Tahlia Jamison

Tahlia is an online student here at West. A model/dancer/actress, she loves combining working in fields she loves with getting a college education. In addition to enjoying all areas of the performing arts, Tahlia has fun spending time with her close-knit family, as well as reading, writing, going to the movies/theatre with friends, traveling, swimming, and playing with her dog.

Other Works:


Lilly

(297 words without title)

Lee Mei Cheng, self-proclaimed spinster-acupuncturist, visited every week of my childhood. The tiny dynamo erased Mom’s migraines with seemingly-magical needles. I adored Lee for helping Mom and bringing me super-sweet Asian treats.

When I was nine, Lee announced, “I’m adopting a Chinese orphan. Lilly’s your age; you’ll be best friends.” I shivered, knowing Lee spoke the truth. My lifelong pal, Amy, had moved back East; I ached over being a loner.

Itchy with anticipation, I waited--and waited--for Lilly. “When is she coming?” I asked Mom and Lee constantly. “WHEN?” Both said, “Soon.”

Six endless months later, Lilly arrived. Like a doll from my International Girl collection, Lilly was exquisite. Her chin-length hair was smooth; her face a perfect, translucent moon. Lilly held onto Lee with one hand, clutching a toy in the other.

“Come inside.” Mom cooed. Lee translated, ushering Lilly ahead. The doll-girl handed me a red teddy-bear. I murmured, “Thanks”, sniffing its luscious new-toy scent.

“Lilly’s beautiful.” said Mom, kneeling to kiss her. “Best friends!” Lee crowed. Pushing us together, she snapped a photo. I gestured towards my room. Lee nodded permission and I led my new best friend down the hall, into my pink domain.

Alone, we stared into each other’s eyes; Lilly’s were those of a grownup. I gave her a gift she unwrapped with care. Spotting the Barbie doll, Lilly squealed, then cuddled her prize. I chose a favorite Barbie; holding hands, we walked to a kid-sized loveseat.

As we sat, Lilly’s skirt rode up. Brand-new welts and bruises covered her thighs. Some wounds, still open, were bloody. The room spun; sweat streamed down my neck.

Tugging her skirt down, Lilly fiercely whispered, “Shhhh!” I nodded, “Yes” to keeping her secret, with my fingers crossed.

Wordlessly, we played Barbies.

 


Unspeakable

(299 words without title)

Lilly and I spent all summer as one; Mom called us como chicle, “glued together."  Lee cared for sickly Grandpa Cheng at home, so my bedroom was our clubhouse. Weekday mornings, as we drove to get Lilly, I felt like a liar for not telling Mom of my friend's brutal bruises.

“Ask for help!” I ordered myself, but no words came. Why? If I spoke the truth, Lilly would disappear. Mom sensed that something was wrong; she didn’t push, making me feel guiltier.

Outside Lee’s, I spotted Lilly first: silken hair, glowing skin, dancing eyes. We kissed Lee “Goodbye”; our games began. We sang jingles, made faces, counted red cars. Mom called us, “Twins” and my tummy flip-flopped: I had a sister!

When we stopped for groceries, Lilly slipped candy into her backpack; I squeezed my eyes shut.

“Don’t get caught”, I prayed. And Lilly didn’t.

At home, we dressed up like princesses, performed skits for Mom, and played Barbies. Even Grandpa Cheng approved of us, since Lilly learned English “by osmosis”. Lee picked Lilly up nightly; we parted, half-asleep.

On Saturdays, Lee “needled” Mom’s headaches away, bringing Lilly, and boxes of sweets, along. Lilly had to memorize Bible verses for church; a sugar rush helped me learn them, too- in English and Chinese. Lilly howled with laughter at my accent.

We never mentioned the marks on Lilly’s thighs. She whispered, ‘’Shh.’’; I affirmed with a nod. When Lilly first warned me not to tell, I’d crossed my fingers. That gesture meant nothing; I couldn’t, wouldn’t lose Lilly.

I saw no fresh wounds early on, but knew they were there; Lilly’s bruised, ancient eyes told me everything. When Lilly refused to share a bath, Mom thought her, “modest”; I knew better.

The truth festered inside me; unspeakable.

 


First Migraine

(298 words without title)

Summer sped by. Lilly and I kept playing, laughing, sharing giant ice-cream cones. With my best friend safe beside me, I threw myself into games, songs, and fun. We painted each others nails, raced to meet the postman, made up crazy stories.

I often inspected Lilly’s legs stealthily as we ran or played; fresh wounds, in slightly different spots, always replaced the originals.

“Tell!” I ordered myself.

Riding with Mom to get Lilly, I finally opened my mouth to reveal the secret. As if on its own, my jaw snapped shut; I couldn’t lose Lilly.

When my best friend wasn’t there, three words—“Who’s hurting Lilly?”—haunted me.

Not Lee, her adoring mom. Not Grandpa Cheng, weak and slow.

If not them, who? Neighbor, gardener, cousin--who?

Once, during a game of jacks, I blurted out, “Let’s talk, Lilly.” Fire leapt from her eyes; clamping hands over her ears, Lilly leapt to her feet, humming like an enraged bee, louder and louder.

‘What’re you up to?’ Mom asked from the door. Lilly stopped droning to reply, ”Guessing game!”, grinning. Mom blew kisses, and left us cold drinks. Gulping lemonade, we sat on my bed, side by side. Silence.

Finally, Lilly murmured her usual, “Shhhhh.” I nodded. This was our ritual. We began to play, stuffing the secret back down, where it stayed, festering.

For weeks, Mom pondered over, ‘The Missing Laundry-Quarter Mystery.’ Her coins, always safe in a drawer, had dwindled all summer. One day, they all disappeared. Unsmiling, Mom showed us the bare drawer. Lilly shrugged, pulling me towards the bedroom; I followed.

Lilly slid into my girly-pink restroom to shower. Breathing hard, I picked up her backpack and shook it. Quarters clanked.

Head pounding, temples pulsing, I watched the room spin.

My first migraine.


Editor: LinckeN@WLAC.edu | West Los Angeles College | 9000 Overland Ave, Culver City CA 90230 | www.wlac.edu
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