Dinner Conversations (Short Story)

     I’m sitting at the dining room table. It’s been a long day of school, and my parents expect me to say something more than, “It was boring.” Which, no matter how true it was, apparently saying it seems worse than telling a lie. “It was great. I learned new things.” I could tell them that, however that involves another conversation… which includes saying what I learned.

What did I learn today? In second bell Marcus decided to throw an eraser at Isabell, who then made a huge scene, which the teacher bought. In study hall, I finally finished my sketchbook, with my own version of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. At lunch, I again sat by myself, but that’s mainly because my group of friends no longer exist. Well, Maria still has my back. You rat a kid out once for cheating and suddenly you’re the snitch of the eighth grade.

It was at that moment that I realized that my parents were staring at me. I had a plate full of chicken, rice and broccoli and hadn’t touched it yet. It was father’s favorite meal, which meant mother was up to something. “Placement tests for the art school is a month.” My mother said, while looking at my father. This was an argument which they had been having for a month now. Mom wants the art school, and father wants the public school, which he attended. The issue with both was that I wanted to get far away and just live a bit. And as usual, they go off into their own conversation on why the other is right.

There is no time like the present.

“So, as it happens, I found a really good school for next year.” My parents look at me clueless. This had been the longest running conversation at the dinner table. The conversation about my future beat out our conversation on how we would beat the apocalypse. Which is a conversation we’ve been having for over a year now, due to all the apocalyptic shows my father watches.

“That’s good sweetie!” She’s trying to be supportive, but every word is cracking because she doesn’t want me to go to the district public school.

“Wherever you want to go, is where we will send you.” He says confident that I’ll pick the cheapest future for myself, go into the family business and still be highly successful.

There is no time like the present. I play with my fingers and scramble the words out. “There’s a boarding school, about four hours away, located in Nevada.” My parent’s jaws are dropped. For once they can agree on one thing, I was going crazy. I have an opportunity to live my life outside Roseburg, Idaho and be proud of it. I don’t have friends here and it will be hard enough going to high school.

Many moments pass.

I start to eat. I’m scarfing down my plate, so I can leave the table and go to my room. Nobody is talking. They both can’t be thinking that much, they barely think that much in general. As they continue to sit in silence, I get up. I push in my chair and clean my dish.

“Sweetheart, wait.” My father, holds out his hand. He’s going to give me that, father side hug and tell me what a huge mistake I’m making. That boarding school is for teens with issues. I don’t have issues, obviously, because I’m their little girl. But I please him and walk over. Leaving my dish in the sink.

“May I ask why you’d want to go to this boarding school?” If I knew he was going to ask questions, I would have prepared for them.

“Well… um…” How do I put something so cruel, into the nicest words for such fragile people? I’m fourteen years old, that’s not how the world is supposed to work.

“I want to move away, be on my own. I want to experience new people, and can say I enjoyed it. Staying here, where the sun hardly shines makes me depressed. I don’t have friends at school, my teachers keep sending home notes saying they need you to sign off on things, which I then sign. It’s not that you two did anything wrong, or that you messed up… But secretly I’m wanting more.”

My father hugs me, and for once he’s on my side. “Okay, I understand. I’m not hurt, and if it’s what you want then I’m sure your mother and I can get –” He’s cut off right in the middle of his heart warming speech. A speech I desperately needed from him. Why would my mother do such a thing? This may be the only time I get this from him.

“No.” The most understanding person in this room says. She gets up and walks out of the room. I sit down at the table once more.

Father looks at me and says, “Maybe next dinner she’ll be alright.”

A 1 in 4 Chance

1 in 7 men will also encounter some sort of domestic violence. So, out of 600, that means 85 men will experience domestic violence. For women, it is 1 in 4. Using the same 600 that means 150. More personally, my graduating class had 222 women in it. That means, out of those women, 55 of them would experience domestic violence in their life time. Sadly, one of them was me.

