Hello everyone, this is pretty much just for the 6th graders but anyway… Ms. Sands has started the new 6th grade Latin club. I highly recommend going on C days during our lunch. You get to play fun games, learn Latin, etc. Last time (the first meeting) we got to (attempted) to build a Roman arch, like the ones over in Europe/Italy. It’s quite fun again, I highly encourage 6th graders to come! Vale!
Written in English class with support of Ms. Galvani
FAA Proposes New Drone Restrictions
Should Drones be Restricted Even More?
Who Are Some of the People Flying?
Sailplanes soar around high over head, sport planes zip around, foam board planes climb high, multirotors looking for a lost plane and having fun, that one guy who keeps crashing, is this a weird dream that you have after staying up for too long? Nope! Just a normal summer weekend at most RC flying fields. As the Charles River Radio Controllers website puts it “…we consistently promote and enjoy the sport, education, and hobby of radio controlled scale flight.” Now if someone says that those people have to spend money and add extra weight to the plane when we’ve been keeping to ourselves, does that seem fair? In this feature article I’ll be discussing the new rule that might do that to the hobby.
Recently the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) proposed a new rule that would restrict drones, without transponders that would be able to broadcast to the internet via mobile phone. (So essentially I can’t fly with a transponder until I’m in 8th grade since I signed the annoying “contract!”). The point is that everyone everywhere can see where you’re flying, which seems like a violation of privacy. Although it would allow “non-compliant” drones to fly at “FRIA” sites which stand for FAA-Recognized Identification Area, but based on the wording on the FAA’s website it would ban drones that don’t have remote ID from having First Person View. “FPV” is where there is a camera mounted on a plane that streams video of what the plane “sees” to the operator.
Also to apply to have a flying site be a FRIA you must be a part of a CBO (Community Based Organization) such as the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) or the new Flite Test CBO, this wouldn’t allow for people to fly non-compliant drones in their backyards (front yards too!), In rural areas over their fields, or over their own property. That also means that things such as school RC clubs or a non-chartered club would have to cease operations. Since the AMA says that to be a chartered club you must have at least 2 members who are over the age of 18, which means they have to pay membership dues. Okay, that’s the basics.
There have been theories about why the FAA has proposed this, stupid pilots being one theory, DJI (Chinese drone company) might be a problem as Flite Test Forum user PsyBorg says. “ The problems are with “Those guys” who don’t follow any rules and care nothing about the hobby only what they want to do. The other part is uneducated new pilots who have been drawn in by the DJI hype “Anyone can fly a drone…”” I believe that that is mostly or completely true since some uneducated pilots may not fully understand aerospace restrictions or using their drones inappropriately, such as spying on people etc. However, most hobbyists (drone pilots) aren’t like that, we fly multirotors, and planes appropriately without infringing on
people’s privacy. We don’t send them too far since often times people have large investments in their aircraft, so we have an incentive not to lose it, unlike the drone swarms in Colorado. Even most people who build cheap planes like me tend to avoid being irresponsible since we know that if we don’t follow the legal red-tape (or yellow tape). Then we will cause laws like this, the media also focuses on the negative instead of the good. You hear about the drones swarming over Colorado, and causing flight cancelations at Gatwick on the news, instead of Drones save lives in Rwanda or FliteTest STEM uses drones to teach kids about flight.
Although it has been good having an international group backing us, aka the AMA, I think along with my flying club that the AMA should be doing more, the FAA continuously puts chains on us and the AMA is just letting that happen without very much resistance. In 2018, the FAA said that we couldn’t fly above 400FT AGL (Above Ground Level). Most planes don’t cruise around at 400 AGL only around airports, (unless the full-scale pilot wants to get their license revoked (450 knots at 300 ft in a 172, haha.)) Should that be a problem. Most drone pilots don’t fly close to airports in fact many fly in large parks, or small residential streets so safety isn’t really a problem, the AMA hasn’t really fought back and quite frankly I’m a bit disappointed. I don’t want to be like Canada where you have to have a license and you have to 16 to fly. At that point I might as well just fly a “real” airplane.
