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The Touchstone of Validity is My Own, Like, Experience by Anna Scotti

December 20, 2012 Romance 3 Comments
The Touchstone of Validity is My Own, Like, Experience by Anna Scotti

Editors’ Note: We accepted this story long before the tragic events of Sandy Hook, which occurred almost a week ago today. Yet the innocence and optimism conveyed in this YA short story seem especially poignant and much needed now. Our hearts will forever be with the families of Newtown. We wish all our readers and friends all the peace and joy that is possible this holiday season.

The Touchstone of Validity is My Own, Like, Experience
by Anna Scotti

The first day Gianni waited for me at the corner, I didn’t realize he was waiting: I’d been hanging around, saying goodbye to Maribelle and Jazz, trying to explain to Jazz why a whole number divided by a fraction gets larger, instead of smaller, which was basically a lost cause without some cookies to demonstrate. Jazz is not the greatest on conceptual imaging. By the time I’d said goodbye and hoisted my backpack over one shoulder most of the kids were gone, picked up by moms or nannies or headed homeward, the few who lived close, on foot. I live only four blocks from school and am allowed to walk, but that’s mostly because my mother doesn’t actually realize that there’s no one walking with me, most days. Peggy imagines it as it must have been when she was a child, everybody leaving en masse at dismissal, packs of kids traveling in the safety of numbers, peeling off one by one along the way.

Gianni was leaning against a tree, just off school grounds, with his skateboard under his arm.

“Hey,” he said hoarsely, falling into step beside me, all casual, as if by accident, but I’d seen him waiting. Gianni has mostly ignored me since last year when I refused to let him copy off my paper during a history test. Painful choice, that: I was torn between duty and love, like Marcus Brutus, except that I definitely did not see Gianni as a father figure.

“Hey,” I answered back, suddenly feeling awkward.

“You want me to carry that?” Gianni offered.

I stared at him. “My backpack? Why?”

Gianni shrugged. “Just seems weird, the girl carrying this ninety pound bag of books, and the guy with just a board.”

The way he said it: the girl. The guy. We were that girl and that guy and I was overwhelmed, suddenly. I felt this strange stretching pain in my knees and a silliness rising in my chest: giggles. Knowing this was an entirely age-appropriate response to a flood of hormones from my endocrine glands did not help in the least. I stared at my shoes, fumbling for words. *** Read on! ***

The Heartbreak Next Door by S.G. Rogers

February 6, 2011 Romance 6 Comments
The Heartbreak Next Door by S.G. Rogers

The Heartbreak Next Door

by S.G. Rogers

With her mom’s help, Helena spent the weekend baking and decorating cookies for Valentine’s Day.  She’d set aside one special cookie for her next-door neighbor, Erik. It had taken her a half-hour to decorate that particular one. She’d piped white icing around the edges of the large, heart-shaped cookie and then filled the inside with a checkerboard of colored icing. Helena had finished it off by piping XOXO in the center. It was the prettiest cookie Helena had ever made.  She could hardly wait to give it to Erik when he got home from school on Valentine’s Day.

Erik happened to be the most gorgeous boy in the seventh grade. He was unusually tall and well muscled for a kid his age, with grey eyes and blonde wavy hair, but that wasn’t important to Helena.  She had known Erik since they were both toddlers. They used to run naked through the sprinklers back then, oblivious to the differences between boys and girls. When they got a little older, she and Erik would pitch a tent and camp out in the backyard.  It was so much fun to lie there at night, just the two of them. They would tell ghost stories and talk about what they wanted to be when they grew up. When they started school, Helena couldn’t help but notice girls would act goofy whenever Erik was around. They all wanted to marry him for some reason. The boys couldn’t decide whether or not to hang out with Erik or pound him into the ground. Erik’s involvement in sports had the dual benefit of keeping girls at bay and winning him acceptance by his peers.

Although Helena was often pushed aside by girls who wanted to be with Erik, she wasn’t jealous. Helena knew that silly girls would come and go, but best friends were forever. Besides, Erik was frequently embarrassed by all the attention, which made Helena all the more sympathetic and loyal. Eventually, though, the girls learned to cope with Erik’s glamour, and the incidents calmed down.

Until this year. ** Read on! **

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