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Celeste DiLullo Sep 2012
I walk down the street like I normally do.
In my normal way, in my normal town.
I have my normal chats with my normal friend.
Everything about today is normal.
Yet, something is missing.

I take a stroll down the park, where autumn has began.
The leaves cover the ground with abundant colors of yellow, red and orange.
Normally, I step on the leaves as I take my stroll.
I normally enjoy the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet.
The crunching is normally a sign that the season has now changed from summer to autumn.

But an idea festers in my head.
What if I don't step on the leaves?
I take my next step and I am about to crush another leaf.
But I stop my foot midair.
Gently, I shift my foot to the right of the leaf and set my foot down on the pavement.
With a sudden gush of wind, the leaf of red hue soars in the sky.
The shimmer and shine of the mid-day sun emerged from the frame of a red-hued leaf.
Another abnormal thing happened.
Taking in the sight, a smile adorned my face.

The abstraction of color brought such joy to my heart.
It was a feeling I had not quite felt before.
I'm not sure what to call it.
Was it hope? Excitement?
Whatever it was, I stopped stepping on leaves after that.
I felt I was a kid again, imagining the leaves as lava and taking action to avoid them.
The adrenaline was an unknown feeling to me.
My friends would stare as I would gracefully avoid the leaves, and their looks were not normal to me.
Their faces scrunched up in dismay and their eyebrows furrowed.
It did startle me, their new looks, but I felt something deep down sing.
Their displeasure made me smile.

My eyes danced in the sunlight as a figure caught my fancy.
Her hair was as brown as a old bark tree, but it seemed more fragile than paper.
Her blue eyes conjured a storm in my own and I could not bear to look away.
Her dark red dress reminded me of the color I had not seen so long ago.
I felt compelled to her.

Her mouth opened to form words, words I could not hear.
I read her bare and worn-out lips.
Her eyes, body and lips beckon to me.
I wanted to see her.
Everything I was doing was abnormal.
So was the step my foot made towards her.

Her hand is held out for me to grab.
I take another step and it becomes a run.
My body is no longer in control.
My body submitted to her.

The distance between us is just a couple steps.
But what I catch a glimpse of is the last thing I remember.
The devil somehow knew I wished for something new.
I knew something was wrong when I no longer saw the eyes of an incoming storm.
Fear struck my body.
The car was seconds away from my side.
Pain crept slowly into my being.

And then death struck me.
Celeste DiLullo Sep 2012
5 minutes.
I sit on the water. The water’s surface is calm and quiet.
While the strokes continue, I look at the person sitting in front of me.
I can only see their back, but I’ve become used to it.

4 minutes.
The coxswain is calling starts.
There’s only a few minutes left, but I cannot keep time.
Everything’s happening so fast.

3 minutes.
The judges call for the boats to line up.
Gracefully, we glide across the water.
Smooth and kept.
Our balance leans the boat port-side, but it is soon restored thorough the echoing voice of our coxswain.

2 minutes.
We’re in our lane. I now take in the presence of the other boats.
They look fierce and prepared, then I look back into our boat.
We need to stand just as strong.
We are strong, if not stronger.
I remember that, because there’s no backing down.
I will not show fear.

1 minute.
Coxswain tells us to sit at three-quarters slide.
The point is adjusted and voices become silent.
I am reminded of every day I worked at practice.
Down to the last hour.
Down to the last minute.
My concentration becomes keener.
I take my final reassuring breaths.
I am fearless.
I am strong.
I am a rower.

0 minutes.
“All boats, ready.”
I dip my oar in a bit deeper. The silence is almost frightening.
My nerves are on a thin thread.
I breathe deeply. There’s no turning back.
“Three-quarters, half, three-quarters, full, full.”
“Power 10! Let’s do this! That’s 10! 9!”
Only three sounds can be heard.
The placement and swing of our blades against the boat.
The coxswain’s encouragement.
My ragged breaths.

I don’t dare look away.
“Keep the pressure, girls! We can beat Oakland! They’re a boat-length ahead! Bring me up to their 8 seat!”
I disregard the alarms going off in my body.
I exert all of my energy. I’m feeling lighter.
“We’re gaining on them! Get me to their 7 seat!”
Time is nothing to me.
I cannot think, only do.
My sole thought is my technique.

