Playing a Song on the Piano

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Bryan Geraldo

Every time she played a chord of a song on the piano that had lived for years and years, the same piano that her parents had played together when they were younger, she would close her eyes and remember. 

She would remember the first time she saw the ocean. The place her family visited every year after, building sand castles and running happily. She would bring books sometimes, sitting in a chair as the sunset appeared. Picture after picture, videos and videos of times that appeared again in every note that she played on the piano. 

She would remember building a treehouse with her sister. It was a place filled with puzzles, pencils, pens, lots of journals, and plants–mostly roses, as her sister liked them the most. She and her sister would run to the treehouse after school ended, each trying to get there first. She knew she was faster, but she also knew that if she got there first, she wouldn’t be able to feel the warmth of the sunlight. She wouldn’t be able to close her eyes, wouldn’t feel the flowers and the leaves of the trees as they ran. So she would let her sister get there first and soon, she would be there too.

She would remember when her family left their home. She had grown up there, a house surrounded by many trees and other houses where she met her friends. On afternoons when she didn’t have homework, or at least didn’t want to do her homework, she would rest on a tree–her tree–and read. She would bring a pillow with her every time and sometimes she fell asleep. Peaceful. That’s how she felt there. And even though they left, she knew that it was her home, her tree. 

And she would remember the first time she played a song on the piano and the instruments she learned to play. And the movies she would watch with her family and when her family surprised her on her birthday. And then the notes would finish, the song would end, and she would open her eyes again, happy to have remembered everything.

Drawings in a Notebook

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Anete Lusina

To be able to write and draw was all that mattered to her. She would spend hours sitting on the floor, sketching in her notebook, the sun coming in the window with a little wind. She had had that notebook for years now; her first drawing had been of a tree and a few flowers. Back then, she hadn’t realized how much it mattered to her, how happy it made her when the notebook was slowly filled with her drawings. They were all simple and she only drew how she knew, but it was her happiness. That notebook was the home of all the drawings she had ever made in her life.

And she carried it everywhere. Even when there was no school and she stayed in her room. Even when she traveled with her family, driving in the car. It was actually one of her favorite times to draw, as she would watch everything from the window. The cars that passed by her car, all the trees and bushes and roads. The clouds that drifted away, some staying and others moving with her car. Sometimes, she would try to close her eyes to remember everything she saw, imagining how she would later draw it in her notebook. When she would start drawing and sketching everything she thought about, she would write a little of everything on another page. 

When she didn’t know what to draw, she would open her notebook and write about her day. She would even write about her dreams and think about the drawings she had drawn before. Stories and characters and places from the drawings. And when she looked back at her drawings, it seemed to her that the places and people and everything she drew became real in her room. It was like she could see everything and everyone again. She would keep writing until the evening came and the light from the sun disappeared. 

Her drawings were pictures. They were stories that she was able to capture before they were gone; people that she knew and her favorite places all in one small notebook. The same notebook that held the tree and the few flowers she drew kept her memories too. And she knew that one day, there would be a last page. One last time to keep a memory, to save a story that someone could see and read. It was another reason why she loved that notebook. She could always look back to the time she was learning how to draw or the year she met her closest friends. She could see again the dreams that she might have not remembered if she had not drawn them. If she had not written them in her notebook. 

She knew that she would grow up and stop drawing as much as she did when she was young. There would be a day when her hands would no longer be able to draw the same picture, when the notebook would no longer have another page for another drawing. But her notebook would never be finished. Just like her drawings. There was always something more to draw.

She Lived

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Vlada Karpovich

She had always liked running through the field, feeling the wind as she ran and with every step, her heart seemed to beat with joy. It was a time where she didn’t have to think about anything else but the way her feet almost flew each time she ran faster. And sometimes, when she finished running, she would lay down on the grass and stare happily at the sky, closing her eyes; everyone knew running was one of her favorite things to do. 

She had always liked waking up a little earlier, grabbing a jacket, and running outside until she saw the morning light appear, the sun rising behind the mountains that surrounded the place she grew up. She would go to her favorite tree, the one where her parents had built a treehouse, and climb up. Flowers that she had gotten from her mother’s garden, collages of her friends and her family, along with books filled this space that she knew completely. When she was there, she would sit on the floor with a few books next to her and read.

