Heliotrope 2022

8 TABLE OF CONTENTS 12 56 18 Hands of God Rendition by Jesrein Ayeyi 9 Nature Within by Jesrein Ayeyi 10 Rainy Aftermaths by Jesrein Ayeyi 11 Fahrenheit 451 by Amanda Barajas 12 Notion by Amanda Barajas 13 Khloris by Isabella Chen 14 Soul by Anisha Kolambe 15 Opacarophile by Sridevi Krothapalli 16 untitled by Einsey Socrates 17 untitled by Einsey Socrates 18 untitled by Einsey Socrates 19 untitled by Einsey Socrates 20 Just Keep Swimming by Nashra Younus 21 Early Spring by Lisa Zhong 22 Cranes and Lotus by Lisa Zhong 23 Cranes and Magnolia by Lisa Zhong 27 this galaxy by Jesrein Ayeyi 25 Southern Pines by Richard Busby 28 the gift to be ungiven by Sukanya Ghosh 29 poem writing instructions by Kian Christian de Guzman 29 Drunk Clouds by Temi Ijisesan 30 Titans Fall by Liam Indigo 31 Oh Of by Liam Indigo 32 Un Froid de Canard by Hannah Johnson 33 Sag by Donovan Morrow 34 Lava by Carson Sage Owen 35 Piano by Andrew Zhang 37 Uninspired by Andrew Zhang 40 Solitude by Amanda Barajas 41 Vessel by Temi Ijisesan 52 Jes in the Snow by Destiny Grant 53 Zero Kelvin: Berries by Hannah Johnson 54 Zero Kelvin: Drip by Hannah Johnson 55 Zero Kelvin: Permafrost by Hannah Johnson 56 Helianthus Annuus by Sridevi Krothapalli 57 Berries in the Garden by Jadesola Suleiman 4445 The Second Semester Senior by Ellen Guan 4647 The Sound of Yesterday by Temi Ijisesan 4849 Disco Gossip by Erin Yoo 6-23 PAINTINGS 24-35 POETRY 36-37 DIGITAL ART 38-41 CHARCOAL 42-49 SHORT STORIES 50-57 PHOTOGRAPHY 4-5 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 37 41 10

4 5 Letter from the Editor seniors, we witnessed almost a year of independence, followed by a period of online learning, and now we are back on campus with new conditions. Teachers and staff alike adapted their work to be successful as circumstances surrounding the pandemic changed. Even alumni, parents, other members of the IMSA community, and any other readers have faced their own challenges occupationally or personally. While we may all be facing different challenges or phases of life, know that we are all in this together, just trying to navigate this crazy, everchanging world. Just like the moon, even if you aren’t full, you are still beautiful. With all of these challenges in life, amidst the challenging workload of IMSA, the pandemic, adolescence, and more, I have frequently felt burnt out, as I am sure many of you have too. Know that it’s okay to feel a little empty sometimes, and this does not diminish your value one bit. Even the moon wanes, yet it is still a beautiful marvel. Just like the moon, we can shine bright in the darkness. Even during the pandemic, many members of the IMSA community have produced stunning works of art. They utilized their joy, anger, stress, sadness, or emptiness to create something beautiful. And now they have shared those pieces with you in the following pages. Just like the moon, art is always there for us. As sure as the moon appears every night, we can always depend on art as an outlet. No matter what you’re feeling, no matter what you’re going through, utilize art to persevere. Pick up a pencil to write down your feelings, or a paintbrush to bring your thoughts to life, or this magazine to find inspiration from others. Another thing I have been able to depend on during challenging times is Heliotrope. All of the hardships that we’ve faced as a club, we’ve e ndured together. Thank you all for your support and contributions to this magazine, as well as for just being an amazing group to be a part of this year. I’d also like to extend a huge thank you to Jean Bigger. Heliotrope is truly grateful for your assistance establishing our magazine in Digital Commons. Thank you also to our advisor, Ms. Symoniak, for supporting our events throughout the year and fostering students’ creativity at IMSA. Also, thank you to everyone who submitted to this magazine. Thank you for your creativity and, most of all, your bravery to share your work and serve as an inspiration for others. Most of all, I’d like to thank you, the readers, for viewing our magazine. I hope that the following compilation of art will bring you joy, that you can find a message to relate to, or that you will feel motivated to make your own art. Let this magazine serve as a symbol of the brightness that can come out of dark circumstances. Creatively yours, Hannah Johnson Art and Literary Magazine Chair Heliotrope 2021-2022 Dear Reader, Just like the moon, we all go through phases. These past few years have been a challenge for every single person on this planet. At IMSA, sophomores experienced the transition to high school and then IMSA amidst the pandemic. Juniors endured their first year of IMSA online, and this year adjusted to life on campus. For us pc: Evelyn Cunneen, ISP

