It is always exciting to see hard work pay off – especially when the goal is laughter! When college students are struggling with the frustration of writing papers, plugging away at group projects, and coming to grips with their midterm grades, everyone could use a night of relief and relaxation. Thankfully, some students have been working toward making this evening of fun a reality. This Saturday Night Live event will take place this weekend! Faculty and students should prepare themselves for a night of laughter, spur-of-the-moment comedy, witty comebacks, wacky costumes, and even some audience participation.
Callan Bentley and Beth Hanawalt are the masterminds behind tomorrow’s event. Earlier this semester, the two juniors introduced to Toccoa Falls College the idea of a comedic improvisation group. Under their guidance, their idea took tangible form. The weekly practices of this “Dead Joke Society” were open to the whole campus and participation by any interested student was highly encouraged. Finally, all the work of the group is coming to fruition.
The Dead Joke Society is a student-led club, and of their own initiative, they sought to support the Justice Campaign, another student-run club. This allows for a delightful blend of both joy and the fight for freedom, humor and truth, improv acting and intentional prayer. While the Saturday Night Live performance is a free event, it is a fundraiser for the Justice Campaign. There will be a raffle in support of the Justice Campaign, indicative of how humor and justice can work together for a unified goal.
As in the practice sessions, the Saturday Night Live performance will consist of several acting games to amuse the audience. After working with the actors and actresses for so long, Callan and Beth know which pairings of performers have the best stage chemistry. This allows the directors to construct games for individuals who will best play on the strengths of each other on the fly. All these improv comedians are highly talented TFC students and many have taken part in one or more play put on by the Theatrical Society. This is improv, though! The performance will be unscripted and all humor generated on the spot as entertainers feed off the energy of each other and the audience.
That being said, they need an audience. According to Beth, the Dead Joke Society is “ pulling out all the stops – all the bells and whistles!” for this event. The directors have access to the costume closet of the Theatrical Society and will be providing miscellaneous props for the performers to aid in their comedic delivery. After all, who would not enjoy seeing a student pretending to tame a lion with a tiara?
This event is everything the improv troupe has been working toward this semester and has the added benefit of supporting the established Justice Campaign. Everyone is invited to share in the fun of the SNL event as the acting students bring smiles to the faces of students and faculty through crazy scenarios and witty remarks.
The show begins at 9pm, this Saturday, in Woerner Missions room 104.
What better way to have fun than allowing fellow classmates to minister to the students and faculty in the audience by creating the space for laughter?
Each year at Toccoa Falls College, a male is chosen from each class to compete for the title of Mr. TFC. Great candidates were voted in this year. Students do not want to miss this event! Mr. TFC will be held in Grace Chapel on Thursday, March 26th at 8pm. It will be a night of entertainment, laughter, and competition.
Carlos is a Freshman who is majoring in Music with a Concentration in Worship Arts. He is originally from Puerto Rico. His hobbies include things like organizational leadership, media production, digital design, and social media. He also plays tennis. According to him, he wanted to go pro, but God had other plans… also, he enjoys food too much.
What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated for Mr. TFC? I freaked out and shrieked in a very high pitched voice because I found out I was tied with my good friend Seth VanHorn. Once the tie was decided and I was selected to represent the freshman class, I was filled with immense joy and excitement (once again I shrieked in a very high pitched voice).
What is one fact that not many people know about you? When I was in the first grade, I was working on an art project and I clumsily cut my hand open because I was talking to a cute girl, and it left a scar…. in the shape of the Nike logo. I still have said scar to this day, and I have yet to receive one penny from Nike. (JUST DO IT MAN).
In a movie about your life, who would you choose to play yourself? I would choose my brother to play myself because that would forever annoy him that he would be starring in a movie about my life.
In what form do you prefer your potatoes? I prefer my potatoes in the form of gnocchi.
In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice? Darryl Dixon would be my weapon of choice.
Celebrity Crush? Kari Jobe.
Who do you think would win in a fight between… a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco? Taco. VIVA LA REVOLUCIÓN!
Is there anything you would like to say to your fellow Mr. TFC competitors? Collin Winslette, first, I took your job; now, IM GOING TO TAKE THE CROWN.
