y2katalogue: The Tapes

Tape #1: A Day of School in 2007.

A girl, Jennifer, sits on the floor of her high-school gym with her wired headphones on. She clicks the “next” button on her iPod nano until she is satisfied with what plays. Shortly after, someone tugs at one of her headphones. She looks up and sees a boy, Milo, standing over her. She smiles and gives him a pound as he sits down next to her.

Jennifer: I thought you were actually gonna play basketball today.

Milo: Yeah, but not with those guys hogging up the court…

Jennifer: You mean the same boys that always play during our gym period?

Both Jennifer and Milo look at the basketball court to see that the popular guys are playing a game. Jennifer looks back at Milo.

Jennifer: You know the coach is gonna fail you if you don’t play at least once this marking period.

Milo: You shouldn’t be talking, Pep.

Jennifer rolls her eyes at the nickname Milo calls her: Pep. She got that nickname when they were friends back when they were kids during a school production where she played a character named “Pepper.” Milo has shortened it to “Pep” as the years went on.

Jennifer: Coach Anderson doesn’t care about what the girls do in this class.

Milo: That’s not what happen last marking period though…

Jennifer hits Milo on the arm as he teases her. Shortly after, a blonde hair girl walks over to Milo and Jennifer. She sits next to them and hoffs.

Jennifer: Why so moody, Nicki?

Nicki looks at Jennifer and gives her a look. Jennifer widens her eyes, trying to figure out why Nicki was acting the way she was. Nicki rolls her eyes and sighs.

Nicki: I tried to talk to Daniel again today in Math class; it didn’t work out as I planned.

Jennifer: You didn’t act cute trying to answer his questions?

Nicki: *annoyed* How was I suppose to if all of his questions were literally the dumbest questions ever?

Jennifer: Nic, sometimes a guy just asks questions because they want to see how a girl reacts to them. They want someone cute and gentle and he probably wanted you to laugh at all of his jokes–

Milo shakes his head and interrupts the conversation between the girls.

Milo: *confused* Wait, who are you guys talking about?

The girls stay silent for a moment until Nicki finally says something.

Nicki: Nothing, it’s stupid.

Jennifer: *to Nicki* It’s not stupid! *to Milo* Nicki has a crush on a boy.

Milo: *curious* Ms. Little? Crushing on a boy that isn’t Leonhard Euler?

Jennifer: *confused* Who?

Milo: The guy that literally is all over Nicki’s bedroom walls?

Jennifer: That’s him?

Nicki tries to get the attention off from her.

Nicki: It doesn’t matter, he’s never going to talk to me anyway.

Milo: Leonahard Euler? Isn’t the guys dead?

Jennifer: *annoyed* The guys she’s crushing on! Keep up, dude!

Milo shifts in his spot on the floor, trying to understand what his friends were talking about.

Milo: Who is this mysetryboy that is swooning Nicki’s heart?

Nicki: Nothing…

Jennifer: Nic, it’s fine.

Nothing is said between the three friends until Jennifer finally speaks up.

Jennifer: Danny Campbell.

Milo looks at Jennifer and laughs.

Milo: Sorry, I thought you said Danny Campbell.

Jennifer: I did say Danny’s name.

Milo looks at Jennifer; annoyed.

Milo: You mean the guy that literally took your virginity at the beginning of freshman year?

Jennifer sighs and Nicki looks away from Milo and Jennifer.

Jennifer: *defensive* Of course, this is the reason why we didn’t say anything to you–

Milo: What do you mean?! He literally fucked you out of a bet and now you’re just okay with Nicki trying to talk to him?

Jennifer: For fuck’s sake, Danny and I are friends, like let it go–

Milo: Like you had to take a pregnancy test because you thought he didn’t use a–

Jennifer: *mad* I know what happened, I was there.

Milo: Yeah, well maybe you have to remind yourself that Danny is a piece of shit that you let back into your life because he was “sorry.”

Jennifer: Oh please, stop making it a bigger deal than what it really is–

Milo gets up from his seat and walks away from the two girls. Jennifer and Nicki look at each other. Nicki looks unsure and nervous about the situation.

Nicki: Maybe this was a bad idea, Pep. I mean, it happened just last year and–

Jennifer: Danny and I are literally friends. Like what happened happened, but he’s cool people. If you like him, then you like him. It’s not wrong to like a boy I liked once.

Nicki: But Milo–

Jennifer: Forget Milo! He needs to stop getting into our business anyway if he doesn’t like what he hears. I’ll talk to him after school today or something.

Nicki: I just don’t want to be the reason he removes you from his Top 8 on MySpace.

Jennifer: The most he’ll do is put an away message on AIM that he wants us to read but “isn’t about us”.

The school bell rings and the girls get up from the floor to walk out of the gym. Milo watches the two girls walk towards the girl’s locker room, and then proceeds to enter the boy’s locker room.

Milo enters a classroom with a bunch of other students before the late bell officially rings. He sits in his seat towards the back of the class. He takes out a notebook from his bag and places it on his desk. It’s not long that the notebook gets pushed off the desk, in which Milo looks up to see someone walking down the aisle of his desk. Craig Bernstein, boyfriend of the most popular girl in school, Diana Lopez. Craig laughs as he walks towards the front of the classroom. Milo rolls his eyes and picks the notebook off from the floor. He looks around the class and notices the different cliques that sit with each other. His friends aren’t in his Biology class, which makes Milo dread the class even more. Turning back to sit in his chair, he bumps into another student.

Milo: Oh! Sorry–

He glances at the girl as she quietly walks to her seat at the front of the classroom. Milo huffs and sits back in his chair, hoping the day will be over soon.

The Teenage Monologues.

All That We Have: A Sophie Monologue.

I walk out of my last class for the day with my backpack and coat on. Today was a slow day of school; our band class is preparing for the showcase in a few weeks before the winter break, so, needless to say, is that every student here at Waverly High isn’t doing much these days besides preparing for that. I was upset to not see Milo during our band period; since he’s a dual major, he’s getting the opportunity to perform with the upperclassmen and they have special rehearsals outside of school. Also without my cellphone, I don’t get to talk to Milo a lot these days which really makes things worse.

I look up from the floor to walk straight out of the building. Maybe Milo is still in Mr. Kamalani’s classroom. I walk in the opposite direction towards the vocal room, hoping to catch Milo leaving or something. I peeked inside the classroom to just see Mr. Kamalani cleaning up. I was about to turn back around to leave when I heard a girl’s voice. It was a familiar girl’s voice; it was definitely Mollie’s voice. If she’s there, then Milo has to be there with her. I went to look back into the classroom again to see if Milo was with her. I was definitely surprised to see that it wasn’t Milo, but Aaron from our band class. Was Aaron a dual major too?

“Yo, Kamalani! Stop flirting and get in place!”

I knew it was Aaron’s voice by the way he’s the only person to call Milo by his last name. My face begins to turn red and hot from the embarrassment of all the laughing happening. I tried to hide it from Milo by simply smiling it away, but it was too late. Milo knows when I’m pretending for the sake of the situation.

“I fucking hate that guy,” Milo simply says to me. “Like can he go bother someone else?”

“Maybe he wants to be your friend,” I said lightly, trying to make this situation fizzle out to nothing. Milo on the other hand was not looking at this the same way I was.

“That guy is a fucking asshole,” Milo scoffed. “And the fact I have to sit next to him and work with him makes me want to rip my hair out.” Maybe there was more to this than what Milo is telling me.