Another possible reason why the FAA is doing this, some people think that companies like Amazon want the drone airspace all to themselves. Personally I think that aliens are taking control of the government and want as much free airspace for them to land their craft during an invasion. (Haha just kidding there’s probably no aliens running the government… Probably). But seriously Amazon has tried to use drone delivery FliteTest Forum user sprzout says. “Amazon, FedEx, etc, will be cluttering the skies with hundreds of thousands of drones for delivery of small, under 55 lb items.” I think that this may be true, since drones are a new thing and almost everything new has somehow been monetized, like the internet for example, website owners get money by showing ads, and people have to pay subscriptions to things like YouTube Premium, Netflix, even the news. (Or the actual internet!) So it just makes sense that as soon as drones become commercially viable (long flight times, ease of use, etc.) that companies will they to buy in, even when hobbyists have been doing fine for years, sometimes even being customers to these companies. Although you might want to take this with a grain of salt since for the most part I haven’t heard any evidence from official sources.
However there are some solutions that could happen such as PsyBorg puts it. “…the simple solution would be We get 0 to 400 ft Commercial UAS get 500 to 700 feet and full scale gets 900 to space. 200 ft of separation between the layers. No need for tracking or more personal intel gathering of the general public. That way the ONLY tracking needed would be for commercial UAS and full scale who would be more closely interacting and need to be identified. Putting more funding into education as well as mandating DJI and similar companies to properly promote UAS use would go further in accomplishing the goals…” Personally I think that they put it perfectly, although the one thing I think it could add is to have no UAS zones around airports, since you don’t want another Sully incident in the Charles River
Editor, I’m Done!
In my personal opinion, not trying to offend anyone I think this is an invasion of a hobby that has been minding our own business for decades, and now we’re getting new regulations that would put a halt to the spirit of flying flying in backyards, and in fields.
I do not believe that this is fair nor should this proposed law become a full law and stop people from enjoying the hobby.
Note: This is just an opinion and review, this is a popular restaurant you are entitled to your own opinion. – The Editor
I recently went to Kawi for a family event, I can not say how bad the food is, I’m still shocked by how people like this food. I will start with their “Wagyu Ragu” . It is really salty, no I don’t mean it’s agitated, it tastes like salt was dumped into it. Their raw fish was great, but then again it’s pretty hard to mess up raw fish, it was served in what seems to be lemon juice giving it a very nice kick. From here it all goes downhill. Their 28 day aged beef tastes as if it went bad 28 months ago. Their shaved ice had an interesting flavor to it. It tasted as if it had lemon and coconut in it. The atmosphere was very nice, both inside and out of the private dining room. The private dining hall had an “endless tunnel built into the wall and a karaoke machine. The waiter seemed very friendly and even sang along with the music at one point, which made the dinner a bit more pleasant and even a little enjoyable. I do NOT recommend this restaurant if you even consider it, (Kawi does not represent Korean food in any way.)
The breeze is quiet The outside is calm and cool This is a nice day The forest is calm I am peaceful and quiet Suddenly I die
Cold winter air on my cheeks swirling around me I love winter
It appears I must revise my earlier prediction given the new rumors that have surface during the run-up to Super Bowl LIV about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s future.
I am now predicting he will land with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Since my last column, it has been reported on the local radio station 98.5 the Sports Hub that Brady’s wife Gisele Bundchen is not a fan of Los Angeles, throwing into doubt the rumors that he would end up there.
It has also been reported that the Raiders might offer him three years and $90 million to come play for coach Jon Gruden. Apparently, Gruden is a fan of Brady’s and not a fan of current Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
The Raiders are reported to have a strong offensive line, a talented running back Josh Jacobs and a solid receiving core. Plus, an internationally known destination like Las Vegas could be a boon for Brady’s TB12 brand.
I’m certain that after publishing this a new crop of rumors will circulate regarding Brady. As a matter of fact, there were also rumors last week that he was looking at a school in Nashville with his oldest son. The Hulu commercial he appeared in during the Super Bowl seemed to hint that he would stay in New England. There was a report by Ian Rappaport that the Patriots were willing to pay him $30 million a year to keep him.
But as of now, I believe he is destined for Sin City. Until next week, of course.
