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The Eclectic Pen - live for the moments

By: Terry J.   + 8 more  
Date Submitted: 11/2/2007
Genre: Literature & Fiction » Short Stories & Anthologies
Words: 4,089

  i have had a bit of a post-my-writing spree lately. a friend influenced me to do so. so, here is the last for today. again, it is not finished. i am not sure where to go with it, so please, give suggestions, even if only to tell me it sucks. thank you. terry j.

1. The night attendant at my new jail, a place called Juvenile Children’s Association, which was only about fifty miles from Vintage, South Carolina, where I was born, was named Ms. Fiona Jem. She looked at least a million old and had gray, blue tinted hair. She was tall and plump and rosy-cheeked in a Grandma way, and I suspected that she was what Mrs. Claus may have looked liked if she were real. Ms. Fiona Jem smiled a lot, and gave me a candy when I was escorted by Officer Johnson into the Center. I took the candy, but I didn’t eat it. I hate green Jolly Ranchers. But I didn’t say anything, just smiled back. It wasn’t Ms. Fiona Jem who took me to my newest room, though, it was another night attendant, who said her name was Jenny. “Welcome to the Center ” She said happily, pushing the right buttons on the elevator. “Thanks.” I said. Jenny wasn’t too much taller then me, and looked Chinese or Japanese or something. Though I was a native of Eastern Asia, and most definitely looked the part, I couldn’t tell which place any other foreigner was from. I think it’s because of a glitch in my brain. One of my best friends, who lived in Manhattan, was Korean. I’d always though she looked Chinese though. Her name was Jewel Kim. My name got changed when my old family moved to American. “Here it is. Your room. You like it, huh?” I shrugged. Jenny laughed. I looked around when Jenny finally left. The room was white. The curtains were white. I felt like I was in a looney bin or something. It was all white and creamy and soft and alone. Of corse, I was used to the alone part. Even before I turned twelve and got thrown into foster care, I had been alone. I’d had plenty of people around me at school and stuff, sure. That didn’t mean I wasn’t alone. Mom hadn’t been alone. She’d had something. Something that kept her alive and un-alone. I’m not sure what it was, because I couldn’t image that being the drugs. But then again, Mom was still happy somewhere, and I was the drug-free fifteen year old in some center for troubled kids who couldn’t seem to obey the stupid laws. I threw my small, brown and turquoise, bohemian-style duffle bag, which I had decorated with beads, sequins, and bobby pins, lightly on the floor beside the white bed and laid down. I was tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I sat up, and I heard somebody else moving. I looked over. There was a boy about my age or maybe a little older, sitting right across from me on another bed. “You must be new.” He said matter-of-factly. I nodded at him. Duh. “Why are you here?” “You first.” I said. I wasn’t one to give out all my secrets right off the bat. He laughed, “Fine. My dad moved in with his other family, and my mom killed herself.” “So? That wouldn’t mean you broke the law or nothing. Why did they send you here, and not some group home or something?” The boy frowned, “They think I did it.” Funny, I thought, almost the same reason as me. But I didn’t tell him that. Instead I said, “Sorry. How?” “How what?” “How’d she die?” His really blue eyes got so sad I almost felt bad. But he answered me, “She used the butcher knife Erika knocked over. Slit her wrists.” “Oh. Why aren’t you in jail?” I pulled my sleeves farther down so he wouldn’t see that I’d mastered that cutting thing before, too, only with razors, pencils, and broken bracelets. No matter how deep I had cut, I couldn’t get myself to let myself die. I couldn’t let my ass of a mom win. “Got out of juvy early. Good behavior. But they still think I’m a threat or a mad killer or something.” “Huh.” I pulled my sleeves farther down as he talked some more about his mom. I just nodded at the boy across from me, trying not to look like I was hiding anything. I forgot to ask who Erika was. “Why are you here?” He asked again. I shrugged, “I got in trouble.” I almost laughed at how stupid an answer that was. Why else would I be in a juvenile delinquent center? “What did you do?” I shrugged, handing him the green Jolly Rancher, “What’s you name?” “Coda Dylan.” “Oh, you’re a Coda Bear, huh? Impressive. I’m Corey Collins.” I shook his hand. “Collins? Like Chloe Loves Collins, the band?” I shook my head no, “Like my last name Collins.” Only it wasn’t the name I was born with. I was born as Kim Lang. But she is not me anymore; I am no longer her. I became Corey Collins when I was two. I have been her ever since. I turned around on my side, and went to sleep.

