General

"All teenagers are good, perhaps this toxic culture hasn't made it easy to show, to be comfortable enough to let that emotional energy flow, but everyone is born good. For everyone you think is bad there is a heartbreaking story of how they got there, and their behaviour is communication. For some it shows in quietness, or withdrawal from society... in others it is violence... a rage against the emotional pain we all feel when there is a lack of love. So when we learn how to translate behaviour in the right way, the stories are right in front of us, told in body language and in people's eyes... deep stories that flow into the soul of anyone who cares to see. So, I am serious when I say, 'You are a good teenager... you are here by design... and I'm so happy to see what you'll do with your life.'"

General

"You were frustrated, that's all. I get that way too, gosh, you've seen it. The thing is though, that you say sorry later and you try to have good self control. It's a simple matter of practice to get better, same as any sport or cooking a dish. And when you manage it, my love, when you respond in calmness rather than react, you'll be more mature than ninety percent of adults in this world. You'll be amazing and become even more amazing every day. So learn to see your victories, these steps are in reality giant leaps that many never attempt. I love who you are and I hope you do too."

General

Tony's quiet demeanour belied the grit underneath. Overlooked by almost everyone, he was almost invisible in the classroom. Each returned paper he would turn over to hide the perfect score. Even after acing half the course he still felt the burn to study the next night and the next. This was his ticket out of this dump, he was a person going places. He had university mapped out, Ivy league on full scholarship. He ran his hand through his tight black curls and slumped in his chair, his usual surly repose. Then pretended to flick through his ipod songs. It was on of course, but muted. He sat there soaking in every word the teacher said, silently cross-referencing it to what he had read, restraining himself from making corrections when she got it wrong.

By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, December 25, 2014.
General

Leon followed the sound of the sobs. Lucky for him Gayla always cried like there was a gale inside her fighting to get out. He sat on the damp pavement right next to her and followed her gaze to the moon, saying nothing. She wiped her nose with her sleeve and glanced his way. “I always fail, Papa. Always. Why do you even bother?”

“Gayla, I was there when you came into this world. I know you, the real one inside, not the one you show the world. You're beautiful.”

“But I rage, I get angry, I forget what you said and I mess up all over again.”

Leon held her gaze, “I love you and that will never change. You are human like the rest of us and you make mistakes. You will continue to make them too, as do I. But what's so special about you is that you own them, feel the hurt and force the pain to make you better.” Gayla's sobs had ebbed to a trickle and she took Leon's hand. He gave it a gentle squeeze and together they walked back into the house.

By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, February 10, 2015.
General

On the beach was the fishing fleet and the smell of their catch. Leo walked closer. No longer did he find it repelling, it was just the smell of his town and he was proud of it and he wanted to stay. In years gone by it had been a backwater town, looked down on by the city folk. But now the lawyers and bankers who had once been tourists were snapping up second homes for vacations, driving up the price of real estate beyond the pockets of the locals. His worn sneakers kicked at the pebbles. If he stayed in his home town and fished like his Dad, like he wanted to, he'd never get his own place. Or else he had to take some city job and an apartment smaller than his bedroom. He took a finger and ran it down the paint of a boat, watching the salt crystals bunch around his finger. He loved his family but he wanted to be his own man, but was that even possible? An urban wage slave or living with his parents until he was forty. How was that his only choice?

General

From the back, Ted's scalp was quite visible through his blonde hair, quite like the infant he jiggled in his arms in his panicked way. Mila wasn't sure who was most fractious, him or the baby. With eyes brimmed with tears and a quivering lip he was utterly out of his depth. She went forwards and offered to take the baby, but he shook his head abruptly, his chubby cheeks wobbling with the jarring action. "I have to be able to cope with her! I have to!" The baby's arms became faster, grasping at the air with increased speed, her shrill cries were only broken by her gasping for breaths in-between. Her face was blotched and her little mouth stretched wide. Mila smiled softly at Ted in her soothing way and held out her arms. He handed over his daughter and sank to the floor, hiding his face. Mila held her cousin close, bobbing and swaying to unheard music, humming a lullaby, quite composed, quite serene. Soon the harsh cries softened to snuffles. Now time to help her uncle...

General

Maxwell's eyes were sore, one more algebra equation and he thought he'd scream. When the last one was done he sauntered into the kitchen for a bite to eat. His mom had fallen asleep on the couch again, double shifts at the plant did that to her. The sink was piled high with dirties and the laundry in the basket lay unfolded. He sucked in his breath then let it out slow. Five am would see Mom off for more of the same. After knocking back a glass of milk and munching a few crackers he got to work at the sink. At least that way she'd wake to no mess.

General

Long after class had ended Tyrone could be found teaching his less able peers calculus. For him it was as simple as breathing, for them it was like drowning. He went over the concepts as many times as they asked until he had to be home for dinner. Then he'd take his longboard and cruise down the hill to the apartment he shared with his parents and little sister, heavy metal music blasting his eardrums. He always made small talk with the gang on the edge of the estate, better to be friendly than not. If they thought he might join them someday it made the world a little safer for his family, antagonism only ever brought harassment.

General

When the dirt started flying Henry was always in the thick of it, slinging insults better than anyone. He was a class act in a very unclassy way. He never aimed to really wound, just to score enough points for a win, not anymore though. It's like someone extracted his essence, distilled it and only put the pure stuff back in.

What happened is no mystery though, everyone knows. The class introvert, Louise, summoned up the courage to be witty and he slammed dunked her so hard she should have had a nose bleed. I heard he ran right after her when she fled, spent three hours repairing the damage. I guess everyone has to grow up sometime, but part of me misses the old Henry.

General

Charlotte was always the one at the front of class, head in her book. It wasn't really the feature other teens looked for in a friend. Her clothes were hand-me-downs and shoes always scuffed, but she never strove for anything less than her best. She had one ticket out of the inner city and school was it. What did it matter if the other's called her square? Her thick skin was the only thing her parents had given her that was any use, maybe if they'd been even half-decent human beings she wouldn't have made it so far.