“Castro, Serrano; take this outside of my classroom, please,” I hear Mr. Kamalani tell Mollie and Aaron. I quickly run away in hopes that they don’t catch me near the vocal classroom. The last thing I needed was for Mollie to hate me even more for eavesdropping on her and Aaron’s conversation. I know that Milo and Mollie usually hang out on Mondays, so why wouldn’t Milo be in that classroom with Mollie and wait for her? There must be more to this than Milo is telling me.

I run out of the school building not realizing that we had rain earlier today and that it was nearly below freezing in the middle of November. I slipped on the front steps of the school and fell to the ground. Ssi-bal.

“Scout!” I heard a voice call out. By the nickname, I knew it was Milo. I looked up from the ground and saw Milo standing over me. He reached out for my hand and tries to get me off the ground. I immediately feel a wave of immense pain shoot up from my leg.

“Milo! My leg! My leg!” I bend down to try not to put too much pressure on it. Milo puts his body under my arm to help get me out of the cold and back into the school building. I start to cry; I feel like everything has just been one gobsmacked week.

“You’re gonna be fine, Scout,” Milo opts out to now make me piggyback him so that we has able to walk faster and get to where he was going. I realize that he’s bringing me to the classroom that I was just at, running away from the start. We enter the classroom and see Mr. Kamalani sitting at his desk. His attention is definitely now on us.

“What’s going on?” He simply said as he got up from his desk chair. Milo puts me down on the nearest seat; I winced out in pain.

“She fell on the ice outside of the building,” Milo said in a frenzy. “I was waiting for Mollie to come out and saw that Sophie fell down the school steps.” I looked at Milo as he spoke to his dad. I knew he was only out there to meet up with Mollie. Did he know that she was in here talking to Aaron before?

“Where is the pain, Sophie?” Mr. Kamalani looked at me to ask. I was always so scared of Milo’s parents, especially his dad. I felt like I’m constantly being judged or looked at weirdly by his dad; maybe that’s just the teacher in him, but I feel like his dad sees me as some sort of distraction for Milo. Why wouldn’t he see me as that? My mom literally sees Milo being my own distraction.

“My left ankle,” I answered. Mr. Kamalani walked over to the class telephone and dials up a number.

“Hey, it’s Mr. Kamalani in Room 125; do you happen to know if the Nurse is still in her office? I have a student that injured her ankle outside of the school building,” I couldn’t help but try to hide my face in my coat.

“Hey?” I heard Milo softly says as he sits in the seat next to me. I lift my head up and look at Milo. “You’re gonna be okay.”

“I’m sorry, I know you’re supposed to hang out with Mollie after school today and then this happened and-” The words just kept spilling out of my mouth like a water faucet.

“Don’t be sorry,” Milo began to answer. “I think she found some other plans or something. She was supposed to meet me outside like 20 minutes before I saw you fall.” At least I didn’t feel bad anymore that I was probably keeping him from hanging out with his best friend.

“The student is Sophie Lee,” Mr. Kamalani continued to speak on the phone. Shortly after, he hangs up the class phone and turns around to us. “Well, the nurse has already left for the day. Do you want to call your mom to pick you up?” Mr. Kamalani asked me. I felt my face get hot again as the sudden anxiety sinks into my body.

“I… I don’t have my cell phone with me,” I said. I looked at Milo who also looked like he had no words to say. “I should have her number memorized in times like this, but-“

“Can Pep help her?” Milo asked his dad. Pep was the nickname that Milo has for Jennifer.

“She’s not a doctor, Milo,” he answered. “She needs to see a doctor.”

“But she knows someone who is,” Milo pleaded with his dad. Mr. Kamalani sighed and then looked at me. I felt myself get nervous again.

“Is your mom working right now?” Mr. Kmalani asked. I nodded my head yes. He simply walked away from Milo and me and back to his desk. “Let me call Pep and see if Gabby is busy.”

“Who’s Gabby?” I asked Milo.

“Jennifer’s aunt,” he answered. “She’s a doctor.” I nodded my head, not adding much to the conversation anymore. At this point, I was exhausted.

Milo’s dad stepped out of the classroom to make a couple of phone calls and left Milo and me alone. We didn’t say anything to each other; why does it feel so awkward to talk to him at this moment? I adjusted myself and my leg in the seat I was in, wincing in pain as I did. It caught Milo’s attention, who came to help me shift properly in my seat.

“Thanks, Milo,” I said. He smiled at me as his response. I was glad that he wasn’t annoyed at me for being clumsy and stuck in still after the day was over. “I’m sorry for not being careful outside.”

“Again, don’t be sorry,” Milo said. He leaned back in his seat next to me. “This is probably all the time we have.”

I sighed before responding. The smile on Milo’s face disappears. There’s a lot that hasn’t been spoken about.

“Why don’t you hang out with me after school anymore?” I asked Milo. “Did I do something wrong?”

“What? No,” Milo said as he twisted his body toward me to look at me. “I love hanging out with you! I’ve just been so busy with showcase stuff and-“

“Milo,” I stopped him before he continued. “I know you have more work cut out than me being a dual major, but… it hurts when I see you hang out with Mollie after school but never ask me to hang out anymore. I feel like I did something to make you not like hanging out with me anymore.”

“It has nothing to do with you,” Milo reassured. “I just haven’t had the time to think about where we can hang out these days.”

“What happened to the treehouse?” I asked. Milo looked nervous when I asked that question. “Did something happen to the treehouse?”

“No, nothing like that,” he answered, now sounding a little annoyed. “It’s complicated, but it doesn’t mean it’s because of you. I even like hanging out here with you, even if you are in pain.” I laughed at Milo’s lighthearted response toward the end.

“Well, I’m happy you still enjoy hanging out with me, even if it’s with a sprained ankle.” Milo smiled and looked down at my hand. He slowly puts the palm of his hand in mine, folding his fingers around my hand. I feel my face get hot once more, but this time it’s because of me blushing. Who would’ve thought that Milo holding my hand would feel this good? The moment is short-lived when Mr. Kamalani walks back into the classroom. Milo immediately takes his hand away from mine.

“Gabby’s able to see Sophie,” Mr. Kamalani said to Milo. Milo gets up from the seat and hunches down for me to jump on his back like he did when I first fell outside. This time, Mr. Kamalani votes against it and tells Milo to just carry my backpack as he helps me walk out of the classroom on my good leg.

I guess this time we had together is over for the day.

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Step On Up For Something: A Grace Monologue.

I laughed as I stood in a small circle around my friends at the surprise birthday party they threw for my 30th birthday. Cami had immediately put a “Birthday Girl” sash over my body once we entered the venue. Emerson had a drink ready for me, which I kindly dumped out when he wasn’t looking.

“You’re about to be lit for your dirty 30’s girl,” Cami shouted over the loud music as we all spoke. I smiled and was so thankful that even with the mess everything is in my life, there were some core things in it that remained the same.

I met Emerson when I came to New York for the first time with my dad when I was 17. We were in the same elective class, and we just so happened to talk to each other and become friends in the short amount of time we knew each other. As I got older, I learned that Emerson is my Aunt Jennifer’s grandson, so technically we are related in some way or another. I look over at Emerson, who has his arm around Cami as they talk to the other people at the party. I just hope they get married one day; they were meant for each other.

I feel someone tap my shoulder. I turned around to see it was Scott. I smiled and gave him a hug to greet him.

“Scott! Hey!” I greeted him as I broke the hug. He smiled as he approached me; I was happy to have him here tonight.

“Hey, Grace,” Scott said back. “Happy Birthday! Were you surprised?”

