Amber’s Writing

Screams

This is a poem that screams
In the abyss of loneliness and despair
That tortures souls, conquers minds, and
Shatters hearts like stained glass
because it holds a mirror, reflecting
Your truth in life — apparent as fog
because its presence yearns to break
the earth-bound

And when terror robs curiosity from the
Safe of your soul, profound discontentment
Makes your heart sigh in woeful yearning,
Setting a knot in your throat, stripping
You of air — of life!

This is the poem that lifts hope into
the stars above, floating past the dark
crevices of life and death — like smoke
Rising from a smoldering flame
forever rising into the light

Find Me

I do not stand alone
In this hopeless fight
Time shifts like sand
Seconds easing by

In this hopeless fight
Listening to the
Seconds easing by
My steady pulse

Listening to the
Silent conversations
My steady pulse
Pounds with anticipation

Silent conversations
Spark a heart that
Pounds with anticipation
Echoing in silence

Spark a heart that
Yearns woefully
Echoing in silence
It longs to be heard

Yearns woefully as
Night fades the day
It longs to be heard
A single voice rises

Night fades the day
Time shifts like sand
A single voice rises
I do not stand alone

A Good Book

Amber's Book Spine Poem for the Web

What I lost

I found what I lost
Among the leaves
Sitting patiently
It waited for me

Among the leaves
A heart was hidden
Sitting patiently
Yearning for me

A heart was hidden
In his soul
Yearning for me
But, I could not go

In his soul
Love was conjured
But, I could not go
To fulfill my desires

Love was conjured
Amidst the leaves
To fulfill my desires
Oh, true love

Sitting patiently
Amidst the leaves
I found what I lost
Oh, true love

When Time Runs Out

Life isn’t about having
Piles of cold, hard cash,
Silky brand-name clothes,
Or expensive cars.

It isn’t about
Making money,
Being on the cover of a magazine
Or winning the most awards.

It isn’t about
Fitting a cookie-cutter frame
Like everyone else
Loves to do.

It isn’t about
Where you come from,
Where you’re going,
Or if you’re lost.

It isn’t about
Filling someone else’s shoes,
Or changing yourself
To fit someone else’s standards.

It isn’t about
What you need to do,
Or should do,
According to others.

Life’s about
Living in a way
That you enjoy
And want.

It’s about
Being yourself
No matter what
Others tell you.

It’s about
Exploring,
Learning,
Growing!

Life’s about being able to
Smile,
Laugh,
And feel content.

When Death knocks at your door,
Will you smile and take His hand?
Or will you run and hide
Because you’ve finally realized
What life’s really about?

Speak

Amber's Headline Poem

Unfortunate Talent

I once met a man from Iran
Who tried greatly to start a rock band
But whenever he sang
His telephone rang
That unfortunate man from Iran

What a Gift

I sincerely apologize

For the black eye

I gifted you

But

I told you

Multiple times

Not to scare me

Aurora

Icy waterfall foam
tinges vibrant green vines

Ecstasy twisted ribbons
dazzle Mother Earth

Beaming white stars
escalates soul’s bliss

As nature dances

What’s Right About My Life?

I rub my sweaty palms together and take a deep breath as a surge of adrenaline and fear cascades over me like the Blue Pool Waterfall in Hāna. Refreshing, yet powerful.  I look up on the stage to admire my friend’s angelic voice. His voice is as sweet, smooth, and unique as a chocolate-dipped strawberry. He sings out the last note and the audience claps like a herd of rhinos stomping across the African safari.

As the commotion dies, down my cue is called and a rush of anxiety ripples through my limbs. I glance at the audience and momentarily avert my eyes to the suddenly quizzical black notes on the paper in front of me. I put the sheet music down and close my eyes. Surrounding myself in total darkness and silence helps me concentrate on my inner thoughts. Legs quivering, hands clenched, eyes closed, mouth open, I take one final deep breath. I open my eyelids, and I have been reborn.

Breathing in the sweet berry-scented perfume of my best friend who is entering with me, I proudly walk onto the open stage. Yellow lights that are as blinding as the sun’s rays on a crisp summer day pour down on my milk chocolate complexion, lighting up my bright red lips and golden blush. I am no longer Amber. I am my character. I walk like her, I talk like her, and I think like her. I see the four chairs calling for me, beckoning me to join them, and I take my place where I belong. I sit in the center of the stage with my friends, laughing and talking as we now drive through the town.