Any final comments? Seriously, thank you so much for voting for me to represent the Freshman class at Mr.TFC, it really means a lot. Love you guys!
Stephen is a Sophomore who is majoring in Mass Communications. He is from Clayton, Georgia. His hobbies include producing films, trail running and hanging with friends and family.
What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated for Mr. TFC? I was very surprised!
What is one fact that not many people know about you? I was once one of the top fastest distances runners in the state of Georgia in track.
In a movie about your life, who would you choose to play yourself? Jason Dolly.
In what form do you prefer your potatoes? Deep fried.
In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice? A light-weight, double headed ax.
Celebrity Crush? Ariana Grande, of course!
Who do you think would win in a fight between… a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco? Definitely, the grilled cheese with it’s hard grilled crust, and it’s dangerous but delicious, melted cheese.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fellow Mr. TFC competitors? Yo homies, let’s do this thing!
Any final comments? Yeah, here’s some wisdom, if life gives you lemonade… make lemons and life will be like: What?!
Jorge is a Junior who is majoring in Counseling Psychology and a self-claimed minor in Wumbology. He is from Cordele, Georgia. His hobbies include playing ukulele, listening to music, rock paper scissors, and extreme ironing.
What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated for Mr. TFC? It came out of nowhere and the surprising surprise surprised my face.
What is one fact that not many people know about you? My favorite color is pink.
In a movie about your life, who would you choose to play yourself? Me. Why would I let anyone take my place? I’m a freaking star.
In what form do you prefer your potatoes? Curly. As in curly fries.
In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice? A chainsaw with Christmas lights. They are flashy and effective.
Celebrity Crush? Katy Perry. No competition.
Who do you think would win in a fight between… a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco? A taco. He would pull a guitar out of nowhere and crush the grilled cheese sandwich. As they smash upon the crispy toast of the sandwich, the strings would be plucked off one by one as they sing their respective melodies. Ole!
Is there anything you would like to say to your fellow Mr. TFC competitors? I love you all and we are all beautiful and fabulous in our own special ways.
Any final comments? Yes. Bye.
Colin is a Senior who is majoring in Youth Ministry. He is from Dallas, Georgia. He is a huge movie buff and wanted to work in the film industry at one point. He likes pretty much every type of movie from the big popcorn flicks to the obscure ones According to him, he has a pretty decent movie collection.
What was your reaction when you found out you were nominated for Mr. TFC? Honestly, I was really surprised. I have never been the kind of guy to get nominated for this kind of thing. I was really honored that the school even considered me for such a thing.
What is one fact that not many people know about you? I’m actually a really shy person. Back when I was in high school, I was much more soft spoken. I froze up hardcore anytime I had to speak in front of a group of people and I was scared to start up conversations with people. It took years for me to be comfortable talking in front of people and I only started to improve because I wanted to make a change in my life.
In a movie about your life, who would you choose to play yourself? I would love for someone funny like Chris Pratt to play me. Mostly, because I would hope my life could be a comedy.
In what form do you prefer your potatoes? Oh, I’m all about French Fries and one day I would hope to have a swimming pool filled with them.
In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice? Friendship. I’d be pretty terrible at defending myself, so I would just hope I have friends that could protect me. Otherwise, I’m sure I would make delicious Zombie-Chow.
Celebrity Crush? Emma Stone, she’s funny and cute. I’m always into people that can make me laugh and she’s just got a great charm about her.
Who do you think would win in a fight between… a grilled cheese sandwich and a taco? I think in that scenario we all win, but only if we get to eat the remains of the battlefield.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fellow Mr. TFC competitors? YOU’RE GOING DOOOOOOOOOWN!!!! I mean, good luck.
Any final comments? I hope that Mr. TFC serves to be awesome entertainment for the student body more than just a competition. If I can make you laugh and you have a good time, then I will have considered it a job well done. I love every one of you and I’ll see you Thursday night!