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8 9 Hands of God Reindition Jesrein Ayeyi ‘24 Nature Within Jesrein Ayeyi ‘24

10 11 Rainy Aftermaths Jesrein Ayeyi ‘24 Fahrenheit 451 Amanda Barajas ‘24

12 13 Notion Amanda Barajas ‘24 Khloris Isabella Chen ‘22

14 15 Soul Anisha Kolambe ‘24 Opacarophile Sridevi Krothapalli ‘23 Opacarophile means sunset lover. It is Latin for dusk or sunset, and ‘phile’ which is Greek for love. This piece depicts the dreamy aspect of a sunset, perhaps one that is romanticized.

16 17 untitled Einsey Socrates ‘24 untitled Einsey Socrates ‘24

18 19 untitled Einsey Socrates ‘24 untitled Einsey Socrates ‘24

20 21 Just Keep Swimming Nashra Younus ‘24 Early Spring Lisa Zhong ‘24

22 23 Cranes and Lotus Lisa Zhong ‘24 Cranes and Magnolia Lisa Zhong ‘24

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26 27 this galaxy Jesrein Ayeyi ‘24 to this galaxy i seek each star that i find a childish dream arises something from my younger mind to this galaxy i seek and each planet i set my gaze on a fear of the future is a reasoning song Southern Pines Richard Busby, staff This poem is a reflection of a moment on a visit home to Alabama on a warm early spring day. Three stone steps, with our back to 10 foot ceilings, passing under four columned porch. We walk toward compelling scent of maturing pine, on a carpet of brown long needle straw. Pine sap scent sweet to the senses sticky to fingers if you dare touch a wounded tree or green cone freshly plucked by wind and gravity from overhead where blue jays squawk. Dogwood blooms in spring forests still recovering from winter. Evergreen pines straight as a spear pointing to air. It’s been a long time… as I have been away… from you, my love. My home. My heart’s desire. My southern woman. Speak to me with slow soothing words dripping with sweetness, like iced-tea nectar. Let’s walk on. up life’s hill to water’s edge and back home to french doors wood floors and wide porch with a swing made from planks milled of local growth and hung with rusty chain links strong, weathered, well loved. Like me. Like you. to this galaxy i seek from the sun to the moon with each obstacle demise i can hear myself reaching that melodious tune to this galaxy i seek past present and future let each hope and pleasantry be a muse for me

28 29 the gift to be ungiven Sukanya Ghosh ‘24 This piece was inspired by an IMSA event earlier this year which made me reflect on deeply ingrained pains that I’ve held throughout a portion of my life. I wrote this to hopefully allow others to connect to my experiences through an artistic literary piece. I gave my parents a gift wrapped in pink wrapping paper. for years it was treasured worth more than they could express they knew that they loved it, because it was silently perfect, if not else. for all these years of possession, they never considered if was there something more beneath. it was not curiosity that led them to open it, rather a blade of time waiting to be unsheathed. when they tore down the paper tugged at the seams they did not uncover the magic that once shone in their eyes. that once was the light of their life. for all practical purposes, that beam was extinguished in one night. you see, the present was peculiar in that it was bruised. the corners were rounded, the bow lay untamed, it reeked of nonconformity, it was to be shamed. but the return label is nowhere to be found what was said will be frowned upon. no, it can not be undone. perhaps if they took a step back, they would regain the light in their life who was just bartering for a life of joy, happiness, love, and acceptance. I, I am the present. poem writing instructions Kian Christian de Guzman ‘22 a combination of words create a poem words of your choice will create something new writing a poem is a wonder include in your poem glamour and make sure to party hard Have at it! Drunk Clouds Temi Ijisesan ‘22 raindrops collide with pavement blurring my vision your silhouette fading tears mingle with drunk cloud drip lost in rivers leading back to you I think fondly upon sunburned days always forgetting about storms bound to come

