Gwyn watched in mounting frustration as her brothers August and John took turns practicing against each other with their mock swords. They had been “training” for the better part of the morning and still had not gotten around to working in the fields as their father had commanded them. They hated field work and longed to be off serving as squires at arms to the local Duke. Their father had sent Gwyn to “deal” with them.
“Get off with you lazy lads! To the fields with ye!” she chided them in her lilting brogue. The brothers stopped and regarded her with annoyance.
“Lazy?” repeated August, making a great show of sheathing his practice sword. A dulled ugly thing in comparison to the ones he had lusted after at the blacksmith’s shop a fortnight ago when last in the village. She could barely haul him away, so consumed he was with lust at the gleaming blades and bejeweled hilts.
“Have ye not regarded with what gusto we have trained these past few hours?”
“Aye! Lazy me arse.” John guffawed.
“You’ll not be addressing me so cheeky!” Gwyn said, stepping forward, a menacing look on her face. The faces of both brothers instantly quelled and went white as a banshee’s. Their eyes round with horror. Gwyn hesitated…surely she didn’t look that fearsome! She only wanted them to get to work in the fields; not terrify them!
“Gwyn!” squeaked John, looking past her; his body trembling. Gwyn turned and looked about just as she felt arms of iron wrap about her body and physically haul her up onto a horse so that she lay stomach down like a trussed sow.
With sudden terror, she looked behind and saw her brothers experience the same fate. Marauding English slavers had entered their land by stealth and taken many captives. She saw a long line of her fellow villagers tied to one another by a common rope, their wrists bound and their faces gagged so they couldn’t cry out a warning.
“Let me down off this flea infested nag or I’ll cut off your ear’s just as soon as soon as I draw breath!” she managed to growl to her smelly captor.
“Shut yer pie hole, wench!” he growled right back at her, taking a stave and smacking her smartly on the rump. “If you don’t mind yer manners I’ll sell ye to a cathouse instead of as a serving woman to a fine manor house!”
Gwyn was ready with a smart retort but thought better of it. She was in no position to indulge her vast vocabulary of insults on a knave who held her and her brother’s fate in his grimy hands. She pressed her lips together in a firm line and concentrated on drawing breath in the most uncomfortable position she had ever assumed on a horse. If only she hadn’t worn her corset that day; the combination of both was making her light-headed for lack of breath.
The slavers didn’t even pause to rest for the knight, knowing the hot-tempered Celts would be on their heels like hounds to recover their loved ones. They paused only long enough to tie Gwyn up with her brothers to the rest of their unhappy countrymen and made to march triple time until they reached the sea.
It was almost nightfall and the slaver ship was almost invisible beyond the surfline. A waiting coracle; large enough to seat 20 (if crammed in like sardines) waited upon the sand for the slaver’s “catch”. As they herded their captives into the freezing cold surf to get into the boat, Gwyn, August, and John finally got a brief moment together again.
“You alright, lassie?” August asked her with concern. Gwyn nodded, putting on a brave smile.
“You?” she asked both brothers. They nodded; unable to hide the naked fear in their eyes. They were all being taken from their homeland and would probably be split up; never to see each other again once upon the other shore or know of each other’s fate. It made Gwyn’s blood boil with fury. What right did these vermin think they had to kidnap and enslave freeborn Irish to work in their slaughter houses and brothels! What gave them the right?
At that moment, the chief slaver caught hold of her arm to pull her into the coracle. Gwyn shook his arm off with a scowl and spat in his face. A hush descended upon all; except for her brothers who perked up and bellowed with laughter at the insult she had dealt him.
Their laughter was silenced with a brutal blow to their heads and they were unceremoniously bullied into the boat. Gwyn stood her ground, arms akimbo, legs spread wide, prepared to do battle without so much as a dirk. She had grown up with two rough and tumble brothers and knew well how to handle herself. The slaver regarded her with wary eyes; trying to assess just how much damage she might be capable of doing to him. He crouched low as if he were about to spring and nodded. Gwyn realized her stupidity too late. It had been a ruse. She was grabbed from behind by a smelly bear of a man while another grabbed her by the ankles and lifted her bodily off the ground and dumped her on top of her brothers and the other captives in the boat.