Students who wish to spend some time off campus for a fun show, opportunities for prizes, and an all around fabulous time should come to the Feral Fashion Show in downtown Toccoa, March 28th at 8 p.m. A few of Toccoa Falls College’s students will be walking in the show, and other students will be volunteering to help make the event a success. This will be Feral Outfitters’ second Spring fashion show. There will be free beverages, gift bags and a great show displaying the latest Spring fashions. If students come with their Toccoa Falls College ID card, the entrance fee is only five dollars. This will be a great opportunity for friends and family to support local business while attending a one-of-a-kind small town event.
Fashion is a fun and exciting way to show off your personality and style. Today, it is very important to demonstrate effort when it comes to one’s style. When showing up for a job interview, first impressions are vital when it comes to appearance. Unfortunately, not everyone puts effort into their personal style. This creates a negative impression in a job interview or a formal event with friends. When one dresses nicely, their appearance displays a sense of responsibility and maturity. Wearing a casual, business suit to work during the day or an elegant, black dress with heels at night are choices that can impress others. Without a sense of appropriate dress, society may treat one improperly or with disrespect simply due to poor attire choices. First impressions are important to community, because today’s culture respects those who are dressed appropriately for significant occasions.
As Toccoa Falls provides the opportunity for their students to experience Feral’s Spring and Summer styles, students are furthermore encouraged to come and show support for their fellow classmates who are walking in the show. Fashion shows are, not only, enjoyable, but also, they exemplify to the community how to dress properly for casual or business life. It is important to know how to dress and stay in style because one’s appearance reflects the effort one puts into their work, studies, and social life. For more information about the Feral Fashion Show contact, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An opportunity created by the Community Projects committee that spreads the word about the Feral Fashion Show will be provided by an Instagram contest. The contest will be held a week before the show starting on March 23rd. First, students can pick their favorite and most fashionable outfit to wear. Next, take a picture that can be posted to Instagram. Lastly, students can place the hashtag #SGATakeMeToFFS. Each of the contestants will be judged by the Feral staff who will choose a winner. There will be a winner from three different categories: Fashion Forward, Most Creative, and Spring Forward. Each winner will receive a free ticket to the show.
Also, starting Monday, March 23rd, Community Projects will be handing out free tickets in Student Center. There is a limited supply, so students should hurry to get them while they last!
Contact email@example.com, director of the committee, for any questions concerning the contest or other community projects. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in helping at the show.
If you share a flare for fashion, the Feral Fashion Show is the place to be on March 28 at 8 p.m. The location of the show is at the Feral store on 68 East Doyle Street, Toccoa, GA 30577. Everyone is welcome to come enjoy what is sure to be a spectacular evening event with some amazing outfits and yes… get free stuff! And do not forget the Instagram contest, for a chance to win free tickets! Come and experience the thrilling ambiance and camaraderie with friends, fellow students, and local families. With wonderfully, appealing pieces, patterns, and accessories, fashion has made an exciting turn as winter is closing and Spring and Summer are beginning. The Feral Fashion Show is a wonderful occasion and exciting event to support the local community!
“Dress like the person you are or who you want to become. But whatever you put on, make sure you feel comfortable and confident…”
-Karly Herring, Owner of Feral Outfitters
Across the railway, the neighborhood was sandwiched by two opposing ends. The graveyard was dressed in gothic grandeur, decorated in romanticism as if it were meant to be a stone showroom and not a burial ground. The garden was less fit in shape, framed by drowsy bushes and waterlogged wooden structures. Cassidy had chosen the more formidable spot to sit in so she could paint a pastel desert into a pocket watch.
Meanwhile, I had my suspicions. Cassidy had a vintage kindness that would have been universally adored, although widely privatized. I noticed. My friends noticed. The administration and faculty noticed. William noticed. There was nothing to stop Aria Tarasuoa from noticing.
As well, William and Tara were local. They had been over at my house long enough to giggle and update statuses and long enough to disassemble my dress.
“That’s really pretty.” The garden was littered with pockets of slush below and the sky was milky white above. It was a disgustingly sticky Christmas week, but Cassidy found sanctuary in it.
“Thank you.” She didn’t look up from her painting as I sat next to her on the bench, watching her thin brush skim over the surface. “It’s a Christmas present.”
The corner of her mouth quivered into a grin that she suppressed. “William.”
