Friday, August 22, 2008

Poetry: Olympic Haiku Medley

My Dear Reader,

In honor of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, I have constructed several haiku poems that kind of run together to form one big poem. It's not exactly Emerson, but I think that I caught the spirit of this year's games.

Yes, I know that haiku is Japanese.

If my team has more medals
But you have more golds
Than which team is the winner?

Well, since I can't change the past
I'll say that we win;
The one with the most is best.

Of course, if it were reversed,
If more golds were ours
I would say that gold wins.

We have to win, even though
You cheat with your girls
Who are less-than-sixteen.

Though we are in your home, we
Hate your government
And must prove ourselves better.

We also hate that you cheat,
Though we did before,
And may cheat in the future.

Because, even though athletes
Stumble, lie, and steal
At least that scum lies alone.

While we feel this in our hearts
We will flash our teeth
Pretend Olympic ideals

But no matter what happens
We will say we win
Because we want to be best.

-Cecily Jane

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

English Wish List

My Dear Reader,

I love our language. I majored in it, after all. We have a stunning vocabulary and we have written some of the best prose and poetry in history. But as lovely as it is, it does have some flaws. Yes, I think that "flaws" is the word. There are some things that we don't just have words for, and I'm not just talking about a what we should call some new Chinese confection or how we should translate some phenomenon that only occurs in France. In some instances, we stumble trying to describe common, everyday situations, and as an English speaker I am often greatly frustrated when I am unable to fully express myself. The following is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely three examples of gaps that I would like to see filled, such as:
  • A plural "you."

In Early Modern English (i.e. the language of Shakespeare and The Holy Bible), there was a word for this, and it was "ye." You know, as in, "Hear ye, hear ye!" It fell out of usage, but I say that we should bring it back! I'm somewhat serious. "Ye" is majestic and bold, bringing to our remembrance the best words spoken by English speakers in days of yore. "Y'all" is the closest thing we have today, and though it is loved by many, I believe that you will agree that it doesn't carry the same oomph as "ye," I guess though, that while it's not my favorite, I'm willing to settle. After all, I'd do anything to stop those awkward, "I love you! No, I meant all of you as a group, not necessarily you personally. I mean, it's not like I hate you, but saying that you love a group of people means something different that saying that you love someone individually, and I don't even know you that well. . . I mean, I guess I could have said, 'I love you guys,' or something, but that always sounds so informal . . ." moments. Don't those bother you on a daily basis as well?

  • Feminine and masculine forms of "cousin."

We have word pairs like aunt/uncle, mom/dad, brother/sister, grandma/grandpa, and etc., but "cousin" stands alone. Does that seem horribly unnatural to anyone else? Maybe I'm alone in this, but when somebody is talking to me about a family member that I haven't met, I like to visualize the person in my mind. How can I do that if I don't know which gender your cousin is? Besides, it leads to conversations like this:

Person 1: I wish to share some information with you about my cousin, whom you don't know personally.

Person 2: Oh, I'm not sure which gender your cousin is, and since it is awkward for me to ask at this very moment, I will hazard a guess.

Person 1: You used a feminine pronoun for my masculine cousin, and now I have to correct you without appearing confrontational so you don't assume that I am offended, even though I kind of am.

Person 2: I wish that you would stop talking to me about your family if you're going to be a jerk about it, but I refuse to say so to your face.

Person 1: This is awkward.

Losing friends because you confused the gender of their relations should be a thing of the past! The only way I've seen that people get around this is by using the terms "girl cousin" or "boy cousin," and both of those make you sound like you're still in kindergarten. Does anyone have an idea for an alternative that they would like to share?
  • A gender-neutral pronoun.

