The Forest Fairy and the Willow Tree

Mae was a forest fairy

Who had glittery wings

And wore a green gown

And was a friend to all the animals

 

She always had lots of work to do

From helping the flowers to bloom

To helping birds build their nests

To making sure the grass got morning dew

 

After a long day’s work

She liked to visit her friend

Hector, the wise old Willow Tree

He always told her stories

 

About kids swimming in the lake

About beavers that would play

And kittens that would fall asleep

Beside him in the grass

 

They were best friends

And no matter how much time passed

Each day brought more laughter

And more stories to tell.

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An Invitation

Jill sat alone in the university library. This was her usual seat, at her usual table, tucked away by a small window where she could focus on her studies. She leafed through her anthropology textbook, taking notes so she could work on her essay about traditional medicine in Eastern cultures. Scribbling in her notebook, she was jotting down some information about the use of moxibustion in South Korea, when a shadow appeared over her on the wooden table.

“Sorry to interrupt, mind if I join you?” a guy asked. He was tall, wore a blue polo shirt with black jeans, and he had a shy smile. She didn’t recognize him at all, but she did recognize his voice. It was hard to know for sure, but she thought she had a class with him. Poly Sci? Biochem? One of those. Not wanting to lose her train of thought with her notes, she nodded, gesturing for him to sit so she could go on reading.

He sat across from her, diagonally. Placing his small backpack on the table, he started rummaging through it. She thought he was going to study, too, but instead he pulled out a sandwich resting in small plastic bag. Were people even allowed to eat in this room? Whatever. She didn’t really care.

He held out an open bag of chips, offering her one, but she declined. After stuffing some chips in his sandwich, he ate with a loud crunch and sipped from an apple juice box. For whatever reason, things started to feel awkward, like there was something he wanted to say, but wasn’t saying it. He put his sandwich down and cleared his throat.

“So, I wanted to ask you a question. But I don’t want it to come off as an insult. It’s not an insult,” he said.

Jill looked at him, but he was staring at the table, toying with a loose thread on his backpack.

“Um, okay. What is it?” she asked. He ran his fingers through his short, dark hair and took another sip of juice before he answered.

“The thing is, I kind of need someone to pretend to be my date. I have to go to this family friend’s dinner party. Friday night, at an event hall about twenty minutes from here. It’s semi-formal, but I’m not gonna know a lot of people there. I was gonna bring my girlfriend, Sasha, but she dumped me two days ago. I can’t cancel, and it would just be really awkward if I had to go alone. And I’d ask a friend, but I don’t really have a lot of friends here. I spent all my time with my, well, my ex.” He paused, pinching the bridge of his nose and shaking his head. “You know what, this is stupid. I shouldn’t have bothered you with this.”

Tears seemed to well up in his eyes a bit, but he blinked them away. He wanted her to be his fake date? To a dinner party?

“Um, I mean, maybe I could. But why are you asking me?” she asked.

He smiled then, going from heartbroken to carefree in a matter of seconds. “Oh, I need someone who’s good in French. Not all the guests speak English. As far as I can tell, you’re the best in our class.”

French class. That’s where she knew him from. She tapped her pen against her notebook, thinking.

“I don’t have any plans on Friday, so I guess I could help. Why did you think I’d be insulted?”

He shrugged. “Because it’s, ya know, not a real date.”

She laughed and this time his warm, brown eyes met hers. “Trust me, I can live with that.”

On Happiness

I’m curious about happiness. About joy, inner peace, and how it works. What does it really mean to live a happy life? Society tells us about all the things we should want to have. A job, a spouse, a family, a house, a car. Most of us aspire to have those things in some shape or form, and many of us feel depressed or inadequate if we have none or only a few of those things. Maybe we have a good job, but feel incomplete if we are single. Or maybe we have a good relationship, but feel like failures because we don’t have our careers figured out.

Some people have all of these things, and they are still not happy. They achieve all the things that society approves of, but they still find they are not satisfied. Why is that? And what does that mean for those of us who are still working toward being “successful” adults? I know that you can have everything and still not be happy, but I still feel miserable over all the things I don’t have yet.

This kind of unhappiness stems from constantly being in a state of pursuing something, and feeling unsatisfied because it feels so out of reach. But how can you pursue goals, especially those you need to achieve (like getting a job) without feeling depressed about not having one? I guess the answer is to focus on the process and not the outcome, and to appreciate the things you have that are within your control. I think most spiritual ideas are also verbs. Love is a verb. It requires action. Happiness does, too.

