“My mom says that cigarettes are bad for you!”
“Cigarettes are bad for an average human being, but not me. I’m too damn cool to let smoke rot my heart away.”
“Your heart can’t rot because you don’t have one, to begin with.”
“Finally, one of you noticed it. I thought I couldn’t make it any more obvious.”
“We noticed; we talk about it all the time.”
“We think you run off of cigarette smoke, like a car running on gas.”
“Or a bear only eating honey for winter.”
“Guys, what of her heart is made out of smoke? That’d be kinda cool actually.”
“That wouldn’t make sense, she’d be dead by now.”
“So… that’d mean she’s a zombie!”
“Shit, scary zombie lady!”
“Alright, the three of you relax,” I scream, grabbing their attention. I toss the cigarette, stomping it into the concrete. “You all remember what I told you. Smoking is bad and you should never do it, but I’m immune so it doesn’t apply to me, and none of you should be cursing, ever! Got that?”
“We understand, Andrea,” the kids say in unison.
“And whenever you see me smoking, always call me out on it, no matter how I react.
“Okay,” they say in sync again.
“Andrea, I have a question.”
“If you know that smoking is wrong, then why do you keep doing it?”
“Because Dale, it’s hard for me to quit, and being around you kids pushes me to try harder to do so. That’s why I want all of you to keep telling me how bad it is.”
“Oh okay… but what makes it so hard to quit?”
“Let’s just say there’s something in it that makes you feel good, even though it’s bad for you.”
“Wait, I think I know what it’s called,” Tania interrupts. “It’s nicotine, right?”
“Wow, I’m surprised that you knew that. Where’d you learn that from?”
“They tell us about smoking all the time in school. No one is immune to its effects, you’re just in denial about your addiction.”
“In denial!? What makes you think I’m in denial?”
“No offense, Andrea, but please do better,” Jared chimes in, his voice humming with a weak tone.
“You should’ve put that cigarette before you walked over to us. Second-hand smoke is worse than smoking the cigarette itself.”
“Alright, alright. I’ll try harder to stop smoking, will that make you guys happy?”
“Now that’s enough about me, what’ve you guys been doing?”
“Excuse me!?” I hear a woman scream at the top of her lungs.
“Huh?” I turn around to see a middle-aged woman creeping toward us. I already know how this is gonna go down.
“What’re you doing around these children? I always see you in this park when school lets out, and I’m surprised no one has reported you yet.”
“She’s our older cousin—”
Seriously!? Did they all forget what I told them to say at the same time? Doesn’t matter, I’ll think of a backup plan.
“T—Technically, I function as all three for my dear… siblings, but I’m mainly a sister to them. Instead of going straight home on a Friday afternoon, I let them play in the park after school. Now that might sound irresponsible, but I can promise you that all of my siblings are passing all of their classes with flying colors.”
“Well, which one is it? Cousin, babysitter, or sister?”
“Sister.” Good, now we’re all on the same page.
“You say that, but for the past week, I’ve seen you hanging around with them up until five pm. School lets out at two.”
“That’s true, but it’s also late into the school year, so I let them let loose a little bit, you know? Sure they have work, but I want them to know how to enjoy life before the reality of adult crushes the passion for living out of their souls… N—Not to say they won’t want to live anymore, but being an adult is hard, you know?”
“Uh-huh. Do you know their names?”
“Of course! The one with the beautiful ponytail is Tania, The sweet little blonde is Jared, and the one growing up a storm is Dale.”
“Are those your real names,” The woman asks, her eyes widening with worry.
“My real name is Jared; I wish it was something cooler though.”
“I really am Dale!”
“I wanted my name to be something scary, but my sister said that I would never get a job if I put Death Witch on a resume.”
“Right… I’m sorry for interrupting all of you, I just wanted to make sure these kids were safe.”
“And safe they are, I hope you have a fantastic day ma’am!”
“Thank you. Again, I apologize for suspecting you of doing something wrong to these kids.” She huffs with a sigh of relief and walks off, minding her own business.
“So… is she what’d you’d call a nosy asshole?”
“Dale, I told you no cursing!”
“I told you guys to say that I’m your babysitter if someone asks you about me. How’d you guys forget?”
“I didn’t forget, Andrea! I just got nervous and… forgot.”