“Ahh,” I sighed. My theory found strength.
“He asked me to craft it, so he could give it to Aria.”
“Oooh.” I tightened my mouth. “How much is he giving you for it?”
“Nothing. I told him I would do it for free.”
I choked. “Really?”
She nodded, embarrassed.
“He should give you something for it. It’s not right if he doesn’t.” She only looked down at the round watch lining in her hand, avoiding me. “And why did you agree?” I paused for a moment, then lowered my voice to a whisper. “Cassidy? You’re not being extra generous with William, are you? It’s just that he has a girlfriend. I mean she might be a low-down, thieving… but I don’t know yet—“
“Abigail. It’s nothing like that.”
Her voice was sharp and direct, so I quieted.
She paused for several long moments before speaking softly. “I just wanted to do it. Besides, money and I don’t really get along.”
I shot up, flustered. “So, nice things and you don’t get along. Money and you don’t get along. Why don’t you get along with inanimate objects, Cassidy?”
“Moth and rust doth corrupt.”
“Stop saying that! That doesn’t mean anything.”
She let out a high-pitched, angry yelp, standing up to meet me. “It’s what my dad says all the time.” She paused and sucked in a breath. “…about my mother.”
“When he’s drunk? Is that when he says it?”
Cassidy’s face looked as if I had punched it. I might as well have, but I made no attempt to rewind my words.
“It’s true,” was all she answered. “It was only a small fire and a little smoke, but she kept going back in.” She shut her eyes, as if doing so would block the emotion as she recalled the scene of the creamy orange sun setting behind the trees in the evening and the billows of black dust pouring from the windows of her old country home. “My dad was yelling at her, but she wanted the nice camera and all the dresses she had gotten me. And she wanted her jewelry and the box in which she kept it all. For some reason the box cost a lot. She wanted the guitars and dishes too.
I did not notice that I was not breathing.
“The third time she came out, my dad was still yelling at her to stop going back in the house, but she wanted to grab the embroidered pillows, just in case. The fire department showed up before she could come out a fourth time.” Cassidy’s eyes slowly fluttered open. She was gasping short breaths, trying to fight back any emotion at all. Her jaw moved in a chewing motion and she murmured. “They found her… um… under the piano. She just sort of fainted and… um… hit her head on…”
“Cassidy, stop,” I choked. I grabbed her wrist. “That has nothing to do with you and your things.”
She looked at me and surfaced back to the current time. “For months now, every time I receive a gift from someone it gets stolen or it breaks. I’m paying for my mother’s vanity, so I’ll never get to have things—“
“Shut up, will you?” I was a bewildered and getting gradually more upset. “If your money is constantly being stolen, how do you have extra for the materials to make things? Like my dress, and this pocket watch?”
She shrugged. “Sometimes, I just find cash in random places.”
I blinked. “Seriously?”
“…and I use it to make gifts for others. If I use it for myself, however, something bad happens to those things.
I pushed my hair back. “So you’re just going to ignore the fact that you have a beautiful grand piano sitting on your porch?”
“It was the only thing that was not either scorched by the fire or destroyed by my dad. My mother’s spirit lives in it. That’s why—“
“Cassidy! You are not cursed. You are not being punished because of your mother. Someone is bullying you, OK?”
Her face was visibly getting bluer as the icy wind bit her cheeks. Her eyes seemed to be sighing. I could tell I made her feel dumb, but that she agreed with me.
“I’m going to find out who.” I promised.
“Why does it have to be raining?”
“Why can’t they get the scanners to work?”
“I hate Mondays.”
These statements are not uncommon to hear on the way to class, lunch, or chapel. Complaining has become such a natural part of conversations, that it is often done without conscious thought. It has become a social norm; it serves as something to say when there is nothing else to say. These complaints often lack real conviction about the “issue” at hand. People let these little things bother them. These minor annoyances invade their thoughts and bring them down. They let these little things steal their joy.
