After dinner, Isabelle Night waited by the bleachers near the Henry Football field for her secret admirer to show up. She hadn’t known why she agreed to meet with him in the first place. He could be dangerous, she thought as a cool gust of wind hit her face. It was getting colder by the minute as night was fast approaching. She shivered, wishing that her mystery guy would show up already. According to the clock on her cell phone, it was now a quarter to eight. He texted her that he’d be there soon an hour ago, but she had her doubts about him.
Ever since their first virtual encounter on Facebook, he was always shy about revealing himself to her. Even the mere thought of sending her a picture or giving out his real name was threatening. Isabelle looked around aimlessly at the quiet field, contemplating who he could be. She glanced at the soccer nets sitting on either side of the arena and predicted that he might be one of the guys on the soccer team. Then she had a sudden change of thought as she looked to the football equipment on the far right side. She was friends with many of Hiram’s male athletes. He could’ve been someone she knew.
After an hour of counting old cigarette butts underneath the bleachers, Isabelle suddenly focused her attention on a tall figure coming over the hill beyond the field. His jet black hair blew gently in the wind as he rounded the track to the other side of the field. She stared at him in disbelief as he drew nearer. No, it couldn’t be Jacob Fox, the most ignorant ex-boyfriend she ever had. Isabelle stood up with the intention of leaving before he even stepped onto the first concrete step, however, she could not bring herself to move. The young man cautiously took one step up, towards her.
“You aren’t serious are you?” she scoffed.
He smirked and replied, “Would I be here if I wasn’t?”
Isabelle rolled her eyes and turned to leave.
“Wait!” Jacob protested as he ran up the bleachers to stop her. “Just hear me out.”
Isabelle stopped and looked him in the eye. They were hazel and innocent looking on the outside, but underneath the surface, she knew he meant trouble. From their first date to their last goodbye, Isabelle remembered the snide remarks he’d make about her weight on Facebook and in public. He would refer to her as ‘twiggy’ on his wall post. The name still burned her insides, making her immune to the chilled air around her.
“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say!” she remarked as she continued to head for the nearest exit from the bleachers. Soon she started in the other direction once she saw the orange cones and yellow caution tape blocking the way. She had forgotten there was a construction site over by the gate that lead out to the track. Out of the corner of her eye, Isabelle found Jacob’s towering figure walking beside her.
“Look I’m sorry!” he blurted out as he jumped in front of her.
Isabelle stared at him, stunned by the phrase. It was the first time he had apologized to her. She took a step back as she noticed the sincerity written on his face.
“I’m sorry, Isabelle,” he repeated with his hands in his pants pockets.
Still, she gawked at him in surprise.
“Just come out onto the field with me,” he insisted as he held out his hand to her. “Please?”
Isabelle glanced at his open palm for a moment and then up at him. The seriousness of his expression confused her. However, she accepted and went out onto the track without taking his hand.
Jacob joins her and they aimlessly walk around the large arena, talking. He informed Isabelle that he had been thinking of her constantly now that they were broken up. She was surprised to learn that he hated himself for taking his insecurities out on her. In the first year they had been apart, it was obvious that he had changed. Jacob offered his jacket to her when she started to shiver again. Then he pointed to the dim forest beyond the field, the rusty bell up by the front door of the Coleman Sports Center and the large tree over the hill where they shared their most intimate moments. Isabelle used to carry those memories, throughout and after their relationship. Now, all she remembered was Jacob laughing ‘she eats and then vomits her food!’ No matter how Jacob tried to reconnect with her, she would not give in. Henry field was nothing but a distant nightmare that she wished never to return to.
- Aja Dandridge, Class of 2015
I’m not weird. I don’t like that word. I have no freedom. Everyone isn’t lucky. Brian, my friend … Brian Reynolds is fortunate enough. I don’t mean money wise. He’s popular at my school. Everyone knows him. He’s cute. I like him a lot. But other girls like him, too. He’s in my Literature class. By accident, he called me Regina once. That’s not my name, though. My name is … my name is Loretta. Actually Loretta Fields, I told him. He laughed. I was red in the face. He thinks I’m weird. I don’t like that word. He called me a stalker. But I’m not a stalker. I just like to look at him. The other girls did it, too. Today, he and his friends slapped me upside the head. I cried in the bathroom. At lunch, he sat at my table. No one was looking.
