Yesterday it was sun outside. The sky was blue and people were lying under blooming cherry trees in the park. It was Friday, so records were released, that people have been working on for years. Friends around me find success and level up, do fancy photo shoots and get featured on big, white, movie screens. There were parties and lovers, hand in hand, laughing perfectly loud,but I walked numbly through the park, round and round, 40 times for 4 hoursjust wanting to make it through the day.There's a weight that inhabits my chest some times. Like a lock in my throat, making it hard to breathe. A little less air got throughand the sky was so blue I couldn’t look at it because it made me sad, swelling tears in my eyes and they dripped quietly on the floor as I got on with my day. I tried to keep my focus, ticked off the to-do list, did my chores. Packed orders, wrote emails, paid bills and rewrote stories,but the panic kept growing, exploding in my chest. Tears falling on the desktick tick tickme not making a soundand some days I just don't know what to do. Where to go or who to see and I try to be gentle, soft and kind,but anxiety eats you up and I just want to be fine.This is not beautiful. This is not useful. You can not do anything with it and it tries to control you, throw you off your balance and lovely waysbut you can not let it.I cleaned up. Took myself for a walk. Tried to keep my eyes on the sky. Stayed away from the alcohol, stayed away from the destructive tools we learn to use. the smoking and the starving, the running, the madness,thinking it will help but it only feeds the fireand I don't want to hurt myself anymore.I made it through and today I woke up, lighter and proud because I'm still here. There are flowers growing outside my window. The coffee is warm, the air is pure. In a few hours I'll be on a train on my way to sing for people who invited me to come, to sing, for them. My own songs, that I created. Me—little me. From nowhere at all. And I have people around that I like and can laugh with, and it's spring again. It will always be spring again.And there will always be a new day.

~ Charlotte Eriksson

Bianca?”Startled, I focused on Toby again. “Hmm?”“Are you all right?” he asked.My fingers had been toying with the little B charm around my neck without my realizing it. Immediately I dropped my hand to my side. “I’m fine.”“Casey warned me that you’re probably lying when you say that,” he said.I gritted my teeth and searched the dance floor for my so-called friend. She was being added to my hit list.“And I think she’s right,” Toby sighed.“What?”“Bianca, I can see what’s going on.” He glanced over his shoulder at Wesley before turning back to me with a little nod. “He’s been staring at you since he got here.”“Has he?”“I can see him in the mirrors over there. And you’ve been staring back,” Toby said. “It’s not just tonight either. I’ve seen the way he looks at you during school. In the hallways. He likes you, doesn’t he?”“I… I don’t know. I guess.” Oh God, this was uncomfortable. I just kept spinning my straw between my fingers and watching the little waves that appeared on the surface of my drink. I couldn’t meet Toby’s gaze.“I don’t have to guess,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious. And the way you look at him makes me think you’re in love with him, too.”“No!” I cried, releasing my straw and glaring up at Toby. “No, no, no. I am not in love with him, okay?”Toby gave me a small smile and said, “But you do have feelings for him.”I couldn’t see any sign of pain in his eyes, just a touch of amusement. That made it a lot easier to give him an answer. “Um,… yeah.”“Then go to him.”I rolled my eyes without meaning to. It was just so automatic. “Jesus, Toby,” I said, “that sounds like a line out of a bad movie.”Toby shrugged. “Maybe, but I’m serious, Bianca. If you feel that way about him, you should go over there.

~ Kody Keplinger