What Does ___________ Mean?: The Roving Love Dictionary
What Does ___________ Mean?: The Roving Love Dictionary
What does Love mean to you?
Love is seeing past the cracks, the missing acts, and the backbreaking tax of loving someone else. You don’t fall in love, you choose to love.
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
What does Eye Candy mean to you?
Eye candy is what I see when my girlfriend walks into the room with a smile.
by Dawyn Henriquez ’19
What does Amazon Prime and a good time mean to you?
Amazon Prime and a good time means a love as strong as the “Amazon Prime” shipping tape but gone as quickly as their two-day shipping.
by Julia Zygiel ’19
What does Galentine’s Day mean to you?
When all the single ladies assemble their Spiked Seltzers, ask their guy friends for flowers, and cuddle puddle their way to the climax of The Notebook and Letters to Juliet. It’s okay to be alone on Galentine’s Day, as long as they’re alone together.
by Jay Willett ’20
What does a Ray Date mean to you?
To me a Ray Date is one that is not very special. Some days the food can be better than others, but really, who would want to go there on a date? Although Chicken Nugget Thursdays are a hit, any other day of the week it is very up in the air if you will leave Ray actually satisfied. I feel that if a Ray Date, especially the first date, is the place you go, then from the start you should know that it is nothing serious. They’re not even using Friar Bucks for crying out loud!
by Grace O’Connor ’22
The Reincarnation of George Washington
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
“Vreeeeeeooooww…BOOM!” The dust stings my eyes as it falls from the ceiling above. Eyes that were once green have become perpetually red, but that is what happens when you’ve spent the last six years in a bunker. The bombs are a constant occurrence. They’ve become a white noise like crickets chirping in the hot summer nights. They just make it hard to hear, even if someone is a foot away and yelling down your eardrum. I get closer to try and pick up what the sergeant is saying, but he stops and looks directly at me.
“Did you hear what I said, soldier?”
“No sir, I didn’t.”
He grumbles something and says, “Well you already know the basics. Are you ready for the procedure?”
How does someone answer that? “Procedure” sounds so innocuous. Sounds like I am getting a cavity filled. But there really is no other answer except for, “Yes, sir.”
The sergeant looks at me once again and finally says, “How a scrawny guy like you is the next George Washington, I will never know.” I respond with silence because I do not know the answer. How could a nobody like me be the next host of Washington? But sometimes the hosts are the most random people. I heard the last host of Dwight Eisenhower was born from a prostitute.
The sergeant starts to walk away, and I follow. “Soldier, we are heading to the preparation room, where the doctor will tell you about the details of the procedure for the final time. Listen carefully because there is no going back.” I nod my head, trying to keep pace with my superior. The sergeant suddenly stops, and I run into him. I fall backwards, but he stands upright. He mumbles something under his breath, while I pick myself up and dust myself off. He punches a code into the keypad, and the doors swish open. With a final nod he walks away, and I am left standing at the open doors. Darkness stares back at me, daring me to enter. Trembling, I step forward.
As soon as I am in the room, the doors slam shut behind me and the lights turn on, blinding my eyes. When you live in darkness, your eyes never get used to light. Out of nowhere a surly voice says, “Mr. President, it is an honor. Well, it will soon be an honor.” My eyes slowly readjust to see a short man with a devilish smile in front of me. His blue eyes size me up like a butcher looking at a prize bull. He motions for me to sit on a medical table on the right side of the room. I follow his instructions and walk to the table, and as I look up, I notice a window facing us at the top of the room.
When I sit down, a machine drops from the ceiling and begins to scan me. The short man begins to speak, “My name is Dr. Smith, and I will be walking you through the Reincarnation Procedure today. As you know, you are a perfect match to be a host for the mind of George Washington.” A mechanical arm drops down from the ceiling and it sends a slithering tube down my ear. The doctor sees me wince, but he continues on, “Today we will be ridding you of your mind and replacing it with President Washington’s brain. You will be the key to ending this forever war that we are in.” The slithering tube exits from my nose, and it is covered in mucus and blood. The doctor grabs the tube from my lap and replaces it with a mountain of paper work. “If you will just sign off in the marked off places Mister…. well I guess it doesn’t matter who you used to be. Just sign the paperwork and we can begin with the procedure.”