Dear Diary,
I hate the word diary. This is a journal. It’s a black and red polka dot book full of empty paper that I am going to write on. My new English teacher, Teach, says my writing sucks bad, and she even told Johnson, and he says I have to write in this stupid think every dammed day if I want to keep dancing. And since I want to keep jazz dancing, I’m writing. Johnson is my probation officer who caught me trying to cut myself once. He’s the one who arrested my mom. He’s the reason I’m in here, even though I know he’s really not. His real name’s Dwight Johnson, but I just call him Johnson or D, sometimes. He’s a pretty cool guy, for a cop. Anyway, I even got a new set of jell pens, so I figure I should at least not let them go to waste. Teach, I mean Mrs. What’s-Her-Face, says I get off topic too much. But in her class, I can’t help it. We have to write about families and heroes and homes. I have to lie about those things. I don’t know about those things. I guess I get off topic when I lie. Oops. Far as I know, me and Coda Bear, plus some of the girls in my counseling group at the Center, Raja, Richie, and Malaysia, are the only ones in the school with no family that was great, hero that could make a difference, or home that would keep us warm and safe. None of us are in the same classes at school. Screw Teach. Screw Kingston Highschool, home of the Dragons, where I have to go to now. Screw it all.
So . . . I guess I’ll tell you my name is Corey, by the way. I don’t see why I shouldn’t let you know my name. If you end up reading this, you won’t find anything but scribbles anyway. No personal stuff, I promise. I’ll tell you something else, too, it’s snowing outside, in Ocotber. I love snow. I used to think it was magic. That’s all I have to say today. I don’t know how to end this thing. I’d say ttyl, but I’m not talking so that wouldn’t work. So I’m ending like this:
Fuck You Bitches,
Just kidding

W.T.Y.L. {write to you later}
Corey Jade Collins

It was my third week at the Center when Johnson scrounged out a new potential family for me. I couldn’t go back into foster care until eight months, when my juvy sentence that I got to serve in the Center was over, but Johnson wanted me to get a good family, so I had to start looking early, I guess. Whatever. In the time I’d been living at the Center, I’d actually had a good time, though. I had become friends with many of the girls in my dorm hall, including Maddie Turner, Raja Riler, and Brooklyn Kwan. Turns out, I did have classes with Brooklyn {she had signed up late} so we hung out a lot at school. But when I was at the Center, I spent almost all of my free time with Coda. He was nice and had a since of gentleness that seemed to follow him everywhere. I felt like I could trust him almost. I hadn’t felt that way about anybody in a long time. Besides being nice, Coda had something about him that made him not so lonely as the rest of us here. He didn’t seem as regretful. He didn’t seem as lousy. He wasn’t afraid, or at least he didn’t show it, of any thing, person, or force. He didn’t care that he was what he was, that being a “troubled child” to anyone who saw where he lived, and he didn’t seem to notice either. Now that I had him around, I didn’t much need anybody else. I knew about everything there was to know about Coda Dylan. His birthday {March seven, nineteen-ninety , making him a year older than me}, his favorite things {music, reading, thunder storms, Greek food, and basketball}, his hobby {playing the electric and acoustic guitars}, and even that he had a twin sister in Queens, his hometown, named Sarah, living with an uncle, and a younger brother named Chris, in Chicago, Illinois, with his dad. So I didn’t want to leave just yet, nor at all at that point, if only for the simple reason that Coda knew nothing about me other than the fact that my life is jazz dancing and I hate math. I wanted to tell him more. But for that, I needed time. Time was everything.