If I think of people who I look up to who seem to live joyous lives, not many people genuinely come to mind. I think of people like Ellen DeGeneres, who dedicates her life to inspiring others. She eats healthy, exercises, meditates, and practices kindness. I think of Oprah, who continues to give back and inspire people through her many platforms. In many ways I think of Miley Cyrus, who also devotes much of her time to helping others, and loving animals, eats healthy, and practices yoga. Marie Forleo, who inspires others through her TV show. Evanna Lynch who inspires others, eats healthy, and loves animals.

Rachel Platten who inspires others through her music. The common theme here seems to be people who spend their time being kind to others, and also being kind to themselves. And those who are able to incorporate that into their life’s work. I think these are also people who don’t worry about the status quo. They don’t care what others think of them, but they do care about where they are on a spiritual level.

So maybe it’s not my purpose to get a job, get married, get a house, and have a car, even if those are things I try to pursue. But maybe it’s my purpose to be kind to others, and to myself. I also think you can’t help others unless you are connecting to your own source of light and inspiration, and I think for many people that comes from connecting to God, a higher power, nature, or the universe. And there are many things, many windows and doors through which we can connect with that.

Whether it’s through music, books, film, conversations, prayer, nature, or stillness. Like Audrey Hepburn says, “we have one hand for helping others and another hand for helping ourselves.” I do think it has to start with us though. I think the idea is that if you get inspired and find your source of light, peace, and joy, you’ll be able to share that with others. Because you’ll shine.

So maybe life is really about pursuing not things, but moments. Moments where we pause and enjoy nature, or just take the time to smile or drink tea. Moments of peace.

While I do think that people who help others is a common theme for a joyous life, it is also possible to do this only to be burnt out. Sometimes people forget to be kind to themselves. I think one reason children tend to be so happy is because they are given so much joy by the caring people around them. We make sure the messages they receive are positive and affirming.

The world is not always so kind, the older you get. You have to find that support for yourself. And I think we need to support each other.

I certainly don’t have the secrets to a joyous or peaceful life. They say you should spend your money or experiences, not things. Maybe life is like that, too. We should be pursuing experiences, not things.

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#MyThoughts

What Is Confidence?

[Hey! So I wanted to make this post because I feel like confidence can be kind of a confusing topic. It’s something we hear a lot about, but aren’t always told about concrete ways to get to it. This post is kind of long, so I broke it up into chapters. Hope you’re having a super awesome day  ❤ ]

Contents:

Chapter 1: Examining the Definition

Chapter 2: How Do We Become Confident?

Chapter 3: Examples From My Own Life

Chapter 4: My Tips  For How You Can Grow Your Confidence

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Chapter 1: Examining the Definition

mountain climber

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, confidence is defined as “a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something.” Even with a textbook definition, this can be a hard concept to understand. We are always told from a young age that confidence is an important ingredient for success, but it is seldom clear how one actually gets it. This is especially true for young adults. When so many things in our lives are yet to be figured out, how can we ever know if we are really confident or not?

Let’s start with the definition. I find it interesting that it is defined as being a “belief” or a “feeling.” I think using these two words almost interchangeably is part of the reason that trying to be confident can be so confusing. If it is a feeling, that can be troubling. Feelings fade. Who feels good and secure about who they are all the time? Probably no one, because feelings change. They come and go, and this is especially true for people struggling with depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness.

As I’m sure most of us would agree, your emotions are not always within your control. Sometimes we get sad, lonely, scared, or overwhelmed. And when you’re feeling all of those things, who has time to think about confidence? No one. You’re too busy trying to find the will power to brush your teeth or make toast. On the other hand, I’m sure most us also have moments where we do, in fact, feel confident. And that’s an amazing feeling!

It’s that moment when you know you’re gonna do well on an exam, or that moment when you’ve rehearsed a piece of music so much that you believe you can perform it well, or when you wake up knowing you’ll have a good day at your job. Or even when you know you can make a loved one happy.

Next, let’s look at “belief.” I see belief as being something that’s a little easier to understand, but it can also be just as intangible as feelings are while also being somewhat vague. While feelings come and go, I see belief as something that is more like solid ground. It’s much more consistent.

