stories by definition

ca·dence /ˈkādns/ noun

  1. a modulation or inflection of the voice.
  2. a sequence of notes or chords comprising the close of a musical phrase.

It was Thursday night, which meant Family Dinner, which meant Gabby would have to come clean. Her twin sister, Arielle, already knew, and had promised under threat of blackmail not to tell. It was Gabby's news to share.

“So, Arielle, any fun plans for the weekend?” their mother, Patricia, asked breezily as she passed the dish of sautéed spinach across the table to the eldest twin. Since they'd turned sixteen a year ago, their parents had rewarded Arielle — and begrudgingly, Gabby — with a greater sense of freedom and autonomy. Though as their mom, Betty, liked to jokingly threaten, “privileges can be revoked at any time.” So far, that time hadn't come, and the twins intended to keep it that way. Well, had intended, anyway.


/stôrm/ noun

  1. a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.
  2. a tumultuous reaction; an uproar or controversy.

Content warning: suicide, language

I learned the hard way that I am my biggest enemy, the biggest monster under my bed, the biggest boogie man in my closet. No one else. Just me.


/depTH/ noun

  1. the distance from the top or surface to the bottom of something.
  2. the quality of being intense or extreme.
  3. a point far below the surface.

Content warning: violence, language

5:57am. Saturday, August 2nd. 54 degrees Fahrenheit. Still air.

A rusty metal pole. Faded ‘76’ and ‘45’ lettered near the top in yellow paint. Cigarette butts scattered at its base.

A woman, leaning, waiting. Hands in the pockets of her oversized half-zipped hoodie. Low cut v-neck cropped tank underneath. Jean shorts cut off at her upper thighs, ripped hems. Scuffed black and white sneakers. One foot scraping back and forth on the pavement, shredding the cigarette remains through pure friction.


Another girl walks up the sidewalk toward the bus stop. She’s dressed in scrubs. A high schooler, part of the hospital’s teen summer intern program.

The woman has been expecting her.


di·chot·o·my /dīˈkädəmē/ noun

  1. a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.

Content warning: language

They last got their nails done together four years ago. After a summer of lemonade stands, saved allowance, and nagging their parents, Merry and Kelly's moms finally agreed the best friends could get manicures before the start of eighth grade.

It was surprisingly chilly for August. But it wasn't even lunch yet, so Merry didn't overthink the slight breeze. She strode up to the salon on the outer wall of the local mall, hyper-focusing on what color she'd choose for her first-ever manicure: fuchsia…or hot pink. She'd grown out her nails carefully for the past month. The start of eighth grade was her one chance to make a statement. It was practically high school. It would basically set her up for life, really.


char·i·ot /ˈCHerēət/ noun

  1. a two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle used in ancient warfare and racing.

This is a love story.

The girl sits alone in her room. She's supposed to be working from home, but it's been one of those days. The kind where she feels hopeless and lost, unmotivated and out of ideas. She got up to go to the bathroom and ended up scrolling through 30 second videos for an hour, and then only pushed herself up out of that daze to download an app advertised to her after the 200th video she watched (give or take).

Her partner works in another space in the apartment, his desk customized to his very specific interests and much better than the desk he'd had back at the office. Much more his style. He's been focused, diligent — okay, yes, he's taken a break here or there, but he's been looking forward to their plans for the evening: grocery shopping together, then cooking together, then cuddling onto the sofa together. Together. They've been apart all day, and he looks forward to when that no longer has to be the case.





  1. the natural satellite of the earth, visible (chiefly at night) by reflected light from the sun.


  1. behave or move in a listless and aimless manner.

It was Saturday night, date night, and there were only three weeks left before the end of high school. Katrina prided herself on making this recurring weekly date night happen — she felt so grown-up, so mature. So ready for graduating and the rest of their lives together.

She'd gotten the idea from her mom and dad, two of the people she admired most in this world, and since they had such a steadfast marriage, Katrina was sure a similar tradition following in their footsteps would keep her and Chloe going strong. She'd even chosen to have their first date night, seven months ago, at the same restaurant she knew her parents had their first date at: Lu's Wok House. Sure, it wasn't her and Chloe's first ever meeting — they'd been friends since sophomore year of high school. But only in the beginning of senior year did Katrina find the courage to come out to Chloe, and find to her great relief and happiness that Chloe felt the same. So it was fitting to Katrina, then, for their first official date (not just another night out as friends) to eat at the same place that led to her parents' happily ever after.

And so it was this Saturday night, three weeks before the end of high school, that Katrina had chosen Lu's Wok House again for their date night.


miz·​pah /ˈmizpə/ noun

  1. the deep emotional bond between people, especially those separated by distance or death.

Content warning: this piece references death and suicide

When Jacob attempted to pick up the pen, he got lost. Lost in his thoughts, lost in his doubt, lost in his grief, lost in his desire. The pen may have been mightier than the sword, but it was nothing to heartbreak. This writing, what did it mean to him – NOTHING – if he couldn't bring his best friend back?

He sat back in his chair, willing the screams to stay down because his studio apartment didn't have soundproofing, and he didn't want the neighbors to call the cops on him.



cog·ni·zance /ˈkäɡnəzəns/ noun

  1. knowledge or awareness of something.
  2. something that has been learned through experience.
  3. identification with or understanding of the emotional state of another person.

Birdie didn’t want her sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Simons, or her classmates to see her tears. She wiped her face on the sleeve of her sweater, composed herself as best she could, and raised her hand. Quietly.

Her classmates carried on around her, engrossed in their in-class assignment. The scritch scratch of pencil on paper gave way to the soft tap of Mr. Simons’ shoes as he stepped over to her.

“Yes, Birdie?” He asked softly, keenly aware of the power of flow around him and not wanting to distract any other students.


as·suage /əˈswāj/ verb

  1. make (an unpleasant feeling) less intense.

“Bullseye!” Cameron cheered. She threw up her hands in celebration, absentmindedly dropping the other three darts she'd been holding.

“Okay, how in the world did you do that?! Your lack of hand-eye coordination is legendary,” her friend Ankita bemoaned from one corner of the couch, dropping to second place in their makeshift darts competition.

“I told you,” said Bea, the third member of their trio, crouching to pick up the dropped darts. “Being angry at your ex is a powerful thing.”

The three of them stared at their makeshift darts competition's makeshift dartboard, and the face of Cameron's ex, Vaneza, stared back down at them.


wist·ful /ˈwis(t)fəl/ adjective

  1. having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing.

“To us!”

“To us!”

“All that could have been —”

“And will never be!”


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