The doctor leaves the room, but I know that I am not alone. There are people watching me on the other side of that window. Waiting for me to sign my life away, but can I? As I look at the paperwork, some of the phrases catch my eyes. Symptoms will include: Replacement of mind and personality…Loss of control over body…There is no way to reverse the effects of the procedure. I’ve always been told country first, no matter what. That a soldier is expendable…must be expendable in order to be a part of something greater than themselves. But how do I sign my life away? I don’t get to fight. I don’t get to go out on my terms. I joined the army to prove that I could help out my country. To prove that I was worth something. But they only see me as a shell, something to be used to hold their precious general.
I look up at the window and then back down at the papers. I throw the papers to the ground, and I shout at the invisible men, “I won’t do it. I won’t give up my life.” I pull a knife out of my boot and go to slit my throat.
“WHAM!” The doors suddenly slide open, and out of nowhere men tackle me to the ground. One knocks the knife out of my hand, and then I feel a searing pain in my right side. I look to see a tranq in me, and the light in the room fades away.
My eyelids struggle to fight off the assaulting light. It burns through them, and I begin to become conscious again. I go to cover my eyes with my hand, but I cannot move my hand. I look to my side, and I see that it is strapped down on a table. I struggle to move every single muscle in my body, but nothing gives. Suddenly, I hear that surly voice again. “Did you really think you had a choice soldier? You are nothing but a tool for us to use as we see fit. Start the procedure.”
A machine jets down from the ceiling, and all I can do is scream. The pain drowns out every other feeling in my body. Happiness, sadness, frustration, any emotion I had ever felt combined is nothing compared to what I feel now. The light slowly starts to fade from blinding to dim until the darkness envelops me once again.
The machine goes back up into the ceiling and Dr. Smith walks over to the motionless body. He shines a light in its pupils and then says, “Mr. President, are you with us?” A smile creeps across the mouth of the body.
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
What does it take to be broken? Knowing that there is something wrong within yourself, something that just isn’t right. You don’t hide it, no you wear it on your sleeve as an omen. To warn others that this pain has a hold on you that is tight. But you keep living that lifestyle of drinks and pills falling further into that hopeless cycle. Wishing to numb the sharp hurt that lives within you. You wonder if it is even possible to keep fighting for survival.
What is it like to live in that darkness? Seeing that there is light around you, but it is always just out of reach. Like Tantalus trying to quench his thirst, you feel armless. Every time someone tells you to change, you ignore their speech. They don’t know what it’s like to be chained to the past. Every self-destructive action you take creates another chain that holds you tighter than before. You will never move forward because you won’t forgive yourself for all the sins you’ve amassed.
What is it like to live in isolation? Accepting that you must push those closest to you away. The closer they are to you the closer they are to damnation. You’re alright with living in pain, but you won’t allow others to live in your dismay. And when they do try to help, you make another attempt to change. Using them as a crutch, while you try to fix your strife. However, when they start to give up their own lives for your sake, you run away and live estranged. It’s a lonely life, but it’s you’re only life.
The Family Tree
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
Each needle properly in place. All the lights strung and shining. Tinsel showing the reflection of the people standing around the tree. They look at it one last time before they decorate it, bare but beautiful.
Amanda goes to grab her guitar ornament, the acoustic with a guitar wire as its string. She walks around the tree, looking for the perfect spot, as the ornament dangles between her fingers. As she looks, the memories flood her mind. Belting out the chorus to Brown Eyed Girl with her father in the car, her dad showing her how to string her guitar for the first time, her family at her first open mic event at the coffee shop 10 miles down the road. She finds a spot on the right side of the tree, and hangs the ornament from two branches (just for safety).
Dan is digging through the boxes until he can find his favorite ornament. He finally finds the ornament of a cast that was at the bottom of the box. Whenever he sees it, he laughs. He was hospitalized last Christmas with a broken leg, and his family stayed all of Christmas Eve with him. When he woke up there was a present on the table near him. It was the ornament of a cast with a note that said, “We will always be here for you, even when you’re broken.” He hangs it proudly on the front of the tree right in the center.