In the days of political correctness, this is becoming increasingly problematic. As pointed out by Lemony Snicket, the old adage "He who hesitates is lost," is now horribly sexist. In fact, in The Grim Grotto, Lemony Snicket's characters spend the whole book trying to figure this one out, eventually coming up with, "He or she who hesitates is lost." Doesn't that make the statement seem so . . . hesitant? And let me tell you, when this is applied to that large scale, such as an entire paper which necessarily must have dozens of "he or shes" and "his or hers," things get pretty annoying. BYU's 100 Hour board has come up with a solution for this dilemma: "werf." One of the nice things about English is that when you can't find a suitable word, you can just make up your own. "Werf who hesitates is lost," still doesn't sound as good, though it is strikingly hilarious.

So, as you can see, Gentle Reader, our language has a few areas in which it could improve. Feel free to offer solutions to these dilemmas of dialogue or add your own items to this wish list in the form of a remark or comment.

Regards, best wishes, and ease in comminucating,

-Cecily Jane

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Scene: Pokey-Man

My Dear Reader,

I'm so sorry that this post was late. The truth is that with the craziness of my family coming into town and other stuff (like moving out of my apartment), I plum forgot. Worry not though, Gentle Reader, as I have something special prepared for you today. This is a small portion of the short film that I was going to make with my brothers and sisters before I left for college. It was supposed to be a parody of Pokemon, as I have three younger brothers, and during the time that the show was insanely popular I was constantly being bombarded with the phenomenon. Unfortunately, however, my hard drive had an aneurysm after I finished the script, and all of my hard work was lost. I managed to recreate some of it, part of which is below. I don't think it's that bad, considering that I wrote it when I was seventeen. In this segment, we join new Pokey-man trainer Smash Ketchup as he leaves home for the adventure of a lifetime and comes upon a rustling bush . . .


Smash: Now, lets see why that bush was a-rustlin’!

Nathan: (comes out from bush) Na-than. Nathan.

Smash: What is that? Some sort of lizard?

Smisty: (appearing out of nowhere) It’s a Pokey-man, doofus!

Smash: What’s a Pokey-man?

Smisty: Duh! Weren’t you just singing about them, like two minutes ago! A Pokey-man, as the name suggests, is a slow (or pokey) guy (or man). You catch them, and then train them to fight other Pokey-man.

Smash: Why would I want to do that?

Smisty: Well, when you train them and you get really good, you can battle against a gym trainer and win a badge.

Smash: So?

Smisty: When you get eight badges, you get to compete in a huge tournament and you could become the best trainer ever!

Smash: (Pause) Why would I want to do that?

Smisty: (Sighs) The badges are shiny.

Smash: Shiny badges! Wow! I love shiny objects! Let’s go!

Smisty: First you need a Pokey-man. Gosh, are you really that dense?

Smash: Hey, why are you calling me fat? (looks at himself) I mean, I’m not an Olympian but I’m in pretty good shape if I say so myself.

Smisty: (smacks herself in the head) Just get that Pokey-man already!

Smash: Don’t you want it? Ladies first.

Smisty: No, I specialize in blue-shirted Pokey-man. That Pokey-man has a yellow shirt.

(both look at Nathan, who indeed has a yellow shirt and is staring at them blankly)

Smash: Okay then. Pokey-box, go! (Smash catches Nathan)

Smisty: Hey, if you don’t even know what a Pokey-man is, how did you manage to catch one? How do you even have a Pokey-box?

Smash: I got it over there. (Smash points to a stand with a sign that reads: Want to catch Pokey-man? Get your free boxes here! (Limit 500 per customer).

Smisty: (gapes in amazement and runs over to gather as many Pokey-boxes as she can.) Wow, I wonder why I didn’t see that!

Oswaldi: (comes out from behind the bush) Os-wald-i!

Smash: Now there’s a lizard, if I ever saw one!

Smisty: (Completely astonished) Oh my lucky stars and stripes! It’s Oswaldi, the rarest Pokey-man that ever existed! I thought they were extinct, since none have been seen by humans for a hundred years!

Smash: Watch out, Oswal-whatever. Ima gooona catchya!

Smisty: You? Catch the famous rare Oswaldi? Are you joking? It’s impossible to . . . (Smash catches Oswaldi) catch.

Smash: Yaaahooo! I dun caught me a good un!

Smisty: What? How? You?

