Part one

Moving Forward

Part 1 of 2

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"You look like you need to talk to somebody."

I rolled my eyes and continued typing steadily. I heard the scraping of chair legs but refused to look up from my laptop screen.

"Come on, what is it?"

"I don't want to talk about it, Micah."

"Ah, she does have a voice!"

"Look, I have a lot of work to get done. Can you save the theatrics for later?" I said, blowing a stray strand of hair out of my eyes.

"Can't do that."

"Why not?"

"Because you need to talk about it. You aren't going to get anything done while you're obsessing over whatever it is that has that scowl stuck on your face."

"The scowl is on my face because you won't leave me alone. I came here because you wouldn't stop hanging around my office."

"I can tell something is bothering you."

"What part of, "I don't want to talk about it" aren't you getting?" I snapped.

My eyes blazed as I met Micah's. He threw his hands up in defeat.

"Fine. You don't have to tell me but I'm not leaving. I'll just sit here and keep you company while you work."

I gritted my teeth in frustration.

"Please, just leave me alone."

I started typing faster as Micah stared at me for a moment. It seemed like he was trying to measure where I was at mentally before he responded. He let out an exaggerated sigh.

"Alright, you win. I'll leave you alone for exactly an hour to do your work. After that, there'll be no getting rid of me. And don't forget, I know where you live."

"I should hope so. We live in the same building."

Micah pushed his chair in and started to walk away.

"One hour. I'll be back."

"Yeah, yeah," I muttered, waving him off.

As much as he annoyed me, Micah was one of the best friends that I could ever ask for. I probably shouldn't have snapped at him the way that I did but he'd understand. I made a mental note to apologize to him later and to buy his favorite ice cream for our weekly weekend movie night.

File:AMS coffe shop ro.JPG - Wikimedia Commons

Coffee Shop

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I turned my attention back to my computer screen and my scowl returned. Once again, I had a giant mess to clean up after my manager had screwed up with another client. Our company was lucky that we'd managed to avoid getting sued with all of the mistakes that she'd made since she'd been hired. The previous manager had been promoted and now I was left picking up the mess left behind thanks to the outside hire.

I ran my hands over my face tiredly before diving back into the email chain with my very, very irritated client. I'd handled everything for the wedding up until a week before when my manager had decided she needed to take over. Needless to say, the wedding that was planned and the wedding that happened were vastly different. Unfortunately, the only thing that I could really do was explain to my client that we were still working out the kinks with new management styles.

"Excuse me?"

I jumped as a voice came from right beside me.

"Jesus Christ!"

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you. You knocked your wallet off of the table and I didn't want you to miss it."

"Oh, thank you. I really appreciate it."

"It's no problem."

The man the voice belonged to turned to walk away before abruptly turning back around.

"You're Helena Grayson!"

"Yes?"

"You coordinated my sister's wedding! You were amazing!"

"Oh, thank you."

"Brandon Madison. My sister is, well was, Cara Madison."

"Oh! I remember now. Your sister was wonderful to work with. She honestly was so easy going that it made it a lot easier to get everything done."

"Do you mind if I?" Brandon asked while gesturing to the chair across from me.

"No, not at all."

"Thanks."

"No problem. So how is Cara? Still blissfully happy with her new wife?"

"She's great. They're thinking about adopting a baby so I may get to be an uncle soon."

"That's great news. They seemed like they'd make great parents."

"I think so. So what have you been up to? Making more people's dream weddings happen?"

I let out a defeated sigh.

"Oh no. What did I say?"

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An Open Letter To My Favorite High School Senior

You may not know it now, but you're gonna miss this.
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Dear high school senior,

I literally can't believe time has flown by so fast. It seems like yesterday your backpack was twice your size and your only worry was what game you were going to play during recess. I am so proud of the person that you are becoming and can't wait to see what the next few years have in store for you. This is likely going to be the best/scariest year of your life all in one. The transition from high school to college is a big deal. The atmosphere of senior year is something that is so special. There is nothing like Friday night football, a bonfire with your closest friends, and messing with your favorite sophomores just because you can. From state champions in football to class favorite and getting the chance to go to your dream college- you have accomplished so much already, and I can't wait to see you accomplish even more as you go to college. But high school isn't over yet, so have fun while it lasts!