Students complain about having a great deal of homework and having to go to classes every day. They forget that it is a blessing to be able to go to school at all. Toccoa Falls College student, Melissa Moody, says this about the matter: “I’m in a very small minority—we all are. We’re pursuing our dreams, making the lives we want for ourselves. In America, there are so many people in their 40’s, 50’s and older who wish they’d pursued higher education and fought to achieve their dreams. They look back with regret, but not us. We’re making the life choices that will allow for us to never experience that regret… And when we leave this place, we can do what we want to do, not just what we have to do. We get to choose! That is such a luxury. For so many, our mundane realities is the stuff of daydreams.”
People complain about eating the same foods or not getting to eat the food they want. Is it not a blessing to have an overabundance of food in the first place? They have the ability and the means to get food almost whenever they want. God has provided them with sustenance for each day. That privilege is not something that everyone has. People complain that their smartphones or laptops could be better. Is it not a privilege to have these things at all? These forms of technology give the ability to do things more conveniently and enhance learning. They are things that have not been around for very long, and many people are fortunate to be able to have access to them. A majority of things that are complained about are actually a blessing from God.
God has given blessing upon blessing. In Christ, Christians have everything they will ever need; they lack nothing. Complaining about minor annoyances can be a distraction from the beautiful joy that can be found in Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” God’s desire for His people is that they find joy in Him and give thanks for what He has given. When people are genuinely thankful for what God has blessed them with, joy will be a natural result. The mundane things of life should not be able to steal joy. God has given so much to be thankful for.
Dr. Robert Myers, President of Toccoa Falls College, is very well-known around campus. He is characterized by his outgoing, fun personality, as well as his love for the school and the students. In most colleges, students are unfamiliar with their president; they may not even know who he or she is. Dr. Myers breaks that social norm by striving to get to know the students on an individual basis. He takes the time to listen, build trust and form relationships with the TFC community. Dr. Myers has a lot planned for the future of Toccoa Falls and has shared his vision for the school, his background, his relationship with God, and some great views on life
What is your favorite part of TFC?
The students. Without a doubt, that’s why I am here. I have so much fun with you guys.
What has been the biggest transformation that you have seen since you have been here?
One has been in the finances of the school. It was not doing very well several years ago, but for the last two years it has been really healthy financially and has allowed us to get things we need like the minibuses. Another transformation has been in me. I have always relied on God and I have always moved forward in faith. But, when the growth and survival of an institution falls on your shoulders, you really have to take a step back and say ‘It’s God’s school, not Bob Myers’s school; the school belongs to God.’ My job is to tell the story of TFC and let God work on hearts. I’ll talk to new students and donors about what is going on at TFC and I let the Holy Spirit work on their hearts.
What college did you attend and what are your degrees in?
(His degrees are in the shape of a cross on his wall)
My undergrad is from the University of Maryland. it is in Information Systems Management, which is computers. I have my masters in Business Administration, from Palm Beach Atlantic University and doctorate in business administration from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale.
What is your favorite part of being TFC’s president?
Watching this place grow because it’s really starting to take off and that really excites me. We have got schools we a partnering with to have dual enrollment with the high school kids to take online classes. Nursing getting ready to take off, sustainable development taking off, the new dining hall, all that is so fun to watch God work in a place. In my opinion, we have been stagnant too long and it’s time to really take this place off. I would like to at some point be able to re-name the school “University of Toccoa Falls” as we start bringing in graduate programs. We are hoping to bring the graduate programs in around 2016. Then Toccoa Falls would really become a university and start rocking this world.
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Florence, California, but I only lived there until I was 7. My dad worked for IBM so we moved to Pennsylvania and I was raised in Chambersburg. I stayed there until I was about 19. At that age, I joined the police department and went to work for the police department in Maryland. I was a police officer for 12 years. I lived in the Maryland/ DC area. I was a patrol officer, then a field training officer; I was on the diver team to bring up dead bodies of those who had drowned in the river and other kinds of things. I was a polygraph examiner, then I was a Crimes Against Persons detective, which handles violent crimes. I was with the police for a lot of years, two different agencies. From there, my wife and I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida; we spent 20 years down there and then moved to Oklahoma.
What TV shows do you watch?
We don’t have TV; we have Netflix and Hulu. I like to watch a lot of older shows, but right now I am watching the new Hawaii Five-O. I like Amazing Race. I really like Andy Griffith, the old Hawaii Five-O, Gun Smoke; those kinds of shows.
