Browse the Garden

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Perspective and Mentoring

It’s been a while since I blogged, but what I’ve been doing in the meantime is very important. Self care, connecting with people who understand what I’m going through, and creating a work book for people who may need a guide to help them with a similar situation.
I’ve been speaking with people who have Autistic siblings, and talking with people from around the world of various ages about what they are going through or have gone through. We all agreed that a guide would help. We’ve been collaborating on how to handle extremely stressful situations, ask for help when we need it and to allow ourselves to be who we are.
This guide would be about a variety of situations and the tools needed to understand it.
Here’s the thing, and it’s still true today. The siblings of people with autism are not given the support they need to deal with the situations that are extremely important, often repetitive and ignored by many psychologists. This can lead to intense consequences down the line.
It’s hard to share the tough stuff, but I’m finding it helpful. We’re all able to talk about some difficult topics that are not easy to discuss with parents, teachers, even psychologists and the most important thing: allow ourselves to feel what we feel about it. Including whether or not we feel safe or supported.
This guide we’re working on is not just about the tough stuff. It’s also about the skills, talents and lessons we’ve learned from our experiences. We’re even discussing about a website or programs for people who need it.
There arent a lot of resources out there, so I thought it would be important to create one.
Siblings are the focus of the workbook, but it’s not about secluding them from the family. Isolation is part of the problem. The more people I talked to, the more I heard the same troubles, patterns and behaviors I experienced, and the more we brainstormed on what could help.
I’m posting this for two reasons.
One: It’s an update.
Two: To get the info out there. If you have other resources to offer, feel free to comment.

Yes, I’m still writing, editing my novels and I’m taking breaks, so it’s not a sprint. But it’s a step, and a big one.
Several people I talked to about this say it’s a great idea. It adds a new perspective to the situation and may lead to other resources in the future.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Rapunzel, Elsa and Emma Swan

This is a fascinating video that shows the connection between Elsa and Rapunzel. They’re both more powerful than they are aware of, extremely creative and they create from the heart. They take their circumstances and create something beautiful from them. This is the lesson Emma Swan learns when her powers get out of control and she doesn’t want to hurt the people she cares for. Elsa teaches Emma a very important lesson, and once she embraces who she is, Emma is able to create from her heart. I’m writing a similar story with my own elements thrown in, and I’ve been on quite the journey myself, But I wanted to post this today because I’m going to create online again. I’ve been writing, and for awhile I lost the confidence to post. This is for obvious reasons to the people who knew what I went through for awhile. But I’m back, I’ve finally gained the courage to tell my story, in the hopes to help others who understand and need guidance through the confusion and chaos in their lives. I’m posting these stories because they are dear to me, and now I’m ready to write my own.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Wrinkle In Time- Spoilers Galore

This will not be a spoiler free review. There is no way in the world I could write one. Meg’s journey in this story is also mine. Every obstacle she faces, and the final battle that she must confront is the exact story that I have lived. 

Meg Murry is a character after my own heart. She’s insecure and cynical, but she is also loyal and brave. And smart. Incredibly smart. Using the laws of physics and her own inner strength, Meg braves the journey to find her father alongside her brother Charles Wallace, and the boy next door Calvin with the astral travelers Mrs Who, Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit. 

Her character growth makes this film, and that’s why it spoke to me. 

Before Meg begins her journey, Mrs Who gives her an important quote. “ The wound is the place where the light enters you.” - Rumi. 

Meg must face her own faults to battle the darkness. She doesn’t travel well, while everyone else is just fine. She is closed off to her own brilliance and what makes her special. 

Her first real test in the film is trusting The Happy Medium, who allows her to find the balance within to open her heart to her father in order to find him. 

She finds a memory, the memory of the exact moment she last saw her father, before he disappeared. That memory leads her to Camaztoz, the evil planet where her father is trapped. A planet run by an evil mind known as the IT. 

As the planet changes into obstacle after obstacle, Meg and Calvin are separated from Charles Wallace. And after a harsh battle with the darkness, Calvin gives Meg one of the best lines that any insecure person could be given, “You don’t know how incredible you are.” 

