why reside in the middle of a suburb where cats sunbathed on the sidewalk and old people did morning exercises nearby? Is this place geared towards the elderly? Entrance was free and maybe fifteen people were inside, so how was this place even being supported at all?

It turns out that the Rothko Chapel was founded by a cute Houstonian philanthropist couple named John and Domonique de Menil in 1971 who wanted to dedicate this space to people as a place to meditate. An intimate sanctuary available to all people of every belief yet owned by none, the Chapel provides a spiritual experience through Rothko’s work.

Rothko lived during the Second World War when hate and fear was a common theme, and so he found a strange peace with tragedy and sadness and found that the meaning of life was filled with much uncertainty. He even stated once during an interview that “the exhilarated tragic experience is for me the only source of art.” As a result, he was fascinated by primitive religion and named mythology and the unconscious mind as forms of inspiration for most of his work. Rothko was a leader of the new American post-war movement and became a religious leader of a secular age, giving his audience a space to daydream.

Organic and emotional, Rothko’s works were mainly nonobjective and expressionistic. He considered himself as a mystic and aimed to eliminate all pigment and canvas and just suspend clouds of color in the air. Rothko stated once in an interview with a critic “I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else; I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions.” The colors were murky hazy, conveying rawness and maintaining the social revolutionary ideas of his youth.

This serious energy of abstract expression was ultimately his response to the terrors of the perils of war, the Holocaust and the start of the Atomic Age. He wanted to create a secular icon for a nonreligious age by banishing all references to nature and bring focus to the concepts of infinite space and timelessness.

In terms of the his work and how I feel about it, I think the universal message that Rothko tries to portray through all of his pieces is to accept this open invitation to feel what Rothko felt. When considering the chapel, I think Rothko and the philanthropist couple are trying to encourage the idea of self-discovery and self-knowledge, and attempting to really understand yourself and who you are. In this sense, I think through this series of black canvases Rothko ultimately is trying to not just portray the relationship between light and dark, but light and dark at the center of our human psyche. While reaching our human psyche, the pieces can reveal some sort of raw and un-pretty vision of what religion and humanity really is.

My dad brought us to this secret sanctuary not only because he loved Rothko, but because he wanted to interact with Rothko’s pieces and understand his sad story as well. As an artist that has yet to make it big, he often took our family on small journeys for sources of inspiration and to encourage us to open up on the spectrum of arts and culture. 

Of course, at the ripe age of fifteen I didn’t know any of this, and I was more annoyed than anything to have to be at this small chapel with my parents at my side. It didn’t help that the docents of the chapel were old white ladies with their red framed glasses halfway down their noses and lips pursed ready to say “shhh” once we were ready to mutter a word. They handed us pamphlets with their clammy fingers and we walked into the silence.

There were maybe twenty people total in the entire room and all we could hear was the bustle of people situating themselves in front of canvases. Wooden black pews were all around the room and black cushions littered the cold floor, and people were scattered all around with eyebrows furrowed. I spotted a girl that looked just a little bit older than me decked out in weird hippie tribal print sitting cross-legged on the floor with her eyes closed and I assumed she was meditating or praying.

At this point, instead of looking like the typical Asian family of tourists, my parents and I split up to do our own self-reflecting. Still not 100 percent certain on how I was supposed to blend in, I quietly made my way over to a canvas that no one sitting in front of and popped a squat. I wasn’t sure how long I was supposed to stay in this weirdly cold and eerie place, but I wasn’t an uncultured swine and wasn’t going to whine about it. I silenced my phone, took a deep breath and just took in the vast blackness that was in front of me.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure where to even start looking with my eyes because there was just so much black. After a while I could feel my eyes start to dilate and get fuzzy because it wasn’t used to focusing on all this nothingness, and my sense of time and space was getting blurry. The blackness was calming in a weird way, and the fact that I was sitting alone made me feel utterly vulnerable.