30 31 Titans Fall Liam Indigo ‘23 Panic; lights blare and whistles blow. The keys are turned, buttons glow. With that final word, that final press, All are thrown in a deep distress. For that great death bell has been rung, And this final fate can’t be unsung. Upon blaring lands and towers tall Those grim titans quickly fall. As a mother strokes her son’s thin hair, And tells tale of past lands so fair. Where drills had no need to be taught, And war was not for child’s thought. Dust and ash form dunes so grand, And trees of char cover the land. Tales of old invoked anew. The darkest peace we ever grew. Oh Of Liam Indigo ‘23 Oh of things I want to know Oh of gods and things below Oh of times so long ago Oh of those who never show Oh of that which never grows Oh of what I can’t bestow Oh of where I wish to go Oh of that unending flow Oh of that great echoed woe Oh of things I want to know

32 33 Sag Donovan Morrow ‘24 Analyzation of Beneatha ; Character from “Raisin In The Sun”. Beneatha Is distraught when her broth er Walter, gives away her nursing school fund. She struggles with this new information, the recent death of her father, and her family’s relationship with God in comparison to her own. My dream sagged. It didn’t explode, It didn’t have a sugar coat. It just sagged. But God can help me right? That’s what Mama says. Can God help me? Who’s God? Who is this great beloved God to just fix my problems? Can he fix my problems? Can he materialize all the money I lost? Can he make all the money in the world take shape? Can this money take shape? Can he make my dead daddy’s spirit take shape? Or would it just sag? It would sag. Oh God, fix me. Heal me, Kinderly to the way I want to heal the world. The way I want to heal my family, The way I want to heal, The way I want to heal myself. Heal me. God heal me. Before I, Like my dream, Sag. Un Froid de Canard Hannah Johnson ‘22 This poem plays on the French expression “Il fait un froid de canard,” meaning literally “It’s a duck-like cold,” or “It’s freezing”. Original French version: Pas un seul son, Sauf pour mes bottes sur la neige, Le confort du silence. Scroutch… scroutch… scroutch… Fais juste un pas à la fois Sur la route sinueuse, Des rebondissements sans fin. La neige tombe doucement, Flottant dans le ciel gris, Éviter son sort sur le terrain. Je respire l’air frais, Froid et aigu, Brûlant le fond de ma gorge. Puis il s’échappe À la liberté, Comment j’aimerais pouvoir. Devant moi, Un étang s’approche, Givré par le froid mordant. Et sur la glace, un seul canard perdu qui n’est pas parti à temps. Maintenant il est emprisonné, Alors il commence à marcher, Une marche triste et lente. Scroutch… scroutch… scroutch… Pour toujours ici, Dans le froid de l’hiver, Parce qu’il fait trop froid pour voler. English translation: Not a single sound, Except for my boots on the snow. The comfort of silence. Crunch… crunch.. crunch… Just taking one step at a time As the path winds around. Never ending, unexpected turns. Snow slowly drifts down, Floating through the grey sky, Avoiding its fate on the ground. I breathe in the crisp air, Sharp and fresh, Burning my throat with the cold. Then it escapes Out to freedom, Like I wish I could. Up ahead A pond approaches, Frosted over from the bitter cold. And on the ice, A single lost duck Who didn’t leave in time. Now he is stuck, So he begins to walk, A sad, slow walk. Crunch… crunch… crunch… Forever here In the cold of winter, For it is too cold to fly.

34 35 Lava Carson Sage Owen ‘22 My fat orange cat is surely sleeping in the patch of sunlight draped across my bed. My bed that has been made for months sitting quietly in my room collecting dust and fur. It’s night time here there the sun is setting lazily throwing shadows on the parking spot my parents leave open for me but I never get to use. I wish I could say that here is better than there but That wouldn’t be entirely true. No. They are each their own circle of hell taunting me with grass that looks green but feels like lava. Piano Andrew Zhang ‘22 I can’t swim. I don’t want to swim. I will be cold and shivering. I will be out of breath and with no clothes to wear or air to breathe. My lungs will be full of water and chlorine and I will be gasping for air. My parents put too much pressure on me. They want to drill a hole in my head. I can’t keep swallowing these mouthfuls of water and coughing them up one by one. I do not want to play. I don’t want to play piano anymore. There’s nothing else I’d rather do than to stop playing. I feel so drained every time I play. People will only know me as the person who played piano. I don’t want to have won my life as a pi anist. I will be stuck playing piano until I die. I wish they could stop being so angry at me. They have no reason to be so crude.

