Free-Write Friday: Fade Away

Technically, this was the freewrite from last week, but it has taken us both a while to get this one written. For those of you who don’t know, Free-Write Fridays are when Jake and I pick a writing prompt to write a post. We don’t get to see what the other person has written until after we post, so any similarities are just proof that I am actually a figment of Jake’s imagination.

So this prompt was Jake’s personal challenge to me. “You are dying. How are you dying and what do you do?”

Jessa was driving home from the movies one winter night with her little sister Tara. It was snowing, and it was late. They didn’t see the semi until it was too late. Jessa died on impact. This is Tara’s story.

My head hurts. Who am I kidding? My everything hurts. I hear voices. My mom and dad! And someone else. I try to open my eyes but nothing happens. I focus on what the Someone Else is saying. Something about brain swelling, internal injuries, and more generally unpleasant stuff. He sounds like a doctor. I wonder who he is talking about. Mom is crying. Mom never cries. I try to focus more on what the doctor is saying but I’m getting tired. The voices fade away.

The voices are back! Or rather, one voice: my dad. I think he is sitting next to me. He sounds exhausted. I wonder again what’s going on. He’s telling be to be strong and to hold on. What is going on? I am more aware of my body now. I don’t hurt as much as before. I seem to be in some sort of hospital bed. There is a machine beeping steadily by my head. I think dad is holding my hand. I try to squeeze his hand to reassure him that I’m okay, but nothing happens. I’m starting to get scared now. Dad is talking again. “You’ll be okay. You have to be okay. God please don’t take both of my daughters.” My blood runs cold. Both. What happened to Jessa? Is she… No. She’s invincible. Nothing can be wrong with her. She’s my big sister. My best friend. We do everything together. She’s not dead. No. Both…

I try to remember that last time I saw Jessa. She had just come home for Christmas break. She is a freshman in college, so I don’t get to see her as often. We went to a movie the night she came home. I think… It was snowing… The world fades away again.

The voices are back, but softer now. The doctor is talking about time, about letting go, saying goodbye. I’m scared. I don’t want to go anywhere. Mom and Dad are crying. I don’t think they are ready to say goodbye either. I hold on. I try to be strong for them. For Jessa. Their voices fade away…

It’s late. I don’t know how I know, but I do. Mom is sitting next to my bed, holding my hand. I think she’s asleep. It seems like the voices come less often now. For the first time in what feels like forever, I don’t hurt at all. Mostly I’m just tired. Mom stirs. She says something. “I love you Sweetheart.” I want to say it back. I need to say it back. I need to tell her that I’m okay. That it will all be okay. I don’t hurt anymore. I don’t want her and dad to hurt. It’s time for me to let go, but I need to say goodbye. I focus all my energy on the hand still in my mother’s grasp. If I can just do something so she knows. My whole world has become our hands. I dig down and gather any remaining strength I have left. Anything I can use to move my hand. Slowly I am able to close my hand, just a little. My mom immediately stops what she is doing and yells for Dad. He comes rushing in and grabs my other hand. They are both talking at once. They are excited. They think I am waking up. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all. I’ve used up all of my energy, and I’m already drifting. It feels… final. Somehow I know this will be that last time I hear their voices.

This time it’s me that fades away.

I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here

Hello everyone!

It is a beautiful, yet horribly cold, morning here at Doane campus. The line at the coffee shop is stretched halfway across campus, everywhere you look you can see bags from the bookstore or packages from Amazon, and students are out and about before 10. It can all add up to only one thing: Spring Classes have officially started.

I’ve just gotten out of my first class: Advanced Writing. When I first signed up for this course, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As much as I love to write, I hate discussing the technicalities and rules involved, and I wasn’t looking forward to having to write a bunch of  formal essays or papers. I was very pleasantly surprised when I came to class today.

From what I can gather from the first day, this class is going to be awesome. Each student gets to pick a genre to focus on for the semester, be it fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or academic writing. We will write and share and critique each others’ writing in a casual, constructive atmosphere. The theory side of things will focus less on the rules of writing and more on why an author would choose to write a certain way or about a certain topic. I think I’m gonna like it here.

Now here’s to the rest of my classes today (Modern American Literature, Intro. to Fiction, and Choir) being just as awesome. If not, well, at least I will start my day in a good mood. 🙂

Thankful Thursday: MEGA EDITION!!!

