A Separate Peace

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About a month ago, I bumped into my cousin at the library.  We got to talking and I confessed that I needed something good to read but I seemed to be picking similar books.  After spending a good twenty minutes rifling through bookshelf after bookshelf, we finally decided on A Separate Peace by John Knowles.

Even though they are the best of friends, Gene and Phineas are vastly different.  Gene is introverted and an intellectual, and Phineas is an exuberant athlete.  Nestled in a New England boarding school, they spend the summer playing games, having adventures, and breaking the rules, all the while World War II looms far off.  But when one of them gets in a terrible accident and several of their friends enlist, the war becomes much more real and hits too close to home.

John Knowles tells a story of innocence lost and the friendship of two boys and how it’s tested.  The characters were wonderful and frustratingly human. and the line between truth and lies becomes increasingly blurred.  All in all, A Separate Peace was a quick, painful read, and I rate it four out of five stars.

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Final Act

After the final act

The crowd and performers

Are lingering together.

I say hello to someone

I used to know.

They nod, eyes glazed over,

And they struggle to remember my name.

Their face lights up with false recognition.

One of our old mutual friends

Saves them from our awkward almost conversation.

It is then that I realize

I’ve been clutching to the past.

Copyright © 2016 by Nita Pan

All rights reserved.  This post or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review.

Voices

Sitting,

Sharing with friends.

We talk about useless things.

Until I bring up a popular conversation starter:

Why will we be institutionalized?

One’s for murder,

The others for drug-like symptoms,

The other we can’t decide.

But when I mention the voices,

Everyone freezes.

I say I’ve heard them all my life,

And one of my friends laugh,

Saying that she hears one as well.

Shaking my head,

I smile and say,

“What does it sound like?”

Is it a he or a she?

A gender?

Can you see it with your waking eyes?

Most are partially out of the kitchen;

All look worried.

Once I explain,

They say they get it

-That they understand-

But how could they?

These are my voices!

My friends!

I talk to them,

(Pull out a notebook,)

And bring life to them in the end.

Copyright © 2015 by Nita Pan

All rights reserved.  This post or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review.