Category Archives: Creative Non-Fiction Spring 2018

“My North Star” by Marianna Davidova

I sat by the window on the airplane flying to the United States of America to start my college life. It was terribly cold on the plane, and so I had to cover up with a warm blanket that was given to me while boarding. I felt miserable. All my feelings were mixed up. I didn’t want to leave my home, my town, my family and my friends; however, I also wanted to chase my dreams. I looked out of the window at the sky from 30,000 feet above the ground, and it was just gorgeous. I could not see anything but a dark blue eternity full of bright sparkles – the stars – that reminded me of that one star, my grandmother.

Her name was Seda Apetnakovna. I would usually call her by her first name. Seda was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. She was not tall and always wore her beloved heels, even at the age of fifty-five.

“Seda, how are you today?” I would ask, and the answer always was, “Ready to run across the globe on my heels!”

Seda’s 54th birthday was a cold winter day, December 6th 2007. She looked charming as always. I remember her short, blond hair with curled up ends that had a vivid smell of bergamot that was just picked from the yard. Bergamot was Seda’s favorite citrus fruit. She loved drinking bergamot tea and lemonade. On that day, she wore her favorite green jacket with a black elegant dress that she loved. Her bright red lipstick smelled like a fresh pomegranate. I could smell it when she would come and kiss me on my left cheek and leave a mark.

Seda was a teacher of physics and astronomy in middle school. She worked there for thirty-five years, and from the students’ perspective, she was the most loved and favorite teacher. Every female in the school wanted to be like her – very graceful, simple, delicate. Seda had the Mona Lisa smile that made you wonder what was going through her mind. She was a mystery that can’t be discovered anymore.

On Seda’s birthday, we had a big celebration – a lot of guests, relatives, friends, music, dances. Everyone had fun but Seda. She didn’t look as happy as I would expect her to be. When everything was over and everyone left, Seda went to her bedroom and asked me to go with her.

Her bedroom was my favorite place in our small apartment. It was the place where I spent most of my nights as a child, begging Seda to tell me one more story before I went to bed. It was the place where I escaped from reality and went on adventures. Her bedroom was the biggest in our apartment. There was a huge queen sized bed in the left corner of the room, with a dark red comforter and a lot of pillows on top. The walls and the ceiling were silver white. A big lamp was standing in the upper right corner giving a mysterious yellow light to the room. Next to the bed, Seda had a dresser with three mirrors on top. It was full of her jewelry and make up supplies. There always was perfume on it, and some necklaces hanging from the right and left sides of the mirrors.

The little balcony was our favorite place to sit and drink a cup of tea at the end of the day. I used to sit there for hours, watching the cars going up and down Azatamartikneri Street and listening to the loud music coming out of them. I also loved to look at the buildings next to ours, look at the windows, and try to visualize the people who lived in there. Seda and I used to sit on the balcony at nights. When the sky was clear, she told me stories about stars – the differences between their colors, brightness, about their motion, the planets. Every night, she had something new to talk about. Every day was a new day to learn from her.

I went after her to her bedroom. Seda was sitting on the balcony. It was a gorgeous silent winter night. No clouds were in the sky – just the grand constellation of Auriga right above us with the North Star shining bright in front, and many other stars were just like little sparks covering the sky. The street was empty. There were no lights in the windows of the apartments from the buildings, no humans were outside, and no sounds were heard except the sound of silence.

It was such an enigmatic moment. I glanced at Seda for a second. She looked perfect in the light of the street lamps. Her light, cocoa-powder-colored skin was just like a marble. She had light green eyes that sometimes made me uncomfortable when she would look right at me, so I never dared to look at her for too long. I sat on a chair next to her, trying to smell her perfume. She had her own smell. It was the mysterious combination of peach juice and freesia, with little notes of orange, red rose, jasmine, vanilla. That unique combination was also the description of her personality, her life.

“Have you ever thought about why I am never happy on my birthday?” asked Seda.

“No, I never understand. You never have fun with us!”

“Every year on this day, I get older. One year less I will spend with you, one year less I will look at this sky and tell you stories.”, said Seda with a shivering voice.

I didn’t know what to answer.

“One day, I am not going to be here. I won’t be able to sit here with you, hug you, walk to school with you. I want you to listen to me very carefully. You are the first grandchild of Davidovs. You are our pride and you have to keep it that way. Don’t stay in this little town. Go away from here, travel, live in as many places as possible, move forward, live your life to the fullest. Remember, no matter what, when or where, I am always going to be with you, guide you, and be by your side. As long as you remember me, I will be there, in your heart. Just find the North Star and I will come.” Seda took me to my room and left.

I didn’t understand what she told me during that night. I never realized her advice. Only when I was looking at the sky, leaving my home and thinking about her, did I realize that it was her – Seda – who had changed my life. While I was still living in my little town, I often questioned why she wanted me to leave this place. Now I understand the reason. She wanted me to have the life she had not had and see the places she had not seen. Seda played the most important role in shaping me, creating the person I am today. I never thanked her, never told her how much I loved her. I had always been waiting for the right moment, but it never came, and never will.