After they find Charles Wallace, they face a strange encounter with a red eyed man who claims to know Meg’s father. Calvin and Charles trust him, but Meg is not so sure. She listens to her instinct and focuses on her goal. 

They had traveled to  Camaztoz, to find her father, but the IT wants something too, Charles Wallace and his brilliant mind. 

Meg watches her brother fall to darkness and enters a realm where the path is no longer visible. Still, she is determined to find her father, and uses her will, and the gift of the unseen (given by Mrs. Who) to climb the impossible staircase leading to her father. 

When she finds him, she finally lets herself cry, allowing all the grief to wash away, but the battle isn’t over. The IT has her brother, Charles Wallace, and only Meg can save him. 

While her father and Calvin manage to get away, Meg refuses to go with them. She would never leave her brother. 

I will not lie, the final battle in this version of the story is brutal. The IT speaks harsh words through Charles Wallace, and tosses Meg like a rag doll. 

But Meg is determined to save her brother. 

What does she have that the IT doesn’t? What can she do to save her brother?

She loves him. 

As the IT continues to use her brother against her, Meg screams at him, “You love me Charles Wallace, and I deserve to be loved!” 

It is that declaration that brings her brother back, and destroys the IT entirely. Charles rushes to his sister as the evil mind bursts into light. 

Mrs. Who, Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit return, and they congratulate Meg on her success. She knows her own brilliance now, and she is able to lead them with no pain. She has become a warrior. 

She returns home, and brings her father to her mother, and thanks Calvin for taking the journey with her. 

 As she watches the happy scene of her family reunited she whispers, “Thank you” to the universe. 

So how did I react to this story? With my entire heart. 

I have been fighting a battle with darkness for a long time. My brother’s Autism.

We all have fights with siblings, and we get angry at them. We tell them that they hurt us. Autistic siblings don’t always understand this, and that has been a struggle for me my whole life. Meltdowns, harsh words and lack of empathy. 

Confused and lost, I shut myself away from others. 

I was like Meg, closed off, sad and angry. And yes, I was bullied like Meg was too. 

So many kids are mistreated in school, and that can scar them for life. I hope they all draw inspiration from Meg in this film. 

There are times when I must remember, the Autism is not my brother. He doesn’t always understand. And yes, I love him. I love him deeply, and I would never leave him behind. But I have a right to speak up for myself too. 

I was with Meg on that battlefield screaming those words, and I left the movie theatre with a newfound strength. I had become a warrior.  

The Murrys are a wonderful family, and not without their faults. But faults can save us. Meg’s faults saved her. 

While the IT told her all that was wrong with her, Meg proudly stated that she was all that and more. 

The Murrys all possess a powerful love for each other that transcends time and space. Love is the frequency that binds them together, no matter where they are. 

My family and I have been told how amazing it is that we stick together. We do because we have that love. 

There is no book on Autism, and there is no direct type of Autism. It is still a mystery, but that mystery is just a part of my family and my life. 

We all have the ability to love beyond faults. We all have the ability to see beyond labels.  

I don’t care what the critics say about this movie. I thought it was beautiful. The diverse cast was amazing and most importantly, the message hit home. 

It’s all about the power of love, and how it reaches no matter where you are. It’s universal and beautiful. Love can overcome anything. 

I could rate this movie, but I have a personal bias that ties me to it. 

All I can do, is look up at the stars, and whisper “Thank you” to the universe. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Black Panther: A spoiler free review

I saw Black Panther last night and I was caught like an antelope in headlights. The movie itself is a gorgeous representation of African folklore, culture and the people of Africa. From the music to the costumes and the details on set, Black Panther offers an amazing look at the lives of warriors, princesses and of course a good king. 

The characters are memorable and well dimensioned. Even the villain of this story is not what he seems to be. Of course the special effects are great, the plot is well crafted and the women are represented as strong and resourceful characters. 

What I loved most about the film though were the mythical elements interwoven in the story that tie to African fairytales and mythology. 

The goddess Bast is mentioned, but the journey T’challa makes throughout the film echoes the spiritual path of great warrior tales in legends. 