In December, I considered myself lucky. I thought, those numbers would never be me. You see, the older generation, taught the next generation that, yes the world is cruel and full of unfortunate things but, we are lucky enough that we only see it on the news. That only big cities, or people who walk near alleyways are going to get hurt. We tell ourselves that we should feel safe, that we have no reason NOT to feel safe. But we never truly know how unsafe we are. The cruel world that we see on the news, is just around the corner. Things like domestic violence, assault and battery, they don’t just happen to people in alleyways. They don’t happen to people who keep their doors unlocked. They don’t just happen to people who live in big cities. On top of that, it’s not always committed by people that you don’t know. Sometimes it’s people you willingly invite into your home. People who you trust and even care for.

On January 4th at 8:30 am, Assault and Battery happened in my kitchen and dining room. By people I’ve known mscreen-shot-2017-01-18-at-1-22-46-pmy whole life. Since that moment, all I could think about was, “why”? I had a personal connection to these people, it’s something I would have never seen coming. At night, I don’t close my eyes counting sheep anymore. When I close my eyes, I see myself being hit, repeatedly. I see myself being thrown to the floor, my head pounding against the hardwood and my back being kicked.

Everyone tells me that my bruises don’t look bad, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is the purple and blue marks that now cover around my eye. A nice warm hug seems nice, until I realize that I’m trapped within someone’s body. It’s the little things that I loved doing that now seem so scary. All because I was told, “It would never be me.” Because I was told, that good kids like me don’t get hurt like that. That obviously, only people who throw punches receive punches.

I refuse to think like that anymore. I have children, young ladies looking up to me. If I told them, that the cruel world is miles and miles away from where they slept. I would be lying. That world is right outside our doorstep. In these past days, I’ll admit I let this one incident consume my life. Because I was… I am scared. It’s not a matter of “If” it happens to me, it’s a matter of “when” it happens to me. Nobody should have to live like this.

I can’t just let what go happen to me. I shouldn’t be asked not to press charges because someone might get upset or hurt. What happened to me is unacceptable, and naive to think that it would never happen again. I am 1 in 4, and eventually I’ll be okay.

For more information about types of violence, please visit the websites below:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 

Andrew D. Stine: What’s the difference between Assault, Battery and Domestic Violence? 

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic 

Violence Against Women 

RAINN

To seek help, please visit:

Women’s Crisis Center

The City Mission 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

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Christmas Recipes #1: Kathy Treats

Origin:

Way back when I was about six years old, my aunt introduced these fan favorites to my brother and I. She told us, that she had a friend named Kathy who would make them during the christmas season. They didn’t have a name for the treats, so my aunt just started calling them Kathy Treats.

The fun thing about these, is that you can only bake them when it’s the winter season. They require Hersey Hugs, which only go on sale from November to January. They are known as a “deluxe” Hersey candy. However, although they are supposed to stay in stores until January they sell out extremely quick. I start buying the Hersey Hugs around the second week of November, mainly because they are super cheap in the beginning, whereas near the end of their shelf life they jump up one or two dollars.

 

What You’ll Need:

At least 4 bags of Hersey Hugs . (There are roughly 50 Hersey Hugs in each bag)

1 Salted twisted Pretzel Bag (different from the featured image)

4 bags of original M & Ms

2 cookie sheet pans

Cookie Containers

 

Directions:

1.) Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350 or higher. Each oven is different. Some heat up faster than others. I typically preheat the over to 375 because the hotter the oven the quicker the Hersey’s will melt.
  • While the oven is preheating empty at least two spaces in your freezer. It needs to be as big as a cookie sheet pan.
  • unwrap all the Hersey hugs you are going to use for the first batch. Make sure the foil does not stick to the chocolate. Also dump the M & Ms into a bowl (for easy access).

2.) Baking:

  • Lay out the non-broken pretzel pieces onto the cookie sheet pan. You want as many pretzels on the pan as possible.
  • On top of the pretzels place a Hersey Hug in the center.
  • Put in the oven
    • Keep a close eye on the Hersey Hugs when in the oven. When they start to sink/melt take them out of the oven.
    • There is not a set time for how long it will take them to melt, mainly because it depends on how hot your oven is.
  • After they come out of the oven, quickly place the M & Ms in the center of teh HErsey Kiss
  • Place the batch in the freezer for them to cool.