She screamed and struggled with a fury like a she-cat as they hog-tied her, bruising both herself, her brothers and the other captives by her struggles.
“Easy Gwynnie!” August protested, grunting with pain as her knee connected with his ribs. “It’s us you be hurting not them!”
“Aye!” grumped John, rubbing his now black and blue one with the side of his arm. The next thing they all knew the coracle was being pushed into the arms of the waiting sea and rowed to the slave ship. There they were all pushed and herded down into the bottom-most parts of the ship and chained together with leg irons. If the ship went down in a storm they would all certainly drown. The only small blessing was that Gwyn and her brothers were shackled together. They huddled in cramped misery in the bitter cold, trying to keep other’s spirits up and their bodies warm in the sickening plunge and yaw of the ship as it slowly made its’ way to Britain.
It was a miserable trip. Just about everyone ended up sick and vomiting, causing even those without seasickness just to retch from the stench. The smell was overwhelming, the trip unending and no sleep was to be had. They were all cold, hungry, miserable and covered with filth by the time they reached shore two days later.
Several of them had gotten sick and were now shaking with chills and fever. Gwyn and her brothers were a little worse for the wear but otherwise unscathed (except for their clothing which had become so rank it was only fit for the dung heap). They had neither eaten, drunk nor slept since the moment of their capture but instead of defeating their morale it only made them more furious. Gwyn was chafing for an opportune moment and then heaven help the poor sot when she was done with her tongue lashing!
The next day, after a brief rest where they cleaned themselves up as best they could in a nearby stream, given stale mead and hard bread; they were then forced to march again where one by one they were sold off to various farmers, merchants and tradesmen as slaves. The slavers pocketed less than they would have liked and were saving Gwyn and her brothers for last, hoping their strong bodies and fine looks would bring a better price from the Baron to whom they hoped to sell them as a threesome. Gwyn as a maidservant/serving wench and the boys for whatever menial labor the master could think of.
It was late afternoon after two more days of trudging when they finally reached a large estate. The seneschal had been expecting them and was waiting impatiently by the gate with a disdainful scowl. He gave August and John a sneering once over, wrinkling his nose in distaste at their “ripe” fragrance which only served to make the hackles rise on the back of Gwyn’s neck in protective indignation.
To be sure you wouldn’t be smelling as sweet as a rose either if you had been captured, shoved into a stinking ship’s hole and made to sit in your own reek for days with naught but a dirty stream to wash in! She fumed.
As if he had heard her thoughts, the seneschal turned about and glared at her. “You!” he said with a sneer. “Come hither!”
Gwyn may have had shackles are on her wrists and ankles but she was no man’s slave to be commanded! She crossed her arms and stood with her feet firmly planted a shoulder length apart in absolute defiance. August and John shared a knowing look. There was no messing with Gwyn when she got her head up…
The seneschal scowled at her, obviously unused to be defied. He slowly walked up to her, swung his arm back and backhanded her. The blow sent her reeling backwards, tripping over her shackles and sprawling onto her backside into a mud puddle. Mud spattered everywhere. August and John were incensed and lunged forward but were restrained by their slavers who had been expecting a reaction.
“Gordon!” snapped a voice that left no doubt it came from a much higher authority. The seneschal immediately bowed and remained bowed as a large man in rich clothing brushed past him to where Gwyn still lay flat in the mud puddle, fighting back her tears of anger and humiliation.
“Give me your hand,” he ordered, extending his to her.
August and John sucked in their breath, wondering what their sister would do next. They hadn’t long to wait. As the master bent lower to grasp her hand, Gwyn clasped hold with both of hers and yanked down as hard as she could, catching him totally off guard. He wound up sprawling in the mud beside her, completely ruining his costly tunic and velvet cloak. All stared in hushed silence except for August and John who were practically bursting with the need to laugh out loud.Gwyn had shown them all who was boss!