Smash: Come on, little missy! Let’s ride into the sunset! (Walks off camera)

Smisty: (Still stunned) What? There was . . . Hey! Wait for me! (runs after him)

-Cecly Jane

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday in the Dishroom with Cecily

My Dear Reader,

As most of you already know, I work at the cafeteria of the Missionary Training Center as a dishroom supervisor. Once every three weeks, I am required to work on Sunday. Let me give you a taste of what that’s like.

Since I work for the Church, there is a sacrament service provided for employees to make up for the one we have to miss. I always forget what time it's at, and end up rushing to get there on time. This week I had to wake up my visiting teacher and beg her for a ride. Thankfully, she was more than happy to oblige. She's just one of those people who are awesome like that. I made it on time, thanks to her. The missionaries are assigned to take care of the meeting for us, and after the sacrament was passed, an Elder came to the pulpit and thanked all of us for sacrificing our Sunday to feed him. It was a really nice thing for him to do, I thought. I saw the same missionary a few hours later in the kitchen trying to help us push some heavy carts of dishes around, so I know that he really meant it. Most missionaries tend to be anti-jerks like that.

On other shifts where I supervise, I have the chance to get to know all of the people I work with, including their strengths and weaknesses. It is my job to make sure that each knows how to most effectively accomplish the eight or so tasks that need to be done throughout the shift, and I work very hard to make sure that I have a cohesive, competent crew by the end of the semester. On Sundays, however, my crew consists of a grab bag of people from all corners of the cafeteria, and since the turnover rate in food service is so high, this list of people is constantly changing. Another challenge I face is the fact that some of my co-workers interpret the fourth commandment to mean that they are justified in ditching work** on Sunday, so I really have no idea if four or fourteen people will show up. I've supervised on Sundays with both outcomes, and let me tell you that it's not fun to stand there with your clip board and wait for people to disappoint you. This week, however, everybody on my crew who hadn't recently quit came and I was feeling pretty lucky.

My duties as a dishroom supervisor are as follows: get there fifteen minutes early, turn on the giant monster of a dishwasher and ensure that it is working properly, turn on the monstrous beast that turns wasted food into compost and ensure that it is working properly, assign people jobs and ensure that they do their jobs properly, and do paperwork. On good days it's fairly simple. On bad days the dishwasher gets something stuck in it every five minutes, and as I stick my arm into its bowels to dislodge the obstruction, we drown in incoming dishes. There is really no way to tell which way a shift will turn out, even if you have a decent amount of people. I ended up with twelve, which was more than I had dared to hope for but less than ideal. The lunch shift went pretty well, and I spent the time hopping from person to person and helping each for about five minutes at a time. It was during this period that I tried to do something that I haven't attempted in almost three months--load glasses onto the machine. We put the glasses into a large, square container-things that are about three inches high, a foot and a half long and wide, and hold thirty-six glasses a piece. It gets pretty heavy, and I've been limited as to how much I can lift and how high I can lift it since my surgery. Despite all odds, I was able to prevail, which was quite a relief to the two people who do nothing else but put dirty glasses into those container-things, because they were running behind. We have two thousand missionaries in the MTC right now, and I swear that they use at least three to five glasses each, so you can guess that we have a lot of glasses to take care of. We finished later than I wanted to, but everything went according to plan, and I excused them to get the free meal we get on Sunday as a sort of apology.