“Loretta,” he said, “I’m sorry. Are we still friends?”
My head was down. I ate one chicken nugget. That was all I wanted.
“Please?” he begged, “You’re the only real friend I have …”
He took my hand. No one saw.
I didn’t say anything.
“Fine!” he yelled. “I don’t want to be friends with you, anyway!”
Everyone heard him. They all laughed. I cried in the bathroom again. I stayed there for a long time. Mrs. Reid … . Mrs. Reid, my counselor found me. She asked me what happened. I told her. She wanted to help. But I wouldn’t let her. It was my fault.
“I can’t stand to see you like this, Loretta,” she told me.
She wiped my tears. I smiled. Mrs. Reid was nice.
“Something has to be done about that boy and his friends,” she insisted.
I shook my head. “No. He’s my friend.”
Mrs. Reid looked confused. “Honey, friends don’t harass each other. They care for one another.”
“He-he cares about me,” I croaked. It was true. Brian talked to me every day. His friends wouldn’t be around, though. He helped me with my math homework. Brian is really smart. Once he handed me a rose. I keep it on my pillow. I knew he didn’t like me. Brian told me were just friends. That’s what friends did. He told me they care for one another. I cared about him. Brian cared about me, too. It didn’t matter that he got mad. He didn’t mean to hurt me. But I made him mad. It was my fault. I wasn’t being a good friend. He thinks I don’t care.
“Then tell me, Loretta,” Mrs. Reid began, “what did you do to have him slap you upside the head again?”
I thought back. It was eleven-forty. I was in my Literature class. I dropped my pencil. It fell by Brian’s foot. He didn’t want me near him. I apologized. His friends teased me. He was mad now. Brian wasn’t Brian any more. I apologized again. His hand hit my head. Then his friends took turns. They told me I deserved it. I was ugly, Brian added. My head throbbed. I left class early. The bathroom was down the hall. I cried in the stall. It was my fault. He didn’t want me to touch him. His friends were watching. Brian said I did it on purpose. I intentionally did it to embarrass him. But I dropped the pencil by accident! I apologized twice! I was really sorry. He didn’t believe me. Why?
“Loretta, tell me what you did to deserve this?” Mrs. Reid repeated.
I sobbed. He was my friend. Friends care about each other. Brian cared about me. He told me so. I believed him. But he didn’t believe me. I told him I stick by my word. What I say means something. I’d never fake an apology. If I hurt someone I say sorry. I meant it too. But he didn’t mean it.
I looked at Mrs. Reid. The tears stung my eyes. I took a deep breath.
“I didn’t do anything,” I said with conviction. I repeated the phrase to myself. It made sense. Something inside me was boiling. I repeated the words again. The weird feeling in my stomach made me feel hot. I was warm all over. But I wasn’t sweating. I left the bathroom. Mrs. Reid called after me. I didn’t listen. I marched out the back entrance. Brian was with his friends. I had a feeling he’d be outside. His friends teased me. They called me weird. I really don’t like that word. And with a heavy hand, I slapped each of them upside the head. Brian looked wounded. I didn’t apologize.
“I’m sorry,” he told me. This time he meant it.
- Aja Dandridge, class of 2015
September 30, 2014 at 8:01pm
Sometimes I think about the permanence of things
We lose them one by one.
As summer burns into fall
Each cell dying green
As gold fades into white
And dissolves under the snow
Who were you a year ago?
Moving through the crowds
Through the seasons and the years
Hiding behind a photograph
Waiting for the shutter’s click
Sometimes I think about what I’ve lost
Faded like an album on a shelf.
As spring grows into summer
New air melts away the cold
Memory hums like distant lightning
Waiting to touch down
Wishing away the daylight
For nights so long passed
Hoping through the decades
As we try to cling to the past
Sometimes I think about what’s to come
As fresh and clear as winter’s chill
As bright as spring’s new green.
Tell me you’ll remember me
Make the promise you can’t keep
And maybe in the far-off past
We’ll see each other again
- Maya Watkins, Class of 2017
Volume 1 Issue 1 is HERE!
The first issue of Kept Mistakes finally exists in tangible, three-dimensional, dead-tree form!