Confident, intelligent, beautiful, funny – all the things I can be on stage, all the things I don’t have as Amber. On stage, my heart lights up like the full moon in the midnight-blue sky. I am relaxed and calm; however, I am glowing with energy and new-found radiance. My eyes sparkle like an obnoxious gold-sequined dress, and my body shakes with excitement.

This is what‘s right about my life.

Craigslist Ad

I shove my shoulder against the creaky wooden door, but it doesn’t budge. Twisting the doorknob with every muscle in my arm, I take a deep breath and give it one more push.

I fall onto the dusty floor, face first. I accidentally snort in a layer of dust and let it out with a sneeze that echoes through the mysterious room. I crinkle my nose and dust off my clothes as I push myself off the ground.

Standing on my feet, I look at the small room around me. 13 years this room has been in here…13 years I’ve never been able to open it. Afternoon sunlight streams through the grimy glass window, and I crinkle my nose to restrain another sneeze.

A trunk in the corner catches my attention, and I cautiously tread across the filthy wooden floor, leaving dust prints behind me. I kneel down before the old trunk and graze the flat top with my index finger. I notice the lock, hanging onto the trunk for dear life with one job—sealing the contents of the trunk. I squint my eyes and take a closer look at the rusted lock. It needs a key.

I slip my hand into my shorts pocket and finger the ancient key my grandmother had given me years ago. Biting my lip, I take the key and weigh it in my hand. The light-weight metal warms my hand as my heart races in anticipation. I apprehensively take the lock in my other hand and insert the key.

Click.

My breath hitches in surprise. I didn’t think it’d actually work! I peek into the trunk with intense curiosity, my imagination buzzing with excitement and infinite possibilities of a possible adventure!

Empty.

Sighing, my heart sinks to the bottom of the ocean, wonderful fantasies of thrills and adrenaline burnt to a crisp. I sigh and close the trunk and with another disappointed sigh, head back to my room. Purple sparkles from an unfortunate glitter spray accidently splatters my silver MacBook. I open my computer, type in the familiar password, and a ding goes off.

I read the message my friend sent me.

“One Direction is having a concert here!!! The tickets are only $100!!!!!!!”

I squeal, joy overflowing my bright smile. I had to get a ticket! But, where would I get the money? I ponder the situation and flop back on my cool waterbed with a jiggle.

I felt the old key shift in my pocket, and I knew what to do.

Student Bus Leader

*Editor’s note: This is an ABC story. Note the first letter of each sentence.

After school, Julie would rush out of the average classroom doors to get to the bus.

Bursting through the brown doors of the school, she saw her target in sight.

Cars lined the sidewalk, but nothing looked more beautiful and appealing than the bright yellow bus ahead of her.

Dodging other students lingering about the front of the school was something Julie had become a pro at.

Every day she rushed to get the front seat, so she could get off the bus after everyone as well!

“First on and first off,” that was her motto.

Getting onto the bus was the hardest part; from here on it was cruise control because she was a bus leader.

Hot sun beamed through the humid bus, and Julie knew that she was going to please everyone on the bus today.

Idiotic classmates filed into the bus and Julie told them where to sit because, as a bus leader, that was her job.

Julie always listened to when it came to where her peers wanted to sit, and she guided them that way.

Katie stepped onto the bus, and immediately told Julie that she wanted seat eight by the emergency exit.

Lizzie peeped up from behind her and declared that she wanted to sit there, too.

Matt suddenly stood up from his chosen seat nine and moved up to seat eight.

No one, especially not Julie, approved of Matt’s oh-so-sudden change of seat.

Others began to whisper, and some even decided to trade seats, too.

Pink splotches blossomed on Julie’s cheeks, for no one had ever caused a conflict on the bus before.

Quickly Julie tried to regain control of the situation.

Randy yelled into the bus to hurry up and find a seat; however, Katie and Lizzie only screamed back that he needed to wait.

Sadie pushed her way past Randy and Lizzie to complain to Julie that it was getting too hot to stand outside.

The next thing Julie knew, a bunch of her classmates were pushing their way onto the bus.

Unit Five of the student bus leader handbook stated that if chaos occurs, the leader must dissolve it.