I don't know why I continue to do this, but each Sunday I get so excited about the free food that I eat enough to make myself sick. And though I tried this week to break the habit, it was chicken cordon bleu day, and I just couldn't help myself. After a leisurely and gluttonous meal, I still had an hour until the second shift started, and I felt awful. Then I was assigned to clean up some rotting ketchup, and I felt worse. Once you become a dishroom supervisor, people tend to throw sickening jobs at you on a regular basis. In fact, I honestly think that whenever something really disgusting needs to be done, the management thinks, "Hmmm, is there a dishroom supervisor that I can get to take care of this?" I essentially had to take a half-gallon bag of ketchup out of the dispenser and clean up the mess. The bag had gotten a lot of air into it and become bloated to the point where it was stuck, so I had to stab it with a fork to get all of the nauseous gasses out of there. The bag also had a hole in the bottom, so I had to scoop all of the escaped ketchup by hand, wipe everything down, and put a new bag of not-rotting ketchup in. It took a half hour, most of which was spent doing the afore-mentioned scooping of rotting ketchup by hand. I was covered with it by the end, just in time for me to start supervising again. It was quite lovely. As I went back into the dishroom to set up again, I saw a large bucket of grease that had a layer of hardened lard on the top, meaning that it was my responsibility to scoop out that lard like I had the ketchup. I saved that for later.

The second meal went smoothly to start out, though people continued to get backed up throughout the shift. I did my best to help them, and I thought it was going fairly well. Then I left the dishroom for five minutes to do some paperwork and came back to find mountains of dirty trays and towers of dirty glasses stacked just about everywhere. When we get really, really, desperate, we just stack things up, and we were just about as desperate as we can get. There were literally seventy-six glasses-things stacked, which translates into exactly 2,736 unwashed glasses. At this same moment, my friends who work in other areas of the cafeteria came into the dishroom to find out where all of the glasses had gone. Apparently, we only have about 3,000 or so glasses in the entire cafeteria, most of which were stacked and dripping in the dishroom, and all of which were my responsibility. At this same moment, the dishwasher had several waterfalls gushing out of it, which meant that we had to stop everything and clean out the food that was stuck inside while the glasses continued to not be washed. That took too long as it was, but when we were finished, the dishwasher would not turn on again. Whose fault was it? Mine. But you would be impressed at how well I respond under pressure, such as the weight of 2,736 glasses, a mountain of trays, and a dishwasher that makes your home dishwasher look like a toothbrush. It got fixed eventually, thanks to the help of my crew, and we worked really hard to get all of the glasses and trays washed. I was physically and emotionally exhausted.

The miracle of it all is that not only did we get done, but we that we finished only fifteen minutes later than usual. I thought that we were at least forty-five minutes behind before I looked at the clock. By that time I was so happy to leave that I gave my crew a quick lecture on how to avoid this situation and dismissed them all. My ketchup-covered jeans were soaked up to my thighs, and my shoes and socks had standing water inside them, and as a squished my way into the dressing room to grab my things, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride. Walking the two miles home after you've spent all day up to your elbows in muck is just depressing. I came home ten hours after I had left, grateful that I have a bachelor's degree and will hopefully only be at the MTC for a few more weeks.

So, Gentle Reader, you now have a general idea what I do on Sundays in the dishroom. Despite everything, I've learned a lot about humility, service, and not being a jerk. I've also learned that I can do really hard and disgusting things, and that there are a lot of really hard and disgusting things that need to be done in this world. So let it be known that I, Cecily the Conqueror, can prevail against overwhelming odds and not-so-nice people, and I do so with the help of anti-jerks like that one missionary and my co-workers.

By the way, it wasn't until I was falling asleep that night that I remembered that I had completely forgotten about that bucket of lard. Oh, well.

Regards, best wishes, and anti-jerks,

-Cecily "The Conqueror" Jane

*This is a big deal if you happen to be Mormon and therefore believe in obeying all of the Ten Commandments, the fourth being that the Sabbath is a day for God and not work or entertainment. Mormons believe that going to work or spending money on Sunday is to be avoided whenever possible, and I am no exception. However, it turns out that missionaries still need to eat on Sunday, and that those missionaries' dishes still need to be washed on Sunday, and thus I have joined the ranks of Mormons who can't avoid working on the Lord's day, such as nurses, firefighters, cops, and those in retail sales. Do other Mormons raise their eyebrows at me? Of course they do. Believe it or not, some Mormons are jerks. Do some missionaries, the people I am sacrificing my day of rest to serve, look down on me for my service? Yes, though they are fairly rare. A very small number of Mormon missionaries are also jerks. I have met all of them. Fortunately, however, I am actually employed by the LDS church, and our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, is very aware of what we do at the MTC. He even ate here on a Sunday not too long ago. So while I may not be saving lives, I consider myself to have the stamp of approval of the man who is God's mouthpiece to the world, and that's good enough for me.