“Oh yeah,” I answered. “Cami had this huge lie planned out that she was secretly hanging out with you and Em didn’t know.” Scott’s eyes widen; clearly, he wasn’t in on the scheme.

“Emerson was in on it? Because if he wasn’t–“

“Oh no, he was,” I reassured Scott. “You and I both know that he loves that girl to death.” It was nice to see someone in my life actually happy with someone they loved. I look at Scott and smile as he speaks. I’m constantly reminded that this man was my high school sweetheart, and here we are now as adults genuinely happy for the paths that we are on.

“So, have you heard back from that company after your audition?” Scott asked. I shook my head no.

“It’s been a couple of weeks as well, so I doubt that I made it in,” I answered. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing nothing but look down at my phone everytime it rang or vibrated in my hand. The wait was making me anxious. I was worried that maybe my time was truly up; I’m literally standing in a venue celebrating my 30th birthday; what would anyone want from a dancer that is way past their prime in thier career? Maybe I should just stay in New York and go back running the academy. Maybe I was just meant to teach dance or manage a business related to dance, but I know a part of me knows that’s still not enough. But, as the weeks pass, the more I accept that maybe this is the end for me as a performer. That’s depressing to think on the day that you enter a new decade of your life.

“Let me buy you a drink,” Scott insisted. I didn’t say anything, and I don’t know why I haven’t said anything to anyone about my sobriety. We are literally in a venue with a bar; I guess it would’ve been weird to tell my friends “yeah, I don’t drink, but it’s cool that you chose a venue with a bar to celebrate my birthday in!” Scott walks to the bar and orders two drinks. I get nervous, trying to think of ways I can take the drink and dump it without anyone seeing me. It was exhausting to have to accept drinks with people thinking you are drinking them and having a good time. I wouldn’t risk my recovery though; not after almost losing everything dear to me–

Well, after losing something dear to me. I refused to allow anything else i loved slip through my fingers because of my alcohol problem.

Scott came back and handed me the drink. The alcohol smell nearly made me nauseous. I smiled through it, trying to hide my anxiety from Scott. He raises his glass, ready to give a toast of some sort.

“To wherever like takes you in your 30’s,” Scott said out loud. I raised my glass and cheered with him. He began to sip on his drink, looking at me as if he was waiting for me to do so. Fuck, Grace; how the fuck are you gonna get out of this one?

All of a sudden, my cellphone rings in my small purse. I look down and reached for it to look at the screen.

“Fuck, sorry I gotta take this; it’s my cousin,” I said. Scott shook his head and smiled.

“I’ll see you around, Grace,” Scott said as he walked away from me. I run towards the front of the venue so that i can actually hear and talk to Skylar on the phone.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Happy birthday, bitch!” Skylar happily said over the phone. I smiled; it was refreshing to hear that Skylar’s been in a good place after everything that happened in the summer.

“Thanks, Sky,” I responded. “How are you holding up? Everything’s going good over there?” Skylar laughs before she says anything back.

“Oh like you don’t know,” Skylar said slyly. I scrunched my eyebrows together and placed the drink on the bench next to me.

“What?” I asked, not understanding where Skylar was taking this conversation.

“I just wanted to call you to wish you a happy birthday, but I definitely don’t want to take away your time with you-know-who,” Skylar went on to explain. I was now confused; Skylar was not making any sense to me.

“Sky, what are you talking about?” The line went silent. I think Skylar finally realized I didn’t know what she was talking about.

“Did he not get to you or something?” Sky asked. I was losing patience for Skylar’s cryptic language. I didn’t say anything until she continued. “I thought… I thought he went to you.”

“Who?”

“Jamie,” Skylar finally admitted. I haven’t heard that name or had anyone around me say his name in the time I was in New York. I didn’t expect Skylar of all people to mention his name after everything that happened in California.

“Why would he be in New York?” I asked, anxiously waiting for her answer. I heard Skylar sigh into the phone. “Sky?”

“I’m sorry, I thought when Shawn came to California, Jamie would’ve went to New York–“

“Wait, hold on,” I interrupted Skylar, trying to understanding what was even happening. “Shawn?”

“Yeah, I thought you knew that already. Shawn came to California a couple of weeks ago. He’s staying. He’s looking to get all the paperwork done and stuff to live in America. We’re… working things out,” Skylar confessed. My mind did not process everything that was being said to me. I didn’t know Shawn was coming back for good, and I know Skylar’s the reason he came back. It hasn’t even been three months since they left to go back home, yet Shawn didn’t even hesitate to come back to America. Shawn came back for Skylar because he loves her. I squeezed my eyes shut, wanting nothing but to disappear and never have to have this conversation again. “I’m sorry, I… really thought Jamie was going to New York when Shawn came to California.”

“Listen, Sky; I’m actually out with my friends for my birthday, so I’ll talk to you when I get the chance,” I simply responded. I didn’t want to get into it any further with Skylar and quite frankly, I didn’t want to hear how happy Skylar was. She sounded like she had the whole world in her hands; she technically did if that world was Shawn back in America. How easy was it for him to make the decision to come back to America to be with the woman he loves? Did he go back to Korea and immediately knew he wanted to be with her? Is that what a man does for a woman when he loves her and wants to be with her? Was I just not able to be loved the way that Shawn loves Skylar? I felt sick to my stomach.

I grew angrier the more I thought about it. I was jealous of Skylar. She had her heart broken for 2 months before he went back for her and told her he was now staying for her. She sat with her broken heart and got it out back together, and here I was; traumatized at anyone leaving my life because the person I loved,; the person I thought loved me back, kept leaving for months, even years on end. A man will go after what he loves if he really loved it to begin with.

I looked at the drink next to me, still there just waiting for me to drink it. What’s the fucking point? My life was never meant to be stable; it never was stable to begin with, so why keep trying to make it stable. I grabbed the drink from the bench and swirled it around. You’ll forget tonight even happened, Grace. You’ll forget that you know that Jamie never loved you enough to come back for you, even after he knew it destroyed you.

Before I’m able to taste the alcohol hit my lips, my phone rings again. I stop, looking down at my phone to a phone call from Morgan, my dance instructor from California.

“Hello?” I answered the phone.

“Grace!” Morgan called out. “I apologize if I’m calling you at the wrong time, but I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to let you know this.” I waited for Morgan to tell me whatever she needed to tell me so that I can spend the rest of my night breaking my sobriety; one that only Jamie really knows about. It kills me he’s the only one that knows just how important my sobriety has been to me. Fuck it.

“You got picked for the production,” Morgan spat out. “You’re going to be a part of the biggest dance production in the world, Grace!”

I dumped the drink into the bush behind the bench.

End of Season 2 —

The Teenage Monologues.

Since When?: A Mollie Monologue.

Mr. Kamalani’s class today is one of the classes I hate the most; music theory. Like, I came to Waverly to actually sing, so whenever he decides that he’s gonna teach us things that 95% of us don’t even care about, it makes the period drag even longer. Also, it doesn’t help that I got, like, 5 hours of sleep last night. God, can this period just be over?

“So you will know if the note is sharp or flat if…” Mr. Kamalani turns around from the board and faces the class for someone to answer. No one raises their hand; probably because half of the class is asleep at their desks. “If no one volunteers, I will choose someone to answer,” he sternly warned the class. I raised my hand to not on;y end the class’ misery, but also my own.