The new potential family was the Harvey’s. Mr. Harvey was thin and tall, really tall. I was about for sure that he could have reached up and pulled out the sun anytime he wanted. He didn’t have much hair, only on the sides, but what he did have still had the same brown color of his thick mustache. He reminded me a bit of Edward Herrmann. Mrs. Harvey was not what America would view as beautiful, but then again, who really was anymore? But what she lacked in beauty, she gained in loveliness and kindness. And as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, I did not know many people with those qualitites. I liked her the minute I saw her, and knew she would most likely be like a grandma or auntie type. You can just tell that with some people. But I could tell another thing too, one that made me reluctant to meet them: the Harvey’s were rich. They had to be. They wore the good clothing brands, most of which I’d only seen in Macy’s or Armani catalogs that Johnson picked up for his lawyer brother’s clients some days, and the Harvey’s had even driven to the Center in a shiny, black Cadillac Escalade. But despite how rich they looked, the Harvey’s son, Jared Harvey, who was thirteen, looked like just a normal kid. Or at least he looked rowdy and wild. The only word I’d heard him say was hi, but he wasn’t mean or anything. Just shy and quiet; and a towhead, if I’ve ever seen one. Mrs. Harvey winked at me on her way out, after Mr. Harvey had shook my hand firmly, “It was great meeting you, Corey.” “You, too.” I said, even though it wasn’t. I wasn’t stupid. They would never want me. Not for real, not for keeps. “We’ll be back tomorrow?” She was asking. She wouldn’t come back if I didn’t want her to, not for me anyhow. I smiled, “Yeah. I’ll be here. But is it okay if I bring my friend?” “Absolutely ” And with that, the Harvey’s were gone. At least until tomorrow. But I would have Coda with me. I would be okay.
“So, you like them?” Johnson asked me later. He had decided to take me out to lunch at Veggie Café, just like he always did on potential family meeting days. I took a bite of my noodles and shook my head, “Nope.” Johnson got wide eyes, “But you were so nice to them. You don’t even like them a little?” “Nope.” “Then why bother being nice?” I laughed. “Really?” I looked at him,. He nodded. I raised an eyebrow, “Yeah?” “Yeah.” “Because the only person I hate enough to hurt is my mom, and she isn’t around anymore is she?” Johnson shrugged, “Guess not. So why do like dance?” “Nice topic changer.” “Not a topic changer. Just a question.” I raised my eyebrows, and I though about it, trying to put the reason for my living into words, “I Iike the control. The depth, the power. It’s like a whole story, but you have to tell it without talking.” “Huh.” I rolled my eyes, figuring I needed some humor, “I like to get freaky with the hot male dancers, is that better?” “Much,” Johnson laughed. I laughed, too, since I liked Johnson okay enough to laugh when I knew he wanted me too.

“How was the meeting, Collins?” Coda asked me when I got back to our room. I shook my head. “Ok.” I said. “So . . .” “We’re meeting them tomorrow. Me and you.” “Me?” “And you is what I said.” I found it funny how he didn’t hesitate a bit before saying, “You bet.” I hoped he wasn’t like me. I hoped he like them. He wanted a family bad. I was just waiting around. I didn’t want a family. I’d had one once, and it didn’t quite work out for me. Whenever I got to thinking about stuff like that, I had the urge to cut. So, to not let Coda see me, I went into the bathroom, took my razor, and held it to my soft wrist, creating two lines, red and jagged. I moved the pink razor slowly across my wrist, back and forth, up and down. Then I cut up to my middle part of my arm, and stopped, a little farther than normal, but not as deep. While most cutters started full on and got used to it quickly, I cut gradually, edging as long as I could to the beginning, before cutting deeper. I sort of escaped the death thing, but got the same paining results. I breathed in, put the razor back, sprayed perfume around me { and lightly into my wounds- a trick I’d learned controlled the bleeding} and unlocked the bathroom door. I pulled my tight sleeves down, walked into my room, and went to bed.

Hey Journal Readers,
FYI: I think I forgot to say I am a real dancer. A junior professional dancer of Khim Chu Academy, to be exact. I’ve been dancing since I was six, and so far have competed in over ninety competitions, sixty nine of them winning first place, the rest either coming in second or third. I’m fifteen. Not bad, huh? Dancing is my only way out of my life, besides the cutting and, occasionally, starving, so I love it most. Dancing is more than that, though. It makes me safe. It protects me when I am lost and afraid. It gives me my strength.
I guess I should clarify what I meant a while ago by starving. I’m not anorexic or anything. It’s just that some days I don’t want to cut, and I can’t dance due to poor scheduling. So I make a pact not to eat that day, so I can concentrate on that, instead of reality, which sucks if you ask me. But anyway, there was never much to eat where I’m from anyway. I was raising myself, and my salary from Grover’s, a car shop in Brooklyn, didn’t exactly pay me a million bucks. So that’s it. No worries, all right? I haven’t starved myself since I was ten. That’s five years ago. Sing it loud and proud, I guess.
The cutting thing is just how it sounds. I cut myself almost three times a week, but never too deep. A few long, wiggly lines across my arm and wrist is all. Always my left wrist and arm, so I can always write fine. I’m right handed. I only met one person who cut like me, and that was my first friend I met the second time I was in juvy hall, named Nicolette Smallwood. She was a cool girl, and about three years older then me. She taught me how to cut right, and how to make sure my arms did not bleed in front of anybody. She was smart, Nic Smallwood was.
Don’t worry if you considered that all to be personal. For me, it wasn’t. Starving is distracting, cutting is forgetting, and dancing is a life of mine I’ll share with anybody. Even you, whoever you are.