Very much scared and overwhelmed, Julie sat back in her seat and told everyone to find their own seats.

Why Julie ever took this job she would never understand.

Xerox machine helper was definitely the next job she was going to check out.

Yo-yo’s thrown across the bus would never be her problem again.

Zap games on the bus would never be her problem again either; she quit.

Surface of the Ocean

I rush to push the canoe out onto the water with my peers. The hull drags across the sand, groaning against the unwanted friction. The dried salt on the fiberglass dulls its vibrant blue hue and white words. It looks old from this point of view. I push my heels into the wet sand and find us almost in the crisp ocean water. Our leader calls out for one last, strong push and the canoe goes barreling into the water. I quickly put both hands onto the edge of the canoe and launch myself over the side and into the seat.

The lingering ocean water dripping down my legs reminds me of what’s about to happen. The entrance is only the first part of practice. My peers get into their seats. We raise our paddles and follow seat three’s calls. We practice for an hour or two depending on how far the coach decides he wants to push us that day.

By the end of the grueling practice, my body is doused in aches and pain. My eyes sting from the burn of salt water, and my throat is painfully dry from swallowing half the harbor. My arms are screaming for a break, my lungs crave air that I’ve been trying to pant into them. My body is a mess as we pull the canoe back onto shore; however, when I finally step onto the sand, I realize something has changed.

Every day I bond with the surface of the ocean upon fiberglass canoes.  Every day I go to practice thinking I might not be able to handle the intense physical labor. Every day I step back onto the sand, knowing that I did.

How to Annoy Your Teachers Like a Child

(or How to Earn a Long Stay After School)

First, whenever your teachers begin to give instructions, start singing “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. Tip: Try to harmonize with yourself.

Second, during free time, constantly talk to your teacher about nonsensical, interesting facts. Tip: Don’t stop until the free time is over.

Third, color all visible parts of your skin with orange Crayola marker; then, give yourself black stripes and tell everyone that you’re Tigger! Tip: Don’t use the washable markers.

Fourth, insist to your teacher that you need to eat chocolate every 30 minutes to live. Tip: Carry a box of chocolate bars with you.

Fifth, turn boring worksheets into beautiful paper cranes! Tip: Make a whole family of cranes from one paper.

Curds & Whey

“Wow, she’s gorgeous!” I whisper as I slowly spin my thread of string down to her.

Steam is rising from her bowl of curds and whey. She smiles and takes a sizeable bite.

“I wish I could get her to notice me!” I exclaim as I revel in her beauty. Golden curls, bright green eyes, and tan skin sprinkled with freckles.

Day after day, the girl would sit down under the tree’s shade and enjoy her meal. I always watched her from the top of the tree, and every day I fell more and more in love with her.

Finally, the day came when I got up enough courage to sit down beside her.

“I must tell her of my love!” I finally sit by her, my joy cascading through my features.

She turns to face me, and I am so close that I can smell the ambrosial scent of her perfume.

“AHHHH!” she screams as she jumps up, drops the bowl of food and runs back home. I frown and sadly climb back to my web.

She never came back to eat underneath my tree again.

I miss her.

A New Friend

The photographer knelt down, one hand gripping the bottom of his Canon camera, his other hand turning the zoom on the lens. He took a deep breath and waited for the perfect ray of sunlight to shine on his target. He remained poised, his finger gently pressed on the trigger that would forever capture this single moment in time.

The sun peeked from behind white clouds and—

—click.

The photographer pulled back from the camera to analyze the photo. Pushing the triangle button that would show his media library, he quickly found the picture.

A medium-haired, golden-brown dog was asleep on the sidewalk at the park. A monarch butterfly had come to rest on the dog’s black nose. The picture was a close up of the dog’s content expression with the delicate insect on its nose.

The dog was gorgeous, and, from what the photographer could tell, it was a golden retriever mix of some sort. The photographer leaned down with his camera to take another picture when a whistle went off, and the dog blinked its eyes open—

– click.

Another photo. A close up of the dog opening its eye to the butterfly that quickly flitted off its nose. The photographer packed up his camera and headed over to the dog. The dog saw him and picked up his head to face him. The photographer held out his hand and the dog proceeded to sniff then lick it. The photographer smiled and moved closer, stroking the soft, clean fur. He checked for a tag, but couldn’t find one.