“The symbol is on the correct line on the music staff,” I answered. Mr. Kamalani smiled and nodded his head and continued to teach the class. I looked over to where Milo was sitting; he was definitely texting Sophie with his phone inside the desk. For someone that was a dual major, he surely doesn’t give a shit about vocal class, which makes me angry sometimes. The dude has the luxury of doing two of his favorite things in school and here I am, having to pretend that being a vocal major was my main passion.

As I was about to shut my eyes for a quick snooze, a folded piece of paper gets thrown on my desk from behind me. I turned around to see the girl who sits behind me.

“It’s from Aaron,” she simply said. I turned back around and look at the note on my desk. I unfolded it to see what was written on it.

Can you hang back for like 10 minutes after class? 

I turned my head to look at Aaron. He was so focused on taking notes for this class, I was surprised that he was the one to even send me this note. In the next line, I wrote back.

Sure, is everything cool?

I folded the piece of paper back up and passed it to the girl behind me that then passed it to Aaron. I was getting nervous; why the fuck was I getting so nervous? I felt my stomach go numb in the way I would get excited for a day off of school or a dance performance. Was this, like, having butterflies? It wasn’t long after the note came back to me and landed on my desk. Don’t look like you were waiting for this, Mol; sheesh. I slowly opened the note to read Aaron’s response.

It will be when I get to talk to you. 🙂

I look back up from the note and turned around from my seat. I look at Aaron who’s now looking at me with a smile on his face. I couldn’t help but smile back.

“You’re ready, Mol?” I looked up from my desk and see that Milo is standing there. The rest of the class is getting ready to leave Mr. Kamalani’s class for the day. I put my things in my backpack, not answering Milo back right away.

“Uhm, I’ll meet you outside,” I answered. “I gotta hang back and ask Mr. Kamalani something.”

“You can totally ask him back at my house though?” Milo questioned. I rolled my eyes at his response.

“Yeah, like I totally want to ask your dad about school things outside of school,” I said sarcastically. Milo sucked his teeth and shook his head. “Gimme like 10 minutes, okay?” Milo sighed and walked towards the classroom door to exit. Thank God. I took a deep breath in and quickly exhaled when I see Aaron walking towards my desk. He sits in the seat next to me.

“Hey Mols,” Aaron greeted.

“Hey Serrano,” I replied back, trying to play it extremely cool. I feel myself slipping and failing miserably. “So, what’s on your mind?” Aaron exhales harder than normal, which makes me think he’s also nervous. Fuck, what is going on? Is this the moment? Is he going to tell me something like a secret? Have we been that obvious to each other?

“This is my first time asking this to somebody, but,” Aaron began to say. I feel the butterflies swarm even harder around my stomach. Since when did I start to feel this way toward Aaron Serrano? Aaron looks at me now and for fuck’s sake, I feel the sweat dripping down my back in the middle of Fall. “I have my first big show with my band this Friday and I want you to come.”

I blinked and felt the butterflies drop dead in my stomach. His what?

“Your band?” I asked. I didn’t mean to sound so disappointed, especially after seeing Aaron shift in his seat after I asked. “I mean, your band! That’s awesome!” I’m glad that it made him laugh.

“Yeah, my band and I got invited to perform at this showcase and it would be nice to have a familiar face in the crowd,” Aaron further explained. I think those butterflies just resurrected in my stomach.“Preferably yours.”

“Did your other friends say no?” I stupidly said out loud. I thought I was being funny, but I think a part of me still doesn’t believe that Aaron Serrano just asked me to be a part of such an important night for him and his band.

“I didn’t ask them,” Aaron simply answered. I felt like it was time for me to shut up and let Aaron talk for once. I think Aaron has been the only friend I had that makes it known when I should shut up and listen. Maybe that’s why I haven’t gotten in major trouble since actually being friends with him.

“Actually being friends with him”. Since when?

I look at Aaron and wait for him to continue talking, but maybe he was done. Maybe he was waiting for me to say something that wasn’t complete garbage. Aaron has this particular shade of brown eyes that I haven’t seen anyone with before. It’s not brown, and it’s not like hazel; they are literally honey-colored. Honey eyes. I completely get out of his trance when Mr. Kamalani calls out for us.

“Castro, Serrano; take this outside of my classroom, please,” Mr. Kamalani said. Aaron and I begin to gather our backpacks and prepare to leave the classroom for the day. Before I can answer Aaron back, he finally says something. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a folded piece of paper.

“I never got to answer your note back,” Aaron said. He handed me the piece of paper. I was confused; all I said in my last note was “yeah, come to my desk after class”. Aaron left the classroom before I did. As I was walking out of the classroom, I unfolded the piece of paper to see what Aaron wrote.

318 Mt. Gomerary Place - Friday @ 4:30

Since when did I get so speechless over some boy like this?

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Worthy of 30: A Grace Monologue.

When I turned 20, I decided to leave Julliard to pursue law. I went to my classes every single day and felt like I didn’t belong. There were better dancers than me, and there were dancers that wanted it more than me. In a way, I felt like I was taking a spot away from another dancer that lives and breathes that shit. My father, who was now living in New York after transferring from his job, was excited about my career change. He questioned where this interest for the justice system came from, but nevertheless, he was happy that his only child would follow the path he took. My mother; not so much.

My mother was disappointed. She didn’t voice out that she was disappointed, but she definitely felt different when I came home from my classes and told her that I have to study judicial cases and not new ballet positions. She only warmed up to be becoming a lawyer when I was working on my first intern case, where I met Max. I wonder if she only warmed up to it because I was happy for that period of time. Maybe she thought that I had gotten my life together and if it would be different for me.

Instead, I am sitting in Max’s house, about to be 30, and sitting directly from his soon-to-be wife as my daughter runs from upstairs with Max, happy to see me after a long time.

“Mommy!” Willow happily calls out as she runs towards me. I put on the biggest smile and give her a hug.

“Willie!” I called out in response. Maybe it was because Willow was still a young child, but she hands down gives the best hugs I ever had gotten. They make me feel the warmest, and for a split second all of my doubts and worries vanish. Willow steps back from the hug and reveals what she was hiding behind her back.

“I made this for you, Mommy,” Willow said as she held out a piece of paper folded in half, resembling a birthday card. I take the card and look at it; it was a “Happy Birthday” card that she had made out of construction paper and tons of glitter. I smile, looking at the stick figures on the page. Willow points at them, naming who is who. “That’s Daddy, Mariam, me, and you!” I look up at Max and Mariam and smile. Max smiles back, but Mariam begins to speak.

“I told her she didn’t need to put me on there–“

“It’s fine,” I cut off Mariam. “You are a part of her family.” Mariam smiles, and for once I smile back at Mariam. She’s been amazing with Willow, and I’m thankful that she still feels the need to include me in holiday gatherings with her, Max, and Willow. I think Max truly found his soulmate with Mariam. She balances him out perfectly, and that’s what Max always wanted; was to have balance.

“Do you have any plans for your birthday tomorrow?” Max asked.

“Emerson and Cami invited me over for a game night,” I answered.

“That should be fun,” Mariam chimed in. “It would be fun to go out with your friends and have a couple of drinks!” I looked at her, now uncomfortable with the conversation. I don’t know why I expect everyone to know that I’m sober. No one knows besides Skylar. And Jamie.

Skylar took my sobriety seriously until it began to hinder her young and carefree lifestyle. I still remember having arguments with her about it; she wanted to have alcohol in the house for the people she would bring over. She swore she was aware of my feelings and my struggles with alcohol, yet she would always include me in things that contradicted all of that, like that one night at The Voyage.

