Saturday 21 November

It might look like I've been neglecting my journal—horrible sin for an aspiring journalist, I know. I swear it's not that I've been lazy. I've tried, really. But honestly, for the past couple of weeks, whenever I've picked up my pen, I've gotten crippling writers block.

Ok, that isn't quite true. If you look at the margins, you can see tons of ripped pages. I guess since my last entry, everything I wrote down seemed so inadequate. I haven't been able to put words to the thoughts, to all this constant tension. So I'd write half an entry, give up, and rip out the papers.

Hard to believe it's been less than two months since I started writing in this thing. Last two weeks aside, writing here every day—or almost every day—has become so routine for me. Habits that ingrained usually take a bit longer to develop, you know?

Guess my brother understands me a little better than I've given him credit for.

Might as well recap. The last couple of weeks have been pretty busy. Ava's pretty much comfortable speaking to me again—and if you told me last month that I'd be relieved by that fact, I'd have laughed in your face. It helps that she's stopped flirting with me. At this point, the biggest problem with being kinda-sorta friends with her is that we're always paired up together in chemistry now. Considering that I'm a klutz and she's, frankly, kind of a ditz, we'll be lucky just to pass.

Whatever. Science isn't my thing, anyway. I'm more than happy to leave that stuff to Trunks and Gohan.

What's even weirder than me and Ava getting along is the fact that she and Addo have started hanging out. And no, they aren't bonding over their respective unrequited crushes. Near as I can tell, they spend 90% of the time trading makeup tips. She's been gushing to me about this super-waterproof mascara he recommended to her; she likes to get dolled up before track meets. I'm trying to figure out which one of them is the bigger girl.

While we're on the topic of one-sided romance, turns out that Ava's decided not to tell Dia. She said that she really didn't want to make things more complicated than they already were. I promised to keep my mouth shut—I haven't even told Trunks. Considering that Trunks helped Kato finally decide on the right engagement ring for Dia last week (and I have never seen a diamond so enormous), it's probably better that no one find out about Ava's little crush.

I still think that seventeen is way too young to get engaged, even if you probably won't be setting a date for a couple of years. Apparently this puts me in the minority.

That being said, not everything's changed over the last few weeks. Trunks is still a mildly psychotic mad scientist, though he's been better about lab safety as of late. He also still insists that he's the leader of the pigeons—or he will be once they fly back up north in the spring. Lord Featherton, meanwhile, is still way, way smarter than any pigeon should rightfully be. Bulma and Vegeta are still disgustingly horny middle-aged freaks. I still suck at math. Ms. Shi still smells like an incense-laden cinnamon bun stand. Mr. Mori still can't teach to save his life. Mr. Sen is still completely oblivious to the goings-on of West City High (and to who keeps placing pudding cups in his desk drawers). And Nao is still the single sanest person I know.

Speaking of Nao, I have to say, being able to talk with someone other than my boyfriend is a relief. Don't get me wrong—Trunks has been on his best behavior, and he's been nothing if not reliable lately. But the fact remains that he is my boyfriend in addition to being my best friend, which can complicate things. Having someone like Nao, someone calm and objective to talk to without having to constantly worry if I'm going to slip up and give myself away, it's really nice.

Nao's adjusted remarkably well to the whole me-being-a-superpowered-alien thing. And Trunks has adjusted remarkably well to having one of our classmates know our little secret. That being said, while Trunks seems to trust Nao enough, it's becoming increasingly apparent that he doesn't particularly like Nao. I guess he's just a little too asocial for Trunks' tastes.

To be fair, the feeling's definitely mutual. Nao actually had some concerns when he found out that Trunks and I were staying together—understandable, considering how much I bitch about the guy—but he just said that I needed to do what made me happy.

He also said something about how I seemed to be happiest when I was miserable. Which doesn't seem fair to me. I'm not a masochist; I just have very poor judgment.

Besides, I think Keimin-the-hot-drummer would be sorely disappointed if Trunks and I broke up. Seeing as Trunks finally talked me into calling him. He said Trunks' suggestion of a three-way was "hands down the hottest thing I've ever heard."

I'm surrounded by perverts.

Very, very attractive perverts.

So that's the situation with school. As for home, well, I've been staying at Capsule Corp most nights, but I have been heading home a couple of days a week. Er, kind of. More often than not, when I'm up at Mount Paozu, I've ended up crashing at Gohan's place. Which actually works out pretty well for all of us; Gohan and Videl are more than happy to take advantage of the free babysitting services when they need some alone time. And I hate to admit it, but I think I'm starting to see an upswing in my calculus grades.

I do at least talk to my parents every day on the phone. And things are starting to get back to normal between me and my dad. Kind of normal? Less awkward, anyway. We've been talking a fair amount, and we're starting to train again on the days I'm home. No better way to work through our issues than kicking the crap out of each other, I guess.