She had always liked walking into the library, entering a place that she could come any day and find stories that she could read. As soon as she finished her homework, she would run to the library and walk inside, waving hello to people she knew. Every time she came, she would slowly walk past the bookshelves and read the title of the books. And when she found a title that she could not forget, she would carefully open the book and turn to the first couple of pages, sitting down on the floor, peacefully reading. 

She had never stopped running, never thought about waking up later or waking up any time after the sunrise. She had never thought about leaving her treehouse, disappearing and leaving everything she had there. She had never thought about walking past the library, walking somewhere else where books were not on bookshelves and she didn’t recognize anyone. It was a life that made her happy, gave her a smile even when she felt like her day was not going like she wanted. She lived.

Music Notes

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Pavel Danilyuk

Brielle knew she could always count on music. She would often grab her guitar and strum a few chords, humming as she played, sometimes a song that she knew or a melody she composed in just a few seconds. Soft sounds from her guitar came when she wanted to sing quietly, whisper a few words as she played different chords. Other times, she would play faster and faster, louder and louder until her siblings would come into the room and complain of the noise. 

Brielle loved the way music surrounded her life. It was so simple, so lovely to hear a few notes or the beat of a song when she walked through the neighborhood, listening to the music playing from the houses she walked by. Or when her friends played other instruments, inviting her to bring her guitar and join them as they played their favorite songs. 

Her parents had always encouraged Brielle to learn an instrument, whether it was piano or guitar or cello. Both of her parents were musicians and hoped that she would want to play music like they did one day, so when they realized that she loved music and would recognize the notes they played at a young age, they began teaching her to play guitar. Brielle had chosen that; she had wrapped her hands around a guitar and her parents knew she wanted to play the guitar. 

Now, she spent her days playing songs in the evenings, happily singing while strumming her favorite chords, hearing the beauty of every music note she played.


Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Leah Kelley

All through summer, Lily searched for butterflies. She would ask her mother many times to show her old photographs she had taken back when she was young. Every time, Lily would wait patiently until her mother told the story of the butterfly she saw on a summer evening. 

“Tell it to me again,” Lily would ask, her brown curls brushed back into a braid. 

“You’ve heard it so many times. Are you sure you want to hear it again?” Her mother would respond. Lily knew the story by heart and yet, when her mother recounted it, Lily found herself dreaming of having the same experience. 

“Yes, please.” 

Her mother sighed, smiling. She returned her focus to the picture in her hand. She had taken it many years ago, an experience she never forgot. 

“My mother, your grandmother, always told me that butterflies gave hope. I was growing up and the future seemed so uncertain. That summer, I decided to spend every day as if I was traveling the world, seeing everything for the first time. And there was nothing more beautiful than the meadow that was filled with lots and lots of flowers. Flowers of different colors and dandelions that everyone would always blow on; the trees surrounded the meadow and if you woke up early, before anyone else, the sunrise would be lovely.”

Lily listened with excitement and joy, imagining everything her mother said.

“One day, late in the evening, I decided to walk in the meadow and take some pictures to remember those moments. I wanted to treasure everything around me; it was my home, the place I grew up and I never wanted to forget anything. I took a few pictures of the sky, some of the flowers nearby, and I was about to leave when…”

“You saw a butterfly!”

“Yes, I did. It was such a wonderful moment and I didn’t hesitate to take a picture before the butterfly flew away into the sky. I remember I stood there for a few minutes, closing my eyes. I never thought that I would find peace and calmness that day, but I did.

“And even if you haven’t seen one yet, Lily, the day you see one, you’ll remember this story. You’ll remember your dreams and everything you’ve ever hoped for. So when you see one, don’t forget to take a picture.”

Spring Begins

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Taryn Elliott

Spring is always such a wonderful time, where all the flowers seem to bloom once more and butterflies decorate the air in different colors. There is a little breeze, and it is quite peaceful, as winter slowly fades away. The sun appears more frequently, bringing warmth and happiness to everyone. The trees are now filled with leaves, brilliant colors filling its branches and dancing with the soft wind.

There is rain at times but, even so, the earth seems to be content with the passing of the seasons. The way winter disappears and spring enters the world, painting the petals of the roses, lilies, and so many more flowers. The sky is clear, blue and endless as chirping birds soar through the world and then into trees, to their homes. 

