Unstuck

This post is another high school assignment. We had just finished reading Slaughterhouse 5 in English class, so our assignment was to write in a similar style that the author of that book did. I’m going to admit that the book was really different, and writing in a way to mimic an author’s voice was quite the experience. But I’m proud of the end result. Enjoy traveling through time!

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On May 19, 2001 a little brown girl named Rachel Israel welcomed a squishy pile of skin and organs and mush into the world for the first time. Born on May 18, 2001 in the Morristown Memorial Hospital, the baby, much like a pug with a face full of wrinkles, met her sibling the day after her genesis. With eyes as wide as an elephant’s girth, Rachel Israel looked at her sister as they both lay on the plump bed, and with her limited vocabulary Rachel Israel pointed out the features of the pug’s face. “Nose! Mouth! Eyes! Eyes! Eyes!” Drawn into the vortex of the baby’s pupil, Rachel Israel pointed closer… and closer… until her index finger could just almost graze the pug’s cornea. With the slap of her wrist, Rachel Israel’s thread of concentration snapped and the two ends were never sewn together, but the curiosity remained… What ever was that skinny black hole in the center of that eye?

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Rachel Israel found herself to be in March 13, 2007, as an obtuse little girl representing her elementary school in the annual Spelling Bee Competition. This was her third year in a row in the spelling bee. She was so nervous that she almost threw up the butterflies that were playing ping pong in her stomach. While waiting for the competition to begin, Rachel Israel monotonously read from the list in her hand: the top 100 misspelled words of 2007.

“Third graders, please come to the front.” She stood up and joined the conglomeration of her peers. They were all seated in a bleak classroom. Colorful posters were plastered against the walls in an effort to revive the room, but a flatline echoed. She wiped her sweaty palms against her uniform. The competition began and the little potatoes sat back in their seats with defeated looks on their faces after every turn. “#42, spell business.” Rachel Israel scrawled some letters onto a piece of notebook paper. “B-U-I-S-N-E-S-S.” The buzzer shrieked. “I’m sorry. The correct answer is ‘B-U-S-I-N-E-S-S’” Her confidence fell and shattered like glass as she thought about how stupid it was to spell business like that. Rachel Israel won third place, but to her parents she lost first and second place. And she would try again next year. And the year after that. Trying to get first place but never succeeding.

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In a constricted middle school history classroom, a paunchy child raised her hand in class because there was something about the origins of the architecture of gothic chapels that she did not quite understand. Rachel Israel’s classmates and instructor whined in synchrony, “Ugh! Not another question.” She was then allotted only a certain number of questions each class. Math: 3. English: None. Reading: 2. Spelling: None. History: 1. Science: ∞. And thus Rachel Israel’s curiosity in science class became as insatiable as her appetite for cheesecake. Her closest friends were her teachers; she would talk to them for hours after school simply pondering on what could be. She was like tree sap collecting morsels of knowledge as if they were bugs emerging from the brains of her teachers. A pudgy Rachel Israel was made fun of by snot-faced cups of pudding for being smart, and for that she was ashamed. But she was in no way penitent for her boundless thoughts that soared like kites in the wind.

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On the sixteenth anniversary of her birth, Rachel Israel stood sobbing in her dimly lit kitchen while her parents wrapped their arms around her in futility, offering the heartbroken girl the little solace they could. For more than five years, she had been plagued with eczema: an incurable allergic reaction causing rashes all over her body. While wiping away her tears, Rachel Israel looked in the mirror; she couldn’t recognize the unsightly creature who looked back. Its eyebrows had receded to nothing more than a few wisps of hair; its eyes were hidden by swollen eyelids; its face was taut because the mere act of smiling produced excruciating pain as it stretched out the countless cuts around its mouth; scales of skin would peel off of its face like sunburn; and the skin of its neck felt like leather, but thicker.

Doctors concluded what any reasonable person would conclude about an incurable disease: it cannot be cured. But Rachel Israel was beyond reason, and the confines of medical knowledge could in no way limit her. She was as stubborn as a toddler in want and as desperate as a drop of water in a lake of fire. Curiosity overwhelmed her weary mind and body. And Rachel Israel, like a dog with its leash removed, ran free in a world of her thoughts. Experiments were birthed, data was recorded, charts were made. And Rachel was healed.

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On February 2, 2057, Rachel Israel, a squinty middle-aged bag of bones, donned in a Doctor’s coat that outlined her frame received a Nobel Prize for Medicine for her outstanding research in the study of Immunology and her advancements in the field of medicine. Rachel Israel’s frail hands looked as if they could splinter apart if she held an object weighing more than a butterfly’s eyelash. Nonetheless, her crone-like claws grasped the plaque, and she began her speech.

She thanked the pug for lending her its eyes.

She thanked the spelling bee for making her spell impossible words.

She thanked the pudding cups for giving her their opinions.

And she thanked the doctors for crushing her hope and dropping it into a glass of her tears along with other medication, and trying to make her drink it.

And she thanked her gag reflex for not.

She thanked her parents and her husband and her children.

And above all she thanked God.

She thanked God for making her curious and stubborn and pudgy.

What ever would have happened to the little brown girl if she wasn’t?