Don't rush it, enjoy it.

I know what you're thinking at this point, "I'm basically done with high school. Why won't graduation just hurry up and get here?" Please do not rush it. Enjoy the last days of your high school career because you will never get to go back. Enjoy laughing with your friends at lunch, take it all in as you walk down those halls to your locker, let your mom and dad take as many pictures as they want- you will appreciate them one day.

Be nice to mom and dad.

I know that you're so excited to get out of the house and experience college, but don't forget who helped you get this far in life. Mom and dad will miss you more than you miss them when you're gone, so let them enjoy their time with you while you are still home. Believe it or not, you are going to miss mom's sloppy joes and french dip sandwiches more than you think. Mom already cries every time we break out the baby pictures, so don't make too many jokes about how you can't wait to leave home and have the time of your life. Dad tries to hold it together, but it is hard for any parent to be prepared for their kid to leave them. I promise you will miss them while you're at college, even if you don't think you will.

Don't forget about me while you're having fun in college.

College is going to be fun. You are not going to have very much time to sit around and miss everyone. But don't forget about me completely! I am so excited for you to start doing things on your own and start preparing for the world. I hope you have fun, but I also hope you don't forget that I'm fun too and I am only a phone call away.

You're going to make new friends and part ways with old ones. You have a chance to be whoever you want to be in college, so embrace it! You will learn so much from college, and it will be the most fun/fast years of your life. But don't forget that your high school career isn't over yet. Enjoy the last few times to walk the halls, eat that fantastic high school lunch, and 5th period study halls playing ping pong because you will never get that back. I hope you make the best of it al, and I can't wait to see where the next four years take you!

Cover Image Credit: Daylen Bills

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To The Older Sibling I Never Had, I Wish You Were Here To Guide Me

I know you don't exist, and I know you never will, but sometimes I catch myself imagining a life with you in it.

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Even though years have passed since this horrific day, it still haunts my memory. Starting high school is a terrifying feeling and an insane transition when you don't have anyone to guide you through it. It was a mere 15-step walk to the door, and once I was inside my parents promised me there would be somebody there to help me find my classes, so why did I feel like I was being thrown straight into the gates of hell? I counted down the minutes until we pulled into the school parking lot and dreaded the sound of the car door opening and the anticipated start to the "best four years of my life."

As we were pulling up, I saw a girl who went to the same middle school as I following her older brother, who was a senior through the front doors as if it had been rehearsed at home. At this moment, I would have given my right foot to walk in her shoes right behind an older brother just this once. Eventually, with no place to hide, I just walked inside.

Unfortunately, this would not be the last of my longing for guidance from the older sibling I've never had.

I get it, I got a B in math. I get it, if I would have spent last Friday night studying instead of out with my friends it is possible that I could have gotten an A. But, what my parents seemed to not get was that life actually does go on even if you get a B on a report card. Time doesn't stop, your dreams don't diminish, and you are still viewed as a fairly competent person.

Luckily for my younger sisters, it seems my parents eventually did get it at the cost of my phone being taken away for three months and my social life ceasing to exist for the rest of that school year. As I spent every Friday night at home studying I longed, for just this once, to have an older sibling who was willing to take this hit for me.

Why did nobody tell me that it's actually more fun to go to school dances with friends than the boy you barely know who is just desperate for some conversation with the opposite sex?

I always wondered why that girl I went to middle school with never took a date to any of our formals or homecomings. Eventually, four homecomings and two proms later, I realized that this was because stumbling through the awkward introductions to family, tolerating the completely posed and overdone photos that would never actually be posted anywhere because you didn't talk outside of this forced interaction, and small talk over fruit punch and loud music was never actually necessary. Of course, I passed this message to my younger sisters and saved them the struggle of finding out for themselves.

Don't even get me started on being the first sibling to have to navigate applying to colleges.

I really could have used you then. I'm convinced there is nothing more difficult than trying to fill out a FAFSA or Common Application with absolutely no guidance or experience. Is my application essay long enough? Should I apply for early or regular admission? What if I don't get accepted anywhere? As selfish as it sounds, I would have given my other foot not to have to find these things out for myself.

I'd trade a lifetime worth of shotgun privileges to have you in my life to help me figure this stuff out.

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