Once I told Jamie, it was like it was embedded in his memory that I was now sober. He made sure that anything he took me out to did not have alcohol involved. He always voiced out that we didn’t need any alcohol, especially in places where it was only appropriate to drink alcohol with your meals, like those fancy restaurants. I get sad thinking about Jamie, so I looked back at Mariam and smiled back.

“Yeah,” I simply answered.

“Emerson and his last-minute requests,” Cami said to herself, annoyed. “Like I told him to get the fucking cake after work yesterday, and what does he do? Fucking forget.”

“This is your sign that you should marry him,” I playfully say. Cami rolls her eyes as we walk down a block in Brooklyn. “I mean, you guys are already raising a tiny human together.”

“That is becoming like his dad every single day,” Cami emphasized. “But tonight’s not about me and Em’s fear of marriage; this is about your 30th birthday!” I scoffed and shook my head. Here I was in high heels, a dress, and my hair straightened by Cami since it’s her biggest wish to see me with straight hair… Cami was eccentric, to say it nicely.

We stop at this random place, not really knowing where we were. Cami turns around and looks at me.

“Okay, so Em doesn’t know this, but I typically stop here to… y’know,” Cami said in a cryptic way. My eyes widen, a little worried in what she will say next. “I figured we can have some drinks with my friend before we go to our place.”

“What the fuck?” I spat out, grabbing Cami’s shoulder. “Cami, are you cheating on Emerson?” Cami rolled her eyes at me, which only got me angrier.

“Girl, he’s a friend–“

“He?!” I emphasized. “This friend is a dude?”

“Grace, relax! For God’s sake, I’m allowed to have guy friends and be in a relationship,” Cami explained. “Scott’s been a cool friend to me–“

“Scott?!” I said even louder. If it is who she’s talking about, it’s Scott Campbell; longtime friend of Emerson’s and my ex-boyfriend from high school. “How fucking stupid do you gotta be to secretly see one of Emerson’s friends?!”

Cami knocks on the random door, in which I immediately panic.

“Cami! What the–“

The door opens and a crowd of people jumped out from various places in the room, yelling out surprise. I look around and see almost everyone I know here in New York; Emerson laughs and stands in one corner, a couple of our mutual friends from over the years cheer with excitement, and even Scott is on one side of the room, smiling and clapping his hands as his girlfriend stands next to him.

Emerson comes running in my direction and wraps his arm around Cami.

“Yo, Cami is a fucking actress,” I said and laughed. “I really was about to slap the shit out of you!”

“Funny thing is that it was Em’s idea,” Cami said as she looked up at Emerson. “He really knows how to grind your gears.” I punched Emerson on his arm, in which he winced in pain.

“What was that for?” Emerson genuinely asked.

“For literally being the best asshole of a friend,” I teased as more of our friends began to come up to me to wish me a happy birthday.

The Teenage Monologues.

How Chemicals React: A Milo Monologue.

“You’re ready, Kamalani?” a voice spoke out to me. I looked up and saw it was the last person I wanted to see in person: Aaron Serrano. I rolled my eyes as he squeezed his way into the row of seats in the auditorium. He sat down and looked around. I looked back down at my phone. The door at the back of the auditorium opened and our band class enters. I look in the crowd of our bandmates to see Sophie down the aisle. I let out a breath of relief. I haven’t gotten to talk to Sophie much since rehearsing for this showcase and since her phone got taken away. I tried to make the most of the time I did get to see and speak to her. I got up from my seat to walk over to where she was sitting with the rest of my class.

“Hey, Scout,” I smiled and greeted her. She looked up and smiled at me.

“Hi, Milo! You’re ready for showcase rehearsals?”

“I’m ready for them to be over,” I said after I heard another voice call my name. If it’s Serrano telling me to go sit back down where we need to be, I’m going to lose it. Sophie giggled.

“Aw, it’ll be over before you know it,” Sophie reassured. “I’m definitely nervous for the strings showcase part of the show.”

“Mr. Harrison knows what he was doing putting you as the lead in the first song,” I tried to calm her nerves the way she calms mine down. I can’t tell if it worked but she looks like she’s about to puke up today’s lunch. I turned around and saw my dad standing there, nearly scaring me in place.

“Oh, sh-” I stopped myself before I continued. Let’s not give this man more fuel to punish me in and outside of school.

“Rehearsals are about to start soon, Mr. Kamalani,” my dad stated. “Please go back to your seat.” I didn’t fight him, I just turned around and started to walk toward the seat I was in originally. I don’t know what was my dad’s problem when it came to me talking to Sophie. I feel like he always has to make things extremely awkward for me whenever he sees me with her. It feels like he uses him being my teacher as an excuse to always keep tabs on me. For the last time, dad, I am not you or my biological mom. I’m not out here making stupid decisions like you two did.

As I walk across the auditorium, I look at where my vocal classmates sit for the rehearsal. I squint my eyes harder when I notice something extremely weird. Is that…? I see Aaron talking to Mollie and she’s not… mean-looking? Telling him to fuck-off? It makes me angry that my dad would scold me for talking to someone in my own band class, but let someone talk to someone in his own vocal class and he’s fucking blind to it. Instead of walking back to my seat, I walk towards them, giving Aaron a piece of his own medicine.

“Hey, Serrano,” I said. Aaron turns around to look at me. I look at Mollie, trying not to make eye contact with her but I can feel her eyes on me as well. “You should really be sitting in your seat; you’re going to disrupt the rest of the class on their rehearsal. Fuck yeah, Milo; tell this douchebag off.

“Okay, Mr. Kamalani’s son,” Aaron said as he walked off. Well, fuck, that went nowhere. I looked at Mollie but turned back around to go back to my seat before my dad came to yell at me again. What the fuck is Aaron doing talking to Mollie?

“Okay everyone,” Mr. Harrison began. “We are going to begin the rehearsal for the senior tribute first, then we will go ahead and get rehearsals going for each ensemble. The showcase will run as follow: sophomore/junior vocal choir, junior wind ensemble, freshman string orchestra, freshman full orchestra, freshman vocal choir, and then the senior band and vocal ensembles tribute.” I looked around the auditorium and felt really weird seeing all of the upperclassmen and music majors in one room. I look down the row that I’m sitting in, wondering if they are other underclassmen that were chosen for this senior tribute.

“Dual majors,” my dad looks in my direction. It finally clicks to me that this one row of students is the other dual majors at Waverly. “When you are finished performing within your own ensemble or choir, please come back here to prepare for the tribute. I expect nothing but professionalism from you guys and everyone else in this room.” He finally walks toward the other side of the auditorium.

Listening to the other performances of the other students made me think just how serious everyone is about their craft. There’s not a single person in this auditorium that stumbled or messed up in their rehearsal. It made me nervous since this is our first rehearsal in front of the other grades and majors. I was glad we were one of the last performances to go for the rehearsal; at least I got to see everyone go first.

It was the strings section to rehearse and I was excited to see Sophie play. I sat at the edge of my seat, looking towards the stage as the strings section set up for their rehearsal. Sophie looks in my direction; I can tell she’s nervous considering she’s playing lead in the first song. I smile back at her, hoping that maybe she’ll feel better knowing I’m here to support her. As they set up, I hear Serrano talking in my direction.

“The strings section has a lot of competition to keep everyone awake,” Aaron said. I looked at him, who was now looking toward the stage. I was annoyed at his comment.

“They are the strongest part of the orchestra; it’s why they have their own performing segment,” I reminded him.

