Shrinking Violet

My eyes drift down to the flower in my hands. The four fragile petals can’t even stand proud like the daffodils, gardenias, and other blooms fellow classmates received.

“What do you think this means?” I wonder, half afraid the blue violet will collapse any second.

The Boy Next Door



Such a tiny word for a huge subject. At its core, art is a form of expression. A way to show a piece of your heart or soul when words fail.

As the shy kid hiding behind his mother’s Anne Taylor pant leg, skipping words altogether appealed to me. Putting pretty colors on a blank page and creating a picture, creating a statement without the awkwardness and anxiety, it was everything.

I love painting. I love everything from color theory to the first brush stroke. I love art.

Art is beautiful, transformative, passionate… and limited.

The Boy Next Door

What seemed closer to a vast ocean as a child is actually a tiny oasis of blue and green serenity where water plants thrive. The greenish dark water and picturesque lily pads on top spark a rush of nostalgia. I remember the satisfying splash of chucking a bottle in there.

As kids, we were creative since we lacked glass bottles. Instead, we used old prescription bottles from our parents to deliver our notes. The little orange capsules stuck out, orange buoys signaling a secret message from friends.

The Boy Next Door

The Rock Star

“The only legit opportunity for Wombat Soup… Some studio execs decide we’re worth talking to and get the bright idea I should be the front man.  They believed they could sell me as the edgy, sexy rock star.” No argument there. “Can’t say I loved the idea to sing, but hell, they were probably right. Between me and them, I’m the guy who hasn’t made a dime from music.”

The Boy Next Door

Artistic Sam

Even getting into this class means I’m among the best artists at my high school, chosen by the notoriously eccentric Alessandria French herself. She only accepts a dozen seniors or less every year, those whose potential ‘speaks to her senses.’

My parents were so impressed they stopped telling me about the starting salaries for accountants. For a few weeks.

The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door

The school doors open, light from outside hitting him just right and making his blue eyes sparkle. And his hair color, a rich chestnut brown, is new and makes my knees weak.

“Hey, Bell!” he greets, calling me by my last name as usual. I ignore the popular people at his side who sometimes clearly wonder why we interact. “What’s up?”

The Boy Next Door

A quick quote

Horatio waltzed into my life fashionably late, expecting everything else to grind to a halt while he made room for himself. Then again, why shouldn’t he feel that way? For years I had the same attitude. I waited patiently, trying to make decisions for myself but always knowing any moment could be the moment when it stopped being my life and became our life.

-Mason Lewis, Black Cats and Bad Luck