(cover photograph by Maya Watkins, class of 2017)
It wasn’t exactly an easy path to get here (we won’t talk about the first box of dead trees that went to waste), but the important part is that we made it.
FREE copies will be available for members of the Hiram community, so hurry before they’re gone! (The magazine is not available to the public at this time.)
We want to say a big thank you to everyone who submitted their art and everyone who supported us along the way.
—Katie, Maya, Robin, Jess, and Quinn, the editors of Kept Mistakes
(drawing by Katie Starr, class of 2015)
As I sit here crying
As I sit here crying, thoughts go through my head
And to myself I’m lying when I sometimes wish I’m dead
I ask why and why and why, when I’ve felt such little strife
That pain should come and try to ruin my good life
Sometimes I wish for the simplicity of the struggle of life and death
Something clear and defined that could end in a final breath
But this world has no absolutes, no simple black or white
Nothing is straight forward, no enemy to fight
Now is a war against myself, a war that can’t be won
The war of arbitrary complex things that I know must be done
I ask myself some questions, as tears roll down my face
As if the rain is falling, with just a little grace
Why do I cry for little things, why do I cry at all
When there has been much worse than anything I recall?
I know that pain could be much greater, agonies on agonies
So why should I cry at this, not even close to tragedy?
Life and love is all around me, death is far away
So why does pain surround me on this arbitrary day
Why should I be allowed to cry, when my life is in such peace
When every day others die and their pain has fin’lly ceased?
As I sit here crying, the tears lift me up again
Once more through that cycle that I hope will soon end
I don’t understand
Why love can be lost
Why tragedies happen
Why life can be most difficult
But most of all
Why people just can’t accept each other
Why dreams on occasion can be sweeter than reality
Why wishes don’t always come true
What I understand most is
Why we become friends and lovers
Why summertime is full of liberty
Why we are sad
Why no matter what, it will always get better
Quinn Thompson, class of 2017
Is it worth it?
every time it gets harder.
it’ll get easier.
Every time it gets harder.
Leaving my friends, my family, and my city
feels like cutting off parts of my body.
But leaving you
feels like I’m cutting out my heart.
They say it’ll get easier.
I don’t believe them.
Every time it gets harder.
Is it worth it?
Kayla Kennedy, class of 2016
March 30, 2014 at 10:50pm
I sit quietly and listen
When I hear her voice through the crowd
It must be the voice of an angel
So soft and quiet, so beautiful a sound
That only the fabled seraphim could have made
My eyes dare to follow what my ears had heard
And they now confirm what my mind had seen
An angel walks among us.
Her face the most gorgeous thing I’ve seen
Eyes alight with delight
And although ‘tis not proper, I admit I look lower
The rest of her as gorgeous her face
I force my head to turn away
Afraid to stare too long at heaven’s creature
And this glance away gives me a shade of doubt
Was it not so long ago when I thought that of another?
And here she happens, just aside, and now, no feeling towards her
My palms are dry, my heart at rest, when I look upon her now
Where earlier my mind would race, whenever her face showed
Now the angel makes my stomach curl in love and want
How can it be that love can change so fast
That at a simple glance
My heart moved from my maiden to my angel?
O, my heart why must you be so fickle?
Why must you change your gaze to new beauty
Almost, it seems, as the moons change
My maiden, the most glorious thing I had ever seen, as beautiful as ever
Now seems to pale before the angel
How can I trust you, heart, when your limerence changes so?
How can we find that fabled “one” for us, when your one has changed so often?
My heart, I ask, nay beg, just once stay your course
Let us follow a dream and give us future
With one we truly fully love.
Calls me like the wind.
Open the esophagus!
Out pours moss spasms,
Green envies; bird shells;
Twicks and Tweats of nature.
Kill all the lions,
Unrattle the butterflies.
Here comes the drummer,
Rain beating on my window…
Let the light flood in.
Kelly Heikkila, class of 2015
Have you ever understood why I am me?
Wanting my freedom like whispering wind in a field
Striving to be who I really want to be
But you see me as concealed
I know you, but are you completely aware?
Of whom I am where I seem to roam
I need you like I need a fresh breath of air
So catch me, before I finally go home
Quinn Thompson, class of 2017