It’s too late for regrets now. She is gone. Seda passed away shortly after her birthday. At that moment, I didn’t know it would be the last time we spent together on our balcony. I didn’t know I would never see her again. It took me a while to accept the fact of not having her around anymore; only after couple of years did I realize that she was still there with me. Only after losing Seda, I appreciated her and everything she had done.

Her lessons were not about astronomy or physics, but life. She taught me that there is not any right or wrong time to tell someone how important they are to me, or how much I love them. The time may never come, and I will lose the chance. It’s not about the distance, it’s not about time zones or the worlds we live in; it’s all about what we have in our hearts.

Seda has not been alive for many years. I remember her every day. I spend some time talking to her, asking her for advice. I always get the answer I need. She is with me, and she looks over me – her first grandchild who will never let her hopes down. I know now, wherever I go, Seda will be there by my side.

“Just find the North star, and I will come.”

“Colors” by Hannah Weate

Red is the color of fire. It sparks in your eyes, and you can feel the flames surround them. You are engulfed in the burning of it, and you are furious. It is getting yelled at for something you did not do. Red burns the insides and awakens the monsters that live in the dark parts of your mind. It makes you face the demons that you hid away long ago. It brings forward all the violent thoughts you carry. Red is the color of the vengeful devil.

Orange is the color of the sun when it wakes up. It shines through your eyelids and warms up your body from the cold night. It is the sensation of returning home from an immersive trip. Orange makes everything okay. It whispers, “Don’t worry darling, it’s going to be alright.” It is like a young girl seeking protection in her mother’s heartbeat. Orange is comfortable like an already slept in bed. It is the color of peace.

Yellow is the color of sunflowers. It is halcyon that only naive little girls love. Yellow has a fragrance so strong it floats in through your mouth and settles down in the pit of your stomach. It is the forlorn atmosphere of a place that is usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet. It is the antiques in your grandmother’s house and the longing to have lived in the old days. Yellow is the strange wistfulness of used book shops. It is the color of an old friend you never met. Yellow is an old soul.

Green is the color of life. It is when you watch the children jumping across the hot lava and running into each other laughing. Green grows in their minds and raises the imagination the young ones contain. As you get older, the green transfers from fairy tales, monsters, and Santa to little sheets of green that control your entire life. It becomes materialistic and lessens your creativity. Green is the color of possession.

Blue is the color of sadness. It is when you spot a raggedy dog, with every rib clearly defined, walking around looking for love on a cold, rainy night. Blue engulfs your heart and holds it a little too tightly. It is the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place. Blue accumulates in your heart and, when ready, it falls out of your eyes like a beautiful waterfall. Blue is the color of tears.

Pink is the color of caring. It soaks into your skin and tickles your heart ‘til your cheeks are painted pink. It’s a special kind of gift given to you by a loved one. Pink is the silly girl who is hopelessly in love with a handsome boy who loves her back. Pink is the little girl running around in a tutu, throwing her magic dust everywhere. Pink is the color of love.

Brown is lazy. It pulls you back down when you try to get out of bed. Brown is the color of your sleepy dog that you cuddle up next to. Just to get an extra five… maybe ten… possibly twenty… minutes of sleep. Brown is the day you don’t accomplish a thing. Brown is the color that needs to rest.

Purple is the color of truth. Even if you don’t want it, it will smack you in the face and it leaves a mark that will never go away. It is the awareness of how small your perspective is compared to the rest of the world. Purple is not good nor is it bad. Purple is the day you realize you can’t be anything you want to be. Purple can crush dreams just as easy as it can create them.

Silver is the color of the moon. It shines in the crevices of your eyes and lights up the adventurous side of you. Silver is hopes and dreams. It opens up your mind to all the possibilities you hold. Silver is the future, and it needs to be polished every day. It is seen in the movies that take place three hundred years from now. Silver is the improved world.

Grey is the color of clouds. It is slow moving and swallows the plane as well as your deepest thoughts that pass through. Grey comes only when you don’t want it to. It makes your sweet memories hazy, but it will never take away the things you want to forget. Grey is the color of entrapment. It is hard to escape grey when you have been stuck in it for so long. Grey is the color of loneliness.

Gold is the color of power. It fills your body with invincibility. With it you can accomplish anything, do anything, be anything. Gold is the wealthy living among the poor. It lets you dream big and makes you never want to go back home. Gold is the American Dream. But gold has a big ego. It sucks you in and makes you forget the important things in life. In the wrong hands, gold is greedy.

White is the color of innocence. It comes to you in times when you are most graceful. White falls off the girl who dances in the field of tulips, and it flies into the hearts of those who sin. White is the young girl that tosses flowers down the aisle at a wedding. It wipes away all the bad things in life and lets you live in the moment. White is simply beautiful.

Black is silent. It is nothing, yet it explains everything. Black will always find its way to you. It is the thoughts that you have, but not dare to say aloud. It is the desire to be struck by disaster. Black is livid, but heartbroken and confused. It needs to be loved, but no one wants to hold it. Black is empty. It is the last thing you see when you close your eyes at night. Black is solitude.