A dog this well-groomed couldn’t possibly be a stray.

The photographer got up, slipped the camera bag onto his shoulder, gave the dog one last pet, and headed home.

+

The photographer entered the lobby of his apartment complex, shade and air conditioning cooling his sun-tinged skin.

He jogged up to the second floor and turned into the carpeted corridor. He quickly walked to his apartment and fiddled with his keys.

“Colin,” a familiar voice called.

“Yeah?” Colin turned to face his neighbor from down the hall.

“I think you’ve made a new friend,” the neighbor gestured at a golden retriever mix behind him.

“Oh no!” Colin gasped, “I think he followed me from the park.”

“Really? He doesn’t look like a stray though…” the neighbor muttered. “Well, I was heading out to the store to pick up some food, ya need anything?”

“No thank you, I’m fine,” Colin nodded politely with a worried smile.

“Hope you find the dog’s owner!” the neighbor called as she raced down the stairs.

“What are you doing here?” Colin knelt down to stroke his fur. The dog licked his hand in return and gave him big ol’ puppy eyes.

“No,” Colin shook his head. “Absolutely not. You are not staying here.”

The dog whined and somehow made his eyes plead even more. Colin cringed at the dog’s irresistible cuteness, clenched his hands, and shook his head.

“Dear Lord, you cannot—” Colin glared as the dog tilted his head down with disappointment, “ugh—you can’t – no – I….”

Colin took a deep breath and stood up. He grabbed the key and opened the door.

“Get in,” Colin sighed. The dog barked in glee and ran into Colin’s apartment…

To read the rest of this story, pick up a copy of We Digress coming in May 2013!

Slowly Dying

Why do they leave us like this? Unlocked, hanging from freezing gaps in the metal…Why can’t they just lock us? Why do they deny us of our true purpose?

The locks across of us are locked. They look so content and happy. We want to be like them. But, those feeble humans don’t understand us. They don’t get us.

Every day I am locked, and it fills me completely. I feel whole when I’m locked. I have a purpose. I protect things. A warm temperature encases me when the gears lock up. I hang from the plastic circle and take a deep breath. I am ready to stay strong and guard the items in the locker.

My neighbors feel the same. I can’t stand it when they’re left hanging and unlocked. I can hear their cries of disappointment and shame. I can feel them shivering against the cold metal, yearning for that warmth that comes from being locked. They give off an energy that lowers my mood. I can feel their sadness and depression. They grow weak…they begin to lose their purpose…they lose themselves…

I once knew a strong, prideful lock; however, one day the humans left him unlocked. Humans would pass by him, they didn’t try to lock him…they passed by…They- They are heartless beasts!

My friend- he…he wasn’t locked for a couple days…Each day I saw his soul drift out of his gears. His insides were twisted and gnarled. He became numb…He started to forget things. He forgot where he was, what his name was, who his friends were, and then he finally forgot his purpose. He lost everything. He’s nothing now. Just another mundane lock hanging from a metal hole.

My race is slowly dying…We are energy that inhabits stationary items…We are the energy of the metal. We all used to live on the lockers, but slowly they started to be left unlocked. They forgot their purpose. They forgot the feeling of warmth from being locked. I am lowly dying…

I- What- I- don’t remember…What was I thinking about? The other locks…Where am I? I- I’m in a locker! I- I can fight this! I can remember. I can do it. I am locker 246, I protect this humans possessions- I- Where am I again? I don’t remember…It’s getting blurry. I- I- don’t know. My gears hurt- Ow! I- I don’t know! There’s this horrible crunching pain inside me. It’s twisting me, my gears- I can feel the edges bending and stabbing into the other gears. It’s so cold- so very cold. I’m shaking. I’m freezing. It hurts. Please. Make it stop. Make it stop. Please- I can’t- I can’t do this- I’m sorry- Make it stop-

I-

I-

I-

Where am I?

Who am I?

What am I supposed to do?

 A Sweet Childhood Fairy tale

The illusion of security and warmth crashed on me like a wave. The sweet safety I had built around my fragile seven-year-old self was wrecked. It left me standing there, drenched with lost hope. I had never asked for the truth, and now all I wanted was that sweet childhood fairy tale.

My parents, my teachers, my older cousins, my aunties and uncles…they all said the same thing. They told me that when I grew up, I could be whatever I wanted! I remembered their bright eyes and curious ears as they asked the next question,

“So what do you want to be?”