She didn’t know how she had gotten there. One moment she was reading her old childhood books, and the next she was strapped down in chains to a post. She didn’t know what was going to happen. There were policemen screaming her name. “Lilia! Lilia! Get down now! “
There was a gunshot, and the man beside her went down. She was being held captive, but she didn’t know why.
She was in Alandeir, the place where she was born. Her parents were assassinated in this town. Her brother was assassinated in this town. Everyone was. Except her.
She had woken up this morning to her foster mom screaming. She sprung up from her bed to find her gone. It was as if she vanished out of thin air. She ran out of her small, red cottage, and jumped in her old fashioned jeep. She started driving around when she saw a deer running in the snow. It was running right at her. She swerved, trying to get away before she hit it. Instead of hitting the deer, she hit a tree. Hard. Then everything went black.
When she awoke, she had a terrible headache. It felt like daggers going into her skull. And she was starving. She was in a small cot, in the middle of an old bedroom. How did I get here? Were even am I? She sat up, and her ribs protested in agony, as she realized that she’d probably broken a few in the crash. She looked around, and she noticed the place looked familiar. Like it was from her past. Then she knew it was. It was her childhood home before everything had gone straight to hell.
She got up from her cot and went right to her old bookshelf. Everything was in the same, organized rows as it was from 10 years ago. The books were organized from her favorite books to her least favorite. In the first row sat her favorite book. Twilight. Her mother had given this book to her when she was just 9. It was the last book that she ever got from her mother, or anyone else within 3 cities.
Footsteps sounded from the hall, and she jumped. She ran back to her cot and crawled under the covers just as a man came in.
Breathing heavily, she lifted her head to look at him. He was tall, maybe six foot three, looked to be a few years older than her, probably 23 or 24, and had neat, dark brown hair, and light green eyes. He was quite handsome. “You’re awake,” he said with a cunning smile. “ now what shall I do with you?” he started walking to her cot, and her heart skipped a few beats. A few seconds later he was standing right over her. He reached down and touched her long, amber hair. “ Such beauty for a girl,” she didn’t know how to respond. “What’s your name?” he asked while stroking her pale cheeks.
“How old are you Lilia Harrison?”
“I’m 19, sir.”
“You don’t have to call me sir,” he said in a tauntingly sweet voice. “You can call me Darian.” She nodded her head and looked down.
“Get up. Now.” his voice changed dramatically as he pointed at the door. “You must complete all your tasks that I throw at you if you wish to live. There is a list waiting for you on the table. So get out of your nightwear, and make sure to wear a coat. It’s going to be a cold day,” he tossed her an old, worn out coat and left her room.
She hadn’t realized she was holding her breath until she released it. She took a few calming deep breaths before crawling out of her cot and stripping off her sweaty nightclothes. There was a pair of clothes waiting for her on her old rocking chair in the corner. It was a pair of grey sweatpants and a plain white shirt. She climbed into her new clean clothes and walked into the hallway. There was a small, beat up wooden round table with a sheet of paper lying on top. Lilia picked up the piece of paper and read. She gaped in surprise. On the list it said that she had to cut down a willow tree, break the branches off, and then chop the trunk. She didn’t even know where to begin. She went into a little room that looked to be a living room. On the small couch sat Darian reading a book. “What book is that?” She asked as Darian looked up
“ The Depths Below. “ he replied while putting it down on a glass shelf. “What do you want?”
“Must I do this list? I’d much rather help around the house. I could clean and cook to take things off your shoulders.” Wow. His shoulders were so broad and muscled. No. I won’t feel for him. She felt heat rising to her cheeks as Darian got up and stood right in front of her.
