The Watermelon Radish

The Watermelon Radish
A Kid's Point of Food

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The (Eventful) First Week of Summer

For the first week of summer my parents and I traveled to Seattle, Bellingham and Vernon.  This is a writing piece about our cousins lake house in Vernon; enjoy!

The lake is roughly 99 miles long, and much like a black hole you can’t decipher the beginning or the end.  Set back into the mossy bank is a large house.  It’s fresh white exterior is accented by graceful curves of balconies where one can gaze out over the glassy turquoise water.  It is known as Lake Okenagen, in Canada.  
A smooth rainbow of pastel rocks merges with algae as water meets the choppy shoreline.  It smells crisp and fresh, the odor of water wafting across towering trees.  Throughout the area, wildlife is abundant, it is a natural habitat providing solace for animals.  A solitary beaver, coat glossy and chocolate brown, wades through the cool shallows towards his refuge from the sweltering heat.  A majestic Blue Heron perches upon a slick rock, one thoughtful eye trained upon the shore, its lengthly neck craned in sheer excellence.  
A dock juts out across the crystal clear blue and green hues of the water.  Attached are two powerful jet-ski’s, smooth wake boards, and a boat.  This boat is the focus of my independent afternoon.  Being the only one in a hulking boat built for about twelve, adds to the peaceful serenity of my emotions.  Dashing down the blurring coast, it feels as though I’m growing wings and about to fly.  I’m addicted to the salty taste of the frigid droplets spraying against my face, temporarily blinding me of my surroundings.  I find myself in the middle of the lake, nobody around, save some deer on the shore and the summer lake house in the distance.  Faint sounds of a dog barking is the only noise that reaches my ears. Terror would have gripped my heart in that moment, but it is now a fleeting thought, my mind is vacant.  I cut the engine, its terrifying rumble like a beast poised to strike.  
Frothy waves cease to exist, and the water is still, like a pool of crystal shards waiting for life.  I focus on enjoying solitude in my mind.  The clear water seems to be doing a dance, building up until it peaks beside me.  After a short time, I replace my hands on the soft leather wheel, and steer the boat back to the jetty.  
A beautiful sunset is beginning.  I watch with wide hazel eyes, sinking slowly back onto a cracked log.  Vivid orange morphs with spectacular pinks and bloody reds to form a magnificent spectacle.  Soon the call for dinner jars me from my magical trance.  Much like family, the lake is hard to part with, but sometimes it must be done.  Words seem few and far between when I try to describe the emotions I feel when gazing at the water, illuminated by the sun.  The sheer beauty of life is brought back, and faith in humanity is restored.  
Wispy green grass is spongy underneath my bare feet, and the whispers of bugs are content in the meadow.  This property is a vision of bliss.  I grasp the railing and haul my tired body up the staircase, watching the darkness slowly envelope the dock, then the shore, and finally the shadows of the house.      

For the first night in Seattle, we joined my uncle, his wife, and their graduating daughter Sienna for dinner at Canlis.  The first thing that we enjoyed were the small bites (amuse) that arrived before the appetizers.  The first on the left was a pungent mushroom tart garnished by a delicate purple petal, it was light and sweet.  Next to it was a seaweed wrap filled with salmon mousse, cream cheese, and caviar.  The salmon wasn't overwhelming, so one could still enjoy the familiar creaminess of the cream cheese.  Finally on the far right was my favorite, a fried sphere.  The outside was crunchy, but the true surprise was on the inside.  The ball was filled with a cream/egg yolk mixture that exploded in your mouth, leaving behind a warm and comforting taste.  

My appetizer was the Canlis salad which had blue cheese, vinaigrette, and bacon.  It was much like a Cobb salad, and I enjoyed it very much. 

The main course that I chose was a filet mignon.  The rare steak sat upon potatoes, carrots, and a thick squash sauce.  The steak was very rich and juicy, and it was one of the best steaks I've ever had.  
The next stop was the Dale Chihuly museum to gaze at magnificent glass edifices.  There were things like paper thin glass vases modeled after Native American blankets.  There was a giant blue "ocean" filled with little glass fish and shells.  A whole room had a ceiling which was made of thousands of glass pieces, I took a minute long video walking through there.  There was also a giant glass world, which reminded me of Wonderland.  There were rickety wooden rowboats filled to the bursting with speckled glass balls, and a giant room swathed in glass flowers.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My first story prompt segment

Hi Followers!  I've decided to try something new, every once in awhile I'll write a short story based off of a prompt and post that.  Here's my first try, enjoy!

