December’s LitX Entries


December’s two entries into the Roaring Gazette are by Despina Drosinos and Habiba Abbas.  To read more excellent writing, readers should go to


I have an excellent poker face.
Sometimes it slips,
But I always plaster it back on before anyone sees.
You may be there,
but I won’t share you with others.
I don’t need pity when you visit me every day.
People don’t need to know.

I’m good at ignoring you.
My finger hurts?
Use the one next to it.
My hip hurts?
Stand on the other one.
My tailbone hurts?
Don’t sit down.
My toe hurts?
Walk on my heel.

I’m a great liar.
If someone says I need ice,
I iced it earlier today.
If someone asks how I’m doing,
“Good,” is my reply.
If people ask how bad you are
On a scale of 1-10,
I’ll always say a 2 or 3-
Even if you’re more like an 8.

I’m good at arguing with people.
My foot looks swollen and bruised?
No it doesn’t.
It needs a wrap?
I won’t be able to get my shoe on.
It needs to be elevated?
I don’t have anything to prop it up with.
I can’t walk without a limp?
Oh yes I can.
I can’t put any weight on it?


Despina Drosinos



The Silent Melody
Habiba Abbas

Dear Melody,
Bangor is a beautiful city, but it’s very cold up here. Even though it’s only September, it’s usually freezing in the mornings. I don’t have anything against the cold, but I much prefer the summertime.
Summer was fun, wasn’t it? All the times we went to the beach, or ate fresh fruit from your garden, or sat on the wet grass super early in the mornings. I think the best part of it all was the summer rain. How dark clouds would roll in from out of nowhere and pour, and then after ten
minutes they would roll out. The smell of the after-rain made me happy and the way we would always go inside after getting soaked and drying off was something I could never get tired of.
Our house is bigger here than it was in Santa Fe, but it’s more empty, too. Our neighbors are nice, two of the kids on the street are my age, but they’re very quiet. I thought they would have accents, but they don’t and that surprised me. I never hear them playing outside, and if they are, they’re probably not doing much. They’re fun to hang out with though, the boy, Jonathan, likes painting, and the girl, Marie, goes to my school.
We go to this private all-girls school, it’s so much worse than public school. The uniforms are tacky and ugly, and it can barely keep me warm. The entire situation’s even worse because everyone already knows everyone and I feel so out of place. I mean, I should’ve seen that coming, but it’s still hard to get used to. Even with Marie to talk to in between classes, I’d rather be talking to you.
You better be buying your own lunch this year, I’m not there to be your little snack machine anymore. And if I find out you died of starvation, I’m going to kill you. I’ll ask Mom to make you a personalized recipe book when I get the chance. I probably should’ve done that before I
left, but better late than never.
I don’t know if or when you’ll write back, but if you don’t, I still hope we’re friends. I’d probably be much more lonely if we weren’t. And it would be cool to see it typed, your dad fixed your typewriter for a reason, right? I still don’t think I can apologize enough for jamming it, but
I’m glad it’s working again. Unless you jammed it.
I don’t know how to end this, but I do know I miss a lot of things.
A list (in no particular order) of what I miss:
– ladybugs
– the plaza
– curly fry day at school
– you

Dear Melody,
I figured as much, it’s fine though. Maybe my letter got lost in the mail. I’ll just send it again: Bangor is pretty, but it’s colder here. The people here are nice and quiet. School is better back in Santa Fe.
Ooh, also a new thing I discovered is that the people here are nicer. I said they were nice, but they’re nicer than everyone we know. It’s like the kindness is programmed in them, or maybe that’s just my part of the city. Whatever it is, it’s refreshing, better than Santa Fe’s standards of how others should be treated.
I expected the girls at my school to look at me weird and talk behind my back, but they’re incredibly friendly. They’re super interested in getting to know me, it makes me feel weirdly good. The teachers are just as sweet. My math teacher, Ms. Marquez, said she would visit Santa Fe as a kid, her grandmother used to live there. Can you believe the coincidence? So we bonded over that, and she and my parents talk once in a while, just for fun.
Speaking of Mom, she’s applied for a few jobs but she hasn’t had any interviews yet. I’m crossing my fingers for her, but even then, she doesn’t need to work. Dad’s new firm pays a bit more than it did back home, still, I think she wants to work. I think she wants to talk to actual people- not just other psych students.
I almost forgot about the cookbook! Mom made it all fancy just for you, with pictures and stuff because she’s annoying like that, but she cares.