“Is chopping wood a little too hard for you, princess? Because I would prefer to not have to use one of my daggers on you if it is.” Lilia tried to step away, but Darian grabbed her by the elbow. “You must complete all your tasks that I throw at you if you wish to live.” He repeated in Lilia’s ear, and she cringed at his closeness. “There are axes in the closet. Go get them and get chopping.“ Lilia left in resistance to get an axe. Gods they were heavy. The base was a hardwood, and the head was a gleaming curve and point. It seemed to be made of pure tungsten. She went to the front of the house and opened the door. Outside was covered in shining white snow, and was blindingly bright. Squinting, she stepped down and the snow crunched beneath her feet. Lilia sighed a heavy breath and it clouded in front of her. Damn, it’s cold, she thought. She had a full body shiver. Dragging the axe, she stocked into the woods. Lilia looked around for a willow tree but found nothing. Darian tricked me. How could she be so ignorant? She had been out hours looking for the damned tree for absolutely nothing. She trudged back to her old house and slammed the door shut as she walked in. “Why the hell did you tell me there was a willow tree when you knew very well that there wasn’t? She barked at Darian. “ I’ve looked all over the gods-damned forest looking for that willow tree. Do you really think it was funny to make me go out in the freezing cold and walk around the woods to find nothing? “
“First of all princess, you don’t talk to me like that. Remember I’m the one who saved you from freezing to death in your car? So you should be thankful to me. Not be an ass. You better be grateful tomorrow, or you’re going to be in lots of pain for the rest of the month. Got it?”
“Fine,” she sneered back at him. “Is there anything else you need me to complete?”
“ go clean the dishes, and wash the bathroom. Both jobs aren’t the cleanest, so don’t squeal and cry if you break a nail.” she blushed and then went into the kitchen. In the kitchen there was a small sink piled high with dishes, and an open cabinet with barely anything in it. There were the same floral curtains covering the small window peering out into a shriveled up garden. She loved that garden very much, before she ran as fast as she could to get away from the horror.
Darian didn’t know why he brought her back to his new house. He hadn’t known that this was, in fact, her childhood home. He’d found her stuck in a wrecked car 5 miles from here in the snow. She was almost a goner until he checked her pulse and it was still there. He quickly and carefully dragged her out of the car and lied her down in the back seat. He drove as fast as he could without going too much over the speed limit. Once he got back to his house he checked her to see if she had any major injuries and if he had to take the to the hospital. She had a few cracked ribs, and a huge gash down her hair line, so he cleaned it out and got a better look. The wound was already clotted so he knew that she was going to be fine. He debated whether or not to take off her clothes and clean her off. No. he thought to that idea. He carried her – a dead weight in his arms – to a child’s bedroom in the back of the house. He had decided the day he got the house not to disturb that room. It seemed… special almost. Like it was an important part of the home. He placed her down on the old cot and watched her, making sure she stayed alive. The next thing he knew is it was the next morning
“Crap,” he barked as he sprung up to check if she was still breathing. To his relief, she was, and her head already looked so much better. He took a few breaths and then went into the kitchen to make himself breakfast.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. As a nurse bustles around me, preparing treatments and checking blood pressure, I hear the beeping of hospital monitors and the hushed voices of doctors. I try not to focus on these things, but sometimes it’s hard. I take deep breaths of air, attempting to calm myself as a nurse slides a needle into my outstretched arm. When the nurse finishes up, I relax and readjust my position.
I have the kind of disease that doctors say could go either way, like so many of the patients here with illnesses that go by so many different names. And yet, the journey seems so similar. Oftentimes, in moments like these when I don’t feel like doing anything, I stare out the windows at the clouds drifting past, free to go wherever they choose. Someone had once painted a scene of blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and a not-so-bright sun on one of the walls, in an effort to make the room seem less “hospital-like”, but the colors are now faded, and the air smells stale. How I miss the real sky, filled with real clouds and the feeling of the real sun’s warmth on my skin.
My eyes turn to an oddly shaped groove in the ceiling tiles resembling a bicycle helmet. That image reminds me of my last birthday, long before I had started showing signs that something was wrong. Back then, I was a carefree kid whose biggest “health issue” had been a sunburn I got riding my new bike all over the neighborhood — without sunscreen. How I loved to bike! I miss that feeling so much: the wind in my face; the exhilaration of faster and faster speeds; and most of all, the freedom to go wherever I want, or nowhere at all.
Now, I’m fortunate if I get to go out of my room. Of course, I am lucky to be alive, but it doesn’t feel that way…
Today, I aced my test, and Mom said we could make cupcakes to celebrate! Marie loves dark chocolate: the darker, the better. So, we first went to the market to get the very best, darkest chocolate we could find, then, we made cupcakes, frosted them, added sprinkles and — oh no! I had promised Marie that I would go visit her today.