A belief is something that is more in your control because you can choose to believe in something. It’s like the little engine that could. You have the ability to tell yourself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” And it actually makes a difference. If you allow yourself to believe that you are capable, smart, and strong, you’ve given yourself the proper foundation to take action, grow, and become better.

This is great! But if beliefs are basically within our control, and if they do help us to move forward and get things done, why can confidence still feel so elusive to us? The reason for this is, we run into obstacles. And that obstacle is doubt. You know how when you were little, and you believed in Santa Clause, until you started asking logical questions?

Like, how does he fly around the world in one night? How does a big, jolly guy fit into a tiny chimney? How on earth does he manage to eat all of those cookies? How could he make toys for every child in the world? If I live in an apartment that doesn’t have a chimney, how does he get inside? (I didn’t believe in Santa for very long).

Believing in yourself is great, until your mind starts playing Santa Clause with you. You want to become a rock climber, but then you start assessing the situation. It could be dangerous, and you don’t have a lot of upper body strength, so you start thinking it’s a bad idea. Or you feel good about doing your math homework, until you remember you are not really a “numbers person,” and will probably get everything wrong anyway. This is where belief becomes essential. Your doubts challenge your confidence, but you also have the ability to challenge your doubts. Believing in yourself is worth the investment because you are here, you matter, and you have potential.

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Chapter 2: How Do We Become Confident?

concert1

So, how do we become confident? Where do we begin? Again, I want to start with feelings. While our feelings are not always within our control, finding ways to feel good about things is an important practice for us. Meditation is one way for us to experience a moment of peace and calm. This won’t necessarily solve all our problems, and it doesn’t mean sad feelings won’t come back, but having a moment of feeling at peace can remind us that life may not be as overwhelming as it feels. And it gives us a chance to be centered, especially on those really hard days.

Prayer can also help. Whether you are talking to God, the universe, or whichever higher power you believe in, if you connect with that and trust that you are loved and cared for, it can help to make you feel at peace as well. These practices are good because they don’t require any material possessions and they don’t even require you to get out of bed. They allow you to start from within.

I mentioned earlier that one way one might experience confidence is when you know you’ll do well on a test, or when you’ve rehearsed a piece of music enough to know that you can perform it well, or even if you know you can make a loved one happy. One key aspect of feeling confident in our abilities is preparation.

If you want to be confident as a musician, the best thing you can do is rehearse. If you want to feel confident in school, the best thing you can do is study to the best of your ability, and over time. If you want to feel confident in your relationships, the best thing you can do is practice kindness and be a good listener. How well you do something tends to depends on how often you practice it.

I think feeling confident depends largely on knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and the best way to do that is to spend time getting to know yourself. If you want to be confident as a runner, the most important thing you could do is start running. It’s not about how fast you are or how you’re doing compared to other people.

You need to get to know your own body, and how the process feels for you. Are you more comfortable as a sprinter or a long distance runner? You can only know this if you practice and listen to your body. If you can get to know yourself, you will be more confident in your abilities and in what you want.

Next, lets look at belief. I think a lot of people associate belief with religion. With believing in God or a higher power, or even in angels, ghosts, or spirits. In this sense, a lot of people may want nothing to do with belief. They prefer cold, hard facts, and I think this is especially true for people in the science community. And from many perspectives, it makes sense.

Why bother believing in things? The earth revolves around the sun, stars eventually burn out, we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon monoxide. If you toss an apple into the air, it will fall because there is gravity. The world is, in many ways, a logical place. There is cause an affect. Blue and red make purple and leaves are green because of chlorophyll. There are things we can learn, things that will always be true. And we can take comfort in those things.

The problem with confidence is that it requires uncertainty. I don’t need to be confident that gravity exists because I know it exists. It’s kind of like courage. In order to be courageous, you must first experience fear. A climber who is comfortable with heights is not brave for climbing a tree. It’s just a normal, nonchalant activity for them. But if a person who is afraid of heights climbs a tall tree to rescue a cat, that person has found courage in themselves.

There is a quote in the Princess Diaries (shout out to my Anna Hathaway fans 🙂 ) that says, “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the knowledge that there is something more important than fear.” I think confidence works in a similar way. It isn’t that you don’t have doubts, it is knowing that there is something more important than doubt. It’s the ability to invest in yourself because you know you are capable of small and great things.