Dear Melody,
I’m going to keep writing to you, even if you don’t want me to. It’s fun, it’s basically a diary, except I’m sending it off, like a kid to the other parent who doesn’t have custody over it. That’s such a weird simile. Metaphor? No, simile (it has “like” in it).
On Sarurday, I went to Marie’s house and we binged on old 50s sitcoms.  She pulled out a bowl of cranberries, which we ate lying on the woven carpet on her floor.  I don’t know, fruit eaten outside seems so much better, but maybe I’m saying that because it was cranberries.
This week, Jon said he would take me to the “secret hangout spot” he and a few friends go to sometimes. I mean it’s technically not a secret if a bunch of people know about it. Want to know what it was? A treehouse. It was a stupid old treehouse. I thought it would be some sweet rickety bridge or abandoned bar, but it was just a worn-down treehouse. He said it was “so cool” because it had been there since his parents lived there, that’s how he found out about it in the first place, but it’s not that fun.
I noticed on the base of the tree, a bunch of words were carved out. My eyes locked on to a J+M at the bottom of the trunk, and I knew right away who they were.  After that first time, I didn’t go back to the treehouse.
It must be nice to be in love. My parents are 100% in love, I can just tell by the way they breathe next to each other. It’s not tense or full of fear, it’s just easy, comfortable, happy breathing. I mean, I can tell by their actions that they love each other, but to me, love shows itself in very subtle ways. Like breathing.
There’s a question I’ve been wanting to ask, but I don’t think I’ll get an answer from you, so I won’t ask it. To be honest, I’m probably more scared of the answer than the question. Oh well, I’ll probably forget about it soon.
(PS- That last part was a lie.)
(PPS- Do you want anything for Christmas?)

Dear Melody,
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day. Happy Birthday, too.
I would’ve sent a gift, but… I don’t know. I don’t think you would’ve wanted one from me. You probably don’t even want these letters from me.
“God, Jenna! You’re so obnoxious, even if you’re 3,000 miles away!” That’s probably what you’re thinking. I mean, I hope that’s not what you’re thinking, but who knows at this point.
Even back then, I always had trouble truly figuring you out. What goes on in that head of yours and what you were truly feeling. Was it a mask? Was it a fake face you would put out for the world to see? Or was it just genuinely you? Thoughts like that always made me want to know you more.
I tried to get to know you more, and at times I thought I did, but we both know the only person who knows you better than me is you. I wonder if you know more about me than I know about you. It’s possible, but there’s no way to measure that. There’s no contest saying what it means to “know someone”. It’s just something you know, I guess.
We probably should’ve talked about that before I left. We probably should have talked in general before I left. I talked to a few other kids, they said they were going to miss me, that school wouldn’t be the same, blah, blah, blah. I never talked to you, though. I wanted to, like, really badly, but I knew you wouldn’t want to, so I never did. Even with the letters, I thought about not sending the first one, but Mom thought it would be good to keep in touch.
Her and Dad still think you send me letters back. Their faces light up whenever I tell them that you’re doing well or that you miss us or that you wish we could visit. They don’t know it’s all a lie. I could probably do this for months, it’s not like they check the mail for proof. I could keep them in that little bubble of Melodic Happiness (as I call it), I don’t think I have the heart right now to pop it.
I don’t think I have the heart for any of this. I just want to go back to before. Before all of this nonsense. Before the move, before the silent treatment, before I ran my big mouth. I would do anything to go back in time and keep all my words to myself, instead of bombarding you with them, only to have them twist and explode right in my face.
I shouldn’t have told you I like you. Like- it’s not in the past tense, I still do. I was stupid to think anything good could come out from it. I was too dumb to think clearly and process that this is real life, not some story where everything is happily ever after at the end. Even if we did end on good terms, the whole move would have eventually ruined it all. But we didn’t. And I should have left it at that. I should have closed that book and thrown it away.
But me being me, I couldn’t toss it away. I guess it was too important to me. You’re too important to me. Even now, despite not hearing from you for so long.
I don’t know why I keep writing to you, it’s been months. I mean, I’m well aware that it’s useless, but something inside me keeps forcing me to take out an envelope and write your address on it. I don’t even know if you get these anymore. Do you read them all to yourself? Do you throw them away? Do your parents know any of it? Do you?
I’m tired of the questions. I think I’m tired of the silence, but I know I’m tired of hoping. I’m just tired. I think I need to rest. No, I need to sleep. I need to stop rereading this book and I need to go to sleep. I’ll go to sleep, then I’ll wake up and have the heart to move on. I think that’s what I’ll do.
So, good night, Melody.
Good night.