3.) After Baking:

  • Every other batch is when you should take the Kathy Treats of the sheet pan in the freezer.
  • Put them in a container and place in the fridge, until ready to eat.

 

200 Hersey Hugs = 16 or 17 Dozens 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes

*Bake/Cool Time: 15 minutes (each batch)

 

*Time differs for each baker.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

On this day, I have so many things to be thankful for. Looking back at these past eleven months, so many people have helped me become a stronger woman. In the past year, I graduated high school, started college, got a job I actually enjoy going to and so much more. No matter what my journey was or what my current journey is, I know that I’m not doing it alone. I have a wonderful support system, that is literally on standby any time I need them.

There is so much negativity in the world right now, that today I’m happy to be sharing it with positive people. 2016 has been through a lot as well. A flower was grown in space, and NASA started their project to send a probe to jupiter. Leonardo DiCaprio won an oscar, J.K Rowling wrote another book and the Star Wars Saga was revived.

This year my friends and I are getting together for a Friends-giving. We get so busy throughout the year that sometimes it’s easy to forget what brings us all together. I hope that while we enjoy the turkey and the pumpkin pie, we remember the little things in our lives that have made it worth living.

Sixteen reasons I’m thankful for 2016:

1.) Second chances, because sometimes all you need is a double take.

2.) NDA for preparing me for college and for my college advisors who sit with me for hours, so i can pick my perfect schedule.

3.) Stress Relief lotions and Sleep Candles.

4.) The guy that road the bus with me for three months, to make sure nobody followed me home. Also, because when it stormed really badly, my school supplies would have gotten soaked, had he not given me his only umbrella while waiting for the bus.

5.) To the woman who sold me my first car. Thank you for letting me buy it in October instead of January.

6.) My health.

7.) My job and co-workers. (plus the company I work for )

8.) Photo albums, that remind me of great memories and stories to tell.

9.) Daring myself to push the limits and get out of my comfort zone. Which ultimately made me a better person.

10.) The followers and the viewers. Whether it be social media or this blog, thank you for always listening to what I have to say.

11.) I’m thankful for the military that keeps my country safe, so that I may live a life full of opportunities.

12.) That Pope Francis is highly involved with the 2016 culture.

13.) Being able to donate blood every two months. I’ve saved five lives so far, and receiving those letters make my day.

14.) For those who entered my life and then decided to leave. You have made me a stronger person.

15.) Hypha, who spends up to an hour of her day editing these blogs before they go public.

16.) Britney Spear’s album Glory.

 

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Day One: Christmas Recipes

Within the last week of November, I start my holiday baking. Typically each year I pick a set of friends and family that I bake for; typically it’s around two families, a few friends and a couple teachers. I do this to show appreciation towards them. A thank you, for all that they have done for me in that year.

In November, I type up the thank you notes and get all of my supplies together. By the first week of December I am baking. Lastly, right before exams happen, I bring them to school, friends and family.

I hope that everyone this year finds peace and joy this holiday season. There has been a lot of negative talk, I thought we could use some positive vibes. Baking is known to relieve stress and help those with anxiety. It said that while negative activity surrounds the mind, being able to make something positive out of simple ingredients, helps the mind with ease. While baking you can listen to music, or watch tv. Which also helps soothes the mind.

This year I will be sharing which recipes I will be baking this year, and why i chose to bake those (because yes I have reasons for which cookies and bake goods I use). I will also be sharing pictures of what they look like. Typically I only bake one kind of sweet treat and I call it a day. This year I have decided to pick three to four sweet treats to give a more diverse box of goods.

I will start sharing recipes after Thanksgiving. I am still a strong believer in enjoy each holiday in the order they come. The Recipes will come within a few days of each other, for bakers who enjoy cooking all at once, like I do. If you’d like to read about why baking is good for the mind, please click the link HERE. The article I found my information was by Gabriele Fantelli and was posted in February of 2015.

  • S.W