W.T.Y.L. ,
Corey Jade Collins

2. Jab. Jab. Upper. Jab. I pounded that kid like he’s never been pounded before. And it felt so damned good. “Get off ” His screams made me more bitter, so I pounded him some more. Ha. The big blubber of a principal here at Kings High pulled me off the best he could, but I landed one on him too, and it wasn’t what I would call and accident. Blubber had enough worries without me jabbing him, but I was mad. “Corey ” It was my friend Coda this time. A friend who had never seen me fight before. A person who was oblivious to my life. I loved that guy like a big brother, so I quit fighting, and turned to look at him. Blubber, who’s really Mr. Carson, kept a firm grip on my arm, not that I couldn’t get loose if I wanted to. I could. I could fight. I could run. But Coda looked so damned nervous that I didn’t want scare him by running off. I didn’t want to scare myself. I had a feeling that if I started running, I’d never come back. Never ever. Coda came over to me and Blubber, and looked at Tommy Wilkes, lying on the ground, looking scared as shit. Ha.

“What are you thinking, man?” I shrugged. Johnson had been called to pick me up from school while some dude called the Director Of Schools, who I’ve never really met, had a talk with Tommy’s parents and Blubber. “Corey, you can’t just wack the principal. Wilkes, sure, but dammit. The principal? He’ll kick you out.” “So? Come on, D, you know it’s funny. It’s Blubber.” “Blubber is in a whale. Mr. Carson can persuade services. Mr. Carson can get you back put into another school or even sent back to juvy hall, if he presses charges against you. And Tommy’s parents . . . good grief, kid, they could press charges, too, and you could get up to five years locked up. You want that?” “Aw, Johnson. Hell, I been in worse than this. Remember?” Johnson smiled, “I know, you rascal. And I’m glad we got you to a safer place than where you were, even though I bet you hate me for it. But . . . But still, cut it out, please?” I nodded, “‘Kay. Can we get pizza for the Ass.?” “The Association. Yeah, why not? It always softens people up, doesn’t it?” I smiled knowingly at Johnson; I’d been in trouble before, and he’d helped me out. I asked where Coda’d gone too. D looked like he was struggling for words for a minute. “What?” I asked. I have a rep for being blunt. And a fighter. And a damned good dancer. And sarcastic. But I’m not mean or nothing. People don’t think I’m mean. D shook his head, “Did Wilkes . . .” “Yeah. He was trashing the place. Making fun of it. Of me living there. He said I’m a druggie and a smacker and a pot head, too. But it’s no biggy. He can’t see out of his right eye no more.” “Smacker?” “Dealer on smack. But really, I don’t care.” “How does he know . . .” “I trusted him once. Back when I trusted people.” “Oh. Just his one eye?” “Maybe both.” Johnson frowned, “I’ll be God damned . . . What the hell is wrong with some people?” I shrugged. “You can trust me, you know that? Not everybody is,” “An ass?” “Right. You okay, for real?” I shrugged, “Coda. Where is he?” “Huh? Oh, he’s at the Center.” I went inside to order the pizzas. A lot of them.
That night, Manny Defrost, the “head man” of the Center, told me all twenty of the “rules of the house,” but I can only remember the first two:
1. No fighting on Center campus.
2. No fighting at school.
I though those were stupid rules. The Center is full of messed of kids like me. How do you live and not fight every once and a while? But then again, I never got how you could live and not dance, either, so maybe it was just me who felt that way.

The Eclectic Pen » All Stories by Terry J.

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