One by one the memories decorate the tree. Instead of the ornaments weighing the branches down, the connections and bonds that they represent make it look stronger to them. Finally, Mom and Dad grab the angel in the last box. Dad climbs the ladder, as Mom hands the angel to him. As he puts it on top of the tree, a tear falls down his eye. To explain to his kids why their grandfather had passed away a couple of Christmases ago, he told them that he was an angel that would always watch over them. He said that even though he couldn’t be at Christmas anymore, he was there in spirit and that this angel was the way that he could be there with them during Christmas.
When they look at the tree, they don’t see the decorations. They see their hopes and their struggles. They see the connections they have with one another. The tree may change every year, but the memories do not. They look at the tree one last time before they go to bed, full of life and love. This is their family tree.
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick. What would be an eternity to any onlooker is only a few seconds to him. He sits in the chair, hearing only the clock and his thoughts. Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick. He refuses to look up, to see the world around him. Only the smell of rubbing alcohol and plastic reach his mind. Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick. He prefers it this way, because right now… he hates this world.
He feels a tap on his shoulder. He slowly and reluctantly raises his head and looks to his left. It’s his wife. She says to him, “Russ, come on, the doctor is waiting for us.” He slowly nods. Suddenly, he is in the white room with his wife and the doctor. He doesn’t remember getting there, but then again, he doesn’t care either. He comes back to reality only to hear his wife calling his name again. “Russ, Russ.”
He turns his head towards her, “Russ, have you even been listening?” Not making a motion he replies, “Sorry, Megan, I haven’t.” She stands up from her chair ready to yell, when the doctor’s steady voice rings out, “Mrs. Bowers, it’s all right. This is a tough time for everyone. Russ is just trying to get his bearings.” Megan sits back down and for a long time, you can only hear her soft sobs. Eventually, Russ says something. “So doc, what does all this mean? Is Danny all right?”
The doctor nods his head. He replies, “Mr. Bowers, I’m sure you understand. Nothing is wrong with Danny, but there was always a chance that your child would carry the same disease as you.” Russ rubs his head and replies, “But we saw a genetic counselor, and she said that it was unlikely.” The doctor quickly adds, “Not impossible, I’m afraid.” Silence strikes the room again. Megan reaches her hand out to Russ, but all he can feel is grief’s cold embrace. The doctor uncomfortably says, “Danny will live, I assure you. His life will just be…different. Mr. Bowers, I’m sure having lived with it you understand what Danny might need help with.”
His face suddenly grows red, “Doc, just because I understand something doesn’t mean I accept it. Is there anything we can do? For God’s sake I will not allow my son to suffer like I have!” The doctor remains calm, but Megan cries harder. With the stereotypical response that Russ has heard all his life, “I’m sorry Mr. Bowers, but there is no cure at this time. There is medicine, but…”
Russ shakes his head, “Enough with this crap. I’m not looking for pills or shots or anything else. I’m trying to save my son from wondering why life is so crappy, from all the confusion, and from these…white rooms. All these freaking white rooms!”
Megan finally speaks in between sobs, “It’s okay, Russ. It’s okay we’ll figure this out.”
Russ gets up and begins to walk out of the room. On his way out, he says, “Is it okay?”
Back at home, Russ stands over Danny as he sleeps in his bed. On any other night everything would be fine. But this isn’t any other night. It’s a living nightmare for Russ. Danny is sleeping soundly, his chest rising and falling with his breathing, but all Russ can see is the darkness surrounding Danny. From the outside, Megan can only hear Russ’ quiet sobbing. Her hand shakes, as she opens the door. She quietly calls to Russ, “I think we need to have a talk.” She closes the door, and Russ continues to sit in the darkness. He stands up and walks over to Danny’s bed. He kisses him on the forehead as a tear travels down his face and falls onto Danny. Russ takes one last look at Danny then leaves the room.
He walks down the steps to see Megan sitting at the kitchen table. He sees her red eyes and puffy face, not unlike his own, but her trembling hands are what captures his attention. He takes a seat next to hers and puts his hands over hers. For several minutes, they sit together in their own misery refusing to break the silence… refusing to acknowledge their reality. Eventually Megan’s hands stop trembling, and she begins to speak. However, Russ cuts her off by saying, “Megan, please don’t tell me it’s going to be all right. ‘Cause I don’t want to hear that right now.”
She turns her face away from his, but she continues to say, “I know it is going to be tough…for all of us, but we need to stand together in this. We can’t let him know anything is different.”
