To 2015 - 2016

By Svetha Pulavarty

  1. Untitled
    By Dale Kerem, 12
A cup of hot cocoa in slightly cracked porcelain. You can smell it, can’t you? Chocolate and milk and sugar, rich and creamy. The warmth radiates from it, fighting against the cold. You should sit in that armchair beside the fire. It’s the warmest, I’ve found. And now for an introduction. Hello. Let me tell you a story. It won’t take long -- just a moment or two or ten. A small clearing of nothing in the vast expanse of your day. You have time, don’t you? Let me show you something.
There’s a little girl sitting on that bench over there. She looks five or six years old. Her legs are too short to reach the ground, so her feet dangle over the edge, a lovely mixture of pink sneakers and blue shoelaces. Her name is Sarah, and she has just discovered the taste of butter pecan ice cream. It drips down the cone, and she hurries to lick it all up before it reaches her hand.
It’s summer, blazing and brilliant. The colors seem brighter. Vibrant greens stand out against the concrete sidewalk. Sarah’s father comes along, now. He smooths his suit with one hand and holds a briefcase in the other. Looks up at the blue, cloudless sky and thinks, what a marvelous day to be alive.
Sarah finishes the top part of her ice cream and starts on the cone. To her, being alive is a given. She feels no wonder at it. The grass is green, the sky is blue, and Sarah is alive. Hello. Let me tell you a story. Let me introduce myself. Sarah was I. Sarah was me.
Behind Sarah, there's an apple tree. Yesterday, a man was hanged there. Today, he is gone, and Sarah eats ice cream under the boughs of apples and leaves. She doesn't know about death. She hasn't internalized it. Death is far away. It happens to other people.
There's a story of a lord somewhere, somewhen, who had his page boy follow him around and remind him every hour: memento mori. Remember death. So the story continues, the lord never died. He rode his chariot straight to Heaven. No apple tree could hold him here -- death happens to other people.
Sarah's father hums and dabs a bit of ice cream on the little girl's nose. She giggles, kicking her feet a little bit. He picks her up and walks away, not sparing a second glance towards the apple tree.