**By the way, I hope that you truly appreciate the irony of being dishonest at work in order to please God. Madre and Padre took special care to teach me that skipping work when you have agreed to be there is amoral whatever the circumstances, and the more I work, the more I realize how right they were. I also see very clearly how this dishonesty affects others.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Poem: The Travels of Malicious May

My Dear Reader,

This should make you laugh.

The following poem is proof that when a writer has a deadline, she will sometimes come up with some of the craziest things that any human being has ever thought up in all of existence, especially if that writer happens to be a big fan of Dr. Seuss. I recently dug up this poem that I wrote for a class a few years ago, and I promise that I was completely in my right mind at the moment, though I might have been suffering from a lack of sleep and the desperation that comes when something is due in less than an hour. Just to be clear, it's really not supposed to make sense.

And here I am, posting it publicly. I wonder what that says about the kind of person I am.

The Travels of Malicious May

On a bright summer’s day
You can see all the way
To the mountain of Diggery-Ding

There the bears and the trees
And the birds and the bees
Sit around by the campfire and sing

If you listen real close
You can hear the bears toast
To the creature they featured that day

Then, if you pay attention,
You’ll notice them mention
The travels of Malicious May

Who’s this person, you ask?
Why she had the small task
Of filling her pail at the well

But when May arrived there
She then found contrived there
A small group of Diggery-Dells.

Now, the Dells are a species
That sold Mitsubishis
On a strip mall by Macey’s and Smith’s

But May, on Mount Digg’ry,
Got scared as a Giz’ry
And forgot what she’d heard of in myths.

Running off, May then faced who,
If dells go and chase you,
Appears with his sharp claws and bells

It was Chase the Garezbra
Who’s striped like a zebra
And protects those afraid of the Dells.

But May didn’t notice
That Jeff’s brother Otis
Was chasing the Dells far away

So, she only saw Chase
And punched him in the face
And has never returned to this day

So when you climb the mountain
In search of the fountain
Don’t scream when you run into Chase

‘Cause he’s already scared
Of the fight that he shared
With the one we call Malicious May

-Cecily Jane

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oh, Come On!

My Dear Reader,

No, I didn't read the last Twilight book, and I don't plan to. I did, however, recently finish Persuasion. Can we still be friends? I mean, I know. I'm Mormon, and, you know, female. It's a fairly unnatural state that I'm in right now. It's kind of like that time when Star Trek stopped being cool* and I didn't exactly join that bandwagon. Thinking for yourself sure is hard sometimes.

Okay, so maybe I'm sounding a bit snobbish. And maybe I am being slightly critical. I mean, it does seem a little bit like I'm passing judgement on something that I haven't experienced, and I haven't read the books, so I suppose that's at least partially true. But I have heard a lot about those books, and by that I mean that no one around me seems to want to talk about anything else. I'm just not that intrigued by the plot line, and I've got a long list of classics that I never had time to read because I used to be an English major. Classics like Persuasion.

Of course, I have been wondering if there is some secret subconscious reason as to why I haven't read the Twilight series. Could it be because it's so popular, and I tend to shun fads such as this? Could it be that I refuse to read something just because I happen to share a religion with the author? I don't think so. I was so exhausted after initially refusing to automatically endorse Mitt Romney and later realizing he was the only candidate that was actually in it for America that I don't think I'd be so likely to be so biased against myself a second time. And then I got to thinking: what if I'm jealous that Stephanie Meyer got there first? Let me put it this way:

I mean, I was supposed to be the next J. K. Rowling. The Mormon version. I was the one who was going to have record-breaking book sales and be on talk shows where people would remark about how curious it was that I was wearing sleeves. "Oh, and get this," they would all say, "Cecily Jane, the author of that book that is being voraciously read by tens of thousands, is Mormon! Can you believe that a Mormon person could actually do something that wasn't creepy or strange?" And then they would lean in and whisper, "Do you think it's possible that those Mormons weren't really that creepy and strange after all?"