“Ehh, others disagree with that,” he responded back, careless and unbothered at the way he was acting like a complete asshole. He adjusted in his seat and took his phone out of his pocket. “Let me know when we’re up to rehearse.” I rolled my eyes and paid attention to the stage where the rehearsal was starting. the strings started off their first song; it was a modern take on a famous piece that most string orchestras are famous for. They were pretty good, even if Mr. Harrison had to stop them every now and then to fix a couple of things.

By the middle of the song, Sophie stands up from her seat, getting ready to start the solo of the piece. I sat up, watching her as she looked down at her stand towards her music score. She begins to play, and I swear she doesn’t miss a beat or note on her solo. It’s like the chemicals in my brain are reacting to every note she stums with her bow. I knew Sophie was a good violinist, but I sometimes forget she’s this good when she constantly is telling herself she isn’t good enough or she’s just “good”. I overhear a couple of people in the row behind me instantly saying “whoa” when she hits those high notes on her violin. That’s my Scout.

The song ends shortly after, and their rehearsal is officially finished. Everyone in the auditorium claps their hands as the strings section wraps it up for the next performances to begin.

“Freshman orchestra, get ready for your rehearsal,” Mr. Harrison shouted. I got up from my seat and walked up toward the stage. I walked toward where Sophie was sitting on stage before going to my section on the stage.

“You were fire on that stage,” I said to Sophie. She turned around from her seat and smiled at me.

“Do you think so?” Sophie asked.

“Let’s just say some of the dual majors sitting behind my row were shook,” I emphasized. Her eyes widen, and her face instantly turned red. Before I can say anything else, I hear another voice talking to Sophie.

“Dope solo, Violee,” Aaron said as he passed by us. Violee?

“What did you call her?” I immediately spat back, and then Aaron stopped walking and stopped in front of us.

“Chill, Kamalani,” Aaron said. “Violin? Her last name is Lee? Violee,” Aaron started laughing, but I didn’t think anything was funny. “Sheesh, let your cub scout breathe.” He walked away and I swear I was fuming. Did he also just call her Scout? I feel a tug at my shirt, which makes me look back at Sophie.

“After-school ritual today?” Sophie smiled and laughed. Fuck. I haven’t had the time to talk to Sophie about my dad not wanting us to go hang out at my grandma’s house anymore. I don’t want her to think it’s because of her, but what do I tell her when it’s time to leave for the day and she begins to walk down our usual path to my grandma’s house? Before I can say anything back, Aaron is yelling my name.

“Yo, Kamalani! Stop flirting and get in place!” Aaron shouted. A couple of our bandmates around him begin to laugh, which makes me feel even sicker to my stoamch. I turn back towards my seat, already exhausted from this rehearsal and it just started.

All I want to do is hang out with Sophie.

Black Sheep in Society: Season 2

A Black Sheep in a Penguin Suit: A Micah Monologue.

I hate that it has become Kamalani tradition to come to these stupid, fancy events where I got to put on a penguin suit to portray this image that I’m put together and going places. Like, for fuck’s sake; I’m only a sophomore in college majoring in music composition, and that’s not something you talk about in a room full of business owners and big-shot investors.

I walk out of the bathroom and back into the huge ballroom full of other people in gowns and tuxedos. I roll my eyes, not really knowing where or what I should go and do. I turn my head in the direction I hear someone calling my name.

“Micah!” a girl called out. I realized it was my sister, Reagan. Her hair was done all fancy and shit, and she had on this sparkly dress that if I didn’t know any better could pass as a wedding dress. Reagan loved these fancy ass events. Whenever my parents would tell us these events were coming, she would prepare weeks in advance for them. I mean, I’m glad one of us in this family likes these corny and dumb events.

“You’re good?” I asked Reagan as she got closer to me. She seemed upset.

“I need you to help me with my zipper,” Reagan said as she turned around to show me where her zipper was. “I swear this is my size and it keeps going down every time I move and-“

“Yo, Reese,” I stop her mid-sentence. “Take a Xanax or something.” I pull up her zipper and try to lock it in place so that it doesn’t keep falling down. She quickly turns around, clearly annoyed with my carelessness.

“You’re not the one that is having a complex thinking you gained weight,” Reagan spat back. I rolled my eyes, not because I didn’t care about what Reagan was telling me, but because I couldn’t stand Reagan thinking she was fat or something.

“Reese, you look fine,” I tried to reassure her. Sometimes, I forget that as her big brother, I am supposed to be the one to tell her she’s beautiful and that no man is ever worth her thinking otherwise. But in this case, Reagan is single and knows she’s a pretty girl, so I sometimes find it annoying that she thinks otherwise. “If you’re trying to impress a guy here tonight, he’s not worth it.”

“Ugh, said you,” Reagan scoffed. “You’re not a multi-millionaire heir of a 500 fortune company.”

“Ain’t no one in this damn corny ass event a 500 Fortune company owner,” I laughed. “Trust me, he’s lying to you.”

“Prescott Jones isn’t the owner, he’s the heir, like I just mentioned,” Reagan responded, now annoyed. Prescott Jones? Why the fuck is Reagan bringing up his name?

“Prescott Jones?” I repeated, just in case I didn’t hear Reagan properly.

“Uhh, yeah,” Reagan sarcastically answered back. I got close to Reagan to get in her face; I felt my protective brother instinct kick in and I swear if that guy even said a single word to my sister, he was going to die tonight.

“Listen, Reagan,” I started off. “You stay away from men like him. For starters, the man is like 25 years old and you are 16. You don’t have anything that he wants and I’m glad you don’t because men like him are complete fucking trash.” I stared at her in her face, not moving until she understood just how serious I was. Reagan’s face turned from frightened to angry in a split second. She pushed me away.

“Well thanks for telling me that I don’t have anything to offer,” Reagan said as she started to walk away from me.

“I mean it, Reese,” I yelled at her. “Stay away from that asshole!” I look around the bathroom, now wondering where that asshole is. I know this was an event with business owners and shit, but what is a nobody heir doing at a place like this; he’s not a business owner.

Well, Micah; you aren’t either; your mom is.

I begin to walk even further into the crowd of people, watching to see if Reagan is going to try to talk to Prescott. It didn’t hit me until I thought about it even deeper… Rosie might actually be here. I rolled my eyes at the thought of Rosie being here. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still seeing that asshole; he has her wrapped around his finger for all I know. Rosie and I haven’t spoken since I showed up at her house drunk as fuck in the middle of the night coming from practice with Dani and Tanner. I only know this because it took Dani to even start talking to me again 2 weeks after that night. She had told me that I showed up at Rosie’s apartment that night because I told her when I was drunk texting her and Tanner. I feel stupid for ever doing that, and it explains why she has avoided even sitting next to me in our Art History class since then. Who cares though; the semester was ending in a couple of weeks and then I don’t ever have to see her face on campus ever again.

Fuck. I might never see Rosie again on campus.

I walk back toward the bathroom once I spot Reagan in the ballroom with Dylan. At least she’s safe with her sister. I wonder if maybe I hid inside this huge bathroom for the majority of the night, so I can get away from socializing and shit. The bathroom had a waiting room as big as my bedroom just for the bathroom stalls. Who fucking thinks of this shit? I sat in one of the chairs in the waiting room bathroom thing and took out my phone.

“Hey there, Kamalani,” a voice greeted me. I looked up from my phone to see it was the asshole I was looking for all night.

“Jones,” I simply said. I didn’t want to let this man know that his presence irked me and that he was the reason why my friendship with Rosie has become non-existent.

“I didn’t take you as a tuxedo-wearing type of man,” Prescott said as he dried his hands. “But then again, you are in the bathroom so perhaps you are the bathroom boy?”