Hope is what spring brings; beauty and wonder present in the smiles of people walking on the streets—busy but happy. Children laugh as they blow bubbles that float gently and later vanish, and go on adventures with their friends. Music fills the air, notes gracefully played and people dancing, forgetting about the future and any worries. 

Spring always leaves too quickly for anyone to notice and when they do, it is too late. But, even then, it isn’t easy to forget about spring and the joy it brings, especially when it begins.

When Fall Arrives

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Rikka Ameboshi

I love the sound of rustling leaves, the way they dance in the air before finally descending onto the ground. The way the wind carries each leaf in the fall: a whirlwind of crimson, orange, and yellow, circling through cities and places and people that will someday meet. And through it all, the leaves that seem to write themselves into the stories of the people passing by; it’s the magic of fall. 

I love the way the wind murmurs–sings a little, too–when the afternoon sun dies. As it retires and time trickles into the evening, the trees sway to the music of the wind. Calm and quiet at times, then loud and tempestuous as the wind zooms past colorful houses and, once in a while, briefly tickles the faces of those who walk by.  

Wonder is everywhere when the world is illuminated by the sunsets, the brilliant colors that merge with each other endlessly. A kaleidoscope of colors in the sky causes everyone, no matter where they are, to look up, even for just a second. The sky connects everyone and holds the gaze of people because these moments are finite. Sunsets can appear over and over again, but they will never appear exactly as before. And yet, everyone will always be able to enjoy the beauty of sunsets. 

And then twilight. The light fades and night slowly envelops the world in temporary darkness before street lights illuminate sidewalks with thousands of people coming home after long hours and stressful days. Starry skies are what most people look forward to; stars sprinkled in the sky like sugar, white specks that brighten the night and hold the gaze of people looking up at them from their windows. Stars that watch people make wishes, as they believe in shooting stars and pixie dust and fairy tales. Nighttime is serene, a time for people to dream and soar far beyond what they imagine possible and hope for the next day. And the next. And the next.

And Winter Follows

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Olya Kobruseva

Many people dislike the cold winter evenings, where time seems to disappear into the unknown and the day is plunged into darkness. When the night arrives faster than usual and the sun runs away. The freezing temperatures and the frosty winds and the morning frost on cars that keep them cold. Or the way the roses seem to hide, remaining frozen for what seems like forever. But winter is so much more than this. 

It’s hot chocolates being sipped on a cold afternoon, where a good book and the warmth from this drink brings immense joy to your heart. The way children sit in a circle, surrounding the person telling a story: marvelous adventures where all someone needed was a little bit of bravery and compassion. The music playing from the radio, the holiday songs that everyone knows by heart and sings along; some singing in harmony and others out of tune. 

The freshly baked cookies and the gift wrapping that somehow makes everyone feel home. The way family is not just a concept but has a real presence and brings to mind all the wonderful memories one would wish to relive. Watching movies together, wrapped in warm blankets, and playing board games. 

The little smiles and designs one draws on the frost of cars or the thousands of pictures taken to capture the sweet moments, here and there. The piano echoing in the distance along with the voices of violins and other instruments, reminding everyone of the season and the holidays. The warm jackets, the scarves full of patterns and colors, and the boots that keep your feet warm. 

And the snow that only exists in some places, a blanket that envelops the ground in pure white and invites people to build snowmen and have snowball fights and make snow angels. And it’s like everyone has forgotten that fall was ever there, that the trees that are now leafless were once filled with red and orange and yellow leaves. Winter is all anyone thinks of, what gracefully follows fall.

Baking Adventures

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by M. Catalin Cardei

“Can we bake some cookies?” Melody asked her older sister, Violet, who had come home for the holidays. She attended a university four hours away, and for Melody who loved her older sister, that meant she lived worlds away. Violet was studying to become a teacher and it couldn’t be more fitting; in Melody’s eyes, Violet was the perfect teacher already. Kindness and compassion were never far when Violet was around, and she always enjoyed hearing Violet teach her something new. 

“Of course, Mel,” her sister replied, smiling. “What kind do you want to bake?”

“Chocolate chip cookies!” Melody exclaimed, rushing to hug her sister. Violet hugged her back, knowing that Melody’s favorite cookies were always the same. 

“Okay, well, come on. We should hurry if we want to have them done by tonight,” Violet told her, urging her to get the ingredients. 