She’s my best friend, we used to be inseparable. She is the one with whom I was always making plans, such as coordinating our vacations to overlap; the one who studied with me for tests, like that last science test on moon phases; the one I would defend from bullies at school, especially that popular, bratty girl Virginia. Now, Marie is probably mad at me because I didn’t show up. She’s alone so much these days. Everyone has to go to school or work, and she’s stuck in the same old hospital bed for such long periods of time.
Part of me is wondering how I could’ve forgotten, and the other part tells me that I’m choosing to ignore things. Sometimes, I think I’m in denial about her condition, that if I don’t think about it, it won’t be true. I fantasize that she’ll walk into class any day now and sit down next to me. Guilt swirls in my stomach every time I think like this. When I do think of Marie, a lot of the time it’s in anger. I am angry about all the things we don’t get to do together anymore. I am also angry at my helplessness – that I can’t really do anything to fix things and make her better. I am not angry at Marie; I know it’s not her fault. Obviously, I am the lucky one. But I still am lonely. Tomorrow will be better. I promise I’ll go visit her. She’s gonna love the cupcakes!
I am being monitored much more than usual today, which probably means that I’m getting worse, not better like I’m supposed to be. You know what I hate most about my hospital stay? The silence. In those long, lonely stretches between check-ins, I generally sit silently, alternating between dozing off, mindlessly gazing at things around me, pondering things I used to do, or dreaming about things I want to do. Anything to distract myself from dwelling on my “situation”.
Who would have thought thinking could be so painful? When I actively think, my mind naturally, inadvertently, uncontrollably turns to partial conversations I have overheard between the doctors and my parents, and ultimately to my worst fears: that I might be dying. Obviously, I have no clue whether I’ll make it — no one does. Of course, everyone tries hard to be optimistic around me. Sometimes, their positive attitudes help, and sometimes, none of it makes a difference.
Before all of this, death felt like something that happened to other people, something that I heard about on the news. I don’t even know anyone that’s died. This isn’t supposed to be happening to me, I still have so many plans; Anna and I were going to sign up for that French exchange program. I was even thinking of auditioning for the lead in this year’s school musical. Now, I’m scared. I don’t know how much time I have left and I hate that I can’t do anything about it. But, at least I won’t have to be by myself today. Anna said she was coming over. In fact, she should’ve been here by now…
Sitting in the back of my mom’s car, I clutch a small plastic-wrapped plate of cupcakes on my way to the hospital. I hope she’s not mad at me because of yesterday, though my nervousness still shows in the way I’m twisting little pieces off of the corner of the cupcake wrappers. When we finally arrive, I open the front door and the hospital smell hits me. I used to hate the too clean, too artificial smell of hospitals, but I’ve grown used to it by now.
As we walk past reception, I scan the lobby and the other people waiting here, so many also visiting. Before my semi-regular trips to visit Marie, I’d never really thought about all the sick people in the world, and all the peoples’ lives who are affected by them. I swallow and follow my mom as the elevator chimes its arrival to the 5th floor and we step out and walk in silence, by the nurses station and down the all too familiar path to room 514.
She looks so weak and pale. Her small hand clutches at a remote control that helps her to sit up, call for a nurse, and even watch TV. Today, she feels too weak to walk. She seems to be made of glass: fragile and breakable. When I visit her on days like this, I’m afraid I could hurt her, so different from the rough kid who would bounce around as if life was her personal playground. I sit on the side of her bed and try to smile, but it doesn’t come naturally, as if we are frozen. We stare at each other for a moment, and then awkwardly turn away.
At first, we don’t know what to say, which is surprising, because usually, it’s hard to keep us quiet. The memory of Madame Laurent scolding us for chit-chatting incessantly during last year French’s festival is all too vivid. We always had something we wanted to tell each other. But right now, we find ourselves at a loss for words. “I’m sorry,” I blurt out, the first one to break the uncomfortable silence. She tilts her head gingerly and runs her tongue over her dry lips.
“What for?” she asks, genuinely not mad at me.
“For not coming yesterday, I feel so bad-”
“No,” she cut me off, “it’s ok Anna.”
“No, it’s not ok.” I press “I should’ve been here for you.”
