Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Bulldog

Hi all!  So I haven't posted in a month, and I feel I should explain myself.  I haven't updated, but not because my reading has suddenly halted or my creative juices have stopped flowing.  The fact is that any free time I have is gobbled up by friends, college prep, or FanFiction.  However, I decided to post today because something significant happened to me this week.

You see, there was this Bulldog Pride Contest at my school.  Through any form of artistic expression (e.g. drawing, poem, short story), a student was supposed to show what bulldog pride means to him or her.  I chose to participate through my short story "The Bulldog."  I definitely didn't expect to win, especially since I didn't win the poetry contest last year.  However, to my amazement and utter joy I did win!  And no, the prize wasn't just a pat on the back and a sense of gratefulness.  I also won a Target gift card for $25!  I plan to spend it on something long-lasting and memorable, so that I'll always remember this historic achievement.  What it will be exactly I haven't figured out.  I thank God for providing for this awesome blessing and hope that this portends my future success in my writing career.  I copied and pasted the winning story below.  Enjoy!

The Bulldog

“I swear Anna, you are the least-spirited senior on the planet!” my sister Sally exclaimed at the bottom of the stairs as she waited for me to trudge down after her.

I grunted moodily and snapped back, “And you are the most annoying freshman in the history of freshmen.”

Sally groaned and smacked her forehead with an aggravated air.  “At least I have school spirit.  I’m wearing my class color and everything.  And what have you got?”

“A cheery disposition,” I replied sarcastically.

Sally rolled her eyes and opened the door.  I followed her out with a smug look as we began the trek to our high school, which was only a block away.  Looking back, I wonder why that bulldog had to wait until my last day of senior year to help me discover the spirit of my school.

Sally and I parted ways once we reached the school; she went off to hang out with her fellow munchkins and I decided to take a short nap while leaning against an exterior wall of the E-building.  The dreamy daze of my tired eyes was interrupted when I heard heavy, animal-like panting and felt sticky goo drop onto my forehead.

My eyes shot open and before me I saw a giant, heaving, happy bulldog staring at me in anticipation.  I wiped the dog’s saliva off my face in disgust, wondering where on earth this behemoth came from.  I glanced behind the bulldog and saw that the bulldog statue that usually stood proudly on its pedestal at the quad was missing.  I must be hallucinating, I thought, because this giant canine has come to life.

The bulldog gestured for me to climb aboard its back, and I did so because I figured it was all a dream anyway and I couldn’t possibly get hurt.  Instantly the canine began bounding toward the L-buildings, and I gripped tightly onto his collar to prevent myself from falling.  I heard the bell ring, and lurched forward when the bulldog abruptly stopped in front of my old freshman classroom.  I peeked inside and saw a classroom of people whom I knew very well, but looked like their old freshmen selves.

The desks were arranged in a makeshift courtroom, and an old classmate of mine – he was shorter than I remember – began pointing at the accused and shouting that he had violated his daughter Mayella Ewell.  I thought of what poor taste it was to kill that mockingbird Tom Robinson, and then the bulldog was off again.

We raced across the soccer field, baseball field, and football field.  Briefly I saw the enormous football players lining up like a band of soldiers facing enemy lines.  The bleachers were stuffed with cheering onlookers who screamed in excitement and adulation of their favorite sport.  CIF championship here we come.

We reentered the quad, and the dancers were already in formation, as if they had been waiting for us.  Their uniform motions were smooth, fluid, and teeming with bubbling energy and passion.  Their bodies moved up, down, all around the quad in a firework of locomotion, until they dramatically paused to pose at the bulldog.  The hip-hop music that had been playing in the background still ricocheted in my eardrums even when the bulldog ran onward.           

            All the doors to the classrooms were open, letting us see the clubs in the midst of their business.  One group talked about beach cleanup, another the local animal shelter, another the plight of bullying, another the upcoming blood drive, and another so much more.  I heard the Step Squad stomping its feet in a clamor of loud smacks and thumps.  I saw the navy blue of the uniforms of AFJROTC as they marched forward with our patriotic flag.

            All of the people, buildings, and activity became a blur as the bulldog ran faster, faster, faster.  The things I had seen became a mixture of colors, sounds, smells, and the paths of everyone’s lives intertwining inextricably together.  Finally it all spiraled down to one scene, leaving me dizzy and amazed.

            We were back on the football field, and the bleachers were just as filled as when the football game was taking place.  Except this time the people were not cheering; they were silently watching the ocean of maroon sitting in front of a large stage.  The senior graduates stood triumphantly wearing their caps and gowns in a unified body of bulldog pride.  If the bulldog that had been my guide could cry I’m sure he would have burst into tears at the beauty of it all.  The small, the tall, the gentle, the gruff, the brown-eyed, the blue-eyed, the athlete, the genius, the artist, the actor, the writer are all standing side-by-side.  Those four years had all built up to that one fantastic event of this fully culminated school spirit.  I saw myself in the midst of that flood of maroon & gold school spirit.

            The bulldog carried me back to where we started, in front of the science department building.  He strode majestically back to his pedestal, and before I could think to thank him, he was already frozen in place, baring his teeth at the incoming students of another new year.

            I run to the cluster of trees that I know my sister always lounges at, and recklessly push aside her friends.  She glances at me weirdly, but I don’t care.  I grip her by the shoulders and practically shout at her in my enthusiasm.

            “Sally, you were right!” I exclaim.  “About the school pride, about everything.  It’s not just about those colorful rallies, or high test scores, or extracurricular activities.  It’s about all of us as a student body sharing the high school experience together.  Bulldog pride is about taking pride in yourself and all the people who have walked this journey of life with you.”

            Sally smiles softly and withdraws from my grasp to look at me meaningfully.

            “I don’t know what has gotten into you since the ten minutes we’ve been apart, but I’m glad that you finally get me, get this school,” she says.

            I nod in agreement.  “Now that I have, I think the rest of my life can finally begin with spirit.”