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Jenna Fields

The Walking Oxymoron

Ithaca, United States

Having always been enamored by the power of written words, I started writing poetry at age ten. I now write prose about my life experiences, as well as some short fiction pieces. I am currently studying to be a computer science and English double major at Cornell University.

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When the Sun Sets

Aug 31, 2019 3 months ago

The day after my dad died, I could feel myself being ripped to shreds. It was like a tsunami of reality crashed over me, and my only choice was to curl into a ball and wait for the seemingly endless waves to stop. They finally did, but now I have been dipped in the River Styx. Almost invincible, but if you hit me in the right place, I will break. I will shatter into raindrops of a human being and you will be cupping your hands together to try to catch pieces of me but I will slip through all of the cracks. There is an art to grieving. If you do it right, it has a certain elegance to it, a gentle lilt between past and present——ah, the dilemma of past and present, what seems to be my main struggle these days. I am a cacophony of “was”es and “is”es; I am stretched out through time and the part of me in the present is wearing thin. I feel the past inside of me. Memories, while intangible, are my most valued possessions. But I can't do anything to keep them safe. Even as I turn them over in my head to keep them from getting dusty, my gentle touch smudges their details. They are all-too-delicate for this far-too-aggressive world. I remember calling my best friend the night my dad passed away. The second I heard his voice, I started crying. I just kept saying, “It's really bad, Calum. It's really, really bad.” Looking back, that doesn't make much sense. Obviously it was “really, really bad;” my dad had passed away maybe an hour earlier. But I didn't know how else to tell him that with my dad went so many pieces of me. I didn't know how to express that, for the first time in my life, I was well and truly broken. I woke up the other morning and didn't remember my dad was gone until I was brushing my teeth. For fifteen blissful minutes, my dad was still here. It felt like a jolt in a roller coaster ride when I realized he was gone. A slight, “oh;” a sad, “hm.” But as soon as the vehicle started again, I kept pace. That's all I do these days: keep pace. There are so many pieces of me that are lost in the past. There is so much that reminds me of what I once had: the Beatles, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, “Brown Eyed Girl,” guitar, mathematics, physics, menorahs, U2, newspaper routes, Spaceballs, the weird pink flowers on the trees, ladders, Teslas, Vans, Nordstrom, watches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Yale, fiber optics, super squishy pillows, dress shoes, no mayo, bright blue eyes, overly pretentious word choice, never any grey hair, shaved heads, backpacks, the empty eyes of not remembering, November 26th, May 25th, September 29th, October 13th, September 28th, March 7th, April 19th, hospital beds, Chopped, green smoothies, Jeopardy, acorn hats, Wheel of Fortune, wheel chairs, the color purple, spoons, heart rate monitors, cold hands—— “Here pause: pause at once. There is enough said. Trouble no quiet, kind heart; leave sunny imaginations hope. Let it be theirs to conceive the delight of joy born again fresh out of great terror, the rapture of rescue from peril, the wondrous reprieve from dread, the fruition of return. Let them picture union and a happy succeeding life.” (from Villette by Charlotte Brontë)

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