“Well, you’re here now.”She looks up at me kindly, forgivingly…this helpless girl, stuck in a hospital bed for weeks on end, chipping away at the tension between us.
I smile down at her. “We have a lot of catching up to do…”
After Anna and her mother leave, I realize I feel exhausted, much more tired than usual. I dismiss my fatigue and tell myself that whatever it is, I should sleep. Sleep is probably the best thing I can do to pass the time. So many hours, days, and weeks on end — even though it’s basically impossible to get extended sleep in here with nurses constantly checking in. Recently though, sleep has been troubling for me, filled with never ending nightmares, such as the one last night where an endless line of nurses kept giving me shots. Still, after downing my nighttime meds, I collapse quickly into deep slumber.
The next morning, I feel much stronger and more energized. I have an appetite and I order a big breakfast, which I quickly scarf down. I feel like I may even be able to get up and walk around today. It’s pretty normal for my health to rise and fall a little, but this time it feels different. It feels like a big improvement. When the doctors came this morning to check-in with me, they seemed encouraged, telling me the treatments seem to finally be overtaking the disease again, and that I’m on my way back to recovery. It seems no one expected this change. I can even go out into the central area now, where other patients my age are playing and talking together. I’m more hopeful than I’ve been in months. I allow myself to start to believe that I can recover. I’m actually going to make it!
Marie’s mother just called. Apparently, Marie has made a big rebound. She’s even up and walking around! Upon hearing the news, I exhale a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding. A breath I must have been holding for months, since first hearing Marie had gotten sick. I have been so worried about her, and now, I finally feel like I might be able to relax a little.
Despite the fact that it’s not me who’s sick, I still feel sick to my stomach every time I hear or think about Marie. Sometimes, I even feel guilty that I’m the one who’s fine and she’s the one who’s so sick. Marie’s mother told me that Marie is up and about and wondering where I am. I ask my Mom and she said that although it’s a bit late today, we can go visit her tomorrow after school. Gotta make more cupcakes. Unfortunately, we don’t have any of that fancy dark chocolate that Marie likes so much. Oh well, Marie has never met a cupcake that she didn’t like. I’ll have another chance to make her special dark chocolate cupcakes next time. I’m so excited! Things are finally looking up. This is the way things should be.
I wander into the patient courtyard — where patients both older and younger are milling around — and allow myself to feel happy. To be out here means that I am well enough to not be in there, not be stuck in 514 with its fake sky, fake clouds, and fake sun. Well enough to walk without constant supervision again.
I forget how good it feels to be able to wander, to go anywhere you want with no goal or destination. Such a simple thing that we all take for granted feels like the very essence of freedom.
I discover that a lot of the patients out here are in similar situations. I sit down on one of the benches, fatigued from the sudden rush of noise, sound, and color after having spent so much time pent up in my small room. I start to feel overwhelmed, but in a good way, like when you wake up from a bad dream and all the brightness of the day hits you suddenly, and you feel awake and happy: the dream is finally over.
Not long after I sit down, a little girl sits down on the other side of the bench. The girl appears a few years younger. She looks down at her shoes, her shoulders hunched and her mouth a little pouty.
“Hey,” I say to the girl, “what’s wrong?” She looks up at me and sniffles a little.
“I’m just sad. I don’t wanna stay in the hospital anymore.” She looks out over the roof of the building towards the sky beyond.
“It’s ok,” I reply gently, “It gets better.” I pull out a piece of my favorite dark chocolate out of my pocket and hand it to her. She takes it and stuffs it into her mouth before making a face, proclaiming:
“Bleh, it’s too bitter,” sadness crosses her face again, “I miss chocolate. I wanna go back home.”
I stick a piece of chocolate into my own mouth “Look at me, yesterday I was stuck in my bed and today I’m outside walking around. Don’t worry, you’ll get better and then you’ll be able to go back home.”
She wrinkles her nose at me. “Are you sure? I kinda hurt and the people here keep poking me with needles…” Her eyes flick down to a small bandaid on her arm before rising back up to my face. I thought I saw a little glimmer of hope cross her features.
“I’m sure.” I smile back, “It’ll all get better.”