The focus on the importance of ancestors and carrying the role of those who came before is an important plot point and it is one of my favorite scenes in the film. 

The country of Wakanda carries traditional customs and characteristics of historic African tribes. The introduction to African shamanism plays a role in the film that follows T’challa’s character growth and ties tradition to modern day culture. 

I don't want to spoil the film, and I want to make sure that I discuss this film with the respect it deserves. But I will say this:

The film deserves all the recognition it has and more, and the representation of an entire culture is a story worth telling. 

Five out of five claws. 

Before I wrote this review, I watched this video to better understand the customs and traditions represented in the film:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Taking a Shot: A Riarkle Fanfiction


Riarkle prompt please. Farkle decides to try out for lacrosse and Riley goes to his practice and cheers him on even though he's not that good.

"What are we doing here?" Maya asked. 

Riley pulled her friend toward the bench. 

Riley took a seat in the stadium, watching the boys on the field. Lacrosse, an interesting sport, and one that she knew Farkle had been curious about. 

"I'm not watching this," Maya said. 

"Come on Maya, Farkle was there for my cheerleading tryouts." 

"Yeah, I don't think I could ever forget that. Did you really take the coach's doughnut?"  

Riley laughed. 

"Yeah, that was a fun day," Riley said as Maya looked at her. 

"Maybe it was fun for you," Maya said, crossing her arms. 

"It was, and today Farkle needs our support," Riley told the restless blonde. 

"But he didn't tell us about this," Maya said, finally sitting down. 

"I know," Riley replied, folding her hands in her lap, "That's why we're here." 

Maya looked at Riley, and Riley raised a brow. 

"How many times is Farkle there for us?" she asked her. 

"Well there was that time freshman year," Maya said. 

Riley sighed. 

"Well, I'm here for Farkle, and you should be too. Didn't you say he's always been there for us?" Riley asked, looking pointedly at Maya.  

"Yeah, okay. You're right," Maya said with a sigh. 

The game began, and Riley spotted Farkle wearing a number ten jersey, holding a lacrosse stick and looking nervous. 

"Yeah, he's dead meat," Maya said. 

"Maya!" Riley scolded, "Is that anyway to support someone?" 

Maya shrugged. 

"I said the same thing about you, Riles," Maya told her, "when you tried out for cheerleading." 

As the game began, Riley watched the players take their positions. She spotted Farkle immediately and when the whistle blew, she held her breath. 

From what Riley read, Lacrosse could be a dangerous sport. As she watched Farkle, she thought about the probability of injury. 

Suddenly, the ball landed right in front of him. 

"Go, Farkle!" Riley shouted. It might have been a mistake.

Farkle looked at her, his eyes wide, and then he saw the ball in front of him. He scooped it up in the lacrosse stick and made his way toward the other players. 

As a player from the other team tackled Farkle, Riley winced. He had lost the ball. 

As Farkle stood up, Riley smiled. He was okay. 

The whistle blew as the other team scored a goal, and Riley sighed. 

"Maybe you shouldn't have cheered so loud," Maya told her. 

"Why?" Riley asked.

Maya sighed. 

"You really don't know, do you, Riles?" 

Riley just looked at her. When Maya didn't say anything, she turned away to face the field again. 

She could tell Farkle was nervous, because his leg was shaking. 

"Well, now's a good time then," Riley said, "Before they blow the whistle." 

She took a deep breath, then stood up in the stands. 

She remembered the cheer from halloween, years ago. 

"Farkle! Farkle! Gonna Sparkle!" She cheered. 

Maya groaned. 

But Riley watched Farkle. His leg stopped shaking, and he smiled. 

"Huh," Maya said, "How did you know that would work?" She asked Riley. 

"Because he's Farkle," Riley said. 

The whistle blew, and the game started again. 

Riley watched as Farkle moved a lot smoother on the field.

"Riles," Maya said, "he's doing better." 

"Of course he is," Riley said. 

They watched the game, and when the ball landed in front of Farkle again, he scooped it up without hesitation, and ran. 

Riley's heart raced as Farkle made his way toward the goal. The other team chasing after him. 

When he stood in front of the goalie, Riley tensed. 

