Shining through the windows, bursting through the rafters, smiling from every face in every classroom, PS/MS 114 is wall-to-wall love. And, just as important as its excellent academic environment, is this love that makes our kids warm, secure, confident and eager to learn. In our school, it’s Valentine’s Day, every day! Love is all we need, - Mrs. Diehl
The words of rage roll off my sister’s tongue. The beastly words cut my heart like a knife. The sleeping dragon inside me awakens. A protective shield, separating the dragon and the world, bursts like a bubble and the dragon breaks free. It fires its daggered words back. The dragon grows angrier and angrier until the words it fires back could make the Hulk bawl like a baby. I see the tears well up in me and the victim of my attack dragon. All of a sudden, the dragon shrinks down to the size of a penny and I try to apologize, but it’s too late. The damage is done. The heartbroken look on my sister’s face makes me want to cry. The sorrow I feel could fill an entire ocean. The dragon falls back into a deep slumber only to awaken again when heart-breaking words reach its den. And when they do, the dragon will sling-shot wretched words back at its target. My hope and my dream is to slay the dragon living inside of me. Then its evil powers will never hurt my sister or anyone else again. Valentine’s Day is coming around and I want some of its magic to be sprinkled on me and my sister so we can be as close as we were when we were little. I want my old pal, my partner in crime, but most importantly my best friend to make me happy again. I want to make her happy, again. Maddy, I love you to the moon and back. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Strange, dark clouds shadow above me when I hear the female dragon’s deafening calls for dinner. A storm is forming with lightning strikes, and a twister brings Thunder as his “plus-one.”
My blood is pumping inside my veins. My head is pounding, and I want to let the Lightning and Thunder scream. And if I let it scream, it will say, “Mom, give me more time on my iPad!”
But I know better than to talk back to my mother.
For the millionth time I let the dragon win, and slowly I close the screen in front of me. I walk the walk of shame to plug in my iPad in the kitchen, where a rotisserie chicken is waiting for me.
When I finish my agitating homework, one of the things that darkens my day, I get my pot of gold at the end of my rainbow. I get to watch whatever I want on my iPad. But day after day, I realize that I am addicted. Is that the way I want to spend my evenings every day? “Yes, I love it,” says my devil. “No. It’s not healthy. Plus, you’re not gaining anything,” says my mom and the angel that fights my devil inside. Should I stop staring at a screen for a whole afternoon, or keep going?
For days a debate goes on in my own court called, “The Brain.” Sometimes when the dragon screams, “Dinner!,” the judge at my court starts slamming the gavel, “Order, order!”; my head starts pounding.
The days of trying to solve this case turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months; yet, deep down, I know my Mom is right and her advice comes from her love for me. Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom! I love you, too.
If a tornado had a seizure or a chunk of the world were in a blender, the destruction would never compare to the destruction of my feelings when life-changing moments occur. Adapting to those moments would help my life move along more easily.
When my Nana passed away, instead of her life flashing before her eyes, I saw ours. We were at the beach, collecting shells with ridges down the edges. The shell broke suddenly — just like my heart did when she wasn’t there anymore. As that memory faded, another knocked on the door of my heart. Opening the door, I saw droplets of chocolate syrup causing the pure, white milk to go into a creamy brown. Still drinking it today, it reminds me of Nana since she made chocolate milk for me every day. Like it was her blood, it kept her life going on in me.
Letting go of a loved one was hard, but giving away a house filled with fragile memories was harder than getting over my fear of rollercoasters. In other words, my brain is a china closet while my memories play the role of china. The china is packed in tight, ready to burst out. Bursting out would cause them to break and I’d lose these memories forever. If I hadn’t moved from Brooklyn to Queens it wouldn’t be packed so tightly. I’d be able to put them back together because that’s where they were made.
Having my memories in a safe that only my heart could open would have serious impact on adapting to changes in my life. I still mourn the death of my ancestors. I still grieve the day that I moved. With Valentine’s Day coming up, my heart will be pouring out all my memories of love.
I used to have a problem, I couldn’t write. It was almost like all odds were against me. I thought I was cursed. Whenever I even tried to write, something went wrong. Either my pencil broke or my paper ripped. It was like a sign from God. Like he was whispering in my ear for me to quit. The only problem for Him is I don’t quit. And, I’m not going to quit until I get my writing grade up to 4.5. This was my dream, and according to Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
So now, when I sit down to write, I sharpen a few pencils, and get out a clean, shiny piece of extra paper, which reminds me of the ice at the hockey rink, just after the Zamboni finishes and just before I jump onto the rink to skate. More importantly, I take some time to think about what I’m going to write. Like a builder, I gather my tools and make plans before I start the job. That way, I don’t get mixed-up or confused. Oh, and one more thing I do before I start to write, I ask God for inspiration. It can’t hurt to have Him on my side. Then, it almost seems as if the pencil is writing itself. My thoughts take on a life of their own, and the pencil records it all. It’s as if I’m sitting beside myself watching me become a great writer. Well, I’m not a great writer yet, but maybe someday... Not too long ago, I had this experience when I wrote my poem, “On The Ice.” The words just flowed like I do when I’m on ice skates. I was the most surprised guy when I learned that the poem is going to be published. So, it’s Valentine’s Day and when I think about the things I love, I think about writing.
