The Wallflower Blooms

16 08 2007


Speak, silence: for now I listen. This girl knows she is not alone. Books dissected on the floor represent not what has been made for the world, but what she has done to find herself. Everything is written on the subject of cleverness, on lovers, about dawdling little feet that fail to float on the dance-stage. On any subject, scientists and novelists can better explain my own experiences than this account. Yet in a string, these chance coincidences become me. This silence you are is my emergence, quiet – a head pushing up, out from a watery vacuum.

Then I am. Suddenly flailing about, arms thrashing while papers flutter beside me. An essay, there: a novel’s opening. And there: my life, scattered diaries. And there: a photo of the Oceanside pier. Stuffed animals line the walls and start a dance as I spin, a girl only seventeen aspiring. I forget why I am crying and  then three things happen in sequence to remind me.  Click, I stop crying, click mother opens the door, click my cell phone vibrates. She must’ve noticed the tears not yet evaporated. She knew, I think, before I did. She saw my teenage years come and, like me assuming, figured they’d pass by uneventfully, short-circuited by my early graduation from high school (finished when I was sixteen, I could barely drive). The poetry slows down here: the meter breaks down: and down on a piece of paper (now framed and fading) says Jennifer L. Sanel, Class of 2010, Harvard College. Which places me in sophomore year at seventeen.

Class president, not me. Captains of the cheerleading, soccer, and math team. No, no, no. Grades were a saving grace, I suppose; but being driven to learn the material (I was desperate to find out all of the things more important than myself), the grades were not hard-earned. I managed to pass through high school universally known of, but not known well. I kept to myself, I passed by quietly committing the social sins of eating alone (many times), avoiding conversations (more than a few times), and meeting with teachers out of class (it was nice). Who I was then is merely the stirrings of what would be, notes jotted down to flesh out a fictional character. Somewhere along since those notes, like a baby born a mistake, Jen the mistake rupturing from the wall, alive. Sigh.

Colors are more vibrant now. The blues, bluer; the crimson, darker, the yellow sharper. My eyes weave around the room, floating from painting to painting, instrument to instrument, inwardly expressive devices lying listlessly. And each elevated to life by my casual glances, memories almost painfully searing to consciousness: reminders of the pseudo-introvert. I preferred company; the happiest moments in high school were those when I flirted with boys I liked, discussed philosophy with a girl before the bell, conversations worth remembering; and better were the events: dances, trips to theme parks, sleepovers. More, I wanted. Less, I got. Over time, I learned to expect less and desensitized myself whole. The child in utero, remember, does not live. Does not feel or breathe, think or amalgamate. Only grows, waiting for a birth that it cannot know to expect. And then, life in color: two months ago during the middle of my internship at Calnext Financial, I meet Rose Salinas and Ivan Literski. The first, a timid amicable brunette and the second, a laid-back (read: lazy) intelligent black-haired man. Rose, the secretary from the fourth floor who underwent a divorce last Christmas and still wears her ring. Ivan who is currently dating a girl from Seattle, spends more hours at work playing games than anything else while managing to outproduce the others in his department. Rose, pained goddess wearing plaid. Ivan, simple cherub wearing denim. I fall in love with both.