37 Uninspired Andrew Zhang ‘22 It’s time to sketch something funky.

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40 41 Solitude Amanda Barajas ‘24 Vessel Temi Ijisesean ‘22

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44 45 There wasn’t any use trying to contain him. The boy was fresh out of his junior year back then, a computer science Microsoft intern at only the measly age of seventeen. As expected, math and physics drew him in like a lion awaiting its prey, trapped him in with its proofing claws, and threw him in a sea of binary digits that blinked inhumanely back at him. But he loved it. He loved it all. The world, the mystical future of accelerating technology, the seemingly meaningless numbers and letters that were useless until he, he himself shot them together like atoms in a particle accelerator. Because, then, somehow, as he sat in front of a dimly lit java compiler doing just this, something extraordinary would be produced. He loved it all. But it did not love him back. The first trouble came in the form of sporadic motivation. There seemed to be a fault in his wiring of some sort because the boy was not built with the exact standards that his manufacturers had made him. The boy had... well, to phrase it bluntly, a very short attention span. If something did not interest him, all the words that were said about it passed through one ear and came out the other. He also was very meticulous and selective; he had to finish his project in one sitting if he wanted to finish it at all. Quite obviously, therefore, his grades were a direct reflection of this. There were one-sided discussions with professors, long sleepless nights, disapproval, disappointment, crumpled up papers in the recycling bin, and wet pillows stained with anger every time he actually did wind up in bed. But the boy refused to let himself be consumed by the identity that the world seemed to force him to become. He strained himself. Harder and harder courses, stacks upon stacks of textbooks. If he wasn’t underneath his covers, his glasses glinting off the glaring light of the computer screen, empty energy drink cans littered around his bed, he was sleeping in an isolated corner of the The Second Semester Senior Ellen Guan ‘24 library, always with a book in his arms. In the process, he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t that he couldn’t handle school; school couldn’t handle him. The strict structures but poorly organized assignments and standardized tests, the lack of overall personalized instruction and care by teachers, and the nonconclusive slanted results of the grading system locked the boy in. “What about the key?” the boy would think to himself sometimes as he mindlessly stared up at the incessant spinning of the fan. “Did they throw it away? Or was there none in the first place?” “Does it matter?” the world seemed to answer. “Why don’t you stop foolishly looking for something you don’t have and instead try to break out of the prison with what you already have?” The boy shut up then, and further did he sink into the quicksand of uncertainty. But three hundred and sixty-five days came and went. Too fast, like he was on Mercury, where time moved a little faster than on Earth. A second on Mercury was only very slightly shorter than Earth’s, but as these differences added up, the boy suddenly had too much time lost. Before he knew it, he was holding his diploma on the stage of the one place he despised living in. His figure was still and his eyes scanned blankly across the sea of clapping that hurt his ears. His mind was muddled with the promises the world had broken on this very day. “This is the end of your chapter, but the start of a new one,” they said. It must have been intended to be inspirational, but to the boy, it was only a constant reminder. Of his failure. He had failed to escape the prison surrounding him. Forever, now, he would be just another bird in a cage, another robot built into this utopian dystopia of society. “He is the face of a man who couldn’t bear the weight of this world for much longer,” historians would write. And they were right.

