We'd romped the same streets our whole lives, somehow sliding right past each other. Our families knew of each other. We'd been in the same kiddie volleyball league. Our houses are 1,056 feet apart. But it finally came together in a science room with a tantalizing view of the courtyard. Skeletons of various animals hanging from the ceiling and models of countless crustaceans alarmed class after class. Our teacher--we later concluded she was most likely a vampire judging by all the skeletons and constant chill in the room--was a bit too enthusiastic for the end of summer vacation. Our first assignment was to get a classmate's phone number to better "connect us as a classroom collective". Her words not mine. Little did I know what a dry texter that girl was. Our in-life conversations more than make up for it.
Walking into my shelter was terrifying. The room was off a narrow hallway painted a nauseating shade of yellow, blaring down on me as I whisper-sang under my breath. I'd been in there many times before, but this time left me in a nervous jumble. The foldable table decked out with an iPad and the sign-up sheets was thrown against one wall, stickers overflowing along its sides and quiet snickers emanating from the students sitting in the matching gray chairs. I don't remember much about actually being in the room. The panel of judges (aka, a couple teachers and the student directors from our local university) smiled as I sang the part. There wasn't anything in particular I can remember about the singing, just the feeling that my stomach was melting into my winter boots. I stepped out of that room in a thick haze, but a feeling permeated despite my numbness. My voice had rung out like a bell--a tinny, untrained bell, but a bell nonetheless. The notes had hit.
Okay, listen. Mars doesn't get the best rep. I can see why. A big, ugly, red blotch lightyears away compared to the fresh breeze on Earth? Sometimes I wonder why I chose it too. But I can tell you one thing for sure: It's nice being the king of a planet.
See, when they asked me to come on over, I wasn't hesitant. Earth had gotten too small for me. Life for Alastair Singleton was getting simply tedious. I mean, how long can you expect a guy to lounge in his Malibu mansion before he craves something new? I've been to each and every corner of the Green Planet. (That's what us Mars folks call the Earth, in case you wondered). Gotta say, Puerto Rico was a real blast. Aprendí algo de español, you know how it is. But I felt like I could be doing so much more.
My school calls me Moon Kid. I think it's 'cause they don't know my name. My first day of kindergarten, my Aunty Mona forced me into this monstrosity of a jumper. Pokey puffballs that were supposed to be stars crisscrossed it, and a big ol' ugly moon. It was the color of that fancy cheese you always see on ceramic plates at a dinner party, floating around with grapes and gluten-free crackers that taste like grass. Aunty Mona has a lot of dinner parties. She's a real social lady, not like my Mama and Papa. My Papa says that's what happens when you're a bachelorette. I'm not too sure what that word means, but he pronounced it funny. Dragged out every syllable like he didn't wanna miss it. Baach-eh-lore-ette.
THE CHALLENGE: CPJ-Immigrant: Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said in an interview that Emma Lazarus’s words on the Statue of Liberty should read, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.” If you could respond directly to Cuccinelli, what would you say?
Outwardly, my mother seems pretty ordinary. Miyamoto Mitsuko Suzue commenced life as a second-generation Japanese American. The Suzues lived in a meager
town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Diversity was paltry, and Miyamoto struggled as bigotry became increasingly prevalent. Bowing her head against harsh words and prejudice was her norm, and she desired nothing more than to leave. From day one, she envisaged a world outside her town, fabricated places to explore. There was a hunger in her, a craving to pinpoint where she fit in the puzzle of the universe.
Her pursuit of exploration swelled when she rocketed out of high school, where she proceeded to formulate her education around photography. Not only did she idolize the art, but she was resolute on becoming a photojournalist. Globetrotting while molding a story behind a viewfinder was a job she deemed her calling.
the moon slides into the darkness with the elegance of a figure skater giggling with me as i kick off my shoes and start to move to nebulous music starlight beams on me nature's spotlights i can catch comets in my palms or fall on the cradle of constellations. perhaps i could run off of this roof binding me i'd land harmlessly in the framework of opalescence bouncing off the air like a trampoline i'm sure of it! i just know it! fall back my darling nothing can touch me in this world
There are myriad stories about the stars. Elaborate webs of shimmering lights with entire myths advocating them. Generations have input their opinions and theories on the history of space. But I like to think that each star has a million extraordinary stories.
Three hundred billion stars in the Milky Way and with so many more galaxies beyond. More stars than anyone could possibly count. Ample opportunity for the people of Earth to tell their story, if we’re selfish enough to think we are the only ones.
Stories have been a part of humans since before time. Collections of words someone has woven together, tighter than the seams of your shirt. It’s quite incredible really. Whole worlds pop into existence, layer upon layer of details. Authors create people with more detailed backgrounds than you and me. People so real you can almost hear the rhythmic thumping in their chest. It all stems from the words used. In reality, words have already written the story if you look closely. Words have a persona, a background, a conscience. Words can flow out of your mouth like your favorite song. They can break you down and bury you far, far, underground.