“It’s okay, Dale. No one ever asks us, because no one ever sees us, so I thought I’d never have to remember.”
“I didn’t remember, I just got lucky and said, babysitter.”
“Well, it’s whatever now but next time, stick to one story, please. You know how much sweet-talking I have to do to convince people that I’m your sister?”
“It shouldn’t be that much talking, should it?”
“Tiana, it’ll be a lot of talking. I’m midnight and you’re all light as day.”
“So? Didn’t racism get deleted in Rome or something?”
“Didn’t racism get deleted in Rome… you kids are one of a kind.”
They all spit out their lines one after another, or together, more in sync than any group of siblings should be.
“But seriously guys, I think it’s about time I start walking you home. I don’t think your parents are coming to pick you up. Again.”
“They said they’d do it today, are you sure you don’t want to keep waiting, Andrea?”
“They told all of you that yesterday and the day before that and look at where we are now. These teachers don’t even remember that you guys are here either. Let’s get going before it gets too late, I don’t want a repeat of what happened last week.”
“I wouldn’t mind, we played until it was super late at night!”
“Of course, you loved it, Dale, but I need all of you to be safe. You’re better in your house than you are out here, now come on.”
“There’s no way that none of you have touched a video game in your life. You’re all kids, do kid things before people start judging you for it.”
“I mean, we can keep doing whatever we want, even if people judge us for it,” Tania says, skipping ahead of us. “As long as we’re not doing something terrible to people.”
“And what would you consider to be terrible, Tania? I’ve always seen you as a delicate flower.”
“What would I consider to be terrible? It’s pretty obvious. Manipulating people, lying stealing, murder.”
“You know what murder is?”
“Of course, Andrea. I’m ten.”
“When I was ten I knew nothing about murder or even death. I thought people actually respawned.”
“That’s what happens when you play video games, they rot your brain.”
“Shut up, Tania.”
We all reach the end of the block, bringing my and Tania’s conversation to an end. The houses look neat and tidy lined up behind the sidewalk. Well-kept lawns, and roads free of potholes. Even in a neighborhood like this, people can have a life that works against them. All the kids gather around in front of me to say goodbye, each one offering me a strong hug.
“See you on Monday!”
“Bye.” I kneel down, meeting them on eye level.
“I know this is the hardest part of the day for you all but remember what I told you. No matter how much you annoy each other, no matter what you agree or disagree on, you need to stick together in that house, understand?”
“I wish we could live with you…” Dale whispers to me, pouting his head.
“I know, but it’s not that simple, but you can be there for each other. Remember, whenever they ask you to do a chore, just do it. Don’t argue back, don’t make a fuss, just do as they say. Luckily, they don’t ask you guys to do anything dangerous, so just play along with them. And whenever you guys feel like you’re in danger, huddle up, three of you is better than one.”
“What do we do if we get scared?” Tania asks, her optimism leaking out of her.
“You have to be brave for each other. You’re going to be scared, but you’re all in this together. Your neighbors aren’t doing shit, but they know what’s going on. I promise, I’ll think of something to help you guys, but most of all, make sure things don’t get terrible in there. If the police have to get involved, then I don’t know where you guys might end up. I love you and be there for each other.” With all of their struggle, they huddle around me, squeezing me with all they have.”
“Love you!” They shout in unison, releasing themselves from me. They wave their final goodbyes, as I wave back.
I can’t believe I’m telling them to not get the police involved, what the hell do I think I’m doing? I have no stance in this situation, I’m just some random ass girl walking kids home. Their school is so shit that I haven’t been questioned by a teacher once. If I wanted to kidnap these kids, they’d be long gone.
Damn it! What am I gonna do to help them? What can I do to help them?
Their waves end, and I reluctantly put down my arm. Every time they walk down this block, I question if I’ll ever see them again. Almost every day, their parents forget to pick up their kids. They just straight up forget, and no one bothers to check in on them or call their home. Seeing them in that park so much boils my blood.
But I know I can trust those kids to listen to me. They’re smarter than people give them credit for.
I hate walking around this neighborhood. Let’s just say that my appearance here is viewed as uncanny by the local residents. I see people’s heads turn across the street, the people I walk past, locking their eyes onto mine when I’m not even looking at them. No one here no knows how to mind their business.