46 47 She is as bright as a ray of sunlight. Her complexion is flushed red under the gaze of the yellow sun and her cheeks are full of laughter and warmth. Waves tumble over one another, racing to the shore, their fingers tickling the crevices in between our toes. We both giggle. Abuela loves it here. After all, Santa Monica is home away from home. Mornings on the beach remind her of Honduras. Of days spent in the scorching heat chasing you and tío Mateo in the backyard and late afternoons under the Cabana, watching the tide roll in. Of nights under a pale moon, dancing with Abuelo until their eyelids are heavy and the tips of their fingers go numb. “Mariana! ” your name tumbles out of her lips and echoes into the distance. I tentatively reach for Abuela’s hand. “Marian-aaaaa! ” It’s no use. I watch as Abuela cups her face, and screams at the crashing waves, calling you home. She waits expectantly, a grin plastered on her face. I watch frozen from behind, my arm three inches away from hers. “Abuela I-” “Camilla, where is Mariana?” Abuela asks, turning her face toward me. I stifle an inhale before letting the tension rising within me dissipate. It’s these moments in between, the glimpses of both heaven and hell, that make me wish you were here. That make me wish you never left. Mama. Mornings on the beach remind us of you. We’re making sandcastles now. Well, I am. Abuela makes divots in the sand with her fists and fills them with rocks and shells. We’ve been at the beach for hours, but these days, time no longer feels real. Faintly, she hums an old Honduran song, bobbing her head to a pulsing internal rhythm. She starts to sing, slow at first but picking up the pace as she goes along. Her words are offbeat and mumbled, but as always, perfectly in tune. Abuela is most beautiful when she’s singing. She feels the rhythm, swaying from side to side, recluding further and further back into her world. I close my eyes. “Sin tu amor estoy perdido...” (Without your love, I’m lost...) It’s the same song you sung while rocking me to sleep every night, the one I’d ask you to repeat over and over again. You’d chuckle softly, rustling my hair. “Tomorrow, Camilla,” you’d whisper, planting a kiss on my forehead. “Tomorrow”. I remember wondering why those tomorrows started to disappear. Why at twelve years old, I waited hours after school for our rusted sedan to pull into the parking lot but it never did. I spent nights walking the twenty minutes back to our condo on the other side of town, only to tuck myself into bed, and rock myself into a restless sleep. Tomorrow. “Tomorrow, I won’t take the late shift at work,” you said. “Tomorrow, I’ll dump my boyfriend,” you sighed. “Tomorrow,” you promised. A duffel bag and keys in hand. “Tomorrow, I’ll be back.” But tomorrow never came. I remember arriving at LAX last September, infuriated, and helpless. Tío Mateo, who had been sober for years, had finally given in and I guess I couldn’t blame him. Having to take care of Abuela all on his own, living day to day having to be reminded of you and his fading past was surely enough to break him. But receiving that call, having to quit my desk job in New York and give up my entire life, it was all too much to ask. Of course, I felt guilty. I knew Abuela The Sound of Yesterday Temi Ijisesan ‘22 hated nursing homes and being treated like she was sick. I knew the only people she trusted were family. I knew that most of our relatives were in Honduras, and returning would be too much for Abuela, but I loathed her for it. I resented her embrace on tio Mateo’s porch. I squirmed when she rustled my hair and kissed my cheeks with her pursed, dry lips. I hated it when she called me Mariana. Your name. Despite everything, I love Abuela. After all, she’s the only one I have left and the one link between my past and present. She’s happy and distant from my reality. I close my eyes so that I can follow, I want to see where she’s going. “Buscando felicidad Aquí encontrarás al pobre, Que por siempre te amará.” (Here you will find the poor, that will love you forever.) Abuela and I both open our eyes, staring at each other in comfortable silence. The only sounds are of the waves, reaching further and further up the sand. “Mariana?,” Abuela reaches out to grab my hand. Hers is coarse and rough to the touch. I gulp, forcing down the bile lining my throat. It’s been three months. Three months since Abuela has called me your name. I can feel those months flush down the drain and the resentment now pulsing through my veins. “No, Ab-” “Mi amor. I’ve been looking for you. Come, come, it’s dinn-” “Abuela. No.” My words are like daggers. They come out cold and raw. “I am not Mariana.” Abuela stares back at me, her lips pursed and her eyes perplexed. Minutes pass in between us. “Mariana, go call Mateo,” her brows furrow in discontent. “It’s 10 past, the food will get cold.” My body shakes now, and tears trickle from my eyes. I hate you. I hate you for making me this person, for leaving me with her. You’re nothing but a selfish coward. The trickles turn into streams, wet and warm. “Mariana,” I say through my clenched jaw, “is gone. She’s gone, Abuela.” Abuela’s gaze is blank and unmoving. I clutch her shoulders with my hand, shaking her violently, willing her to listen. “She left us, okay? She didn’t care about you, she didn’t love you! She never did.” Abuela breaks her stare, turning her head toward the ocean. My hands pull at my hair, grabbing the knotted ends and I let go. I scream and scream, my head to the sand, until I collapse, gasping for air. It feels like hours have passed when I finally sit up, my throat dry and raw. Abuela sits by my side, her arms around her legs, rocking back and forth. “Abuela,” I sigh. I can feel her distancing herself from our present. Her face is solemn and her body pensive. “I’m sorry.” She doesn’t say anything in response, only stands up, and dusts the sand off her skirt. I can still hear her faintly humming as she turns to walk along the shore, picking up loose pebbles as she goes. Mama. Please come home. Song: Pobreza Fatal - Grupo Miramar(1977)