Facts are great. But the truth is, you have no way of knowing one hundred percent that you will do well on that performance, or if you’ll ace that test, or if you’ll be able to make someone smile. Because no matter how much you know about the universe, most of us cannot predict the future.

We can prepare the best we can, but after that, all we can do is hope. If you can hope, then you can believe in yourself. And if you can believe in yourself, you can have confidence. In the Bible, Jesus says you only need faith the size of a mustard seed. Which is basically a biblical times way of saying that you only need a tiny bit of faith. I think confidence works in the same way. You only need a little for it to make a difference in your life.

Now, do I think that having a positive attitude will necessarily make or break your ability to perform well or do well on a test? My answer to that is no. I’ve done well on exams I felt completely negative about, and I’ve done poorly on exams even if I went into them thinking, “I think I can, I think I can…” In the same way that love is not just a feeling, but a verb, I think confidence is largely defined by action. To me, a confident musician is someone who goes out there and performs no matter how unsure she may feel. A confident student is someone who goes into an exam and takes his time answering all the questions, even if he’s not sure he will remember everything.

So, where does this leave us? I mentioned earlier that feeling confident is often about preparation. And that belief is about trusting that things will work out, even if you can’t know for sure. The thing feelings and belief have in common is they require you to take action. In that way, confidence is not about your image, outward appearance, or even about your feelings. It’s about what you do.

Chapter 3: Examples From My Own Life

typewriter

Let’s look at examples in my own life. I consider myself to be a somewhat confident person, but I also acknowledge that I don’t embody the image that comes to my mind when I think of confidence. Because what I picture is someone who:

Talks loudly

Stands with their shoulders back

Dresses nicely

Smiles

Fakes it till they make it

I think a lot of us associate confidence with image, which is why it can feel so out of reach and even unrealistic or fake. I am an introvert, reserved, don’t care much about my appearance, and don’t always feel sure about myself. So, why do I consider myself a confident person? This is why:

I know what I stand for

I know what I value

I know what I’m good at and pursue those things

I don’t mind being bad at something

I know that other people could always use my help

These things are very different from the image I had of a confident person as a teen. But for me what it ultimately comes down to is that I know what’s important to me, and my actions reflect that.

For example, I am confident that I am a good writer. This isn’t about comparing myself to others, or even thinking I am good by other peoples’ standards. But because it’s something I care about, I do a shit ton of it, and pretty much every time I write, whether it’s a poem or an academic paper, I try to make it as good as it can be.

I feel confident that I’m a good friend. This one is a bit trickier isn’t it? Because other people may have different opinions about that. But this comes from a place of acknowledging that I value my friends and family (I feel every good, real and honest relationship you have with a person has to be rooted in friendship on some level). And I am someone who struggles with social anxiety and feeling accepted by others.

So why do I feel confident in this area at all? I put the effort into reaching out to my friends when I can, asking how they are doing, and ultimately wanting them to know that I care about them, their dreams, and my relationship with them. Again, it comes down to action. I know what I value and I practice it.

I feel confident about my spiritual life. This one can also be tricky. I’m not currently active in a church, which is already something people might turn their noses up about. I’m also queer, which can cause it’s own issues because many people say hateful things around that topic. I don’t read the Bible every day. I’ve found religious environments to sometimes be constricting and involving a certain amount of peer pressure.

So, why do I feel confident in my spiritual life? I love prayer. Connecting to my higher power has always been a big part of my life, even when “being religious” wasn’t. There are people in my life who I trust who I can bond with over religion. I want to do kind things and lift others up in whatever way I can. I value spirituality and faith, and those things are reflective in my actions.

For me, a big confidence killer is worrying what other people think. Another is when I compare myself to others. The thing is, you build confidence by your own actions, not by other peoples’ opinions. It’s okay to do things your own way. Know what you value and let your actions reflect those values. If you practice something, you will grow, and if you grow, you will feel good about your own abilities. Your confidence has to come from within and it has to start with you.

Chapter 4: My Tips For How You Can Grow Your Confidence

flower1

So, how can you become confident? Society may tell you to make a lot of money, buy a big house, marry an attractive partner, dress nicely, and basically look really great from the outside. (much like the recipe they give us for happiness, no?). Here’s what I say:

Know what you value. A great place to start is knowing what is important to you. Make a list. Think of it like that exercise where they ask you in elementary school, “If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island, and could only bring what would fit in your suitcase, what would you bring?”