Russ’s face grows red in anger as he replies, “Well, he will find out eventually. He’ll find out that there is something different about him. It doesn’t matter if it is tomorrow or 10 years from now. Something that he won’t be able to explain. He’ll look to us for answers, and I don’t know what to say.”
Megan turns to Russ and says, “We will find the words together.”
Russ lets go of Megan’s hands and gets up. He begins to pace around the room, nearly walking into everything in his path till his foot hits a chair near the table. Russ picks up the chair and throws it against the wall, and the house shudders at the collision.
Megan jumps up and wraps her arms around him to calm him down, as well as restrain him. “Russ, calm down. Please calm down, honey.”
Russ in his agony cries out, “Why should I be calm? This fucking disease has cursed this entire family.”
Megan whimpers back, “I fell in love with you because you are the empathetic and compassionate man that I have known since day one. If that freaking disease had any part in that, then maybe it was worth it. But I need that compassionate man right now because I can’t do this alone.”
With his head down, Russ whispers, “Megan, what am I supposed to say when Danny asks me why I gave him this disease? When he looks at me and wonders why I brought him into this world to feel only pain?”
“You didn’t bring him into this world. We did, Russ…we did.”
Russ looks at Megan and sees his reflection in the tears streaming down her face.
To Hell And…
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
“Enter when Hope is a thing of the past.”
Shivering, Ron reads the sign posted on the door. The cold wind seeps through his skin and begins to settle within his body. Trying to work up the courage to go in, Ron takes one last look at his surroundings. The dilapidated and windowless buildings don’t hold a soul in sight, the only company seeming to be the rats fighting for the meager scraps of garbage on the streets. Ron takes a deep breath and opens the door, ready to enter the shack. What does he have to lose anyways.
Once inside, the door slams behind him and the doorknob strikes his spine. Ron stumbles forward and falls down the staircase directly in front of him. His knee strikes the first step, his arm breaks upon another step, and this goes on for what feels like an eternity. The darkness enfolds him, and he loses track of time. Falling further, and further down Ron stops feeling everything, even pain. His body hits the ground with a thud once he reaches the bottom. It is somehow colder down here than outside, the cold air begins to sting his nostrils, his lungs, and finally his heart. Ron struggles to lift his bruised and bloodied body up.
“Stay where you are mortal! You are at the final destination,” a voice booms. Ron tries to look around but can’t seem to move. The voice continues, “You have come in search of a loved one, is that right, Ron?”
“Yes,” he meekly calls out. Where was that voice coming from?
“She must have been special for you to travel down to the underworld.”
“What do you mean the underworld?”
“Do not play dumb mortal, I know you have talked with my minions.”
Ron struggles to get off the ground, but he cannot seem to move. He feels the weight of the world pressing down on him, his broken ribs feel as though they are getting closer to his lungs. He looks around and it looks like the shadows of the dark are closer than before. He whimpers, “What are you?”
“I have many names and titles, but I am the one who rules this domain. The one who is king of all souls.”
“Yes, you may call me the Devil.” The last word rings throughout the space, and it causes the whole domain to shake.
“If you know all, then you know why I am here.”
“Yes, but you cannot have her back, once I have a soul I do not give it up.”
A deafening silence envelops Ron. His vision first becomes blurry, his hearing begins to ring louder and louder, he can barely think anymore. The darkness begins to inch closer and closer to him. Tears begin to roll down his cheeks and freeze in mid-air. He cries not because of his bruises, broken bones, and pain, but because he knows what he must do.
“Okay, then I shall stay, I can’t live without her.”
“Bwahahaha!” The sinister laugh stings Ron’s ears. If he could move his hands he would cover them. The Devil continues on, “Fool, your life was mine once you came here. You could not move because your soul has been leaving your body all along.”
Ron cries out, “I don’t care as long as I am with Melissa!”
The Devil continues laughing. “You still think she is here, after all this time. No, she was up in Heaven all along, never here. Now you are doomed to be separated eternally.”
TickTok TickTok Tick
I feel it running after me
Its breath on my neck.
—Jessica Polanco ’20
I can’t feel myself.
No one hears me talk to them
Is this death for me?