48 49 Glop glop. Thunk. “Next.” The students shuffled down the line. Gloop glop. Plunk. Plop. “Next.” The rhythm of sliding lunch trays, scooping, plopping, and glopping made up the monotonous Monday of Lunch Lady C. Although the kids just knew her as “Lady C” since that’s what the brass pin on her upper left chest said, the other lunch ladies called her “C.” No one knew her real name was Cassandra. “Hey C.” Madsen greeted Cassandra as she walked up to the counter, tugging on her hairnet which was always just barely holding on to her thick, brown curls. She was one of the younger, chattier lunch ladies. “Madsen,” Cassandra replied as she scooped extra stir-fry for the small sixth-grader who looked like he never had enough to eat. She was not much for talking during shifts, but Madsen was always chittering. “You hear what Joan said about you?” Madsen asked as she dropped a lump of strawberry pudding onto the small boy’s tray. “Joan?” “Mhm.” Joan was always saying one thing or another about C. “It doesn’t matter. I don’t have any time for gossip.” Cassandra shrugged it off. “She said she saw you at the disco hall.” Madsen smiled as if the idea was ridiculous and pure fantasy. It was the way parents smiled when kids explained how they’d seen Santa Claus for real at night. “Ha, the disco hall.” She repeated it again while grinning and shaking her head. Joan was always coming up with the craziest lies. If you had been listening closely to the beat of Cassandra’s scooping, you would have heard her skip a beat. Disco hall? No way. She was probably talking about some other disco hall. She wasn’t talking about the Moo Club… right? This has to be a crazy coincidence. “Oh…that’s random.” She tried to sound nonchalant, uninterested in this tidbit of gossip. She had to sound like she never cared about the place and never would. Madsen smiled goofily and said, “Right, that’s what I said! I asked Joan exactly why you of all people would be at the disco hall. You’re the last person to go to the Moo Club for any reason. And that’s exactly what I told her, ‘C’s the last person to go to the Moo Club for any reason!” Cassandra froze for two more beats while Madsen droned on and two seventh-grade girls stood awkwardly waiting for their food. Moo Club. So Joan had been talking specifically about Moo Club, but…there’s no way she could know. No one that looked like Joan had been in the audience… so Joan had to be making it up. But why would she have said that? “Um, Lady C? Could we get some of the mashed potatoes?” The quiet, young voice pulled Cassandra out of her reverie, and she glooped and glopped two more scoops of mashed potatoes onto the girls’ trays. Then, she asked Madsen after clearing her throat, “When did Joan say this?” She tried to hide the waver and fluster in her voice, but lucky for her, Madsen did not pay attention to enough details to notice the small voice crack at the end. “What, the disco thing? Oh, I don’t know. Sometime this morning when we came in for the first shift I think.” “Who did she tell?” “Just all of us who were on the first shift, me, Sandra, Denise, but — hey why does it matter? You never care about Joan’s gossip and lies.” Madsen tilted her head to the side and looked at C. It was really unusual for C to be asking about Joan’s gossip in such detail. Cassandra didn’t dare return Madsen’s stare and continued to scoop the stir-fry, then mashed potatoes. Gloop gloop glop. “It’s just weird she would say that.” Gloop gloop glop. Disco Gossip Erin Yoo ‘22 “Even for Joan’s lies, that’s weird to say.” Gloop gloop glop. Madsen finally turned away from C and went back to scooping the strawberry pudding. “I guess, but she’s said crazier stuff before. I mean, there’s one time she said she heard you singing a disco Jackson 5 song near the fridge in the back… hey, now wait a minute, a lot of her stories about you involve disco. Haha, that’s funny, C and disco.” Madsen laughed and shook her head. Joan always lied about the weirdest things. Cassandra paused as the line of hungry middle schoolers came to an end. Disco song near the