You can really only value a few things in life, things that stay with you that you want to really grow in. Of course they can change, but I find mine are usually pretty consistent, even what want in life is always shifting. It can be anything from music to family to religion to fitness. What do you want to carry with you on this journey that is your life?

Do little things that align with your values. For me that can mean working on a poetry book, saying a prayer, spending time with loved ones, or eating a healthy snack. It’s not about having a set plan or setting huge goals. It’s about doing little things and letting them build off of each other.

Don’t compare yourself to others. They say “comparison is the thief of joy,” (and I’m not quite sure whether this comes from Theodore Roosevelt, the book of Proverbs, or Buddha). Whoever it is, they’re right. Social media makes this even harder. When you find yourself comparing your life to someone else’s, walk away. Find your center, meditate. Breathe. And then focus on your own journey.

Do something that you value. Something that involves taking care of YOU. Also, go encourage someone else! Because we all feel inadequate at times and need support. (Including the person you’re comparing yourself to!)

Tell yourself you’re beautiful inside and out. I have a habit of giving myself compliments. I tell myself I am beautiful and brave. It may just seem like less concrete, mindset/ perspective advice (trust me, I can’t stand that stuff). But this really has helped me. When I was in high school, I knew that body image issues affected many people, especially girls. I wanted to make sure I felt good about my body, and giving myself compliments was one way I was able to do that.

I’m petite, not very athletic, and never got big boobs (seriously, those puberty books lied to me. Mother Nature made sure I got my period though). Like anyone else, I had things that I maybe thought weren’t great about my body. But you know something? I really do love my body exactly as it is. What I care most about is being healthy and taking care of myself the best way I can. I think being able to compliment myself early on really helped with that. You should try it. It’s never too late to start 🙂

Have role models. Not people you may be envious of, but people you genuinely admire and feel you can relate to. For me, certain celebrities are big inspirations for me, especially those who are down to earth and don’t care about image or money. People whose values line up with mine. This gives me hope because I know many of them, like me, have bad days, do their best to work through them, enjoy creating things, and embrace their imperfections. Demi Lovato inspires me through her strength and living with mental illness. There are many people I look up to, and that helps a lot.

Wake up each day knowing you can practice your values. I think it all comes back to this. If you know what matters to you and how you can take small actions around those things, you will wake up each day with a part of you loving life. It’s when I don’t make time for the things that matter that I am the most miserable. It’s easy to get caught up in my obligations (applying for jobs, learning to drive, working). If you feel like your life is revolving around the things that don’t truly matter to you, of course you won’t be happy!

Be true to yourself. Whether you are an introvert or an extravert, an artist or an athlete, a good dancer or a terrible one, know that it’s okay to be exactly who you are. Express yourself, live your truth, and be kind to others with the faith that it will be returned to you. This is your ONE LIFE and you matter. Start acting like it! 🙂

These tips reflect what confidence means to me. This is a topic that can feel confusing. Most of us are told to be confident, but we are not usually told how to get there. I hope these tips are helpful. Tell me in the comments. What do you value? What does confidence mean to you?

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Lastly, I leave you with an appropriate song by the one, the only, Demi Lovato! ❤

 

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#MyThoughts

 

 

 

 

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

You are wonderful.

I know you are trying the best that you can

And that you have come a long way in your life

You have fallen and picked yourself back up

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Tried something new and persevered,

Even when you worried about what others

Might think of you. And that even with all

The things you have overcome, there are things

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That are hard for you, even in this very moment

There are things that scare you, even if you

Know you don’t need to be afraid. There are things

That worry you that may be beyond your control

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And maybe you’re looking at someone else and

Feeling bad, because it seems like they have

Everything figured out while you are struggling

Maybe you’ve forgotten how beautiful, magical,

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And important you are. Perhaps you need someone

To remind you. I want you to know that you’re not

Alone. There have been moments this year where

You laughed, times where you looked up that

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The blue sky painted with sunset clouds and

Thought, “Wow, that’s so beautiful. This moment

Is so good.” You have danced, sang, drank tea,

Talked to someone you love, dreamed, saw a dream

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Come true, listened to your favorite song. I hope

That today in the midst of challenges you have

Many moments that are good. I don’t know what

You’re going through these days, but trust me

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And trust your past self when you are told this