"Take the shot!" Riley shouted, and Maya smiled. 

Farkle shot the ball in the net, and Riley clapped and cheered. 

She looked over at Maya who was smiling. 

"I never thought I'd see the day," Maya said, "Farkle. An athlete." 

"Maya," Riley said with a laugh, "Don't you remember eighth grade?" 

"Barely," Maya said. 

"Nothing's impossible if you take a shot," Riley told her. 

"And Farkle just did," Maya said. 

"Yeah," Riley replied, "he did." 

Riley ran toward Farkle when the game was over. He averted her gaze until she gently lifted his chin. 

"Farkle?" Riley asked, "What's wrong?" 

"We lost, Riley!" Farkle said, his frustration echoing in his tone. 

"I know," Riley replied. 

"So, why are you smiling?" he asked. 

"Because you scored a goal, Farkle," Riley said. 

"Yeah, I did, but we didn't win," Farkle said. "I might not make the team." 

Riley sighed. She knew that Farkle was too hard on himself. 

"Farkle," Riley said, "answer honestly. Did you ever think you'd score a goal today?" 

"No," Farkle said. 

"But you did. Do you know why?" 

"I don't know." 

"Because you took a shot, Farkle. You tried. You learned." 

"But we didn't win." 

"That doesn't matter," Riley said. 

"Yeah I know," Farkle replied, "It doesn't matter to you, but it will to the coach." 

"I'm sure the coach will say something, but you should be proud. You just did something that you thought was impossible." 

Farkle stared at her for a moment. Her brown eyes shown in admiration. 

"You're right," Farkle said with a grin, "I did." 

"Yeah, that was pretty cool, Farkle," Maya said. 

"Thanks guys. That means a lot." 

"I knew you could do it," Riley said, tilting her head. 

"Why?" Farkle asked. 

"Because, you're Farkle," Riley said. 

"But we lost because I'm not strong," Farkle said, "I probably didn't make the team." 

Riley shook her head. 

"Whether you make the team or not, you are strong, Farkle. Do you know why?" 

Farkle just stared at her. 

"Why?" Farkle asked, his eyes searching hers. 

"Because you tried," Riley said. 

"But that's not strength, Riley." 

"It is," Riley told him, "just not the usual kind. One that is often overlooked." 

"Are you just saying that?" Farkle asked. 

"No, I'm not," Riley said, " Farkle, once you focus on a goal, you never give up. That kind of strength is not something you see every day." 

"I guess that's true," Farkle said, "but I still have one question." 

Riley's brows furrowed. 

"How did you guys know I was here?"

"Riley figured it out," Maya said with a smile. 

"But I didn't tell anyone," Farkle told them, "I didn't want you to see me lose." 

"You didn't have to tell us, Farkle," Riley said. 

"Riley wanted to be there for you," Maya said. 

"Just like you've been there for me," Riley told him, "I hope you're not upset."

"I'm not upset, Riley," Farkle said, "but I am confused." 

"Do you remember what happened when I tried out for cheerleading?" Riley asked. 

Farkle winced. 

"I don't think I'll forget it," he answered truthfully. 

"You guys were there for me, even though I failed over and over again." 

"But you tried, again and again," Farkle said with a smile. 

"No matter how hard we tried to convince you to stop," Maya said. 

"That's right. I'm stubborn that way," Riley said. 

"So, I guess Riley wanted to return the favor," Maya said, "But she wasn't surprised when you scored a goal." 

"You weren't?" Farkle asked. 

Riley shook her head and smiled. 

"Why?" He asked her. 

"Because, I knew you would do your best," Riley said. "I'm proud of you, Farkle."

Farkle smiled, and Riley hugged him. 

"Thanks, Riley." Farkle told her. 