Do you have any hobbies? If so, what are they?
I love to run. I have been in Martial Arts since I was in high school and I am teaching a self-defense course for ladies on Thursday nights in the student center. Right now, I do anything my kids want to do; it’s really about them. My daughter is into horses, so we do a lot of that, and my son and I are getting back into Xbox.
What are some of your fondest college memories?
It probably revolved around professors; I had some really good ones and some really nutty ones. A guy that taught statistics, he was absolutely brilliant but had zero common sense. He wouldn’t write on the chalkboard but on his desk. Everyone would gather around the desk and take their notes off the desk. Part way through his lecture, he would forget and sit on his desk. So when he stood up, all the graphs and charts were on his behind. He would do this week after week and we would just roar. Another professor held class at the beach; we would stand in the waves and he would lecture. For me, it really was all about the professors.
Have you always believed in God?
Yes, I was saved in a little church in north Hollywood, California, when I was about 5 and have been a believer since.
What denomination are you a part of?
I was raised the Assemblies of God. I have been in a lot of churches and different denominations. I understand the power of a denomination, but I am more concerned about the relationship with God. My wife and I always said that we would go where we thought we could serve God the best and the First Alliance is where we feel we can do that the best.
What has been the highlight of your life in the last 5 years?
Undoubtedly, [it] is coming to TFC. I have had more fun here than anywhere else. I am not just saying it because I am being interviewed; I love seeing how God is working. This is the third college I have worked for and the students here are incredible and can’t be compared to. We still have a lot of work to be done here, but coming here has definitely been the highlight.
The Talon is thankful for Dr. Myers’ dedication to the school and willingness to give of his time for this interview.
*photo was taken by Mandy Sullivan*
On Sunday, March 1, the Student Government Association at Toccoa Falls College hosted its annual grocery bingo night. Many students attended for the opportunity to win some great prizes.
The event was planned by SGA Social Life director, Rachel Johnson, and this year SGA gave away almost 700 dollars worth of groceries to the students.
“I always enjoy grocery bingo,” Johnson said. “(This was) my third time planning it, and I think this one went the smoothest.”
The format was similar to previous years other than a couple of key changes: grocery bingo was free to all who wanted to play, and each person was limited to just two prizes, so that more people had a chance to win. This proved to be a smart decision as more people came out this year than ever before.
The reason so many people showed up can be attributed to the prizes SGA gave away. Prizes such as: a 24 pack of coke, popcorn, candy, Girl Scout cookies, beef jerky, Easy Mac, and 42 rolls of paper towels were all up for grabs, as well as gift cards to Zaxbys, MacDonalds, and Chick-fil-a.
Each round consisted of three prizes and students were able to play their same cards until all three prizes were won. Usually, the rounds would consist of two food items, such as box of Rice Krispies Treats or a combo of Peanut Butter and Jelly, along with cleaning supplies, such as the paper towels or Lysol wipes. Every time a student stood up a shouted “Bingo,” they were met with the raucous applause of some and the groans of other students who were just one number away from winning.
However, the main prizes were saved until the night was almost done. This year, SGA included a grand prize for both men and women, with each coming in the form of gift card. The men’s prize was a $50 gift card to Game Switch, which is a locally owned game store located in Toccoa. The women’s prize was a $50 gift card to Feral Outfitters, a locally owned clothing boutique also located in Toccoa. A separate round was played with each of these prizes on the line, and after much suspense, Jonatan Coronado went home with the Game Switch gift card and Christa Blackaby won the Feral Outfitters prize. The Feral Outfitters gift card was donated to the school for this event by the store.
“SGA enjoys being able to give stuff away,” Johnson went on to say. “(Grocery Bingo) is a fun way to relax with your friends.”
Overall, Johnson viewed the night as being a huge success. “This was the biggest turnout we have ever had, and it seemed as if everyone was having a good time!”
Image found at: http://www.wpclipart.com/recreation/games/bingo_cards.png.html
I: An Angelic Sense of Desperation
My fingers caressed the new, soft dress in an infatuated manner, and for a moment- one infinite moment that borrowed the all-encompassing embodiment of time- I let the gift be the most beautiful thing in the world.