Their words sparked the flames of adventure and images of enchanting foreign lands. I wanted to be an explorer like Indiana Jones! I wanted to travel on ships bigger than the Titanic and travel across the vast Atlantic sea. I wanted to visit Africa and explore the culture of the indigenous people.  I wanted to search the safari for rare species of tigers and help an elephant give birth. I wanted to dive in the Marianas Trench’s sun-shattering clutches and enjoy the chaotically peaceful darkness of the ocean. I wanted to discover new life on the bottom of the ocean. I wanted to be an adventurer! I wanted to discover things! Like Christopher Columbus!

Alas, I did not respond to the question with such dramatic stories and Filipino hand gestures. I was but a mere child. I had spoken the truth once when I was in the first grade, and it had only earned me a disapproving gaze and a sound pat on the back. At the time I realized that I could never speak of my true thoughts and intentions. Such thoughts were silly clouds of fantasy drifting above my head, and apparently, such innovative thoughts didn’t exist in the so-called “adult” world.

At the age of a bitter-sweet seven, reality slapped me across the face, and the red mark still pricks needles of heat onto my cheek to this very day. That was the day I learned that I couldn’t be whatever I wanted when I grew up. It was all a lie. My thoughts and theories about the universe and beyond was a concept no one but I could understand.

I turned back to the adult in front of me, contemplating my reply. I knew that my vivid imagination was beyond an adult’s comprehension, so I replied with something my mother had suggested I be when I grow up.

“I want to be a lawyer!” I exclaimed with false glee as I watched their smiles grow wide with astonishment and joy.

Adults were always appeased with that answer, so I kept my explorations to myself. The secret world I built around me was as real as my warm skin and golden-brown hair. I always thought the world was beautiful and that it had so much to offer. Everything was alive, the dirt, the grass, the stones, the trees, the silk worms falling from the leaves. All of it had a voice and a unique energy.

I could sense the mana in everything around me, and I responded to my environment in a respectful manner. I had been this way since I was born, naturally in tune to the sweet melodic singing of marigolds and daisies. Earth was my home and I loved it dearly.

I nurtured butterflies and birds with broken wings. I cuddled ugly, stray cats that only yearned for love. I embraced protective, growling dogs because they were doing a good job guarding their people. I avoided stepping on bugs and would say a prayer in remembrance for them if I accidentally ended their lives. I talked to flowers and complimented them on the brilliant hues of their petals. I laughed with chickens as they performed funny one-legged tricks for me.  I fed the Koi fish that splish-splashed through the lily pad-covered pond.

The plants were just as important as the animals. Before I ate I would thank the plants who sacrificed themselves to give me energy. They were giving me their life force, and without them I would not be alive. I would never let the vegetables on my plate go to waste either because each one was precious. I religiously believed that everything around me was alive. At that time in my life, I decided that I wanted to protect all the life around me. I also wanted to discover more life that exists out in the rest of the world.

I wanted to be an explorer.

And I dare say that I still want to be an explorer.

More than that, one day…I will be an explorer.

The Winter-Flower

Anna yawns as she wakes up. She listens to a Nirvana song blaring from her radio/alarm clock as she looks around the room with her eyes open just enough to make everything hazy. “What?” she thinks when the radio guy announces it is the tenth. It was supposed to be the eleventh! She vaults out of bed and hastily throws on a pair of navy sweats. She bursts through her door and runs down the stairs, her eyes darting across the living room until she spots the multi-colored scarf she had knit. After snatching the scarf from the couch, she shouts a quick hello and good-bye to her parents in the kitchen and dashes through the front door. Anna slips on her generic athletic shoes and begins to sprint down the street.

Her warm breath creates a white wisp in the icy air, and despite the 30 degree weather, she continues to sprint. She silently wishes that it’ll still be there. The chances were slim but it was worth a try. They ice-slick pavement forces her to lower her pace down to a light jog. The destination slowly zooms into sight. The allure of the frozen lake under the ancient wooden bridge pulls at her like a fish on a hook. She disregards the ice below her and takes off with a surge of adrenaline.