Too shall pass. Whatever is bother you, whether

It’s anxiety, depression, a struggling relationship,

Addiction, a job that isn’t going well, a friend you

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Don’t know how to help, or feeling unsatisfied

With where you are in life, take a moment to

Breathe. Just breathe. You’re going to get through

This because you’re a fighter, and you’re brave,

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And because no one can be you like you can

You are a once in a lifetime miracle with gifts

And beauty and ideas and kindness and a sense

Of humor to offer to world. Life is a climb and

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There are so many others climbing along side

Of you. So be brave, do good things, add something

Beautiful to the world. Don’t give up. I’m rooting

For you. Above all, have hope, and be kind to yourself.

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Sincerely,

Ashley

Affection

Lana held her girlfriend’s hand, their fingers intertwining together as they sat on the edge of a picnic table, their feet resting on the wooden bench. She rested her head on her partner’s shoulder as the wind blew strands of her curly, red hair into her face. Her girlfriend gave her hand a squeeze and she could smell the peppermint on her breath that came from her chewing gum.

“You okay, Lan?” her girlfriend asked. Lana nodded without looking up.

“I’m good,” she said.

Scooter sat on the bench a few feet away from them. He smoothed out his black hair that was already shaped with gel. He stared at his phone and the heel of his foot moved up and down like a lever. A soft sigh escaped his lips and he muttered something to himself that no one else could hear.

Lana brushed the loose strands of hair behind her ear with her fingers and glanced over at him.

“You seem troubled, Scoot. What’s goin’ on?”

He looked at her, startled, as though he forgot she was there, and then shrugged.

“It’s Skyler. When we first met, we hooked up and drank wine at her apartment. We had fun, no strings attached. But she was funny and adventurous. I wanted to take her out for real, so I did. We went to dinner and drank beer beneath the stars, and then slow danced, not well by the way, while music played on the radio. She said she really liked me,” he said.

“Sounds like you had a nice time. Why are you upset?”

He slumped his shoulders and looked down at the grass. The air smelled like fresh earth and the clouds provided partial shade from the warm sun in the mostly blue sky. The park was mostly empty with the exception of one or two families who were at the playground, on the other side of the field. Two small birds landed in the grass several feet away and started pecking at the ground.

“She hasn’t texted me back all week. I haven’t heard from her since that night,” he said. He placed his phone on the table with a soft thump.

Lana’s girlfriend slid over to Scooter’s side and sat next to him on the bench. Her short, brown hair was shaved on one side and she wore a leather jacket even though it was summer. She popped her gum and gave him a playful punch on the shoulder.

“Hey. Don’t worry about this. Maybe she lost her phone, maybe she had a family emergency, and maybe she doesn’t want a relationship after all and is too scared to tell you the fuckin’ truth. You can sit here on this beautiful day with friends, driving yourself crazy with maybes, or you can accept the fact that you had an amazing time with this girl, which might lead to something more. Or it might not. But you can’t let one person blind you from all the affection you already have in your life. Keep your door open to all forms of love and the right person will find their way in. This is one girl. Let her come to you. And if she doesn’t, then move on. But for now, spend this day with us. Don’t spend your day with maybes,” she said.

Lana hopped down from the table and smoothed out her skirt before sitting next to her girlfriend. She reached over and held Scooter’s hand.

“Court’s right. We can go out. We can have fun. And we can make new friends, new memories, and new stories. You don’t have to stay stuck in this chapter,” she said.

He nodded and smiled a bit, revealing his dimples.

“You’re right. I guess I just wanted to have someone by my side who could help me forget to be sad.”

Courtney gave him a playful nudge in the ribs.

“That’s what the night is for,” she said.

Behind them, Scooter’s phone vibrated and rang. He picked it up off the table and looked at the caller ID. A picture of a girl with brown hair appeared on the screen along with her name. It was Skyler. He looked at his friends as if wondering if he should answer it, and Courtney gestured with her hands to say that he should.

“Tell her that the three of us are going out for milkshakes,” Lana said.

“Yeah,” Courtney agreed, “she should come.”

Scooter took a breath and answered the phone. He walked away from the bench and the two birds who were in the field flew off into the sky together. When he walked far enough to get some privacy, he cleared his throat. Lana rested her head again on Courtney’s shoulder, the two of them were barely able to hear Scooter’s soft hello.

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#fiction, short stories