n. the tranquility of being inside during a thunderstorm
by Melania Danilkovas, Class of 2023
in this capsule
i. If You Really Want to Hear About It, Don't Read This Title by Noah Tolentino, Class of 2021 [cw: depression]
ii. Photograph by Nathaniel Waterman
iii. A Beginner's Guide to Moving by Noah Tolentino, Class of 2021
iv. Photograph by Nathaniel Waterman
i. If You Really Want to Hear About It, Don’t Read This Title by Noah Tolentino, Class of 2021
All I remember are the lights. Blue. Shiny. Blurry. Fading into the distance, like a dream. Just try and close your eyes after a bright light shines in your face, for example. What do you see? More lights, right? No matter how hard you try, you can never escape them, yet still there are people who live in darkness. Phonies. Lights are all around me, and I can’t just go around not noticing them. But everybody else can. Even at Sharon High’s Freshman Formal, I couldn’t get my eyes off those damn lights. A guy like me, you’d half expect I couldn’t get my eyes off the girls, and that’s true for most people, even the girls, but believe it or not, you’re wrong. And the guys that do don’t deserve to be in a relationship with anyone, the goddam stupid morons. At least I have the decency not to say anything to those bastards, though. Then they’d act like they didn’t hear me, and then I would get very depressed and all. I just like how calm they make you feel—the lights, I mean. Take your mind off of what’s going on around you. I enjoy that, if you want to know the truth. A few times people came up to me and asked if I was feeling alright, and I said I was fine. They don’t understand me. Nobody does. But I get around, because I have myself. That’s all I need, no matter how much it hurts. Anyways, I was beginning to get a headache, with the volume getting turnt all the way up to “New Freezer,” which by the way copied some of the lyrics to “Big Shot,” which was probably my favorite song from the Black Panther album. And they say I don’t listen to music. God, they really have no clue. So I just sat there like the usual phonies that basically do nothing the whole entire time, struck a two-second conversation with anybody who cared to notice me here and there. Except, I did get around to play a little bit of blackjack, which was fun, except I knew nothing about it. I just hate the know-it-alls that act as if they’re smarter than you and use your weakness to their own advantage because they know you won’t get the joke. Like I didn’t know any better. Most of the time I spent walking outside, then inside, and back again. I can’t even eat during these social events, I’m so nervous. But I have an invisible mask, so no one knows. I’m serious, I take absolutely no fun in those kinds of things. The thrill of it? Never heard of that phrase. I think I worry too much, wanting to put everything the way I want it to be and all. I mean, the only reason I joined the Planning Board was because I wanted to help out the school. Nothing more. I like the people and all, they’re quite nice, and funny at times, too, but no matter where I go, I can never feel truly at home. Even at home. I get this feeling sometimes, as if I’m trapped in the light. Everything around me is so great, and I don’t want to ruin that perfection. I mean, I want to preserve it and all, but at the same time, change is the only way I’ll ever fit in. I walked home alone in the dark, and in that warm-weather night at the crosswalk, I looked up at the lamppost and I saw the lights again. Before I went home for the evening, I stopped and stared at them for a long time. Maybe I’m attracted to them because they represent what I stand for. They’re beautiful because they have this crazy effect on you, like they take away all your emotion. That’s what I’m best at—staring into space, just thinking. I’ve probably spent an entire month of my life doing that. Boy, I’ve missed a lot. You know that carnival that comes to Sharon for, like, one week in April or May? I forget which month it is. I mean, it got rained out and all this year, but I still think about it. But because I spend so much time in another world, I can never seem to get around to going to things like that. And when I drive by at night, and I see the lights of the carnival one more time, I think of all the things I’ve never had the chance to do in my entire life. But it’s for little kids, anyway. I shouldn’t worry about it. But I do. Where has my childhood gone, anyway? So I guess you could say I missed my carnival. And by that I mean life. Life’s a fickle friend, that guy. A backstabbing moron. And a time-waster, too. I mean,
by Nathaniel Waterman, Class of 2022
iii. A Beginner's Guide to Moving by Noah Tolentino, Class of 2021
The world is always subject to change. Some people struggle to embrace this change; others can’t live without it. Either way, you—like me—will learn this truth the day that you leave your old house behind to the hands of memory: No matter how hard you try, no matter how many times you aim to block the thought out of your head to just forget about it, you can’t stop time. But you can do everything in your power to make sure that when time comes to pick you up and take you to a new place, you’re ready. This is what I am going to tell you about. Moving. The good, the bad, the in-between, all of it. So that when your time comes, you can make the best of it all. I didn’t. Not exactly, anyway. But you still can. And I’m going to make sure of that.