Prompt:   You put your house on the market and, on the first day, a extremely old woman comes knocking on your door. She’s not interested in buying your house, though. Instead she tells you that this is the house she lived in as a child. The friendly mood suddenly changes when she reveals something terrible that took place in the house years ago.  Fair warning before reading: scary story!  Read this yourself before reading to little ones!

I clicked the final button, my house was officially on the market.  I felt as though the entire world sighed in relief.  I had put thousands into this one piece of property, quenching the peculiar smell wafting up from the basement, fixed the broken floorboards, and removed the strange stains from the plaster walls.  I  admit, I would miss the sagging turrets, oak doors, stained glass windows, and adorably cozy rooms.  Now, all I had to do was wait for somebody to take interest in this old Victorian manor.  I didn't have to wait long because only minutes after putting my house on the market I heard a knock on my front door.  I smiled, smoothing my short pink summer dress and hurrying to the door.  "Just a minute!"  I turned the knob and welcomed a tiny old woman into the foyer.  She had crystal clear blue eyes that were magnified by giant tortoise shell glasses.  Her nose was reminiscent of an upturned button.  Her thin lips were twisted into an awkward smile, and her arthritis ridden hands were curled around a knobby cane.  I showed her the velvet couch and she patted it like an old friend before sitting down.  I sat opposite her, "Hello, I'm Rachel Johnson!"  She shook my hand slowly before answering in a raspy voice, "My name is Ruth Alderly, pleased to finally meet you Rachel."  I knit my eyebrows together, she had waited to finally meet me?  She stared at the walls, "It hasn't changed a bit.  Not a speck of dust out of place."  I stared at her, "Excuse me for being so forward but, how do you know all this about my house?"  She shook her head and said, "The transaction was done through a lawyer, but do you remember when you bought this house?"  She must have seen the flash of recognition in my eyes because she muttered, "I couldn't stand to live here anymore.  I could hear the souls through the floor, they were calling me.  I couldn't stand it."  I stared at her, she expected me to understand what she had just said?  I stammered, "What souls?"  She took a wheezy breath, "You can't sell this house, another family shouldn't have to deal with it.  This house needs to be destroyed, the entire lot should be leveled. Please, you have to listen to me!"  Her eyes were wild, her hands worked into a frenzy while she was talking.  Whatever this old woman was trying to tell me, I wasn't getting it.  I laughed nervously, "Look, Ruth, I have no idea what's going on here. I 'm just trying to sell this house."  She spoke slowly, as though she was explaining something to a child.  

"I used to live in this house with my family growing up.  It was a seemingly perfect house for a working mother and father, and their twin children.  I had a twin sister named Rosaline.  We were fraternal twins.  I had the long bouncy blond curls, wide blue eyes, and obsession with flowers and dolls.  Rosaline was always gloomy with dark brown hair that fell down her back, always glaring, obsessed with books and blood. 