The sleeves fell delicately at elbow’s length, firm and translucent. With my eyes, I traced the seam toward the shoulders and down to the innocent, wide-U neckline. The top half fit over, ceasing with an elegantly wavy chest seam. The curve of the hips dipped just in time for the fun skirt to wave on perfect tone to the wind. The plump, cotton fabric seemed to melt in my hand. A pastel peach hue drizzled with a creamy white floral print seduced my eyes. I felt myself drift into a daze.
Bringing the cloth to my nose eventuated in the smell of subway perils filling my nostrils. Sweat, mingled with the damp, thin air and the general musk of humanity moving on clockwork wafted through the crevices of the dress. A tinge of the fresh, frigid, upper-Georgian mountain air coexisted reluctantly with the underground odor. Lastly, a hint of dollar-store perfume lingered: the result of my gift giver’s futile attempt to mask all previous smells.
It took my gift giver two hours to get here by bus.
The Atlanta underground system was not a perilous place, a depressive place, or a place prone to leave a girl vulnerable to the judgments and realities of the world. Rather, it was a place where artistic expression displayed itself in everyone’s eyes, and where the most complex of thoughts clouded the brick tunnels. The most fragile emotions and complicated feelings of humanity could be tasted.
My gift giver had made her way through these tunnels earlier today; bag buried under her coated arm, with the gift, my dress, in it. The train system was familiar to her, and there was no longer the residence of fear, worry, or over-the-shoulder peaking. There were only thoughts which added to the intellectual soup. Such that, any other who knew the exact reason she was making a two-hour-long journey would assume her motive was generosity. But a native of the underground system would know that it was something more like desperation, trying to convince itself it was generosity.
To prove it simply: generosity would not travel on the metropolitan system for two hours to travel a thirty-minute driving-distance to my home to assure getting here before the peak of the flurry of the holidays. Nor would generosity venture out, knowing that the system does not come to my neighborhood, because the system wants to keep the homeless out of this area. Generosity would not hop on its bike and trek two icy miles down sidewalks, up hills, and over slush-covered concrete until it reached the front door of my little suburban home and knock, making sure to wipe off the fragile tears from its flower basket before I answered. Only an angelic kind of desperation would do that.
“Cassidy?” I had exclaimed as I answered the door, hair in a lazy heap, very surprised.
“Merry Christmas, Abigail,” her small voice rang as she held out the bag.
It was a small day, or so I assumed. It seemed happy when I unfolded the dress, and let out an involuntary “squeeh”; when I thanked her repeatedly, and her small albino-like cheeks went pink. It seemed small as I twirled it in front of my parents, and they clapped, and petted Cassidy, and asked her how she was, and she lied. It seemed casual as she ate with us what my mom had cooked: a chore which she had neglected to do yesterday, because my mother strives to please guests. All seemed right when she headed back out to complete another two hours back.
A week after that with a week until Christmas, all seemed right, as I sat in room vainly caressing my dress, to go out and give her a visit. I would thank her again for the gift.
It took me thirty minutes to get there by truck.
The address had been easy enough to find through multiple contacts. The condition of the neighborhood, however, told me that none of the contacts had ever been here.
Within a mile of point-B, I had driven into more of a run-down ghost town than anything else. Several old, rusty cars aligned each driveway. Three or four large, obnoxious dogs, surprised to witness a functioning vehicle, snapped after my tires, running along beside me until I overtook their chain length. Rugged, greasy houses aligned both sides of the uprooted road. Cigarette butts and beer bottles adorned each wet, slimy lawn.
The target of Cassidy’s address was less exciting. A variety of grasses stretched toward the sky, untamed, texturing the concrete above it. The makeshift home floated on top of insecure foundation, pressed against the bough-clouded backdrop in a reluctant state of consent. The textile of the structure displayed an unnatural stain, while its tinted windows denied passage to light.
My car teetered uneasily in the alleged driveway, providing me time to question whether an angel could live in this underground cavern. The engine then quieted just enough for the piano performance of Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee pouring through the windows to reach my ear. Somehow, I was at the right place.