"Anytime," Riley replied. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Beauty and the Beast 2017: A Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairytale. Of all the stories I read, this one appeared to be as close to a real representation of love as a fairytale could be. Two outcasts, trapped in worlds that don't accept who they are, find comfort and solace in eachother through the relationship they build over time. 
As a live action adaption of the 1991 beloved animated classic, the story, music and casting did this movie justice. 
There were a few complaints that I heard of before I saw the film: 
Emma Watson's singing
The animation of the Beast
Belle's ballgown etc.
Emma Watson didn't have a strong singing voice, but I liked how pure it sounded. The animation of the Beast could have been better, but I didn't mind. As for the ballgown, I loved that when Belle twirled, it looked like a rose blooming. 
(Fun fact: Emma Watson requested a light and airy dress that was easy to move in. This emphasized the importance of freedom to Belle's story.) 
I guess if I were to complain about one thing, it would be the fact that Belle didn't walk "with her nose stuck in a book" during the village scene.
For me, the film was more than I could ever ask for in a remake. 
We witness the history of the characters, and we learn and grow with them. The songs that were added to the film give it an extra dimension that builds the world of the story. 
We learn why the Beast was so beastly in the first place, and we see what Gaston hides behind his vain mask.   
One of my favorite additions to the story was the fact that Belle (Beauty) asks her father for a rose as a keepsake from his journey. This is true to the original fairy tale and also influences Beauty to take her father's place. 
 All the original songs are there, including the best version of "Gaston" I have ever seen. But the addition of the Beast's ballad, "Evermore" will break your heart if you have one. The melody "Home" from the broadway musical is also used in a few important moments and an element of travel was woven throughout the imagery and the theme of the narrative. 
Without giving away spoilers, I give this film five out of five enchanted roses. 
Nothing will ever replace the original, but I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful tribute to a tale as old as time. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Poetry: A Riarkle Fanfiction

"Riles?" Maya asked. 
Riley stood, staring at a crumpled up piece of paper under Farkle's desk. She hadn't meant to pick it up, but she had heard Farkle scribbling furiously as her father went on and on about the history of Valentines Day. 
She wasn't with Lucas anymore, and Maya and Lucas had begun a relationship. It was an easier transition for Riley than she expected, and she was happy for both of her friends. It was Farkle she was worried about. Once he and Smackle broke up, a month ago, she knew Farkle hadn't been the same. 
It was hard not to notice his fidgeting while they were in class. She sat next to him after all, but his behavior in class was even more strange lately. He had scribbled and scribbled all during class, and her father hadn't even called on him once to answer a question. 
When the bell rang, Farkle hurried out the door, and a piece of paper fell from the desk. 
Riley waited until the class had cleared out before she bent down to pick up the crumbled piece of paper. 
It reminded her of a day, not too long ago when her father had encouraged them to write something impossible on a piece of paper, and then crumple it up and take a shot at throwing the very idea that it was impossible away. 
It was a day that she would never forget. She wanted a Cory and Topanga story. Farkle had wanted to be an athlete, but what did Farkle want now?
Her heart pounded as she slowly opened the paper. She stood and smoothed the wrinkles out across his desk. 
It was a poem. She read it quietly: 
 "Every day I look and see 
A beautiful girl who sits next to me
This girl will always have my heart
Because she is pretty... 
and very smart." 