I have been thinking a lot. About Marie that is. I’m so excited that she’s getting better. I had been feeling negative emotions: anger, loneliness, even some guilt, but I don’t have those thoughts anymore. Now, when I go to visit Marie, I feel happy. Happy to go to a hospital, a place where people are sick, or worse, dying. I watch her with other patients: she seems so strong and many of them seem to be looking up to her: they know her story, how she’s battled. Now, she inspires other patients by the way she interacts with them, exhibiting a combination of confidence and sensitivity.
Naturally, Marie’s mother is both excited and proud. She even pulled us aside as we were leaving, “She’s been so brave throughout this. When she comes home, I want to throw her a party where we can all celebrate.” We eagerly agree and everyone has been busy party-planning over the past few days. At dinner with my mom, we discuss the details of the party, from the guest list to the food to the decorations. Of course, we will have Marie’s famous dark chocolate cupcakes.
A few minutes later, mom’s phone rings. It’s a call from Marie’s mother. “Wait a minute,” she says, picking up her phone and stepping into the other room. I sit up in my seat, suddenly excited, listening as she takes the call, soft murmurs drifting in through the cracked door.
I’ve been so happy about Marie’s recovery, especially given all the mixed emotions I’ve been feeling. I miss Marie so much. I miss calling her and talking about our classes, friends, frenemies, activities, vacation plans, and the like – basically, everything.
Sometimes, I am hit by fits of anger and all I can think of is how unfair it is that Marie is sick. But then comes the guilt. What’s wrong with me? Marie is the sick one here. She is the one stuck in a hospital, the one who needs me to support her. Still, I’ve been scared: scared of what might happen to Marie; of us drifting apart; of everything changing between — of losing my best friend. But strong Marie is pulling through. She’s recovering. Soon enough, I’ll be chatting and playing and planning with Marie. Just like we used to before she got sick. Like she never left.
Suddenly, my mom steps back into the room. I am jolted out of my thoughts, slightly disoriented. For a moment, I don’t notice the look on my mom’s face, but then I do. Her eyes are fixated on me, her pupils widened, sorrowful. The light glints off of them, scattering light. I think I see a sheen of tears. But… what could be wrong? Marie is getting better. We’re planning a big party. I’m making more cupcakes. I have the ingredients out and an egg in my hands. Mom stands in silence, her mouth turned down and the wrinkles on her face deepening. She shifts her weight uncomfortably, leaning against the door frame for support. “What’s… what’s wrong?” I finally manage to get out. My voice sounds distant, weak. She continues to stand there for an eternity, looking despairingly sad.
For a moment my senses turn hyper-aware, as if they are taking in every detail, every stain on the kitchen’s tile floor, every crack in the off-white paint on the walls, every tiny, miniscule speck of dust in the air. Even the smooth, cool feeling of the egg I’m holding in my hand. The egg I’m going to use to make Marie’s cupcakes. They are memorizing, no, engraving this memory into my mind forever. This moment in time.
My mother opens her mouth to speak, something in her face tells me we won’t be making any more cupcakes. When her lips finally manage to form the words, her voice is ragged. “Anna, Marie was rushed into emergency surgery last night. She didn’t make it.”
I drop the egg onto the kitchen floor.
Note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people or events is purely coincidental. The author is an 8th grade student at Wayland Middle School and has never been to a hospital.
I know this is not what fans of the New England Patriots want to hear, but it’s time to face the future: Tom Brady is going to the Los Angeles Chargers.
All the evidence points west. First let’s look at the local angles: he and wife Gisele Bundchen have put their house in Brookline on the market, his guru Alex Guerrero put his house on the market, he asked the Patriots not to give him the franchise tag last year, and owner Robert Kraft granted him this wish. Brady’s relationship with coach Bill Belichick has been frosty in recent years, and Belichick has reportedly dreamed of winning a Super Bowl without Brady, further cementing his legacy as the greatest coach in NFL history.
Now let’s look at the Chargers angle: they are moving into a new stadium this coming season, one which they will be sharing with the Rams. They were required, as past of the deal with the Rams, to sell PSLs, or personal seat licenses, which only puts more pressure on them to make a big splash in free agency and sign a superstar who will attract ticket-buyers. Their former franchise quarterback, Philip Rivers, has moved to Florida and officially parted ways with the team. Brady is from California, and Bundchen, being a supermodel, is unlikely to oppose moving to the West Coast where so much of her industry is located.