It would have been so darn awesome. Historic, perhaps, especially because female Mormon writers seem to be in short supply. I'd be breaking new ground and what not, but no, I find myself too late. As I stagger into the ground breaking ceremony of the literary world, toting a golden shovel behind me, I find that the whole hulabaloo is over and the only person left is some snot-nosed kid who licks at her lollipop and stares at me as I struggle to catch my breath. But as I pant for air, I have to ask myself, who do I have to blame? Sure, I have a novel in the works, but I've been sitting on it since November, and only talking about it for a lot longer than that. I could have just finished it two years ago, before Twilight got really big, and took my place in the great literary tradition as people remarked on how much my book's success was like that of Harry Potter. Unfortunately, however, Twilight is big, and all of my plans are completely ruined.

I mean, does anyone really want to be the sci-fi Stephanie Meyer? J. K. Rowling was already teetering on the edge of literary respectability, and from what I understand, Stephanie Meyer's style is substantially less . . . classic? Should I even publish at all if I stand the chance of becoming her sci-fi alter-ego? And yes, I do know that I'm being completely ridiculous, since anyone who's published is miles ahead of me at this point. But you should know by now that ridiculous is what I do best.

Anyway, I suppose that I lost the race for Mormon J. K. Rowling, and I suppose that Mrs. Meyer won fair and square. But I still don't want to read her books.

I guess that I'll just have to settle for becoming the female Orson Scott Card.

Regards, best wishes, and foolish dreams,

-Cecily Jane

*Don't you remember how it used to be one of the highest rated television shows of its time? Remember when it was weird when people didn't watch Star Trek? Okay, fine. I'll just go sit in a corner and play a solo game of Three-dimensional Chess so as not to bother you.
**The image belongs to Post Secret, not me. I didn't send it in and I hope they don't sue me, because if they do, I don't even have a shot at being the next Jack Weyland.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Short Story: [Untitled]

My Dear Reader,

As you may have guessed by now, I love writing letters, which explains why all of my posts are in letter form. The truth is that any time I write in the first person, I tend to make it a letter. It makes it easier to justify why the narrator is speaking and who the intended audience is. It also lets me speak through the character, which is pretty fun. So I hope you enjoy the following story in letter format. I wrote it yesterday morning after a stroke of genius, and I was originally going to call it "I Will Not Marry You, Mr. Brown." That was before I actually wrote it, and it was going to be a letter from an old spinster refusing some middle-aged Romeo or something. I liked the story it turned out to be a lot better. The problem is that I came up with this great title which no longer fits the story, and I can't get it out of my head long enough to think of something else. Thus, the task has fallen to you, Gentle Reader. After you've read the story, give me a title suggestion in the form of a comment. I'll choose the one I like the best. Good luck and happy reading!


Dear Jason,

First of all, I did no such thing.

Second, how dare you think that I would do something like that? How could you think she would do something like that?

Third, are you seriously so afraid of talking to me directly that you had to send me a letter about this?

I have told you before that you are a coward; you’ve proved me right again. You’ve known me for how long, four years? You really could have just asked me in person. Now I have to respond to you in kind, and you know how much I hate writing letters. You really need to stop being this melodramatic, or she’ll never marry you.

Sorry, that was a bit harsh. It was also the opposite of the point that I was trying to make. I don’t blame you for being upset, after all, I would probably feel the same way in your situation, but what you heard was absolutely not true. Would it help you if you heard what really happened from someone who was actually there? Fine, I’ll tell you. I’m not going to write pages and pages, so don’t ask me for more details after you’ve finished reading this. This whole thing isn’t any of my business anyway, and I’d prefer to stay out of it as much as possible.