“Fuck off, Jones; you’re not a business owner either; being born into a rich family doesn’t make you shit,” I spat back, getting angrier the more I spoke to this asshole.

“That’s where you’re wrong, that rich family I was born in just made me co-owner of our business so technically, yes, I am a business owner,” Prescott was walking towards the exit of the bathroom, laughing to himself. “I’m shocked Rosie didn’t tell you that. But then again, she’s been too busy with me.”

“So what the fuck are you doing flirting with underage girls?” I got up from the seat, trying to control my anger because God knows I’m just seconds away from giving this douchebag a black eye.

“Underage girls? I don’t do such things,” Prescott turned around to face me. I realize now just how much older he is than Rosie and I. The man’s hairline is receding, his laugh lines are definitely present, and he has a slight scruff which, I mean, you’d think you would actually look clean at these types of events, Jones.

“Yeah? That girl you were leading on in that sparkly dress isn’t the age you think she is,” I admitted. “She’s fucking 16.”

“16? Bummer,” Prescott shrugged. “She told me she was 18. She would’ve gotten away with it; young girls these days always want to be older than they truly are. But then they can’t handle actually being with a man. That’s why they should stay with losers and lowlifes; like yourself.”

“Stay away from Reagan,” I threatened. It was my mistake for saying her name, but I needed him to know that yes, I know the girl you’re trying to flirt with and it’s not happening. Prescott raised an eyebrow.

“Reagan Kamalani,” Prescott hit his forehead with the palm of his hand. “It should’ve clicked when she told me her name. She’s really pretty,” Prescott was trying to provoke me. Chill Micah; you already told Reagan to stay away so anything this fucker says is a lie. Prescott turns back around and begins to exit the bathroom once more. He opens the door and holds it open; turning around to say one last thing to me. “Tell your sister she needs to lose weight. That dress is not flattering on her.”

“You fucking punk,” I couldn’t keep it in anymore. He was pressing all of the buttons and knew which ones will set the bomb off. I charged for him until he hurried out of the bathroom and back to the crowd of people in the ballroom. I looked around the ballroom, but it was too late; he was now among the crowd of people. I needed some air, so I jolted towards the balcony.

“Chill, Micah,” I tried to calm myself down. I inhaled and exhaled until I felt my heart rate go back to its normal speed. I hate that he was here tonight and I hate that Rosie doesn’t fucking trust me anymore to even let her know that her boy toy is in this gala flirting with underage girls. Shit, does Rosie already know? I mean, clearly, she has to if she’s okay with being 5 years younger than him. Maybe Rosie didn’t mind it. Maybe she got used to the fact that the person she’s protecting and so blindly in love with is a man that doesn’t do relationships, and accepted the fact that she’s not good enough to be in one with anyone. I wonder if he was the one that made her believe all those things about herself; or, if he just knows how to choose the girls that are insecure and have daddy issues or some shit.

But Rosie was never insecure. She never made herself this insecure girl that didn’t think she was pretty. She’s not a 16-year-old girl that is still in high school, growing yet seeing every girl around her look pretty or skinny and all of that superficial shit. Rosie never cared about that shit, but maybe she secretly did? Maybe she sat in that apartment for hours on end trying to figure out if she was good enough for someone like Prescott Jones. You are good enough; shit, he’s not good enough for you.

And you are? For fuck’s sake, Micah; the last time you saw that girl you nearly scared her half to death, and probably more than what Prescott ever did because she knew how he got. She never saw that dark side of you before.

I hold my head in my hand and wanted nothing more to just go home. I lifted my head, thinking I was so mentally exhausted to the point I was now hearing voices call out my name.

“Micah?”

I turned around to see if maybe there was someone calling out my name.

“Kalia?”

The "Something" Series: Season 2

Something Similar to Mom: A Grace Monologue.

When my parents married again, I was just about to graduate college. I remember going to my last semester class, and then immediately rushing across the city to meet my mother at the bridal shop. It was weird to be a part of this experience, considering the first time they got married, I wasn’t even born yet. My dad would tell me stories about how my mom was so upset the dress she wanted to wear didn’t fit her because she was pregnant with me. I can only assume he reassured her and called her beautiful; I mean, she was, now looking at those pictures displayed in my parent’s house. My mother was definitely nervous about getting married that year. I would spend my nights studying for my exams and hear her talk on the phone, expressing her worries to her friends. Thinking back now, I can understand her nervousness having been in her place once before. But, my mother was lucky; she had my dad be the man she was going to marry and if I knew anything about my dad, it’s that he never stopped loving my mom, even after the first divorce. If only I can be so lucky to find a man that would never stop loving me, no matter the fuck-ups I make in life.

I look at all of the pictures on the wall my mom has traveled to in her younger years; Paris, Italy, Switzerland, and other places I couldn’t even recognize. My mom displays her most prestigious awards in a glass cabinet in the living room where all of these pictures are in. They look expensive, and they look heavy. Any awards I had when I was a teenager are now sitting in a box in storage, in my parent’s basement. Maybe when I settle into a new place in the future, I’ll be like my mom and display those awards.

My mom walks into the living room with some coffee for the both of us. I walk over to the sofa and sit next to her, sipping the coffee she had made.

“It’s definitely getting colder these days,” mom said. I looked at her, not saying anything back. My mom had a way of trying to fill in the silence with things that didn’t really matter, like the weather. I knew she wanted me to talk about what happened, or the audition; whichever one I decide to talk about first.

“Yeah, it is,” I said and placed the mug back on the coffee table. “Thank you for letting me say here with your and dad while I’m in New York.” My mom flashed a tight smile, looking at me with the look that she needed me to speak more.

“You know you are always welcomed here,” mom started to say before immediately getting straight to the point. “I can’t say for other people in your life.” It made me laugh; I seriously picked up my sass from this woman.

“Yeah, I never thought Ari would be one of those that didn’t,” I said, a little sad at the fact. “Like, it sucks when your best friend really isn’t your best friend, y’know? I thought Ari knew me.”

“She did know you. Ari came around during the time when you were a lawyer, dating Max, and pregnant with Willow. She knew who you were; it doesn’t sound like she knew who you are now and some people can’t take that.” mom said as she adjusted on the sofa. I wasn’t convinced.

“But Ari was in my life when everything changed, mom.”

“But from my understanding, that’s when you and Ari began to have issues in your friendship,” mom pointed out. “I had a friend like Ari once. Her name was Ronnie; we knew each other since middle school and we were inseparable for most of high school as well. When I started dating your dad during college, she just had problems with every little thing I did, especially when it came to my dance career. She pretty much told me I was a shitty person for putting my dreams before my relationship with your dad. Once I had you, she was literally the worst; called me a shitty mother during a fight we had before I left New York. Told me I shouldn’t have had kids if I was just going to up and leave anyway,” my mom paused before she continued. I could tell that even after all these years, that friendship hurt her the most. I worry my friendship with Ari will hurt me just as much as hers did when I get older.

“That’s what Ari said,” I admitted. “Ari called me a shitty mother for leaving Willow behind if I went for this audition.” None of us said anything after that, but something was eating me inside and I needed to know. “Do you also think I’m a shitty mom for leaving Willow?”

My mom look perplexed, if anything. I was nervous thinking that maybe Ari was right. My mom took a deep breath before answering.

