The Meaning of Life (part 6)

15 09 2010

“Well, that’s what I thought too, but I did a lot of thinking by myself and I started to wonder if this is how I really want to live my life, in this land that calls itself a “great country to live in”.”  I made hand gestures to indicate the quotations.  Sean laughed out loud and started walking again.  I followed him.  From behind, the sun shone in the direction he was strolling in and it made him look as though he was some sort of angel, blocking out the sun.  I quickly erased the stupid thought and caught up with him.

“So tell me something Jeremy, since you asked all those questions about where I came from, can I ask you some stuff?” he inquired, without even turning to me when he asked.  I had a mixed feeling in my gut when he said this, like I already knew what he was going to ask, but I said yes anyways.

“Are you…” His voice trailed off, leaving me to assume the rest.  I wanted to be honest, but I had just met this guy.  What would happen if he told anyone?  I would surely be executed.  I was just about to answer when I saw a distraction.

“Look, there’s the Box,” I said.  I pointed at a suspended glass case, about 7 feet above the ground.  The Box was the place where all the misbehaving and bad students were put.  If this didn’t seem bad enough, there was more: all the students put in the Box were stripped to their underwear and publicly humiliated in front of the whole school for about an hour.  And if that still wasn’t enough, there was usually more than one person in the Box at a time.  Once, a whole class was put into it because they were not listening to the teacher and were talking back to her.  Fortunately, the school had enough sense in it to take off the top of the Box so that no one would suffocate.  It was unbelievable how far schools went in order to keep students well behaved and disciplined.  And it wasn’t just our school that’s got had Box; all schools throughout America had Boxes put in the schoolyard.

I myself had never been in the Box before but I saw the terror in the kids’ eyes when I pass by it.  There was always somebody in the Box at one time or another.  I thought sometimes the teachers put a random kid in there just to frighten us.  That day, a child, a few years younger than me, was in the box, crying.  A lot of the students put in the Box cried, but only when there weren’t any teachers around.  If they were caught crying, they were left in the Box for a longer period of time.

Meanwhile, Sean gazed at the glass prism.  I explained to him about the purpose of the Box and when I finished he shook his head.

“We don’t have anything like this in Canada,” he said softly.  “Everyone is living freely without all these rules to live up to.”  Then as if sensing how sad his words were, he added, “Man, you should come to Canada!”

I laughed at the joke but on the inside, I actually took it seriously.  Gosh, Canada sounded like such a beautiful place; why couldn’t all of us just move there?  Sean interrupted my dreaming of Canada when he asked if I wanted to come over.  Although my parents would disapprove, I said yes anyways.  This would be my chance to get to know Sean better and see what his life was like but more importantly, be alone with him.

To be continued!

The Meaning of Life (part 5)

12 09 2010

“And there’s the bathroom and the water fountain,” I said as I pointed to the specific locations.  Outside, it was a sunny autumn day as the leaves were starting to fall off the trees and turning into vibrant colours of orange, yellow and red.  We had to walk through the sea of leaves that were covering the whole schoolyard.

“Cool.”  Sean didn’t seem too interested in the school.  There were obviously other things on his mind than knowing where the water fountain was.  So I asked him, “What’s wrong?  Am I boring you?”  He looked up from the ground and towards me and shook his head.

“I’m just thinking about my life before I moved here.”  I had forgotten that he was not from around here, which was exciting to learn; I had always wanted to know what the rest of the world was like.

“Where did you come from?” I questioned.

“Up north, from Canada.  It’s really great there and I miss it a lot.”

I had heard wonderful stories from travelers concerning Canada.  They all said that it was a great place with magnificent scenery and lands, along with very kind people. I had always wanted to move or to travel to Canada and see what it was like there.  Some people said also said that in Canada, gay people were actually tolerated there and that even same-sex marriage was legal.  Most of the people in America don’t believe this and the ones that do say that Canada is eventually going to turn itself into hell one day.  I was always curious at whether gay marriage in Canada was legal but I didn’t want Sean to get the wrong impression of me.  He could tell everyone at school and I could be killed.  But I would never know until I asked him, so I did.

“I’m sorry to hear that, Sean.  Uh, can I ask you something?”  I was making myself sound rushed and uncaring towards him.  He looked at me strangely, as if thinking that I was a moron for ignoring his problems.  But he nodded.