That’s when she spots it. The deep-ocean blue petals overlap each other and build into a plush velvet-looking cushion. The contrasting pollen is like a cotton-ball of lava and some of the pistils explode onto the luxurious petals. The stem is a strange hue of sickly brown, but it does not distract from the beautiful exotic flower itself. Anna gasps in astonishment at the beautiful sight before her. A sight she had only witnessed secondhand through her mother’s childhood photo album. She even remembers the exact date her mother found the flower as a child, ten years ago, on the tenth of December.

Anna keeps her eyes locked on nature’s treasure and slowly creeps forward, afraid that at any moment it might vanish. She crouches down and reaches toward the winter flower with apprehension. Soft silky petals sting the surreal atmosphere and a wide, uncontrollable smile stretches across her face.

It was real!

A childish giggle escapes Anna’s lips; she can’t believe the winter flower exists! She remembers when she was a young girl, flipping through her mother’s photo album, marveling at the flower surrounded by snow. Now, she holds it in her hand. She snaps the stem from the earth and stands up. She cradles the winter flower in her hands like a delicate glass shard. She looks up at the creaking wooden bridge, and her eyes widen in greed.

Two winter flowers.

They’re right next to each other! Anna’s mind automatically starts brainstorming ways to climb the bridge and fetch the two flowers. With two she could have one for herself and give one to her little sister!

Suddenly, the weight of the flower in her hand seems heavier. Anna bites her lip. She had already picked the flower…to climb the bridge, she would have to place the magnificent flower down, and the flower would be lost forever. Her mother told her that the moment the flower left the ground; it can never touch the snow again. It would destroy the paper-thin petals instantly.

Anna shakes her head and takes a deep breath. She looks up at the flowers and…

No.

It isn’t worth it.

The flower she has in her hands is more than she ever thought she’d attain. She isn’t going to give it up. Although, she won’t be able to have the winter flower in her room…she knows her sister will be ecstatic about waking up to the blossom every morning. Anna smiles to herself and begins the slow jog home.

The New Girl

A hush falls over the room as she walks in. Mouths drop. Eyes go wide.  She struts into the classroom and takes her seat in the front of the class. The tension is as thick and impenetrable as frozen butter, and not even the teacher’s pop quiz could distract the students from the girl’s entrance. Half way through class, she feels her back burn from scorching scrutiny of her classmates. She combs her fingers through her pixie haircut and smacks her electric pink bubble gum. Her feet tap against the icy, blue-speckled tiles that cover the floor. She hears the hushed whispers of her classmates and makes an educated guess as to what the commotion is about. Her. The new girl.

“I’m going to the bathroom, behave yourselves,” the teacher announces as he exits the threshold of the classroom.

She smiles and slides her chair back, scraping the floor and causing an attention-grabbing screech. She stands and saunters to the front of the classroom. Leaning against the whiteboard, she confidently meets the confused gazes of her peers.

“Hey there. I’m the new girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey. I didn’t want to move to Oklahoma. I didn’t even want to finish my senior year at this ridiculous school. I’m not a lesbian, contrary to most of your hushed whispers. Yes, I could hear all of you. So,” she pauses and takes a step forward, crossing her arms against her chest, “if you have a problem with me, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

The classroom is as silent as a funeral procession. She smirks and slides back into her seat. The teacher returns and finishes the lecture. She almost falls asleep but is saved by the annoying bell signaling the class’s end. She walks out of the classroom and heads down the locker-covered hallway.

“Hey! You! New Girl!” a voice calls from behind her.

“What do you want?” she glares at the short girl jogging toward her. Straight dirty-blonde hair frames her white, heart-shaped faced. Her small nose and plump cheeks are littered with freckles and her eyes are a light hazel.

“My name’s Allison,” the girl approaches the new girl with no caution and a bright smile, “Are you straight?”

“I’m gender blind. I don’t pick who I like based on what’s between their legs,” she rolls her eyes.

“Well, do you wanna go out some time?” Allison’s cheeks flush a bright fuschia, but her eyes remain locked with the new girl’s.

“Name’s Autumn,” she smiles at Allison. “How does dinner at 7:00 on…Saturday sound?”

“Sounds great!” her joy beamed through her face, “Here’s my number!”

Allison scribbles her number down on a crumpled piece of paper and hands it to Autumn.

“See you in class tomorrow!” Allison cheerfully waves as she skips down the hallway.

Autumn slips the paper into her pocket and grins, maybe the move wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

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