The last two lines were scribbled out, but she noticed her name at the end
"Riley Matthews" 
Farkle loved her? 
She jumped. 
"Oh, Maya, sorry. I was, distracted." 
"By this?" Maya asked. She snatched the page out of Riley's hand with a grin, but when she read the words, her grin faded. 
"Farkle wrote this?" Maya asked. 
Riley nodded. 
"And it looks like it's about you..." Maya said. 
"But that's just not possible." Riley said, shaking her head. "Because he loved Smackle." 
 Maya looked at her. 
"It's very possible Riley. In fact, it makes a lot of sense." 
"No it doesn't," Riley said. 
"It does," Maya says, "Because I've seen the way he looks at you. Even Lucas mentioned it the other day." 
"That's crazy!" Riley said.
"What's crazy about it?" Maya asked, folding her arms and arching a brow.
"Well, Farkle and I, we've been friends for a long time. And he promised, when we met him. He loves us both the same." 
"Yet my name isn't in this poem," Maya said pointedly. 
Riley sighed. 
"That's not the point," Riley told her. 
"Okay then," Maya asked, "What is the point?" 
"The point is he can't know I found this." 
"Well, it is Valentine's Day," Maya said with a smirk. 
"You don't think-" Riley said. 
"I do think this is related to Valentine's Day," Maya said, "Why wouldn't it be? Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, how do you feel about Farkle, Riley?"
Riley blushed. But no words came out of her mouth. How did she feel about him? It was difficult to grasp. 
She cared for him, a lot. She knew that. From the moment she saw him hiding in the janitor's closet to the time she learned the truth about Farkle's ancestry, Riley could barely control her heart when she was around him. She just knew when he needed her. And she would be there. 
When Riley was upset, Farkle just knew, and he would be there, climbing through the bay window for a long talk about... everything. There was something there. Was it love? 
"I'm going to the library for a while," Riley told Maya, "I'll catch up with you later." 
Maya nodded. 
"Try not to think too much about it, Riles," Maya said. 
"I'll try," Riley said, "I just want to be alone for now." 
"Okay," Maya said. 
She handed Riley the poem and started to walk away. 
"Maya!" Riley said. 
Maya turned to face her. 
"Please don't tell Farkle, about any of this," 
"I won't," Maya said. "This is something for you two to figure out," 
Riley nodded. 
"You remember Science class?" Maya asked, "When you two passed and we all failed?" 
"Yeah," Riley said, her heart pounding. 
"I think it happened for a reason," Maya said, "Just something to keep in mind." 
Riley nodded. 
As Maya walked out, Riley grabbed her back pack and stuffed the paper inside it. She headed toward the library, her mind reeling with questions. 
How long? How was it possible? Had Farkle learned to understand love? Why was she so afraid? Was he afraid too? 
She set her bag down and pulled out a blank notebook. 
How did she feel about Farkle? How would she know her own heart? 
She pulled out a pen, opened the notebook to a blank sheet, and wrote Farkle's name on the top of the paper. 
"Farkle Minkus" 
What did that name mean to her? The words felt heavy as she wrote them. They had history. From the moment Farkle saved her life, when they were young, to the day he discovered he might have Autism. She would never forget his words, "Please don't let me not understand love." 
His words echoed in her mind. When she had first heard such a thing, it confused her. Hadn't Farkle always claimed to love her and Maya? He was the sweetest boy she had ever known, the most kind and caring guy she knew. She remembered the slight pang in her chest when Farkle and Smackle shared a hug at the Bay Window. Farkle had told Riley that she would love again, and Riley had thought that was true, but the truth turned out to be something more strange and confusing. She had never stopped loving Farkle. 
 She thought back to the argument they had on New Years. Farkle knew that Riley was covering up her own feelings. How? But her feelings weren't what Farkle claimed them to be. She could never reveal that, not when Farkle had appeared to be happy with Smackle. 
So she loved Farkle, but was she in love with him? 
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. 
She could never hurt Farkle, she had told him that, after their play of Romeo and Juliet, which became something else; Romeo and Juliet and Farkle. 
She had cheered him on. She would always cheer him on. She still did. 
She opened her eyes, and thought of the poem. 
"This girl will always have my heart" 
Hadn't Farkle told her, several times that he would always be there for her? Hadn't he claimed that he truly would take her side no matter what she was fighting for? 
She thought back to the science experiment that only she and Farkle understood, because they were able to work together, despite their different views. 
They worked well together. They always had. 
Riley sighed. What if she wrote back? Maybe by writing her own poem, she could understand just exactly what Farkle meant to her. 