Up head is a group of women, hollering over something stupid. They flock together like birds. One of them looks up, catching sight of me and I can tell she shit herself. The other women were unlucky enough to see me bulge their eyes out of their heads. It’s only here that people react to me like this. A bunch of basic assholes that act like they’ve never seen a nose piercing before. “Wait, wait, wait,” one of the women screams before I can walk by. “Excuse me, but I don’t know how to ask this, but what’d you do to your face,” she asks, staring directly at me. Why did I bother stopping when she screamed?
“You mean… me?” She bobs her head up and down, her entourage crowding around her, like pets to their owner when they’re scared. “They’re piercings.”
“Oh, that’s the thing where you stab your face with a bunch of metal, right!?” The pitch of her voice spikes, ripping through my eardrums.
“Oh, okay. Thank you!”
“Thank you for your time!”
“Bye!” All of their words start balling together as they wave goodbye to me. Nothing but weirdos in this part of town, I swear.
I don’t want to acknowledge how socially inept someone has to be talking to strangers like that. She had no control over the pitch of her voice, like a dog with headphones over its ears, barking its head off so it can hear itself. And did no one teach her basic manners? God damn… Can’t be that big, talking to people like you’re still two feet tall.
How old was that idiot anyway? She and her entourage of bozos are too scared to think without their ring leader. That’s how every cult ever has started a bunch of full-grown idiots huddle around someone because they think they’re all cool, and then they keep trailing them until they fall off a cliff and explode or some shit. Stupid fucking assholes!
Man… I think I need to calm down, cursing in my head isn’t gonna make it easier to stop cursing out loud. It’s a lot easier to curse out annoying people than to think about problems though.
I just hope the kids will be okay.
I hate walking home alone. Not because I don’t feel safe, but because there’s something missing about it. Sometimes a car zooms by, which is nice, but the silence starts to ring in my ears like crazy. Luckily the walk home isn’t too bad.
I trickle my way up the steps, jamming my key into the door. Once I open it, the distinct scent of home fills my nose. The first thing I see is my mom swinging her head back, her eyes opening up wider than they should.
“Why’re you back so late!? You were having, that much fun with your friends?”
“Yeah, I told you they’re cool people mom, and it’s not that late, is it?”
“It’s five-thirty,” she scolds, getting off the couch.
“Yeah, but the sun is still up. If it was winter, then I’d understand why you’re so worried.”
“Just text me when you’re on your way home. Is it that hard to send a text?”
“No, but I’ve come home later than this, and you weren’t worried at all.”
“That’s true, but you’ve been going out with friends a lot recently, and I’m very happy about that, but I’m starting to get a bit paranoid.”
“I know you’ll always care about me, but I’m twenty mom, I’m not going to be your little girl forever.”
“I know, but things are rough for you right now, but I want you to know that you have my full support, I know you’re trying hard,” my mother says, wrapping me in a hug.
I’m not ashamed to admit that this is the best part of my day. Knowing that my mom still cares for me, despite how my life is going gives me great comfort. One of the most comforting feelings in the world for me.
She lets me out of the hug, looking embarrassed. So embarrassed that I think I can see her blushing. Since when could black people blush?
“Are you okay?”
“Y—Yeah, but it isn’t, like, not cool to hug your kids when they’re older.”
“I’m fine with it, and parents hug their kids all the time, and even it wasn’t fine, whose watching?”
“My morals, that’s who.”
“So… you’re saying that it’s immoral to hug your kid just because they’re an adult?
“No—No! Not immoral, you make it sound like I’m doing something illegal. I only assumed that you’d be pushier about it.”
“Nope. I like your hugs, now stop being weird please.” Putting my mother’s antics aside, I start taking off my shoes, hoping for the weekend to be a relaxing one. The weekend is the one time I feel free. There’s no need to stress over hearing back from the jobs I applied for. My mind can be free, only for two days, but two is always more than zero.
My mom sits back on the couch, gluing her eyes to the TV. I head upstairs and scurry into my room, my heart fluttering with the slightest sense of hope.
I throw myself onto my bed and see what I hoped to see. A notification from Cornesa. I open it up and it reads “Are you out with those kids again?” Sent at two twenty-five pm. My fingers start mashing the keyboard on my phone.
“Yeah, I was out with them, sorry for not responding back earlier. Their shit parents didn’t pick them up again, and the school just let them stand out there like idiots.” I hit send on the message, and within seconds, the message is seen, and she begins typing.