“I can’t judge anyone on how they raise their children because I couldn’t raise my own,” mom admitted. “I can only judge the way I did things and at 30, I wasn’t thinking about me as a mom. I blocked that from my mind as hard as I could. I did block it from my mind.” My mom was an honest woman, even when she said things that would hurt. I know it was in the past, but sometimes my mother seems to forget that her leaving when I was baby still fucks with my head, yet she talks about it as if everything is healed because things are good with our family. I appreciated her honesty, but I sometimes wish she was more cautious on the things that were sensitive. She looked at me to see if I was still listening to her speak. I was, so she continued to say what was on her mind. “You are doing more than I ever did, and that counts for something.”

“Why does it never feel like that though?” I asked. “Why does it feel like I’m a shitty mother, and why does it feel like a fucking chore to be a mother when it’s time to be a mother? I love Willow with every piece of me, but–“

“Then that’s it,” mom interrupted. “You still show up and be her mom because you love her. That doesn’t make you a shitty mom and surely a woman who doesn’t have kids of her own can say anything about anyone else’s children.” I looked at my mom, who I used to call by her first name up until I was 22, when my parents got married. I wonder if she loved me when I was younger and if she did, would it mean that she would’ve stayed? I love Willow, but I didn’t stay.

I took a deep breath and decided to change the subject. “I’m just glad the audition finally happened. I swear I couldn’t even sleep well the nights leading up to it.” My mom smiled, which was a relief to finally get out of sensitive territory.

“How was it though?” mom asked as she sipped her coffee.

“It was intense, to say the least,” I answered. My mom laughed before she responded.

“Well, these are dancers that were scouted for this audition. They are the nest of the best. I was also really nervous when I went for the audition when I was younger. You come across the best of the best in these auditions.” My mom adjusted her body more towards me on the sofa; I can tell she really was interested in what I had to say about the audition. “When do you find out if you got out through or not?”

“I think they said two weeks,” I answered. leaning back on the sofa.

“Oh wow, just in time for your birthday, huh?” my mom teased. I rolled my eyes at her as she laughed. These were the moments that I enjoyed having with my mother. “I think you’re going to get it if Morgan’s right about your dancing.” I nodded, thinking back at my time in Morgan’s dance studio. I was definitely in my element every time I would clock out of work and head straight to the studio. I remember the feeling back when I was younger, just dancing in the studio after school without a care in the world, and when my only concern is what outfit I want to wear to what competition. Dancing again has reminded me just how much it’s become somewhat like therapy for me.

“We’ll see. It’ll be nice though.” I answered. My mom smiled at me and continued to sip her coffee. Simplicity in complicated creatures, just like my mom and I.

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!

Hello, 29.

Hello, 29.

You are now entering the story of a woman who drinks iced coffee even on the coldest days of the season. The story of a woman that has a k-pop boy named Kang Seungsik plastered on her bedroom walls after once feeling ashamed of doing so for her age. The story of a woman that travels an hour and a half to work on public transportation; the woman who is the youngest worker in her office. A woman who spends her Friday nights on the phone with her friends that are across the country. A woman who spends a couple days of her week with someone that she vibes so well with. A woman who goes to the gym to work out all the stress of life and work away. A woman who gets lost inside her mind through the lives of her fictional characters.

You are entering a story that took years to write and put together, and one that finally is publishable to the world.

29, you are entering the story of a woman named Liz. The story starts off with tons of trauma and mental health issues; Liz used to define herself through her struggles and even then couldn’t overcome them because she was consumed by the identity of being mentally ill. She saw early on that although she would be understanding to those around her and their mental issues, not everyone was like her and not everyone will be understanding about mental health in a world where it was still considered a taboo. She leaves everything behind from her early twenties as she triumphs into a new identity, hoping that everything would fall into place with the time she had to find herself. She discovers a new love for a genre of music; one that opens her up to a world she never thought she would be a part of. She spoke to so many people in a community she felt too old to fit in, yet that same community was the place where she met some of her closest friends; those who she has never met but still feels like she’s known for her entire life. She rekindled a relationship she never thought she would, hoping that with the time apart and lessons learned that this time around, things would be different. She quickly learns that things are different.

29, you are entering the aftermath of a two-year journey of weight loss; something she never thought would happen for her. In two years, she has managed to lose 120 pounds, but you are entering a time where she fears that all that hard work will go to waste if she isn’t careful with her diet.

29, you are entering the last of Liz’s twenties; the last chapter to a story about a girl that turned into a woman. She went to college and grad school and published her thesis in an academic journal and became friends with her thesis advisor. She sought out therapy when she needed it and got the professional help in order to deal with years of undiagnosed depression and anxiety. She tried new things that she either enjoyed in the long run or immediately stepped back from after learning she didn’t like it. She loved and lost family in her twenties; a grandmother on her father’s side due to breast cancer, an uncle on her father’s side after an unexpected heart attack, and a grandfather that was diagnosed with lung cancer and told us had 2 more weeks to leave after passing away just a day later. She lost her childhood pet; a white lab mix/dalmatian breed named Pal, who grew to be 15 years old before he passed away in 2016. She lost her cat, a black bombay cat named Babygirl, who we rescued from my mom’s office and brought her home for the last 5 years of her life. But in the things she lost, she gained in its place; a pet turtle named Squirtle that her sibling brought home one day in 2019 and two grey tabby kitten brothers, Porkchop and ShyGuy. She learned to take everything one day at a time and to appreciate everything that comes along with the day. She learned to leave work at work and to not bring it home, she learned that support is something she values the most in professional environments, and she learned that she can confine in people without feeling like a burden to them.

29, you are entering a story that is continuing to prosper, but you also are ending a chapter of Liz’s life that she’s known for the past 9 years.

11:59pm… 12:00am.

Hello, 29.

LFL's Anniversary Blogging Celebration!

28 Things That Happened/I Learned While Being 28.

Things That Happened:

  1. I spent the new year with my mentor, Ro, and her husband during the day.
  2. I left my bookstore job and got a new job at the Registrar’s Office at my old college.
  3. Victon made three comebacks this year with their Time Trilogy!
  4. I went to my first ever paint-and-sip with my family!
  5. I went to see The Game Grumps Live in NYC during the summer.
  6. Our senior cat, Babygirl, passed away.
  7. We then adopted two boy kittens; Porkchop and ShyGuy.
  8. I’ve dyed my hair more times than I can count this year.
  9. I’ve gotten a total of 5 new tattoos in 2022.
  10. I’ve gotten closer to my long-distance friends through pen-pal writing.
  11. I spent my summer walking throughout my neighborhood for miles on end.
  12. I went to see Demi Lovato on her NYC stop for her HOLY FVCK Tour in October.
  13. I had COVID for the first time since the pandemic started in 2020.
  14. I’ve lost 120 pounds since having surgery in July 2021.

Things I’ve Learned:

  1. Spend time with people that literally support and celebrate your journey.
  2. Some chapters need to end in order for new ones to start, no matter how unprepared you are.
  3. Some things just never change.
  4. Trying new things makes for the best story-telling in the future.
  5. Do things on your own time and don’t wait for anyone to do them with you.
  6. Things in life happen when you least expect them to.
  7. New beginnings can be scary but worth it in the end.
  8. Self-control is a real thing that people do struggle with, including me.
  9. Sometimes it’s okay to not get a tattoo at every little convenience, even if you want them! Hah!
  10. Remember where you came from and those who came with you along the way.
  11. Creating routines for yourself helps you gain some sort of control over your own life.
  12. Dreams really do come true. ❤
  13. Unexpected things will happen, and you just have to deal with them since they are out of your control.
  14. I will never stop being a better version of myself.