“Umm… is it… is it true that…” My words weren’t coming out of my mouth and I stuttered.  Sean looked expectantly at me to finish my question.

“Yeah, what?”  I glanced quickly around to make sure no one was could hear us.  Just to be sure, I grabbed the sleeve of his jacket and pulled him towards the water fountain.  There, I noticed that he had a puzzled look on his face, which was planned.  I took a deep breath and said, “Is it true that they have…same-sex marriage?”  Sean seemed to be taken aback when he heard the question.

“What are you talking about, Jeremy?” he asked.

“In Canada, is gay marriage legal?”  There, I finally said it.  Again, I turned my head in all directions to make sure no one had heard us.  When I focused on Sean once more, he looked even more confused.

“Yes, but why are you asking me this from out of the blue?”

“Uh… I just wanted to know if the rumours were right.  Is it also true that they let gay people live too?”

Sean continued to stare at me, perplexed, but I could see he was beginning to see what was going on.  He relaxed a bit more and replied, “Yeah, why wouldn’t they be allowed to live?  Is it how life here is too?”

I really didn’t want to explain the whole history of my country so I just gave him the basic storyline; about how George Tree had banned same-sex marriage 70 years ago; religions and how Christianity is the only one allowed for everyone to worship; and how gay people were killed.  He nodded every now and then, and seemed to understand where I was coming from.

At the end of it all, he was amazed.

“I had no idea just how different it is here compared to Canada.  I always thought of America as being a strong, civilized nation.”

To be continued!

The Meaning of Life (part 4)

8 09 2010

He paused for a moment, as if thinking of what to say, and took off his wire-framed glasses and looked at me.  He said, “Jeremy, the Bible was written by God indirectly.  After all He has done for you, isn’t it sensible to at least read His work?”  His words were well spoken and convincing, and I really saw no way out of the situation.

“Yes, sir, I suppose so.  But…”

“Please Jeremy, no more questions.  When did you start thinking about this?”

“For a couple of days now.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life.”

“Well, I am discouraging you from it.  Doing this is useless and a waste of your own time.  Children aren’t meant to think about these things.  Just ask your parents.  Ask them how they were brought up and then you’ll see what I mean.”

I felt cornered and defeated.  So I said yes.

“Good boy, Jeremy.  Now I’m going to go easy on you for the chores.  You can clean off the desks now and be finished by the end of lunch if you do it fast enough.  And before I forget, we never had this talk, okay Jeremy?”

I looked at my teacher strangely.  Why was he telling me to forget what we said?  It wasn’t that big a deal, was it?  I decided to go along with whatever he wanted me to do for the time being; then I would slowly figure things out by myself.  I nodded.

“Good.  Now get going on your chores; the bell will ring soon.”

For the remaining part of the day, I kept silent and kept my eyes on Mr. Salice.  Not once did I glance at Sean or even at Matthew, though I saw Sean look at me a few times out of the corner of my eye.  At the end of the day, the home bell rang.  I gathered all my supplies and took them to my hole.  Matthew was already at his hole, waiting for me.  I saw him starting to open his mouth and speak, but I felt someone tap me on the shoulder from behind.  I turned around and smiled a little smile.  It was Sean.

“Hey, Jeremy.  Is it okay if you can show me the school and the neighbourhood now?” he asked.  A small grin spread on his face, and I blushed.  Just when I was going to say yes, I almost forgot about Matthew again.  I turned back and saw that he was still there, but he seemed sad, almost depressed.  I didn’t know what it was, so I just asked him if he thought it was okay, since we go home together everyday.

“Yeah, it’s fine.  I have a lot of homework and chores to do anyways.  I’ll see you tomorrow, Jerry.  Call me.”  After Matthew left, I turned back to Sean, and found him with his eyebrows raised.

“Jerry?  Can I call you that too?”  At this point, I was just getting high from seeing him now.  He wanted to call me Jerry!  Matt was the only one who called me by that; he made it up himself.  I felt my cheeks turning red and looked down at the ground so that he wouldn’t see.  It would be stupid if I didn’t say anything at all, so I just carelessly mumbled a “Sure” to him.