—Connor Zimmerman ’20
I hear a shuffle
And a chill goes down my back
All I see are eyes
—Sam Pellman ’20
It lived in Mary’s room
Mom blamed imagination
But I felt its breath
—Julia Zygiel ’19
Late October thoughts
Of pumpkin pies, sugar highs,
Warm nostalgic hearts.
—Erin Venuti ’20
Aura of horror:
Ghosts, witches, black cats are nigh.
The best time of year.
—Sam Ward ’21
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
“Last stop, everybody! Don’t care where you go, but you can’t stay here!” The conductor’s shout pulls me out of my sleep. The train slowly rolls to a stop at the station, and I drag my body off the seat. I get in the line of people, and we trudge our way through the train till we get to the doors. I put my headphones on and turn the music up to 11. Once I am off the train, I get into one of the infinite lines of people packed together that are trying to make it out of the station. I look at my phone and see that I am late, which means the race has already begun.
I begin to bob and weave through the lanes of people to get out of the station as quickly as I can. One second I am in the middle, and the next I am in the right line. I am merging in and out of lines like I’m driving 80 on the highway at night. The mass of people all quickly become a blur, as everyone becomes indistinguishable. Brown hair becomes blonde, tall becomes short and vice versa. I finally find my way to the exit of the station. Now that I am out, I walk to the stoplight and wait for my race to begin again. Sweat streaks down the back of my neck as the summer heat beats down on me. The light turns red, and I’m out onto the crosswalk faster than the walk sign can come on.
The sidewalks are narrow and packed, but that does not stop me. I twist and turn to lead the pack and to avoid those around me. My head is on a constant swivel, as I avoid people with shopping bags, coffee cups and outreached hands. Even in my fast pace the combined heat, dirt, and trash all blend together to create that distinct, inescapable city stench. I pass the construction workers with jackhammers, and I see the finish line in front of my eyes. My second wind begins to come alive.
Suddenly, a bird swoops down in front of me. I swerve to the right and knock down the person next to me. He goes to the ground, but he lands on his backpack. Tourist, I don’t even have to ask. I stop to help the guy up and give my apologies.
He says, “Oh don’t worry, things like this happen every now and then. Where you headed?”
“To work at the State House right ahead, just a little late.”
“That must be so cool to work in a building like that. And to walk through this city everyday, I can’t stop staring at the skyline.”
I look at the skyline, out of curiosity. I’ve never actually stopped to take a look at it, I guess I never have time to do so. I continue to talk with him on my way to work. I stop at the coffee shop before the finish line and buy him coffee. We part ways, and as I walk the rest of the race I begin to look up instead of straight ahead.
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
In a mirror, the reflection is clear.
The image shows perfection.
I look just how I hoped I’d appear
I can’t think of any objections.
The reflection sends me back to the past
To the moments when I laugh and love.
All the connections that help me last.
The image has at last spoken,
I am completely unbroken.
In a mirror, the reflection was clear.
The image showed all my scars.
I looked worse than how I thought I appeared.
I didn’t see anything but the marks.
The reflection sent me back to the past
To the memories where I have regretted.
All the missed chances that shaped this outcast.
The image had at last spoken,
I was entirely broken.
The Unspoken GoodBye
by Connor Zimmerman ’20
Just when I turned towards you, I saw your face
With the tears gracefully gliding down your cheek.
You were smiling in your pain, trying to feign
I walked over and held you close, as I said:
“Smile now, don’t cry, ‘cause this is the first of the lasts.”
Going through the motions was something you could not stand.
The first time that we met as strangers in that dark room
You made me feel like I was the only person there.
Then, I could tell you would always care as you expressed:
“Don’t forget that I will always be there for you.”
Something that drew me to you was your contagious smile.
It was on display the second time we saw each other,
Though I will not forgive myself ‘cause I forgot your name.
You introduced me to everyone, as you shouted out:
“Get over here and come meet this amazing person.”
Oh, how the time has flown since I really got to know you truly.
We grew closer together than I could have ever imagined.
Our laughs, hopes, and fears all became exposed during our late-night talks.
I will always remember when I wrote you that note that whispered:
“Life is only measured by the connections that we make with others.”
I do not know if these words will be our end.
You must move on to the next stage in your life,
But I will always defend these memories
From the powerful forces of time and rage.
If we are close to our end, let us recall what you said in the last hour;
“One word will remain unspoken for we will never let it have power.”