I know it's never going to be quite the same as it was before, but maybe it isn't supposed to be. For one, I think I'm gonna keep my hair like this. Maybe even crop it shorter. Who really wants to look exactly like their dad anyway? I'm already stuck with the man's face—I might as well make something my own.

Second, and more importantly, I'm starting to realize that perhaps the whole hero-worship thing wasn't very healthy. For either of us. My dad isn't perfect. He isn't a god, and he isn't a monster. Just because he's a hero—by anyone's standards—doesn't mean he doesn't have his flaws.

It's kind of easy to forget that when your dad is the literal savior of the universe.

It's amazing how just talking can make everything seem so much more manageable. I've spilled to him about how screwed up his death left our family. He's admitted that, if he could go back and make those choices again, he probably would have chosen differently. But all that doesn't change the fact that, for better or worse, he's really been there for me the last nine years.

I'm not angry with him anymore. I'm just still working on trusting him again. That's progress, I suppose.

I guess it's pretty easy to lose perspective sometimes. I mean, yeah, my home life is a little twisted up right now. But the fact is that my life could be a lot worse.

On a somewhat related note, I finally decided what to do for my art project. Of course, I ended up doing the whole damn thing the weekend before it was due. Which sucked, since it was due the Monday after the mother of all rough weeks.

But it got done. And it was pretty clever, if I do say so myself. I've got Trunks' crazy pet pigeon to thank for the idea, too. See, here's the concept—birds are always moving back and forth, right? Like, they're always moving north in the summer, south for the winter, but beyond that, a wild bird pretty much just wanders. A pigeon might always be moving, but it's fairly directionless overall.

So when I got to Capsule Corp on Saturday, I got to work. I snapped some pictures of Lord Featherton for reference—and that strange little bird was more than happy to pose and model for me—looked up a few diagrams online, and made a three-foot-wide wire base in the form of a male pigeon. I did the feathers with carefully folded-up sheets of paper—colored with various shades of charcoal, of course—attached to the wire base.

But I didn't use glue or any sort of adhesive for the feathers, as you might with a paper-maché sculpture. It was pretty critical to the concept of my project that you actually be able to remove the sheets of paper, unfold them, read them, then fold them back up and replace them on the basic structure. So I used paper-maché just for the pigeons head; the rest of the feathers were attached to the head using hidden paper fasteners. The really cool part was the fact that I was able to stack the sheets of paper so they fanned out from the head, in the same way that real feathers stack on a live bird.

Those paper feathers? Were made from the pages of my journal.

Well, sort of. My original idea was to rip the pages right out of this journal, but Trunks pointed out that I'd probably regret it if I went and destroyed the actual diary. So instead, we just used photocopies of the original journal pages as the base for the feathers. The basic idea was that the journal pages were the places I'm "coming from"—my experiences as filtered through my own eyes. The bird represents that, even though I know I'm constantly moving, I'm not sure where it is I'm actually going.

Damn, that sounds cheesy when I write it out.

Anyway, since you could pull individual journal entries and read them, I had to edit a lot of what I've written pretty heavily. I had to redact (another brilliant word, courtesy of Bulma and her dodgy tax-filing practices) any references to the Dragonballs, super-strength, or being half-alien. Or, you know, dying and coming back to life. That being said, I think I managed to capture the essence of my crazy-ass, damn-near-farcical life.

Trunks was up all night with me on Sunday, doing menial tasks and generally making sure my project got done on time. You know, getting me extra paper and pens, making photocopies, running out to a 24-hour convenience store when I ran out of fasteners, that kind of thing. When I mentioned that I wanted to add something tactile to the project, just to add a little texture to the feathers, Trunks handed me a Ziploc bag filled with my hair clippings. Apparently he saved them.

My boyfriend is so fucking weird.

I love it.

Anyway, when Trunks saw the finished project, he didn't really have anything constructive to add. He did tell me, after looking through some of the journal pages that I'd used for the project, that I should probably stop anthropomorphizing my journal. I asked what the hell anthropomorphizing is; he said basically treating it like it's a conscious person. I told him it was the only way I could get any halfway rational conversation.

For once, he didn't have a witty response. He did, however, read my description of the cough syrup we keep around my house, and asked how I would have any idea what a combination of rancid cherries and gasoline would taste like.

I told him he didn't want to know.

Anyway, I got an 85% on the project. For all my procrastination, for all my bitching about the assignment prompt—and I still think "The places we come from, the places we're going" is the stupidest fucking prompt ever conceived—I'd say I did alright. Ms. Shi told me in her critique, more or less, that she wanted to dock my grade for "thematic triteness", but bumped it up a few points for sincerity and "aesthetic ingenuity." Considering how harshly she scored everyone's projects, I'm pretty happy with my grade. I actually ended up in the top half of the class.

In fact, there was only one 100 in the entire class. It went to the kid who drew himself . . . coming out of the birth canal. And going down on his girlfriend. I wish I could say I was making this up. Ms. Shi said it was a "brilliant and graphic exercise in literalization."

Trunks can never, ever find out about this.