How did Farkle's poem start again?
"Every day I look and see" 
What did she see? What was Farkle Minkus to Riley Matthews? 
She started to write: 
"Every day I seem to find 
A special boy in the back of my mind." 
She thought about him a lot. More than she ever thought about anyone in her life. Farkle was special to her. She had known that, even when he wasn't able to see it himself. 
Farkle had said always. Always. Was that how she felt too? 
Yes. Riley cared for him, and she would always be there for him. 
"This boy will always have my heart." 
It was true. She had never stopped caring for Farkle, and even when he made her mad, she never wanted anything bad to happen to him. 
"Because he is sweet and very smart." 
Both were true. Farkle was there when she needed him, and he was a genius. 
"When he takes over the world," He still wanted to, after he learned who he was. 
"I'll stand by him, as his girl." 
She put the pen down and read the words she had just written. Each word was true, and as she stared at that truth, her mind and heart spoke. Head and heart. Sense and Sensibility. Her mind and her heart agreed. It was Farkle. It had always been Farkle. 
She couldn't deny that anymore. 
She looked up. There was Farkle, books of poetry in his hands. 
She closed the notebook. 
"Farkle? What are you doing here?" 
Farkle laughed. 
"Well, it's Valentines Day. I thought I'd practice writing poetry." He said. 
Riley knew her cheeks were flushing. If he found that poem, she was done for. 
"I didn't know you were interested in poetry," Riley said as Farkle set the books down and joined her at the study table. 
"Well, I want to tell someone how I feel, and according to history and literature, the best way is writing a poem." 
Riley nodded. 
"I was working on a poem too," Riley said. 
"You were?" Farkle asked. 
"Yes," she said, smiling at him. 
"Who's it for?" 
Riley's heart pounded, but she opened the notebook and turned it to face him. 
"Maybe you can figure it out," Riley said, "Because I need to know what you think of it." 
Farkle's eyes went wide as he read her words. 
"Riley," he said, "This sounds like-" 
Riley blushed as she handed him the crumpled piece of paper. 
"I'd like to know what you wrote here," she said, pointing at the dark scribbles over the last two lines. 
"Riley," Farkle said, "Where did you find this?" 
"It was under your desk," Riley said. 
Farkle's eyes met hers. 
"Riley are you serious?" Farkle asked, "Because if this is a trick," 
"It's not," Riley said. "What did you think of my poem?" 
Farkle blushed. 
"Your poem was very... nice, Riley. I never knew you, uh, well," 
"I'm glad you liked it, Farkle," Riley said, "I'd like to know the ending of your poem." 
She handed him the pen, and pointed at the page. 
"Would you mind writing it down?" She asked. 
"I will," Farkle said, "But it's not Shakespeare." 
Riley laughed. 
"It doesn't need to be," she said. 
The library was quiet as Farkle wrote the poem down. Riley could hear the scratch of the pen on the page. 
When Farkle put the pen down, his eyes met hers, and he slid the notebook back across the table. 
"I wrote this poem in seventh grade," Farkle told her. "I was trying to change it, but honestly,  it's still true." 
Riley smiled. 
"My poem is also true, Farkle. It's always been true," Riley said. 
Farkle smiled, and Riley blushed.  
Farkle stood up. 
"Come with me," he said. 
Riley stood. Their hands were still linked over the table. Farkle guided her across the way, so they wouldn't have to let go. Riley didn't want to let go. 
As she walked past the corner of the table, Farkle lead her to a bookshelf. 
"Poetry," Riley read out loud. 
"I found one you might like," Farkle said softly, brushing his fingertips across the book spines. 
He pulled out a red book as Riley stepped closer, her shoulder touching his. 
"Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav," she read out loud. 
As Farkle held the book in one hand, Riley opened it with her other hand. 
He stopped at a short poem, but the title made Riley smile.
"Always," she read. 
"You were you," Farkle read, "And I was I."
"We were two," Riley read, "before our time."
"I was yours before I knew," Farkle said, "And you have always been mine too."
Riley smiled as they closed the book, and she met Farkle's gaze. 
Her eyes dropped to his lips, and she heard his intake of breath.
Farkle closed his eyes as Riley kissed him. It was a soft kiss, simple and meaningful like the words they had read on the page. She tasted like strawberries and the subtle scent of roses overwhelmed him. 
When she pulled away, Farkle opened his eyes and smiled. 
"I like poetry," he said, cupping her cheek.
"Me too," Riley replied. 
Farkle's eyes asked a question that Riley answered with a nod. 
He kissed her, and both got lost in the moment. 
When they pulled away, Farkle smiled. 
"Happy Valentines Day, Riley," he said, red tinting his cheeks. 
Riley gave him a quick peck on the lips. 
"Happy Valentines Day, Farkle," she said.