Laurie Gabriel (Christenson)
B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1996
Laurie Gabriel (formerly Christenson) is pursuing an M.A. in Counseling and Art Therapy. She feels the way to heal is through the connection between body, mind and spirit. Her style embodies a vast array of attitudes and symbolic experiences. So, prepare to sit still and contemplate the meaning found inside a mind massage. You may purchase a book of her poems, Exception to the Rule, on the website Organik Chameleon, and her short story, "Carrots," will be featured in the Aphelion website.
Latest Publication Title
Our breath stretched out in the night air for miles. We wanted so bad for it to be over with. Everyone had told us not to come. They thought we wouldn't be able to tolerate the heat. As we looked up we saw the whole sky turn fluorescent. It was a wonderful sight and at that instant I felt awestruck. At the same, though, I wanted to throw up. Maybe they're all right. I guess I thought I would just know what to do when they came. I had imagined this day to be a simple process of walking straight into the light. There wasn't supposed to be any feelings of fear or confusion.
My boyfriend was an avid science fiction fan and had believed in them longer than anyone, but I was always skeptical. Until that day when I saw a rock with the salsa sauce dripped all over it. When I went over to analyze the rock, I had thought that I was hallucinating, but I wasn't. The salsa sauce was as thick and red as the store bought kind. My boyfriend had read the magazine article which had said one of the signs to look for was a rock on fire. I had asked him what that meant, but he said I shouldn't question it. He said that there was a purpose to it, but we wouldn't find out until much later. It was a prophecy and sometimes they don't make sense. You should always believe in them when they're right in front of you. I always trusted he knew what he was talking about. I really don't have a lot of opinions, it just wasn't something I could do. It probably meant, I couldn't think deeply about things. Anyway, I really don't care too much about thinking seriously, it just wasn't that fun.
I wondered how long it would be until someone came looking for us. My friends were always curious about things, and I knew they would want to see if I would go through with it. As I stood there my knees began to buckle. My boyfriend held me up as best as he could, but I weighed over 200 pounds and he was a lot smaller than me. I felt like running for dear life, but I knew that I would be laughed at for the rest of the year. For the first time in my life, I wished I didn't weigh so much. Everybody else thought I was in denial, but actually I liked being big. It meant I was different than most and I always had a positive attitude about it. I never cared about watching my weight, I liked who I was as a person and if anybody felt different then too bad. I'm not changing.
City hall was only two blocks away, but it might as well be on another planet. I couldn't get there in time, because the lights were starting their call. My knees unbuckled and I began to feel more at peace. The night air was beginning to warm up and I looked at my boyfriend and asked him if I could borrow his jacket. He put his arm around my shoulder and whispered, "I love you" in my ear. I turned my head backwards to see some of my friends waving flags and eating popcorn. It was pure magic. As we walked into the fluorescent light, I heard the noise get louder and louder. The jar of salsa sauce was warm and I hoped it wouldn't break in my hands. It was finally our turn, I just couldn't believe how fast this was happening. This was something to remember all right, none of my friends were going to go until the next year. During the drawing, I had the first pick, and my number was ten. That meant that only nine other people would be before me. I wonder if they ever got back. No one had heard from them, but that didn't mean anything. The prophecy said we wouldn't return until the Earth was healed. I was lucky that they considered me one of the weak and mild. I was looking forward to inheriting the Earth. My boyfriend had brought his favorite pet rock with him. It was kind of cute, how literal he was taking everything. I wondered what would have happened if we had never met or if we didn't have the prophecy to lean on.
Looking down, I saw the salsa. I hoped they would tell us what's it's for because I really had no idea what I was supposed to do with it. My boyfriend told me to look up and as I did so, I saw the door opening. I couldn't believe how ordinary they looked. That was a relief because I wondered how we would be able to relate to them. As we made our way past the blue ribbons and kazoos left on the ground, a thought occurred to me. What if the people in our town were the only ones chosen?
Copyright by Laurie Gabriel (Christenson) 1998 - All rights reserved.