She responds back with “Don’t worry, I was able to tell. It’s a good thing what you’re doing for those kids. It’ll show them that there are good people in the world.”
I instantly respond with “Yeah, and I’m glad you’re supportive of what I’m doing, but I wish I could do more for them, you know? I’d ask my mom to let them stay, but she’s already paying so much to keep both of us in this house.”
I stare at my phone, waiting for Cornesa to send her message. A couple seconds go by and she responds with “You’re already doing more than enough for those kids, and they appreciate you. Anymore would really stress you out. Also, you wanna call? My fingers are starting to cramp lol.”
Without missing a second, I call Cornesa, and she answers so fast that my phone didn’t ring.
“Hey Andrea, I really need you to understand that you’re working hard, cause I don’t think you understand that. No one would do what you’re doing for those kids, and I get you want to do more, but stressing over that is only going to hurt you.”
“Yeah… you’re right.”
“I want you to have a proper break, not just you sitting in your room. I’m going outside to meet up with some friends. I think you should come with us!”
“Well, this is sudden, but I’d be down for that.”
“I know we have a lot of fun messing around on the phone, but I’m waiting to hear back from jobs just like you, so I think you should come with me and relax.”
“That sounds good, but how long have you known the friends you’re talking about?”
“I’ve known them since high school. Don’t worry, they’re a bunch of introverts like us so we rarely go out. It’s not gonna be anything crazy.” The only large groups I’ve been around is a bunch of kids. Cool kids, but kids. Whenever I’m around people my own age, It doesn’t really feel right. When I’m talking to Jared and his siblings, it’s more fun for me and I understand why they might misunderstand things about the world. They’re only kids after all.
But when I’m talking to adults, they’re all grown and stuff. That’s fine, but there’s so much to them, so much more that I need to do to understand. To be fair, that’s any person on the planet, but adults have that chance to have something lurking inside their personality, something they know people won’t like, so they spend their whole lives hiding it. Spend enough time with those people, and you’ll see a side that you’d be happier burying under the rug.
But with kids, they’re not like that. One way or another, they put everything on the table, even if they’re liars. It’s not hard to see right through them.
“When are you guys going out?”
“Tomorrow at three pm. One of us is driving, so we’ll just pick you up at your house. Just be ready.”
“Okay, no problem.”
“Great! I’m sorry for being so sudden with my request.”
“No, it’s fine. I need to get outside more anyways.”
“I know how you feel about people too, but I can assure you that they’re a trustworthy group.”
“What!? Why’re you even saying that to me? Why would I assume your friends aren’t trustworthy?”
“I just want you to know, and you’ve never met them before so it would be okay if you did. I know you’ve had plenty of run-ins with assholes in your day.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Like that one guy that kept insisting we hang out extremely far away from my house. He was cool up until that point.”
“Yeah, that was so creepy! I’m glad you asked what I thought about that dude. And every time he did it, the locations would get farther and farther away.” That scenario is digging up an old wound, but that’s just one of my many encounters with the grown kind. I won’t ever forget that feeling of being emotionally blindsided.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought that up, I should be a lot happier right now. I’m sorry for not being that active in the group either, but I haven’t been checking out any movies recently, so I don’t have anything to talk about.”
“Oh it’s fine, I haven’t been in the chat either. That new movie Enchanted Heirloom came out, and I don’t want anyone spoiling it. Plus, that chat is getting way too big, and some people have huge egos with their opinions on movies.”
“Like that asshole that was going on about fantasy movies? What was he saying again? That everything in the movie needs to be explained, or else it’s a plot hole?”
“Yeah, something stupid like that! There’s a fine line between a plot hole and the suspension of disbelief.”
“Yeah, he was an idiot. I still enjoy the chat though; I’ve just been busy.”
“Yeah, yeah… you wanna watch a movie with me now? I can get on my laptop and stream it for us.”
“Actually, I’m not sure. I’ll let you know later. I’ve got things to think about right now.”
“Oh, alright. Take all the time you need. Remember, I’m always available.”
“I know, later Cornesa.” I hang up the phone, feeling off. I’m so worried about the kids, all my mind goes to is how else I can help them, how much more I can be doing for them.