“Great!  Jerry it is!  Now, Jerry, can you show me around?”

To be continued!

The Meaning of Life (part 3)

6 09 2010

I glanced over at Matthew, who was looking at me with concern.  I just smiled at him and turned my way to Sean, except he was still looking at me.  This time, I didn’t turn away; it seemed like a staring contest.  I noticed that his eyes were strange; it seemed as if there was a mix of yellow, green and brown in his eyes, which actually made them seem quite attractive.  Suddenly, he grinned at me.  I was startled to say the least, since not many people knew how to smile, let alone grin anymore.  A strange feeling erupted inside of my heart and though I was sure it was just hormones or something, I was convinced it had something to do with Sean.  So I smiled back at him.

After the bell rang, I went to get my lunch from the cupboard.  Matthew’s hole was next to mine, so we started talking about what had happened.

“Do you know what Mr. Salice is going to do about you?” he asked.  I shook my head and continued to rummage through my own hole.  Just then, someone stepped next to me.  I quickly turned my head and saw that it was the new student, Sean.

“Umm… which one of these things is mine?”  Sean pointed at the holes.  I wanted to laugh or even smile but stopped myself from making him feel bad.

“The one next to mine; it has your name on it,” I said.

“Thanks,” he replied.  He paused for a moment and added, “You’re Jeremy, right?”

I was about to respond, when I remembered Matthew.  I turned around, but he was already gone. He had gone outside without me.  So I replied, “Yeah, the guy that doesn’t know anything.”  To my surprise, he laughed at the lame joke.  At least he wasn’t as stupid as I thought he would be.

“Well, Jeremy, could you show me around the school?”  He moved his head to the right and kind of gazed at me with hope.  I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of excitement running through me.  I was about to say yes, but remembered Mr. Salice.

“Sorry, I can’t; I have to talk with Mr. Salice.  Maybe Matt will take you on a tour.”  I stressed the words Mr. Salice in that tone you say when implying that the person is so important, sort of like sarcasm.  Despite my answer, his expression still seemed to be cheery.

“It’s okay then.  Thanks anyways, Jeremy.  See you later!”  And he gave that grin again and walked out the doors.  I stood there, while my heart had just melted.  And that was how I fell for a boy I didn’t even know.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into you these past days, Jeremy.  You used to be so well behaved and respectful.  There better be a good explanation for you behaviour today,” Mr. Salice said as he waited for me with his arms crossed.

It was during recess and I hadn’t forgotten to see Mr. Salice.  I didn’t have much time to think about my excuses so I just decided to tell him as honestly as I could. And anyways, it would be useless to lie to him and myself.  So I spoke.

“I’m sorry if I offended you in anyway, Mr. Salice, but I really don’t see why I, or any of these students here, have to learn about some thousand-year-old book.  Please, don’t get me wrong; I love God very much, but I just don’t understand how reading this will do anything for me.”

This time, Mr. Salice remained calm, which was what I was really hoping he would do.

To be continued!

The Meaning of Life (part 2)

5 09 2010

“That’s what I thought, Jeremy.  Class will begin soon.  Go back to your seat now.”

“Yes, sir.”  I glanced at Matthew, who was looking equally frightened by the incident. He nudged his head slightly, telling me to go back.  I returned to my seat without saying a word.

During the middle of Mr. Salice’s Bible study lesson, the door suddenly opened.  In walked a boy, about my height, with brown hair, which was messed up.  His shirt was hanging out and his backpack was practically dragging on the ground.  In spite of his horrid appearance, he was in fact good-looking, even handsome.  His bangs dangled in front of his eyes, shielding them and making him look mysterious.  Everyone stared and though it was a bit funny, no one dared to laugh; we didn’t want to be put in the Box.  Instead, we just waited for Mr. Salice’s reaction.  He stood up and said, “Mr. Cohen, how nice of you to join us.  Class, this is Sean Cohen.  Please welcome him, everybody.”

We were all puzzled, to say the least.  We had a new student and Mr. Salice didn’t yell at him for being late either.  Wow.  What else was going to happen?

The class looked around and mumbled the “Hi, Sean” Mr. Salice was waiting for.  He let our feeble greeting pass and continued.