I remember that one night. The instant my parents told me The News I had been dreading for months since we put our house on the market and began instead seeking those of others, I dashed up to my room, slammed the door and stayed there. Hours passed, I could tell; my mind was racing. With what, I dare not think about. When I finally exited my fortress of solitude, I could tell that my parents were trying desperately hard to compensate and my little brother was trying desperately hard not to laugh. This is the first mistake I made, which teaches you that if you ever want to keep peace in your family, honor their decisions so that nobody feels hurt, even if those decisions hurt you. Don’t let your life shatter into a million pieces like I did. I had tried time after time to get my parents to keep the house, to change their minds, but it was no use. Eventually I gave in; it was hard at first but after the whole ordeal, I was actually glad I went through it. This was the turning point for me, the first steps onto the bridge to adulthood. When I managed a few feeble goodbyes to my old friends, frenemies and acquaintances those last few weeks of school, I regretted not knowing them as well as I should have. This was the second mistake I made, a lifelong one, that shows that you should take the time to step out of your comfort zone and get to know people; you’ll never know exactly when you’ll have to leave them. And as I slowly sealed up all my belongings in boxes that previously held alcoholic beverages, fit every part of my now-bare house that wasn’t connected to the ground into U Haul Gargantuan #1 with my family, waved goodbye and took last pictures of my only true home as a sad Beethoven song played over and over and over again in my head, I remembered that fact. I would not be alone when I moved. Not ever.
There comes a time in between moving when your identity ceases to exist; there’s no place that you can truly call home. You feel lost, like you left a part of yourself behind. In essence, you’re a nomad. When I took refuge at my grandparents’ house for an entire summer, that’s how I felt. In those days, other than my grandma’s delicious Dominican food, music was morphine for my fading soul. The songs of summer 2016 I will never forget; they mirrored my feelings and made me feel like I wasn’t completely disconnected with the world. During this time, I became closer to my family than ever before. I played with my cousins and tried to speak Spanish with my elder relatives. In addition, I explored my home state of Rhode Island, seeing all of its beautiful sights for one last time: the Narragansett Bay, Roger Williams Park, and so much more. Now, I realize that this was one of the few things I did right the whole time, for it’s not material things that you remember, it’s experiences. But my mind was still insecure. So, to keep my positivity levels high, I looked into my creative side. Using the pictures I had of my new house from the realtor, I meticulously planned where to put all the furniture from my old house, most of which was lying in a climate-controlled storage facility in Providence. It was a rough estimate, but when you look forward to things, often times it gives you more sensation than actually doing them. During the moving process, it’s best to have a “bright future” mindset and not an “end of the world” one, because, put simply, a smile on your face makes the world a better place. After two long months, when the day came for me to move to Sharon, what a day it was indeed. I can vividly remember driving past the sign that said, “Sharon: A Better Place to Live Because It’s Naturally Beautiful.” I believed it. Once again, much of my family volunteered to help transfer the interiors of my old residence piece by piece, from U Haul Gargantuan #2 to my petite but picturesque new dwelling. After that came weeks of organizing, painting, and shopping, but before I knew it, I was at home in my new house… in rogue territory.
Initially, the first few days and nights in your new town can seem unorthodox, stressful, or even scary if you’re unfamiliar with the area. If the landscape varies significantly from that of your old stomping grounds, you may have trouble getting acquainted to it—so why not explore? If you live in a desert, run free through infinite miles of sand; let the blazing hot sun illuminate yourself with peace and tranquility. If you live in the mountains, scale the highest peak; conquer the new world that you now live in. What I did was bike, day after day, around the intricate labyrinth that made up the backstreets of Sharon, until I knew its township fairly well. These moments define our lives: exploration leads to new experiences that we can never forget. My family and I, we discovered many new things that first month. Lake Massapoag, the Square Jam, Borderland State Park—it all fascinated us and blessed us with the thought that this was our new home. The first day I walked into Sharon Middle School, I was plagued with fear and awe. Fear because I realized every face I would see would be a new one, and awe because… well… I gotta say, it was a great school. Everybody was so much smarter here, the diversity was incredible, and everybody was so nice. Despite all this, my first day was nonetheless very stressful, as you can imagine, and stepping into the lunchroom that day was quite possibly the most terrifying moment of my entire life. But I didn’t forget the promise