Damn, I should’ve said no to that invite. I need to do some thinking alone, but I can’t say no now, I’d look like a jerk. It’s her old high school friends she said, and any friend of hers is a friend of mine.
Sure there’s a lot to unpack with older people, but all I need to do is play it cool. Play cool Andrea, just play it cool.
“I’m ready, let me know when you guys pull up,” I text, feeling oddly nervous. I hit send and stuff my phone in my pocket, slouching far into the couch.
“So, you don’t know where you’re going?”
“I’m going out with some friends, mom.”
“Yeah, but where though?”
“Hanging out, in the real world, not doing anything interesting.”
“So you’re just going out to go out?”
“Yeah, it’s nice to get some fresh air here and there.”
“Yeah… but you’re going out with people. Am I—”
“Yes! What’s the issue with that? I’ve been going out this whole week and you’ve been cool with it, so why is it an issue now?”
“Oh there’s no issue, it’s that you’re usually on the phone on the weekends, but now you’re actually going out on a weekend. I just didn’t expect this.”
“Ugh, it’s fine. I’m sorry for raising my voice. I’m a bit on edge.”
“It’s fine, Andrea, but what’re you on edge for? You’re about to hang out with friends, right?”
“Well yeah, but I only know one person in the group, and the rest of them I don’t know.”
“If they’re friends of a friend then what does it matter?”
“What if I don’t like them?”
“I don’t know, what if they don’t like you and rip you open to eat you.”
“Exactly! There’s no sense in worrying about what could happen. I know that you have very high standards for the people you associate with. If you don’t like her friends, then you hang out with them this one time, and you never speak to them again.”
“Wait, but what if they really do eat me? You didn’t sound very concerned about that.”
“Of course not. You’re like a pufferfish, if they eat you, they’ll die too, and no one is going to eat you anyway, you’ll be fine!” Before I can respond to my mom’s nonsense, my phone vibrates in my pocket.
“They’re here, gotta go.” As soon as I stand up, my mom leaps off the couch and wraps me in a hug, a little too tight. Again, I don’t mind them, but not when they suck the life out of me.
Once she lets go, she stares at me with a smile and a twinkle in her eye.
“If they start causing any trouble out there, call me as soon as you can. I don’t want you getting sucked into the wrong crowed.”
“I’ll be fine mom; my behavior puts angels to shame.” I twist the door handle and open the door leading to the outside world. I hear one last goodbye from my mom as the weather settles around my face, giving me a small prelude to how the day will go.
Outside is at room temperature accompanied by a slight breeze. It’s honestly too perfect to be true. This is a Saturday afternoon that comes once every two years.
I can see the car humming in the middle of the road. It’s slim and black, average looking. It doesn’t look like it can fit more than five people. I don’t know anything about cars though. There could be some secret compartment that folds people in half, it could be a clown car even.
“Andrea, it’s us! Come on get in!” Cornesa has half of her body sticking out of the back seat. For such a small girl, she has a lot of energy to burn doing virtually anything.
I can’t stand here and think about the millions of people that could be in that car. The only way to know how many is to get in and count myself.
I scurry off my porch, and reach the car, grabbing the door handle. A spike of anxiety races into my heart but I ignore it and head open the door to the backseat. While I get myself comfortable, the world of the car becomes a blur. All of the seats become a mass of black, the only voice I can hear being Cornesa’s.
“This is my friend Andrea. I met her in the movie group chat I’m in, and she just happened to live really close by. Say hi guys!”
“Hey, nice to meet you. I’m Leanne, I heard a lot about you from Cornesa and you two sound super close.”
“Y—Yeah, I’d say we’re close.” Once my eyes settle down, I catch sight of her friend sitting across from me. Her hair is long and dark, and her skin is a glowing light brown. Her smile is strong enough to outshine the sun with how bright it is, and her cheekbones compliment her so well.
“I’m surprised you two talk so much. I didn’t think that Cornesa was the online friendship type, especially with how much she never shuts up.”
“What,” Cornesa shrieks. “If anything, I fit into the online friend’s category because I don’t shut up, and you say that like there’s a difference between people you meet online and the people you meet in real life. People are people no matter how you meet them.”
“Relax,” Leanne chuckles. “There’s no need to get defensive. It’s so easy to rile you up, I swear.”