The master regained his composure, sat back on his haunches and regarded Gwyn with nonplussed look on his face.
The seneschal grinned, anticipating that a good whipping would now be in store for the impertinent little strumpet!
A bellow of laughter punctured that hope and deflated it instantly. The master bent forward at the waist and continued to laugh with abandon, completely surprising and disarming Gwyn, his laugh taking all the fight out of her. He stood to his feet, still offering his hand to help her up, which she accepted with deep chagrin.
He pulled with all his might, pulling her up and then lifted her and slung her over his shoulder like a sack of meal. Turnabout, after all, was fair play. Gwyn took to this new humiliation with renewed rage and flailed and kicked at him while he marched her past the seneschal, her brothers, the other slavers and captives all the way into the main house, through several richly appointed rooms and into a courtyard where he unceremoniously dumped her into the fountain.
She landed amongst the lily pads with an enormous plop that sent a backslash flying up to drench the Master who stood there with his mouth hanging open in mid guffaw.
“Hah!” Gwyn shrieked at him in triumph, crossing her arms.
“Hmph,” was the only response she got. He left her sitting there dripping and shivering and returned a short time later with a large blanket. He lifted her out of the fountain (since it was impossible for her to climb out with shackled ankles) and set her on her feet, wrapping it around her. If her teeth hadn’t been chattering so hard she would have shoved him away but all she could manage was a sneeze. He began to lead her back into the main house but the shackles made progress agonizingly slow. With a sigh of exasperation he stopped and scooped her up, carrying her into the house, up the stairs and into a room where a surprised chambermaid stood with her mouth hanging open in shock.
He stood Gwyn back on her feet. “Get her cleaned up, into a fresh pair of clothes and bring her back before me when she’s more presentable,” he instructed, with a cocked eyebrow in her direction.
“Yes, mi’lord,” curtseyed the maid, eyeing Gwyn in fear. Gwyn realized at that moment that her fate had been sealed. She was his property now…well,she wasn’t going down without a fight!
She picked up the nearest thing at hand and flung it at the head of the Master where it crashed against the doorframe at the precise moment the door closed behind him.
“I’ll be dammed if I ever bow to the likes of a fusspot like you!” she shrieked at the top of her lungs. The door reopened and Gwyn found herself ducking as an urn came flying at her head.
“I believe you just did, mi’lady!” replied the Baron with a devilish grin.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Hannah and Haley sat in the food court of Mall St. Matthews, people watching and sipping their diet sodas. They had had a successful day of shopping, having spent hours in clothing boutique and purchasing about 2 pairs of jeans and a cute top each (matching of course) after long and considered deliberation.
“What about him?” asked Haley, indicating a tall young man walking through the mall with a Nike bag in his arms.
“Too skinny,” concluded Hannah and Haley together in unison. They looked at each other, giggled and made the “owie-owie jinx” symbol. One after another they looked at prospective love interests only to find a major flaw (either evident or just made up for fun) in each one. They had come to the mall that day to see a special event. An author of a medieval fantasy/fiction called “The Victor” was supposed to appear at the Barnes & Noble later that day to do a book signing. They were saving the rest of their cash for later when they would get an autographed copy of the book. The mall had gone all out and had decorated the area in front of the bookstore with medieval banners. Their attention was suddenly drawn to the opposite end of the mall where they saw the crowds of shoppers hurriedly parting like the red sea before Moses to make way for what had to be the last thing they ever expected to see coming down the mall corridor. A man on a runaway horse…in a full suit of armor!
“What the….?” exclaimed Hannah and Haley together, eyebrows on the rise. The horse was coming at them full speed and it too wore armor and had gold and scarlet trappings that hung from the reins and which flew behind it. It whinnied loudly but instead of feeling terrified, Hannah felt a thrill go up her spine. Her breath caught in her chest.
