- the distance from the top or surface to the bottom of something.
- the quality of being intense or extreme.
- 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.
- the natural satellite of the earth, visible (chiefly at night) by reflected light from the sun.
- 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
- 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
- knowledge or awareness of something.
- something that has been learned through experience.
- 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
- 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
- having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing.
“All that could have been —”
“And will never be!”
adjective fan·ci·er, fan·ci·est
- ornamental; decorative; not plain.
- tending or intending to impress.
noun, plural fan·cies
- imagination or fantasy, especially as exercised in a capricious manner.
- the artistic ability of creating unreal or whimsical imagery, decorative detail, etc., as in poetry or drawing.
There was no time to waste, but Keisha didn't really understand why. She was just excited that she didn't have to be at first grade for the rest of the day. She didn't like first grade as much as she liked kindergarten. A year ago, she never would have let her mama take her out of Ms. Mathew's class.
But now she was a first grader, and so she let her mama, Kendra, whisk her away for a day of hooky.
It was 10:30am, and Kendra was 20 mins away from her 10:45am appointment.
- Unable to be broken.
She paced side to side, once, twice, three times before glancing down at her watch. She was early, but her mind grew more restless than her body waiting in that creaking, overbearing house. The roof smothered her.
It was a perfect morning, with the sun just easing into its full power. She cupped a hand out over her forehead to look up at it, and a slight wisp of the breeze tickled her face. Why had she forgotten her sunglasses inside? Inside, where she wasn't ready to go back to yet. Ah well, more chance for her to experience the world at full vibrancy, not dull it down with the dark grayish-blue tint of her shades. The shades she got as a birthday present last year.
Restless still, this time she paced straight outward from the large wooden door, hand still shading her face, face still turned to the sun, willing it to encompass her.
re·sil·ient /rəˈzilyənt/ adjective
- (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
- (of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
She absolutely hated how he spoke to her, and yet she let him finish. But this time, for the first time, she did not turn away.
- the act of loving in return.
It had been approximately two weeks, four days, 10 hours, and 15 minutes since Jacob had said those precious three words, and Jane had not said them back.