Okay, so as you may or may not have noticed, in the last couple months I have not been keeping up with my weekly Thankful posts. Like, at all. To make up for it (at least a little) I’ve decided that this edition of Thankful Thursday will be MEGA SIZED!!!! In other words, I will list 10 things I’m grateful for instead of three.

#1. Christmas Break

Christmas break gave me much needed time away from class work, and I even got to go home for a week over Christmas and spend time with the family. It was really great to see everyone, and I even got to spend some quality time with my dog. 🙂

#2. Christmas at Grandma’s

My grandma hosts a Christmas every year about halfway through January. This year I was able to go up the night before and help her get ready. I found out that I am related to a bunch of famous people throughout history, most notably: Julius Caesar, the Rockefellers, and a handful of Popes. I also realized that this was the first time she and I were able to hang out one on one, ever.

#3. Interterm Class

Doane has done this weird thing where instead of jumping right into spring semester after Christmas break, we do a three-week interterm class. Class lasts about three hours long every day and is worth 3 credits. It’s usually a fairly interesting class that isn’t offered any other time of the year. This was the last year Doane’s having interterm, so I decided to go with the Psychology of Evil. It was a really interesting class. We tried to get into the minds of murderers, thieves, gang members, and all around ‘bad guys’. The focus was to try to determine if it would be possible for any ‘ordinary person’ to be put in a situation that would cause them to commit even the worst evil acts.

#4. The End of Interterm

As much as I loved my interterm class, it was time for it to end. It was at 9 am every day, and I had to have a paper written for just about every class. Today was the last day of class. It’s time for a change.

#5. Vending Machines

Since my class went from 9-12 every morning and we got a break halfway through, my breakfasts have been courtesy of the basement vending machine. Usually a Mountain Dew and a bag of Crunchy Cheetos. Breakfast of Champions, don’t ya think? I actually loved it. Kudos to whoever it is that keeps them fully stocked. You got me through my class. 🙂

#6. Warm Weather

I live in Nebraska, and for those of you who don’t know, this is a magical place where all four seasons can peacefully coexist in the span of a single week, sometimes, a day. This means that in addition to days with a -30 degree wind chill (not even exaggerating), we get the occasional 40-50 degree day. These are the days I am grateful for. They are a small reminder that spring is on its way, and eventually all will be right with the world once more.

#7. Jake’s Family

Jake and I have been spending a lot of time at his house and with his family. They are amazing. I am so grateful for them and their hospitality. We watch Netflix, do homework, or play cards with Jake’s little brothers. It is also so nice to get a home-cooked meal a couple of nights a week.

#8. Reese’s Cupcakes

I found a box mix for Reese’s cupcakes. They are delicious. That is all.

#9. Netflix

Ahh Netflix. Hours of entertainment, taker of souls, thief of free time…

#10. Jake

In the short time that we’ve known each other, Jake has easily become one of my best friends. We keep each other (relatively) sane, and he keeps me on task. He is the voice in my head (or on my phone) that tells me I need to do my homework, or work on my book, or write a blog post. Without him this blog wouldn’t exist and my grades would have been a lot worse.

Top 5 Things I Learned Over Break

Hey everyone!! Hope you all had a fantastic holiday season. Let’s get started!

1. I totally suck at posting when not at school.

I have found that I am very easily distracted without classes to give structure to my day. It may also have something to do with the lack of Jake constantly reminding me to post. Now that I’m back at school hopefully I will get better about it.

2. My name is Emily, and I am a Netflix-oholic.

When I have hours of free time I tend to binge on entire seasons at a time. In the past month I have rewatched Psych, Supernatural, the Gates, Being Human (the UK version, not the US), and a couple dozen romantic comedies and holiday movies. I have a problem. (I may or may not be watching as I type.)

3. I enjoy training people.

I have been able to pick up a few more shifts at work over break, and in some of those shifts I have been tasked with training the new hires. I don’t know why, but I love teaching the new people what to do. It probably has a little to do with the fact that I get to tell them what to and not actually have to do it myself.

4. I’m not a morning person.

Unfortunately I have early classes all week spring semester and I work opening shifts on the weekends. This will be fun.

5. I am fascinated by serial killers.

My school has an interterm class each January, in each we spend two and a half weeks taking only one class every day. This year I am taking the Psychology of Evil. We discuss and study violent acts and the people who commit them. The goal is to take a closer look at why these acts happen, and what makes ordinary people do them.