“Boy whoever manages the mall must really like this book to hire someone to do this!” yelled Haley, springing up to get out of the way of the charging horse. Hannah remained rooted where she stood, a strange feeling coming over her. The mall about her began to spin and she felt herself becoming increasingly dizzy and disconcerted. Just as her knees buckled and gave way, she found herself scooped up into the saddle by the knight. His charger wheeled around and she held on for dear life as it reared and let out a loud neigh. At that moment, everything disappeared. The mall, the shops, even her friend Haley and she found herself clinging with all her might to the back of a mail clad knight on the back of a white horse that was now galloping on sod under a canopy of arched trees to a distant hill upon which stood a lofty castle.
What did they put in my diet coke? She wondered. She looked down at herself and instead of blue jeans and a t-shirt found herself in a gorgeous, dusty lavender gown of velvet, with a silk chemise that streamed back in the wind. Her hair flowed out behind her but she didn’t dare let go her grip to touch what surely must have been a circlet with attached veil upon her head for fear of falling off. The white horse snorted and the knight slowed down to give the animal a rest.
“Easy, easy…Glimraith” soothed the male voice inside the helmet. It was deeply masculine if albeit tunnel-ish sounding. He patted the magnificent beast and twisted about in the saddle, lifting the visor to reveal a pair of striking blue eyes. Hannah blinked, her mouth dropping open. If the eyes alone were any indication of what he looked like (they were fringed by jet black lashes) she was in for quite a treat when he took off the rest of the plumed helmet.
“Are you injured, milady?” he said, his black brows knitting together in concern. Hannah shook her head and shut her mouth so as not to look like an idiot by still gaping.
“Forgive the manner of my coming to fetch thee,” he continued in a gentle baritone. “But my quest was in earnest. We must make the keep before sunset and the day is already far gone.”
“Keep?” replied Hannah, puzzled, still trying to figure out where the mall had gone.
“The Court of St. Matthews…” clarified the knight, dismounting with ease. “Since you have naught but your gown and eventide is fast descending, you shall no doubt be warmer if thou ridest before me.”
With his assistance, Hannah scooted forward until she was sitting in the saddle. The knight remounted with ease behind her, drew his large cloak about both of them and urged the horse onwards into a fast cantor towards the magnificent castle which grew larger with every league they covered. Cottage fires in the surrounding village began to light as a deep purple dusk settled about them. Hannah closed her eyes, thoroughly confused but strangely at ease. The strong arms of the knight were about her and his body heat and cloak kept her warm. She had no clue what or how this was happening but instead of feeling panicked she had a strange sense of déjà vu and anticipation. She glanced down at her clothes and marveled at the gorgeous silver stitching all over the front of her bodice and the pearls which glimmered here and there. They arrived at the castle, now lit from within by torch and candlelight. The white horse clattered over the cobblestones, across the drawbridge and into the main courtyard. The knight (whose name she still didn’t know) dismounted and before she could blink had grasped her about the waist and gently lifted her down. To Hannah it seemed like the entire process was in slow motion. She felt his strong hands about her waist and was unable to tear her eyes away from his as she slowly slid down and finally landed on her feet. She swayed for a moment, a wave of dizziness coming over her again. Apparently time travel made her seasick. Her knees buckled but he was attentive to her every need and without a word scooped her up in his arms and carried her into the castle. He seemed to know his way around without even looking. His eyes never left hers the entire time until the moment he carried her into a gorgeous chamber room and set her carefully upon her feet, keeping his hands about her waist until he was sure she would not tip over again.
“Milady,” he said, bowing over her hand and kissing it gently. “I will attend thee later, in the meantime, make thyself ready for a feast is to be held in thy honor,” he said. Hannah finally found her voice.
“My honor?” she repeated. “Please,” she said, grasping his arm as he turned to go. “How did I get here? Where did the mall go and my friend Haley? My mom and dad are going to freak if they don’t hear from me soon! And…and… what is your name anyway?!!” Her voice began rising in near hysteria. At first she thought she was just daydreaming but now it was looking like she had actually gone through some kind of time domain transference of some kind with no clue of how to get back to her real life.