“Ladies, we’re walking them! Bring me to their 3 seat!”
I don’t doubt my coxswain’s words, but I am tempted to look to the side.
Our boat leans starboard for a stroke, but jolts back in balance with the next stroke.
My body begs for a rest, even a let-up.
But that’s exactly what the other teams want.
A chance.
A single chance to dominate us.
But I won’t give in.
Not now, not ever.
“We are even with Oakland! We’re in the last 500, girls! Don’t let them catch up!”

The last 500…?
But we have gone so far.
I won’t give up!
“Ladies, power 10 in 2! That’s 1! 2! That’s 10! 9!”
This is the last chance…to show them everything.
My will.
My strength.
My resolution.
The time is now!

Suddenly, added adrenaline runs through my body.
My breaths become more ragged and I feel a bit high.
I don’t let up.
The horn goes off, signaling our finish.
I lose the will to move.
Our coxswain tells us to paddle, but relearning how to breathe seemed more important to me.
Regardless of the silent screams of pain in my body, I obey my coxswain’s order.
We wane off after a while and once all boats cross the finish, we congratulate the other clubs.
I’m becoming tired; my body is crying, but we’ve succeeded.

Everyone worked hard.
We shared everything.
And there’s only one way to show how strong we really are.

We row.
And that’s all there is to it.
Coxswain: The boss of a row boat
Starts: A warm-up exercise for rowers to begin a race correctly

I wrote this poem when I was in the Los Gatos Rowing Club. This is poem was my farewell speech as I graduated.
Celeste DiLullo Sep 2012
Dear Diary,

I remember when I held you in my arms for the first time.
After buying a series of books, you were given to me free of charge.
You even came with your own set of a lock and key.
My writing pattern was irregular, but you are living proof of my life.
The picture may spark memories, but the pencil is still in my hand.
I embed my feelings into your former blank pages.
Even today, I remember what year and time I wrote in the page.
I was 5 when you came into my life.

Every year, I rediscover you.
Taking the pen in my hand, the ink emits off your pages.
I remember having other diaries.
But their pages remained blank.
How did I choose you to be the one I write in?
The one I dedicate my time and years to?
You’re just like them, aren’t you?
But you’re not.
Are you a virus?
Or an angel?

Somehow, you survived middle school.
You even survived high school.
Now, I will be entering college.
I grasp your felt cover once more.
There is only one question I have left to ask.
Do I take you with me?
Or do I leave you behind?

I was thinking of leaving you behind, at first.
To keep you at home so you wouldn’t lose your way.
That’s what I thought would have been best.
But when I unlocked you and rubbed my fingers across your pages, I changed my mind.

When the school days dwindled and graduation drew nearer, I received a letter.
It was a letter from my freshman year.
I couldn’t remember the assignment, but the content was about my future.
My freshman innocence was almost laughable.
I soaked in the letter, remembering how I used to be.
And then I found it.
The reason why I write.

I write for myself.
I write from my heart.
I write for the ideas.
I write for the dreams.
I write for the possibilities.
It gives me the courage to continue.
Encouragement to no longer desire failure.
But to embrace success.

With that, I have answered my own question.
I give you one last glance.
I bring you into my chest.
So even you, diary, can understand what my heart needs.

I’m taking you with me.
I’m taking you with me because I want to remember.

You are the reason I began writing.
And the reason I continue.
Celeste DiLullo Sep 2012
I cannot see.

If I could paint every color in the world on a mural,
I cannot tell you what I see in my own painting.
I am not blind;
I simply choose not to seek the truth.

As a result of my stubbornness, I only seek hope,
Something fragile but not broken.
I cannot tell you honesty,
for I simply choose not to seek out the truth.

Why do people search for something so endless,
That not one person has found it?
I cannot tell your lies and deception from truth,
Because I simply choose not to seek the truth.

If I could open my eyes again to the universe,
would anyone really care?
I cannot tell you why my eyes are closed, but
I wish not to seek out the truth.

My mask is dark and black and my cape void as the night.
Do you still wish to come near me?
Spare me your feelings,
For I will not seek out the truth.

If truth is with me, I will hide it in a box and lock it up.
When I come out of the darkness, I will open it.
Please, won’t someone save me?
Save myself from seeking out the inevitable truth?

You told me to open the box, and I did.
Inside, there was nothing but my own fears.
Oh why, why did you ask me to open the box?
And now I am blinded by my own truths.

I can see, but I may as well be blind.

— The End —