“Yeah, that’s why it’s so fun to do it.” I look over to the driver’s seat and see a dark skin woman with short curly hair. She flashes me a strong smile that makes me feel welcome. “I’m Addison by the way, it’s nice to meet you! Cornesa didn’t tell me anything about you because she’s a bad friend.”
“Whatever! You two are so stupid,” Cornesa whines, crossing her arms. “Do you even know where you’re taking us, Addison?”
“What do you mean? I thought you had something set up already. I made it very clear that I’d only be driving us to where you wanted us to go.”
“What? When have we ever planned stuff like that? What we usually do is plan on something together, but we’ve all been busy with our lives recently, so we decided that we’d let you pick where we’d go because you’re the one that always drives and you say that you know good spots around town.”
“I said I’d pick a place?”
“Yes, Addison you did,” Cornesa responds, her frustration making her face turn red.
“Yeah, you did say it. You typed in chat the last time we spoke,” Leanne chimes in. “But it’s no big deal. If you know a lot of spots then it shouldn’t be hard to pick one right?”
“Yeah, I know spots but what do you guys want to do?” Everyone in the car goes silent, the hum of the engine filling in the void where words should be.
“I wanted to do what you wanted to do,” Cornesa says, entering the void with courage.
“But I thought you guys wanted to do something, so I don’t have anything in mind…”
“Then why don’t we think of something then?” Leanne suggests.
I don’t understand what’s happening but it seems like they’re having fun, in a twisted sort of way.
“Yeah, that’s a great idea! I’ll ask Andrea first.” Cornesa twists her body around, smiling so hard that her cheekbones are almost poking out of her chubby cheeks. “So, where do you want to go?”
“I don’t really go out much, so I don’t know any places to mention.”
“That doesn’t matter, just tell us what you’re most in the mood for right now!”
“Right now? I guess I’m in the mood for… some food?”
“A place to eat! Why didn’t I think of that? Everyone needs to eat, is anyone else in here hungry? I’m hungry.”
“I mean, I guess I am…” Addison groans.
“Yeah, we can get something to eat,” Leanne adds. I can’t say I’m surprised to see Cornesa’s friends be as quick and impulsive as her. It’s a bit draining to deal with, but I know they mean well.
“So where do you guys want to eat? I’m willing to go drive you guys pretty much anywhere.”
“Isn’t there a high-end restaurant around here? Like, all fancy and expensive?” Cornesa asks.
“Don’t use that disgusting word in my car again.”
“What word? What did I say?”
“The ‘E’ word. You know what word I’m talking about.”
“What’s wrong with the word end?”
“Stop acting stupid, Cornesa.” I tune those two out and turn to Leanne, in hopes of getting a normal conversation out of her.
“Uh… Are these two always like this?”
“Yeah, ever since they met in the ninth grade they’ve been at each other’s throats. Why? I have no idea, but now I just enjoy the show.”
“I’ve gotta admit, they bounce off each other pretty well.”
“Yeah,” Leanne chuckles, “Watching these two never gets old.” I start to get a slight headache with how loud they’re being, but they do get a smile out of me. I can tell Cornesa going with Addison is a testament to their friendship. It’s nice to know that friendships like this can still exist.
I wish Dale, Jared, and Tania could experience this more. They’re such good kids that deserve better. I know I can trust them to stick together, but I hate knowing that they live in such an abusive household.
I can’t even call CPS, because if their parents get arrested, then who will take care of them? I know that foster care can be an entirely different hell hole in itself, and I don’t have the money to care for those kids.
I don’t even need to see them ever again. I just met them in the park and started talking to them. Why am I doing this to myself?
“Don’t do say it, don’t say it!”
“Is the word… expensive?”
“Why’re you such an asshole!?”
“Uh… guys. Are we gonna choose somewhere or what?” My head starts to throb profusely, almost becoming unbearable.
“I—I’m sorry guys, my mom said she needs help with something.” I jump out of the car and sprint back to my house.
“Andrea wait! Where are you going?” My head feels like it’s on fire. I shuffle up the steps and strangle the door handle until I get it open. “Andrea!” I slip into my house and slam the door behind me, my head already starting to feel better.
I think it’d be best if I spent this weekend inside…
Hi! I post on this website for a chance to share my stories with the world. I’ve been writing for the past 6 years, learning more about creative writing to better my writing skills. My hope is to make a lot of friends here and grow as a writer. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like.