“Um…thanks?” I murmured, forcing a smile. I guess the “Um...” part gave it away. My grandma looked hurt. “No, no, no!,” I quickly explained. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I like your gift — um, no wait — I mean I will like it when I open it.”
I sighed as I replayed that scene in my head every time I looked at the tiny black box. My grandma gave it to me the day before, but I hadn’t touched it since. I don’t know why, but it gave me the creeps. My best guess is that the creeps came from the guilt I felt when I remembered Grandma’s expression when I didn’t open her present right away.
Finally, when my curiosity almost killed me, I opened the box to reveal something I couldn’t believe. Inside was the most beautiful bracelet I had ever seen. The gorgeous bracelet shone like a million stars. I carefully placed the bracelet in my hand for a better view of its texture. It looked and felt so delicate that when I touched it, I thought I heard it shatter. I rotated the bracelet to inspect the shiny diamonds. As the morning sunshine peeked through my curtains, the bracelet glistened like the sea under the sun. The bracelet was golden like the sun with tiny diamond beads embedded around it.
I eagerly ran to my grandma to thank her for the gift. “I knew you would like it,” she smiled. “Your dear old Grandpa gave it to me. I treasure this bracelet. I never let anyone see it, let alone touch it! You are special, Joyce, and don’t ever forget that.” I let those words echo in my head for a hundred times as I embraced my grandma warmly. “Thank you grandma, I never knew I was special to anyone,” I whispered.
“Did you see the words carved in the inside?” She asked. Words? Inside? “No, I don’t think so… I guess I was too busy looking at the outside to even bother with the inside,” I admitted. Finally, I looked inside and squinted to see the words carved on the bracelet. “You are forever mine,” I read. I grinned to my grandma, “I love you!”
This was one of my first lessons in love, and it showed me what they mean when they say, “Good things come in small packages!”
It was a first-grade soccer game and the parents were screaming at the top of their lungs, “H” “O” “P” “E”, Hope, Hope, Hope." The sound of the cow bells, rung by the opponent’s parents, echoed through the wide-open fields of Fort Tilden. I wanted to take those cowbells and give them right back to the cows. This team looked like giants compared to us.
Uh, uh, no way, I was going out there on the field. So, my mom and I sat on the rusty, old bleachers like two forlorn puppies. The thought of stepping onto the field made my skin crawl. All I wanted to do was disappear, like a turtle going back into its shell. My mom would have no part of that. “We are staying for the whole game,” she warned me, “Being a part of a team doesn’t only mean playing. It means supporting too.”
Time seemed to stand still. The wind howled. The cow bells clanged. The players chased one another up and down the field like alley cats fighting in the night. It was hard to believe halftime would ever come, but it did. Finally, my coach came over and spelled it out. “Cassie, we don’t have enough players. We could really use you to play goalie.” Hmm. That didn’t seem like such a bad idea. My mom could stand right next to the goal post like a goalie guard, I thought. So off I went into the goalie position. With my mom right by my side, they could have scored a million goals. It didn’t really matter to me. Having my mom there was what got me through the second half.
Game over. I figured out how my mom could be by my side on the soccer field. Goalie would be my position. I decided to share this brilliant idea with my mom. This was going to be great…no more competing on the field. How smart was I? But what I didn’t take into account was how much wiser my mom was.
“I’m going to tell coach, I want to be goalie,” I said with great confidence.
“Goalie is a tough position, Cassie. You are too good of a defensive player. You have speed,” Mom advised.
“Nope,” I replied putting it all on the line, “If I play goalie you can stand by the net at each and every game.”
My wise mom replied with firmness, “You are not playing goalie.”
Well, this wasn’t going the way I expected. How could my mom love me so much and force me to go out onto a soccer field while butterflies fluttered in my stomach? So, we continued to go to soccer games and my mom’s patience and encouragement helped me get out onto that field time after time.
Today I wouldn’t be the soccer player I am, if my mom let me succumb to my fears. If I had stuck with my “brilliant plan” of playing goalie, I wouldn’t be the skilled field player I am right now. My mom’s overwhelming love always helps me conquer my fears even when they get the best of me. This was one of my first lessons in love.
“Meow,” cried Morty, my cat. “Sorry Morty,” I said. “I have to feed myself first, I’ll be back in a sec.” But the thing was, I never went back to feed him. Instead it was my mother who fed him that morning. Let me tell you about Morty, my cat. Morty is like an Oreo. It is like he has black and white painted all over. In my eyes, he’s rated a level higher than the sweetest thing on earth. I’m not even sure what level that is. Anyway, while I was watching the 90th Grammy Awards in my living room, I was feeling a little down. I think Morty sensed it and came right to me, and comforted me in such a loving way. When I petted Morty, he snuggled up next to me and made me feel like the most special boy on earth. That was the moment I realized, not only can a dog be “man’s best friend”—a cat can, too. And, although I forgot to feed him, he still showed me love. So tomorrow I will remember to feed him, and the next day, and the day after that. I will feed him until the day that he can’t eat anymore. And for all those days, I will feed him with love and I will be my cat’s best friend.
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