The knight paused, regarding her with deep concern. He removed his plumed helm and Hannah gasped at the sight of his handsome face. His eyes were the deepest blue she had ever seen and his hair, whiskers and brows ebony. His finely chiseled face was both beautiful and incredibly masculine at the same time. The kind understanding smile he bestowed upon her made her heart feel like it was melting into a molten hot puddle of mush. He took both of her tiny hands into his and held them both up to his lips.
“Fear not, beloved,” he said, his voice soft and very reassuring. “All will be well. Tonight is for thee but on the morrow all will return to what has been. Can you not be content to simply enjoy what has been given thee and let tomorrow worry about itself?”
Hannah nodded, falling under the spell of his eyes and his voice once again. A smile creased his face making her heart skip a beat.
“I shall leave thee to thy maid servant and return for thee later,” he said, gently brushing her cheek with his fingers. The heavy oaken door closed slowly behind him and Hannah sighed…finally turning around to take in her room.
“O..M…G!!!!” she squealed out loud. It was the most exquisite room she had ever seen in her life. The stone walls were covered with gorgeous tapestries all in shades of dusty blue, lavender and moss green. The canopied bed was covered in a deep midnight blue velvet coverlet embroidered with silver thread, pearls and gemstones with curtains that matched but what really caught her attention was the multitude of vases filled with flowers in complimentary colors and the candles which glowed on every available surface. It looked like an enormous valentine in jewel tone colors. If only Haley were here!
“OMG, HANNAH!” screeched a familiar voice. Hannah whirled about and found herself facing her best friend, similarly attired in an emerald green velvet gown and matching headdress, her hair longer, thicker and curling all the way past her waist. “Can you believe all this??!” The girls grasped hands and jumped up and down for joy.
“Did you see him?” Hannah asked, meaning the knight.
“Only a glimpse but ohhhhhhhhhhhhh boy, Hannah!” Haley giggled, her eyes alight. “An honest to goodness knight in shining armor!”
“He told me to get ready…ready for what?”
“Birthday celebration?” Haley guessed, taking her friend over to a gorgeous dressing table where brushes and beautiful bejeweled combs awaited her. Hannah sat down and allowed Haley to comb out her long tresses. The girls then changed into their banquet clothes, red for Haley and a gorgeous pale pink for Hannah with matching veil that drifted down almost to the floor like a cotton candy cloud.
A knock came upon the door and with a wink, Haley went to answer it like a good lady-in-waiting. Hannah could hear her gasp of awe even from where she stood on tip toe, trying to get a glimpse of the knight whose name she still did not know. He entered the room and it took her breath away. He wore a dark blue tunic edged in gold with knee high kid-skin boots and a black cape clasped at the throat with a golden chain. From his waist hung a magnificent sword but what really caught her attention was his face and eyes. He had eyes for no one but her and he walked forward bearing a bouquet of reddish/black roses wrapped with a red organza ribbon. Their sweet smell filled the room.
He went down on one knee before her and presented the roses to her. Hannah took them, trembling then gave them to a waiting Haley who put them into a nearby pewter vase. The knight arose and tucked her arm through his.
“Shall we?” He said, with a deliciously handsome smile. Hannah nodded and allowed him to accompany her through numerous hallways and corridors with Haley right behind grinning like a Cheshire cat. When they got to the main ballroom both girls almost (almost) screamed with excitement. Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty had nothing on this castle. The ballroom stretched up above their heads four stories high with large leaded glass windows that let in the full moon and stars. Candles and torches flickered everywhere and the room was filled with Lords and Ladies in the most gorgeous clothing and jewels they had ever seen. Upon their entrance everyone turned around and welcomed Hannah, Haley and her knight with warm applause. Then the music started.
The knight put his arms about Hannah, prepared to lead her into a waltz. Hannah froze, terror seizing her heart.
“Wait!” she hissed, “I don’t know how to waltz!” The knight grinned at her and pulled her closely against him.