At some point where I had felt like I had been sitting and spacing out for a while, my heartbeat had slowed and my body felt heavy. Everything and everyone around me disappeared and it was just me and Rothko in the universe. I felt as though I could sense every cell in my body and was personally directing where each cell needed to go, and I encountered this ultimate blankness. I didn’t feel like I was inside my own body, and then my hands that were in my lap were starting to get wet. I was crying. 

I don’t know why, but once I realized I was crying I just started sobbing harder. I felt so exposed like everyone could see under my skin and I didn’t know if I liked that feeling. I didn’t know much of anything at that point. I felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore and I wanted to know where God was and why the world was turning into such shit and why I felt so alone all the time. I felt like I was unraveling, and I had no control over how fast it was happening.

I felt like I had just met Rothko and heard his whole tragic story. I understood the fear he faced during the Second World War and the hurt he felt when critics didn’t like his art and the sorrow he dealt with when he sliced open the insides of his forearms in his New York studio. I understood all of it.

Not sure what this feeling was I almost started to panic. I started to feel my senses again as if my body was rebooting itself. My legs were definitely asleep at this point and my fingers were cold, so I began to clench my fists and dig my nails into my palms to regain the energy that was drained out of me from this weird experience.

Once I was able to pull myself together and wipe the tears from my eyes I abruptly stood up and walked out of the room, legs still wobbly and shoulders hunched over in a sort of recovery. I walked outside to breathe without the thick solemn air that filled the chapel room and I tried to grasp what had happened to me while sitting there. It’s not like I saw some crazy image in the all the blackness or anything, I just seemed to focus inward and truly meditate on my own being.

At this point I began to understand how Rothko’s work was aimed to portray a raw experience rather than just being pleasing to the eye. All of the different layers and degrees of the blackness of his work sucked me in and abandoned me to float around in this infinite void of nothingness all alone. Experiencing the pieces brought about questions of existence and whether or not there really was a God or even any hope left in the world that we live in.

The Rothko Chapel is a dark baptism or immersion that creates a psychological and spiritual understanding between the artist and the viewer while keeping the eyes in a constant disoriented state. It probed my unconscious mind without me even knowing, and it was an experience that’s hard to put into words.

Even though I was a skeptic moments before walking into this chapel, I now understood after that experience how Rothko’s work and the chapel itself is this ultimate representation of our inner selves in times of hardship, in that he has this way of digging deep inside the viewer and pulling all the grossness out and laying it all on the floor for you to look at.

He didn’t only succeed in exposing himself and his vulnerability, but he also created a psychological journey and a voyage into the unknown with each of these black pieces. He saw beyond artistic ability and instead reveals that everyone, including himself, is hurting. I think he wants to relay the message that sometimes, not everything is going to be okay but that sometimes life just isn’t that great. Because of this rawness, I now find his work forever maddening and alluring, and I think it will always bring people together in the simplest yet most tragic way.

Every time I go to Houston I always try to make time for a little meditation at the Rothko Chapel because I find it peaceful now. I seek the purification and focus it brings about, and find the vast blackness of the collection of canvases intriguing. Every time I go I experience something new, but never as intense as what I experienced the first time around. 


EXTRAORDINARY ENDS

BY LILLI HIME

Some of you call us crazy, lunatics even for doing what we do.  Why else would we subject ourselves to such torture day in, day out?  You might think we are exclusive, that only the ability born comprises our ranks.  If that were true, I wouldn’t be here.  You may even envy us a little for the Rocky-like montage we epitomize.  No matter what you think of us, the fact stands that you know our name.  And soon, you’ll know our story.  Who are we?  We are runners.

The issue with running is, it’s addicting.  It’s addicting because we fall in love every single day.  We fall in love with the city life of gleaming skyscrapers, the melodies of pedestrians in conversation, and the beat of our feet pounding the pavement as if some ancestral drum echoes within us.  We fall in love with nature’s raw uninhibited beauty, the way a cool breeze flounces our hair playfully and blades of grass tickle our ankles as we tread on, faster.  We fall in love with change.   Others will blink and time will have flown by – favorite coffee shops will have closed, the leaves may have fallen, and newborn apartment buildings will be grown up.  Not us.  We don’t blink because we run everyday, we see everyday, every little change.  Most of all, you fall in love with running: the awareness it gifts you, the new world it opens up, the steady beat of my heart in my shoes.  Who wouldn’t want to fall in love everyday?