It’s possible that Brady wanted to finish his career with either the Patriots or the San Francisco 49ers, the team he grew up rooting for, but Belichick has seemingly blocked both of these paths – the first through his behind-the-scenes opposition to Brady being re-signed, and the second through trading quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo to the 49ers in 2017.
Money – as usual – is an issue as well. The Patriots and Tom Brady have an expiring contract that spreads out “dead money” – money that will be owed to Brady next year regardless of where he goes – to the tune of $13 million. Kraft has previously stated that he does not want to pay the penalty for going over his salary cap, so signing Brady to a new contract at market value, which could be roughly $25 to $30 million a year, simply doesn’t add up for Kraft.
Brady has said he wants to play until age 45. He will be 43 at the beginning of next season, so it’s likely he will seek a three-year deal in the range of $75 to $90 million or more, and given what other, less accomplished quarterbacks have been paid in the NFL, he could get it. There are only a handful of teams with a need at quarterback and the “cap space,” or budget, to pay a once in a generation star like Brady. The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins are two other potential options, but one argument against them is Brady’s reported reluctance to return to Gillette Stadium in an opponent’s uniform next season. Both the Raiders and Dolphins will be playing in Foxborough this fall.
One team who won’t be playing there? The Los Angeles Chargers.
i. A Being of Thought
I am, so I think.
I am, or so I think.
I am, at least I think, so I think.
I am, therefore I think.
I think, therefore I am.
I think I am, therefore I am as I think.
My thoughts think I am.
I am through my thoughts.
My thoughts think they are, therefore I think I am.
I am in my thoughts.
In my thoughts, I think I am.
I am through my thoughts, the thoughts that I think.
I think I am.
I think I am a being of thought.
ii. Dreams From a Butterfly’s Life
Perhaps all of life is a dream.
Thought together at the seams.
Perhaps everything isn’t real.
Though if I think it is, what’s the big deal?
Does it matter if I think thoughts,
or if thoughts think me?
If reality is real,
or merely a dream?
For if I believe it is, it is.
If I think it is, it is.
And if I believe I am, I am
If I think I am, I am.
Perhaps I think thoughts.
Perhaps they think me.
Perhaps I am thought by another being.
But if all of life was a dream,
I would think it all the same.
So I think thoughts and they think me.
iii. My Own Dreams
Swirling at the seams,
falling at the edge of view,
I can see my dreams,
all the stories that I brew.
The stars can bring the light,
and the sun will shine,
for living life is bright
from this view of mine.
I’ll tell a tale of light,
that forgets to leave its mark.
I’ll miss a dream in the night,
left behind in the dark.
Through snow and rain and hail,
weather fair and not,
on oceans I will sail,
forgetting what I’ve sought.
Every story told,
every breath that I take,
forms a dream so old,
that I forget it when I wake.
I look to the sky,
and I look to the sea.
I wonder and ask why,
why I am me.
The dreams beyond my sleep
may forget me when I wake,
but tales I sow and reap
are always mine to make.
The stars, the sun, the moon,
they populate the sky,
but I know one day soon,
they too shall die.
And so every story ends,
as it all begins.
Time heals and mends,
in the hearths of inns.
Or so once I dreamed
in the sleep of my mind.
Where, at the seams,
the universe, for once, seemed kind.
iv. A Scene from the End of My Life
Chimes heard on the breeze
Oh, the story my brain weaves
Wind rustles through the leaves
The memories slip away with ease
Cold nips at all things
To dream many dreams with wings
Acorns fall from trees
To sail upon those infinite seas
Flowers bloom in color
Though time makes it duller
Logs are stacked neatly
To me, Death whispers sweetly
In the sky, the sun sinks
All thoughts my brain thinks
v. Pretty, Empty Things
I am full
It’s all a
that I tie up
in a pretty bow
and pretty paper.
How ironic that I write beautiful nothings about my beautiful nothings.
Just another one of those things
that sounds nice
but doesn’t mean