“Your seat will be over there, next to Jeremy.”  He pointed in my direction.  I looked around me, a bit surprised, and then to Sean.  He was glaring straight at me, and I had to look away to avoid his eyes.  Sean started to walk towards his desk and passed me without smiling or showing any expression whatsoever.  Meanwhile, Mr. Salice picked up where he left off and continued the lesson.  I couldn’t concentrate on his teaching and decided to gaze at Sean for a bit.  Again, his eyes were already locked on me and I pretended to glance slightly away, towards Matthew, who was writing something down on a notebook.  He finished what he was writing, flipped the pages around, and looked up at Mr. Salice.  I was wondering what he wrote when Mr. Salice suddenly called my name.

“Jeremy, can you tell me which disciple betrayed Jesus?”  I suddenly whipped my head to Mr. Salice’s direction and looked around to everyone uncertainly.  He waited for me patiently as beads of sweat began to form on my face.

“Umm… Paul?”  The words came out quietly but audible enough for Mr. Salice to sigh and hang his head.

“No, Jeremy!  It was Judas!  Weren’t you even listening to me?  Come see me after class, Jeremy. I have some chores for you.”

Normally, I would have accepted it but now I was just angry.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention, Mr. Salice, but it’s not fair!  Why do I know this anyways?  It’s stupid!  And…”

“That’s enough, Jeremy!  Who do you think you are, raising your voice to me, and especially about the Bible?!  You are going to come after school too and do double the chores!”

“But Mr. Salice…”

“Stop!  I don’t want to hear anymore from you.  I’ll see you after class.  Period.”  I shut my mouth and glared at him, furious at the injustice done.  I slouched down in my seat but quickly sat back up when Mr. Salice looked my way.

To be continued!

The Meaning of Life (part 1)

4 09 2010

Here’s a short story (about 13 pages) I wrote in high school, revolving around a dystopian society.  I believe I got a 9.75 out of 10 on it.  Hooray!

The Meaning of Life

Okay, you’ve probably heard a lot of stories; good stories, bad stories; stories from the heart and soul, and stories from the imagination.  Well, readers, this is my story. This is a story about prejudice, hate, violence, but above all things, love.  Isn’t that such a funny word, love?  What is love?  Is there a right kind of love? Who’s to say?  No one.  Love is love; everyone will feel it sometime or another during his or her life.  Here’s my story about love, true love.  It all started the day President Tree was elected…

There was much celebration throughout the nation.  The news talked about him for days.  Everybody thought he was the right man to win and that he would bring America everything it needed.  That was 70 years ago.  Today’s America is much different than was before President Tree. Every child had to go to school.  All homeless people were given warnings to leave, and were shot if they didn’t.  The US now owns Iraq as a result of the war in the Middle East.  Christianity is the only religion allowed for the people to practice; all other religions have been banned. There were constant rumours about underground temples and such for part of the population that hadn’t totally abandoned their faiths.  President Tree had successfully banned same-sex marriage, and that being said, homosexuality was also looked down upon as being a sin.  Anyone who was even slightly suspected of being gay was either killed or sent to therapy for treatment.  In other words, the whole population of America was Christian and straight.  Or at least that’s what everyone thought…

*           *           *           *

I stepped into the familiar room 314 and glanced around me.  It was still early, so not many students had arrived yet.  I saw my best friend, Matthew Bennet, sitting down.  He signalled me to come over.  We had been friends since we were small kids.  Every day, we would hang out after school by the tree houses near his house and play games.  He told me all his secrets and crushes, and in turn, I told him mine, although I would just pick out the prettiest girls in class and say I liked them.

As I approached him, he started to flash that smile that always made the girls swoon over him.  I liked it too; it always made me smile.

“Hey, Jeremy!”

“Hey, Matt.”

“Did you finish the science homework?”

“What science homework?  The sheets? I forgot! Oh, my g…” I stopped myself in an instant.  Mr Salice looked up from his desk and glared at me, waiting for me to finish my word.

“You were saying, Jeremy?”  Mr. Salice’s eyes pierced through me, making me both nervous and scared.

“Umm…nothing, Mr. Salice.  I meant to say ‘Oh my gosh’.”  I swallowed the huge lump in my throat.

To be continued!