But, what love has the right to call itself love if it does not include pain?  Just like all great romances, even running embraces those bittersweet moments of joy and pain.  Mine is born from a self-inflicted pang from the past, an overly acute sense of nostalgia.  That awareness of change sharpened by this daily escape also draws out its share of ghosts.  My ghosts.  As I fly through this city of mine, I see them everywhere: festering, polluting, plaguing.  In Butler Park, I see ghosts of my friends and I dancing and laughing youthfully in water fountains, barren today.  On the courts of my former high school, I see the ghosts of us wannabe Globetrotters, throwing around the word family as much and as carelessly as the basketball.  Everywhere I run, these people, these memories pervade today’s realities.  For some strange illogical reason, rather than tear more at the cuts in my heart, it seems to mend them.  The holes in my life left by people I once needed are slowly but surely, healed by running; maybe because the past is dead. Yet, running is alive; it lives in every day, and so, just like all living beings, it heals.  It heals to the beat of a heart echoing through the pavement, bidding peace and farewell to the ghosts and making room for the company of the future.  As human beings, runners revel in all that is life and all that makes us feel alive, so perhaps that is what draws us to the sport.

Even more addicting are the endorphins that course through the bloodstream with the vitality of wild horses released from a cage.  Upon reaching the finish line, that bittersweet culmination of persistence and stubborn devotion, something completely new fills up within.  It is born from that essence of achievement and success, that “I did that! Me!” feeling.  There is an irresistible urge to raise both arms in triumph and express the invincibility that has been so dutifully earned, to scream from a rooftop that which makes one feel alive.

Swarms of people join our ranks for reasons as vast and unique as they themselves.  The most extraordinary and most bountiful contradictions have often been born from the initial reasons to lace up a pair of running shoes. At first we sought to lose and instead gained something more.  We hoped to flee and ended up conquering.  We sought reckless abandon and found purpose.  There is something sacred in that rhythmic lullaby that rocks your troubles to sleep.  It’s here, where the din of the outer world hushes, that we become more of ourselves, our true selves.  It’s like that moment right after diving into water of utter immersion, complete peace.  For once, we’re not broken or weary, not afraid or disappointing.  We are whole.

What better time to seek out that wholesomeness, that clarity of self than when a huge part of us has been ripped away?  For me, that huge piece had a name.  That huge piece was a friend named Ezra Polter.  It was during the blossoming of our senior year in high school, that time when excitement of graduation buzzes louder than the florescent lights and the soon-to-be-graduates are determined to pack as many wildly memorable stunts into their last weeks as possible.  Looking back, we should be committing our friends to memory and all those minute details that make us love them because it’s in those details that we feel the pain of their absence the most.  Ezra passed away in a car accident.  His car slammed into a guardrail on the highway and flipped over, throwing him from the car.  I had known him since fifth grade.  I had known that larger-than-life smile that not only emanated but also spread this guileless joy to everyone he knew.  It felt dimmer now that it was a memory, like a silent dusk was encroaching early on a bright day. 

In his absence, I grieved for who he was, I grieved for who he could have been.  I grieved for the piece of myself he had taken with him: the piece that played tag on the playground, that studied our Latin declensions, that finally grew up and apart into “just someone I went to elementary with”.  I felt something new during my run that day.  I felt my arms pumping, my legs burning, my breathe raging not for me but for the memory of those who couldn’t feel those sensations anymore.  For the first time, I was running in honor of a privilege many are no longer a recipient of.  For the first time, running had meaning outside of myself.

This deed of ours is the single most important act we could do for, it reveals the meaning of what it truly means to be human, the alacritous attitude of doing something larger and finding a calm inside and out.

A pair of shoes, some clothes fit for getting drenched in sweat, and a little raw will power is all it takes.  Don’t be afraid of the speed.  We’re just some ordinary people running towards an extraordinary end.

 

In loving memory of Ezra Polter.