“Trust me.” He smiled. The music began and Hannah found herself being swept about the room as if she had grown wings. She closed her eyes and let the music and her handsome knight take her away. She was barely aware of the other couples spinning about them on the floor except for every now and then when Haley would come flying by in the arms of a good looking young courtier. The evening passed swiftly. Hannah and her knight waltzed together and also with the other couples in group dances. They broke for a late dinner and sat side by side at a long table, sharing a trencher while acrobats, jugglers and jesters performed for their pleasure. The food was nothing like the fast food Hannah and Haley were used to at all but was rich, flavorful and creatively presented. Not sure what to do, Hannah allowed him to select morsels for her and had to stifle an embarrassed giggle as he even peeled a large purple grape for her with his fingers and popped it into her mouth with a grin. She never wanted the evening to end but found herself yawning with exhaustion.
“Come,” said her knight, standing to his feet and offering his hand. Hannah stood up and put her hand back into his. His fingers closed about hers gently and possessively. They felt so warm as they wrapped about her own. They walked together and soon she felt his arm slip about her waist and draw her close to his side. She leaned her weary head upon his breast and stumbled suddenly with exhaustion. It had, after all, been quite a day. She felt his arms go under her legs and he lifted her effortlessly into his arms to carry her the remaining distance back to her bedchamber. He carried her through the door and laid her gently upon the bed, covering her and removing her slippers.
Just before he left the chamber, he lifted her palm up to his lips and kissed it gently, his eyes looking deeply into her own which were heavy with sleep.
“Fare thee well, my love,” he whispered, a hint of sadness in his eyes.
“Wait!” said Hannah, struggling to remain awake for one more moment. “You never told me your name!” She saw his lips move in reply but could hear no sound. Sleep overwhelmed her like a wave at sea, sweeping her away from him upon its’ irresistible tide.
She awoke the next morning back in her own bed with the sun streaming in her window and birds singing outside. She sat up on her elbows and wondered to herself if it had all just been a dream or some kind of magic spell. She shook her head…it must have just been a dream… she concluded with a sinking sad feeling and then she froze. Upon her dresser sat a pewter vase and in it was the gorgeous dark red rose bouquet the knight had brought to her the night before. She flew out of bed and gazed at them, blinking in wonder and disbelief. Sitting propped up next to them was an elegant piece of parchment paper with script flowing across it.
“Dearest beloved…” it read. “…wait for me!” And below this he had written his name…
Posted by Marlayne Giron at 7:22 AM
Saturday, February 6, 2010
“Hey, Miguel!” called out Joey with a broad smile in his direction. “I got some good news for you!”
Miguel walked up closer where he could see Joey beaming at him like a proud father. He held up his hand and in it was an official looking letter. Joey was practically jumping up and down with glee. He thrust the letter into Miguel’s hand. Trying not to let his hand tremble, Miguel lifted the letter and his eyes fell upon the logo:
Miguel read the letter in silence while Joey rocked with glee up and down on his heels.
“It’s a full ride scholarship to study graphic arts, Miguel!” he said, pounding him on the back. “I sent them some of your stuff and a letter and the graphic arts director called me a week ago. After I told him about you and your brother, and how hard you have both worked and turned your lives around, they wanted to give you a full scholarship! Isn’t that cool, mijo?!”
Miguel didn’t know what to say. Nothing could have prepared him for this enormous gift. He fought back the tears but did allow Joey to hug him and pound him on the back.
“Let’s get you something to eat and then we can discuss it if you want.” Joey practically skipped away muttering out loud to himself over and over “Miguel is going to The Art Institute! Holy Mackerel!!”
Miguel stood before the gleaming glass building both excited and terrified. It was his first day of class at the prestigious college with a brand new backpack and laptop that had been donated to him when news had reached the supporters of RYTMO that one of their own had earned a full-ride scholarship to The Art Institute based purely upon the calligraphy and graphics he had created both on computer and by hand. He tried to look calm and casual but inside he was trembling with mingled terror and joy.
“Are you just going to stare at it or ya going to come in?” said a cheerful voice behind him. He turned around and found a pair of bright blue eyes staring back at him and a bemused smile. “I’m Jessica!” said the pretty blond, sticking out her hand to shake his. “You must be new here!”
