Secret Place

Personal Essays

By Natalie Unruh

Inside my secret spot, no one can see me.  Mom will never find me in my tent.  Bright western sunlight is dulled by the blankets before it reaches my hideaway.  However, some light peeks in uninhibited to spy on this strange cavern.  Children’s Encyclopedias are stacked neatly under a chair, sharing space with the Little House on the Prairie boxed set.  The encyclopedias are mostly for show, looking quite official with a rough, gray canvas hardcover with gold lettering up the sides. 

Under a different chair in the corner, there is a tipsy stack of National Geographics.  They have been slowly sliding to the floor in an avalanche of yellow to rest, bent backed, against a rough wooden chair leg.

I recline in a corner, propped up by mismatched, slightly flattened pillows.  A National Geographic lies splayed across my knobby knees.  The magazine has been unable to hold my attention for the past few minutes.  I am currently occupied with watching the shadows play across my tent’s walls.  It’s windy and cold outside and the sycamore tree in front of the house is being batted back and forth by the wind.  In my special place, I feel none of the cold. 

A Demonstration of Humanity

Personal Essays

By Claire Kohen

What more human an event than to weep?

A demonstration of the physiological and spiritual body as one.
Each taking turns determining the individual purpose of an outside stimulus.

Our conscious minds seem to believe in a symbiotic relationship between tears and despair, when, in fact, there is a tear for every occasion.
Sometimes one must weep when finding peace in the solitude of a sleepless night. Sometimes one must weep when experiencing the world and its need for chaos.
Sometimes a tear is present when there is no reason.
You don’t have to know why you cry, just know that it’s natural. Organic.

When you see someone cry, don’t mechanically comfort them or neglect to gaze upon their face. Don’t say in that syrupy-sweet but almost superior tone, “oh honey, everything will be alright,” and hand them a tissue. Look them in the eyes, through that precipitation of truth, and tell them that they are beautiful when they weep.

When you cry, don’t hide your tears in embarrassment or shame. Be faithful to your physiological and spiritual body and cry when it tells you to. Cry in the supermarket while picking an apple from the produce section. The people may look at you funny, but the vegetables will most likely join in your tears. Cry while walking in the woods alone. The rabbits probably won’t come up and give you a hug, but chances are the birds will add a melody to your performance of emotion. Cry anywhere. Anytime. Do not apologize. Own your tears, for they are the very essence of what makes you you. What makes you human. And that is beautiful.

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