Yes, we did go to New York, but your “facts” are all wrong. There were at least ten people who went with us, and if your grandmother was feeling better, we would have invited you, too. In fact, Christine didn’t want to go at first because you weren’t coming, but when I told her that she could either be in Philadelphia without you or New York without you, she agreed to come. It’s not like she should lock herself in her closet just because you’re away. Besides, she needed something to get her mind off of everything. Anyway, I wasn’t the one who invited Greg, and it wasn’t Christine, either. He invited himself, and since he had a car, we let him come. Maybe that was a bad idea, but we are all adults and we should be able to handle ourselves by now.

We did all of the things people usually do there. We saw some shows, we visited a few restaurants, and we saw some of the sights. Amy hadn’t been there before, and you know how Lucas is always trying to impress her, so we spent most of the time being dragged around by Lucas while he tried to sound knowledgeable about everything. It wasn’t that bad, since we were in good company, but I promise that I was with Christine nearly every second, and she barely even said two words to him during the whole trip. I don’t blame her, either, because he was trying to seduce just about every teenaged tourist he could find. In fact, I remember very clearly that Christine called him repulsive. Does that make you feel better?

On the last night we were there, we ended up in a bar. I don’t even know where it was. Now, I realize that this is the part where you think that I didn’t see what was going on, but I was there. Yes, I planned the trip, but I wasn’t driving, and if I didn’t have a choice about climbing up and down the Statue of Liberty, I definitely didn’t have a say as to how we should finish the evening. I was so tired by that point that I ordered my milkshake and sat in a booth in the corner. I could see everything from there. I suppose that Lucas’s mountains of facts were really starting to work on Amy, because they were all over each other. Across the room, I saw Greg and Christine talking. She had a glass in her hand, but I never saw her take a drink; she just stared at it with a guilty look in her eyes. I bet that he ordered it for her, and I bet that he knew why he shouldn’t. I think that he wanted to make her vulnerable, so I watched them closely so I could swoop in and save her if need be.

Don’t blame me for letting it get this far; she’s my best friend and I have to accept that she needs to make her own decisions. I was not, however, going to let this guy ruin everything, and you should know that I wouldn’t. I’ve gone to too many AA meetings with Christine already, and I wasn’t going to watch while she threw away everything she’d worked so hard for. For the record, I didn’t see her raise the glass to her lips even once, and you can imagine how proud I was of her. Instead, she was crying. I hope you realize that it was probably about you. He had his hand on her shoulder, and it seemed to help. I guess she’s sick of me telling her that it will be happily ever after. I noticed that Greg was drinking, but he didn’t try anything, and eventually the others got tired and wanted to go home. They asked Christine to drive and she declined, not because she was drunk, but because she was still upset. I drove. Greg said that he wasn’t ready to go yet, and let us take the car without him. He promised to take a taxi.

So, you see? They weren’t even in the same room together after that. I know that for a fact because we shared a room, and she was so drained that she went straight to bed when we got to the hotel. I read a chapter or two from my book until my head cleared from the smoke and alcohol, and I followed suit. It wasn’t until we woke up that we knew that Greg was in jail. He called his hotel room with his one phone call, and Lucas was unfortunate enough to answer it. He was so hysterical that I still don’t understand what Greg was accused of, exactly. I didn’t really want to know. It makes sense that he would say that Christine was with him so he could get out of it. Christine denied her part of it and refused to go with the others to get him, and I stayed with her. She was a mess, and she could use your support right now. Did you think of that? Anyway, the story ends with us piling in the two cars and having a silent and very awkward drive home. Of course he would ruin everything. We were just lucky that he didn’t do anything too stupid, and that he was released after twenty-four hours.

Now that you’ve read what happened, I want you to take a deep breath and think about all of this. Do you really think that she’d chose a jerk like Greg over a guy who drops everything to nurse his sick grandmother? Of course not. You should get on your knees apologize to her for even thinking such things of her, and when you’re done groveling to her, you should apologize to me for accusing me of putting her up to it. And don’t you dare write me another letter; you have my phone number and I want you to use it.

The next time you write me a letter like this again, I will personally go over to your apartment and slap you.

Your friend,


-Cecily Jane