 Our parents were always working, but on the rare occasions that they were home, it was obvious that I was the favorite child.  Rosaline began collecting cheerful birds, mice, squirrels and sometimes stray dogs or cats.  After many days of keeping them in her room for company, she would suddenly turn on them.  I would hear the yelling fits from my room across the hall, she would be screaming at them and then their whimpering would end.  I would always see her stalking out of her room, leaving behind a large knife, and taking their carcasses to the basement.  Rosaline was still the best sister to me, I reasoned that every child needed a hobby.  She threatened terrible things if I told mother and father, so I kept it a secret.  The smell in the basement got worse.  I think it was the one year anniversary of the day we moved into the house that father went down to the basement and discovered the dead animals.  He was furious, and scared.  Scared of the creature that his beautiful daughter had turned out to be.  It wasn't long before he took out the dusty old phone book and looked up a number on the very last page.  I remember the day they came to take her to the asylum, she was sitting in her turret room, staring out the window into the sunny sky, shaking.  I sat down with her, putting an arm on her shoulder.  She stared into my eyes, "Please don't let them take me Ruth, don't let them hurt me Ruth.  Please.  It isn't my fault Ruth.  Please don't let them take me."  I hugged her to me, mindlessly promising, "I won't, I swear Rose."  Obviously, I couldn't keep that promise.  Minutes later, they came into her room, their false smiles still haunt me today.  They told Rosaline that they had a sweater for her to wear instead of her threadbare dress, and she put it on.  I'll never forget her cries as she realized that she was in a straight jacket.  I struggled, held by my parents, while they loaded her into the white van marked with the red asylum symbol.  She glared at me then, "Ruth you promised.  I'm not crazy!  I'll make you pay Ruth, I'll make you all pay."  Then they shut her into the back, and I could only watch as they drove down the lane. Her face was twisted in agony as she cried out for her parents to save her.  At night I would lay awake, staring out the hallway into her empty room.  I  thought over all of the terrible things I could envision them doing to her.  I could see her tiny body convulsing under the pressure of electro shock therapy.  Her hands restrained so that she couldn't kill herself.  
By then, we had bought a television for the family room.  One night, about two months after committing her to the mental facility, we were all piled on the couch.  A fire was going in the hearth, and I was cuddled up to my mother.  My father flipped the channel and we stared in shock as the news channel showed us a shot of the mental hospital.  The caption below read, 'Rosaline Alderly escaped from Asylum just minutes ago'.  We stared at the camera shots of her empty room and the broken window.  Suddenly, we heard the front door creak open.  Father jumped up, clutching the remote.  A figure came into view.  Rosaline was a forgotten husk of the person she used to be, her brown hair was scraggly, her head was tilted to the side, her dark eyes were crazed, and her hospital gown hung in tatters around her thin frame.  A long, sharp butchers knife was clutched in her pale hand.  Mother screamed loudly, and I shrunk back against the far wall.  Father held out his hands, "Rose!  You're back!  We missed you so much!"  She smiled wickedly, "Did you father?  Did you really?  That isn't what they told me at the asylum.  They said that you were better off without me.  I know that you hate me, that you sent me away because you liked her better.  But that ends now."  She pointed an accusing finger at me, "You promised, and you let them take me.  You stole mother and father from me.  And now I'm back.  How do you feel about that oh great and privileged Ruth?"  I began to cry, not knowing what to say.  Mother was crying as well murmuring, "All we ever did was try and love you."  Rosaline shook her head, "You didn't do a very good job with that, did you?"  Mother put an arm around me.  Rosaline stalked towards father, cleaver in hand.  He flung the remote at her, stepping back against the wall.  Mother scolded, "Harold!  Don't hurt her!"  Rosaline moved closer and swung her blade.  It sliced his neck and deep red blood splattered against the wall.  That's where those stains came from.  He wasn't quite dead yet, so she used the knife to carve a chunk out of his chest.  More blood spilled out, along with some of his entrails.  She picked up his heart, "Now I finally get to hold fathers heart!  Now do you love me father?  Answer me!"  He was dead, mother and I knew that, but my sister didn't seem to.  She began to wildly chop at his body until you couldn't recognize any part of it.  My mother turned to me, "Run Ruth!"  I did.  I ran up the staircase, waiting at the top so that I could observe the gruesome scene in the living room.  Mother pleaded, "Why Rosy? We love you!  Don't kill me too!  It wasn't my decision!"  Rosaline shook her head and looked down, "You're right mother."  Mother moved to hug my sister and I screamed, "No!  Mom!"  It was too late.  I saw their bodies meet in a hug, and then the knife impale my mothers body.  Blood soaked her dress, and she slumped against my twin.  Rosaline turned to me, "And now for you.  You promised.  You stole my dream, you blinded me with candy and treats when all I really wanted was to be loved. By you."  I began to cry, both my parents were dead.  She began walking up the stairs towards me.  I saw the sinister glint in her eyes, and the glint of the knife in her hands.  I screamed, "Rosaline no!"  She came closer, giving me a tortured smile.  When she was close enough, I pushed at her blindly.  I felt the sharp pain of a deep cut to my forearm, but heard her cry out as she crashed backwards down the stairs through the floor and down into the depths of the basement.  I forgot momentarily about my arm and sprinted to the basement door to push it closed.  I saw her pale hand curled around the door frame, trying to keep it open.  I could hear her voice, "Ruth, let me out!  Let me out!"  I yelled back, "No!  You'll tear me apart!"  I slammed the door shut and locked it, haphazardly running from the house."

She finished telling the story and I was curled against the arm of my chair.  It all made sense now.  The nasty smell in the basement was from the dead animals, dead bodies of Ruth and Rosaline's parents, and Rosaline herself.  The stains on the wall were blood from the horrific murders committed in this very room.  The broken floor boards had been from Rosaline's doomed fall to the basement.  I nodded slowly and helped Ruth get up.  She opened the door and I followed her out.  She began to walk down the drive, taking the For Sale sign with her as she went.