“Uh…yes, I am,” said Miguel, shaking her hand briefly. Her smile widened and Jessica hooked her arm through his.
“C’mon!” she said, propelling him into the building. “I don’t have my first class for another hour. I’ll show you around!"
For the next hour Jessica gave Miguel the grand tour of The Art Institute, showing him the registrar’s office, classrooms for the culinary institute, fashion design, and last of all, the media arts (Miguel’s career choice). Last of all she took him to the cafeteria (located next to the culinary institute’s kitchens). Incredible smells were emanating throughout the room and Miguel’s stomach grumbled so loudly it made Jessica giggle.
“Let’s get you something to eat or your stomach will be interrupting your instructor’s first class!” she said. She shoved a tray into his hand and led him to the food counter. “Don’t eat anything that has the name Debbie next to it!” she hissed, nodding at a rather disgusting looking side dish made up of what he didn’t know what! “She likes to experiment with really weird stuff. I can’t believe she hasn’t gotten kicked out of the school for food poisoning yet!”
Jessica chattered on happily while piling more food on his plate than Miguel would ever be able to eat. It all looked and smelled incredible and his stomach rumbled loudly again. They took their trays to a table and while he ate, Jessica plied him with questions he couldn’t answer because his mouth was too full.
“Hey, Jess!” a voice called out. Jessica and Miguel looked around to see a red-headed girl come towards them with a big smile.
“Are you new?” Beth asked, sticking out her hand to shake his. Miguel nodded his mouth too full to answer.
“I was just showing him around but I have to get to my next class.” Jessica said, standing up. “Since you’re on break – could you help Miguel find his first class? You guys are both in media arts.”
“Coooooooooooool!” responded Beth, giving Miguel a huge dimpled smile. “If you’re done eating, get your gear and come with me!”
Miguel was reluctant to leave all the great smelling food but he managed to tuck an apple and muffin into his coat pocket before shouldering his backpack and laptop. He followed Beth down the hall and stepped into a classroom filled with students hunched over their laptops, talking animatedly and admiring each other’s work before the instructor walked in.
Beth showed Miguel to an empty seat at a table, helped him log into his new account on the Institute’s website and got him set up for his first class before returning to her own seat.
The instructor entered the classroom with his own laptop. Once he got online, he motioned for attention and waited while the students quieted.
“Good day, class!” said Mr. Bledsoe, smiling at all of them. “Before we begin, let’s all welcome our newest student, Miguel! “
“Hey Miguel!” the class chorused. Some waved others gave him a “thumbs up”.
Not sure what he should do, Miguel nodded in acknowledgement and waved back, smiling shyly. The formalities having been dispensed with, the class began and Miguel, feeling welcomed as never before by a bunch of strangers, felt a warm feeling come over him and an emotion that had come late to him in life: hope.
His life lay before him and it was filled with hope and promise…and it had all started in a little house in Anaheim that was known as RYTMO where he had been given a second chance and loved just for himself.
He would make good on their investment of trust and he would succeed and excel in his chosen field. And perhaps in the near future, he could go back to RYTMO and help some of the new kids there know that there was a different kind of world out there than the ugly, dark and hopeless one they were used to. A world where anything was possible…
Miguel is a young, gifted teenaged boy who lives with his brother, Rene and his other family members in a one-bedroom apartment in a bad part of town where gangs are prevalent. He and Rene both participate in a ministry called RYTMO which is a music-based outreach to youth to give them skills, a safe place to hang out, positive reinforcement and unconditional love and acceptance. Miguel is a very gifted graphic artist and because of his work in creating a logo for the organization, I thought this story might plant a seed in his mind and his heart to aim for higher things in life. Here is Miguel in his own words:
"I have always had my mind on success with getting a career so that I may support them. As you know, I am interested in design and art. When I was young I was athat drew realistic and symbolic art, mostly political of life in my city, through my own eyes. Now a days, I do graphic work of all kinds. I hope my talents can land me a career someday."