fridge? Disco song… Oh no. She had sung one time when she thought she was the only person left on duty that day. She never should’ve bought Blame It On the Boogie on vinyl. “Ahh, like that would ever happen. I don’t think you even know what disco is,” Madsen said while smiling. Then, she shook her head seriously. “All of us were so done with Joan then. We all told her off and said she should really stop spreading lies about you. She really cares too much about the roll call. Who cares if your name is called first during our meetings? You’ve been here the longest anyway so it only makes sense. She came here months after you, so.” Cassandra breathed a silent sigh of relief. Thank god for Madsen and the other girls. They would never believe Joan, especially after all her past lies about each of them. For now, she was safe. No one would have to know that she was the lead disco dancer at the Moo Club. Then, Madsen exclaimed after thinking, “Hey, since Joan keeps making stuff up about you loving disco, it’d be funny if you actually really started singing disco. Her lie becomes the truth. Haha, wouldn’t that be funny C? That would really give Joan something to talk about.” Cassandra walked into the back of the kitchen to clean up, replying, “Ha, yeah. Maybe.” She filled the sink with water and plunged her scooper in, allowing her startled mind to reflect on just how close her secret had been to becoming revealed. Madsen walked in after her to get the sponges for the countertops, continuing her jibber jabber. “You know, I was thinking, or we were thinking, do you wanna hang out with me, Sandra, and Denise on Saturday? We usually go to the yogurt cafe downtown and walk around the park afterward. You know, we’ve wanted to invite you for a while and Joan won’t be there…” “Mhmm…” Cassandra pretended to thoughtfully consider the invitation as she put on her rubber gloves to do the dishes. Truth was, Saturdays were her biggest performance days at the Moo Club. Dances started at 11am sharp and ended well past 8pm after the dinner rush. “Well, just think about it and let us know, okay? No big rush right now, we just wanted to ask in case you were interested because we’d love to have you. But, it’s not a big deal again like I said before.” Madsen soaked her sponges for the countertop and nonchalantly shrugged her shoulders. Tap tap tap. Someone was at the counter. Cassandra saw the small sixth grader shyly holding an empty tray. She walked over. “Hello?” “Hi Lady C…” he began slowly. After a slight hesitation, he continued, “Could I please have some more stir-fry?” C gave a kind smile at his request, turning around to get a clean scooper. “Of course. Wait a moment.” She went back to the kitchen, opening the utensil drawer as Madsen walked out with her soapy sponges to wipe down the dessert counter. Ah, there was one scooper left — perfect. C came back and gloop glop and glumped some more stir-fry onto his tray. “There you go.” Madsen stopped wiping her counter to lean over and ask the boy, “Hey, do you want more pudding too?” “No, I’m okay. Thank you though.” Madsen nodded before going back to wiping. “Okay, but come back if you change your mind. We’ve got a lot in the back and you’re welcome to get more anytime.” “That goes for any food,” Cassandra added. The boy nodded, said a quick “thank you” and started to walk towards the cafeteria tables before turning around again. “Lady C, you’re really amazing in the Moo Club by the way,” he said before quickly walking back to his seat.

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52 53 Zero Kelvin: Berries Hannah Johnson ‘22 Jes in the Snow Destiny Grant ‘23

54 55 Zero Kelvin: Drip Hannah Johnson ‘22 Zero Kelvin: Permafrost Hannah Johnson ‘22

56 57 Helianthus Annuus Sridevi Krothapalli ‘23 Helianthus Annuus is the scientific name for a sunflower, and as a student immersed in the field of botanical sci ence this name felt right. With the evening light and field of blooming plants and flowers, this picture was taken near a Plainfield Lake. Berries in the Garden Jadesola Suleiman ‘23

Heliotrope 2022