“Okay,” Melody agreed, nodding, and then went to find the ingredients. Flour and chocolate chips were the first on the list, followed by the sugar and vanilla. Melody knew that Violet was getting the rest of the ingredients out on the kitchen island, and preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Melody walked over to the kitchen island, placing all the ingredients she got and sitting on one of the stools. Baking with her sister was one of her favorite things to do, especially during the holidays. Her mother and father were out shopping for gifts while her other sister was out ice skating with her friends. But Violet was always there for her and this was just one of those special moments that she shared with her. Just last week, Melody had needed someone to help her with her homework and when she called Violet, she answered on the first ring. She had helped Melody finish her homework, despite the time and distance. 

“Have you gotten the pans out yet, Mel?” Violet asked, mixing the ingredients. She had her apron on, the one that said ‘Best Older Sister’.

“Oh, not yet. I forgot about them! I’ll go get them,” Melody answered, running back to the cupboard to get the pans. 

If we bake the cookies and have them done by tonight, we’ll get to surprise Mom and Dad! Melody thought, grinning as she imagined their faces. Violet was almost done mixing the ingredients when Melody got to the kitchen island with the pans. 

“Here they are,” Melody said, placing them down on the island.

“Great! I’m almost done. Want to finish mixing for me?” 

“Sure!” Melody stirred the flour while Violet dropped in the chocolate chips, each falling like a raindrop into the bowl. 

“Okay, I think it’s ready. Let’s place them on the pans,” Violet said, grabbing two spoons: one for her and the other for Melody. They each grabbed large spoonfuls of the dough and placed them onto the pans, leaving enough room for 30 cookies. At last, they finished placing all the dough onto the pans and put it in the oven. 

“It’ll be done in no time,” Violet affirmed as she washed her hands. Once she dried her hands, she glanced at her watch and let Melody set the timer. But of course, after baking cookies always came cleaning up the big mess in the kitchen. Ingredients scattered around the kitchen, flour all around, a few chocolate chips fell on the ground, and all the bowls and pans that were used had to be washed. Melody set out to clean the kitchen island, wiping the flour off of the surface of the island and picking up the fallen chocolate chips. Meanwhile, Violet washed all the bowls and pans that were used and together, they made the kitchen look spotless again. 

About an hour later, the cookies were done. A delicious aroma arose from the oven and quickly filled every part of the house. Melody and Violet had just finished placing the cookies on several plates when their parents arrived. 

“Mom, Dad, you’re home!” Melody exclaimed, running to give them a hug. 

“We’ve made cookies,” Violet said, pointing to the plates. 

“Was this another of your baking adventures?” her mother asked, smiling as she set the shopping bags down and gave Violet and Melody a hug. Her father was hanging up his coat and gave them both a hug. 

“It smells great in here,” he said, breathing deeply. And they all sat down with a glass of milk to eat the delicious cookies that Melody and Violet had baked that afternoon.

The Key to Somewhere

Written by Miriam Fernandez
Art by Kristina Paukshtite

Now, what could this key be for? Amira thought, frowning as she inspected the key. It was just a key—brown and tarnished. But instead of the regular design, this key had a small crown attached to the middle and two small letters: M.A.

Amira had never seen nor used this key before, which was strange as she knew all the keys to the castle. After all, the castle was her home. She had grown up there and spent her childhood discovering what was behind each door. A memory resurfaces and Amira recalls her sister and her running through corridors, escaping from their parents and hiding behind curtains. Amira smiles, fondly thinking back to simpler times. She opens her palm again and focuses on the key again, hoping to recognize anything familiar from it but fails. Sighing, she calls the one person who can help her. 

“Hey, Mia! Come take a look at this!” she yelled, urging her younger sister to come. Mia was only a year younger, but she was far wiser than Amira could ever be. Mia comes running in, her brown hair cascading past her shoulders. She wears a gold necklace around her neck, just like Amira does. The one her parents bought them years ago, back when they were little girls playing with dolls and racing through fields. They never take them off. 

“What’s wrong?” Mia asks, slowing down as she approaches Amira.

“Take a look at this. Tell me, have you seen this before?” Amira hands the key over to Mia, hoping Mia will know more about this key. Mia squints as she carefully looks at the key, turning it over in her hands. It is early morning and the castle is unusually buzzing with noise. The king and queen have decided to throw a banquet in celebration of their anniversary, something that makes Amira question her unexpected discovery of this key. She found it on the floor, hidden by dozens of chairs and camouflaged with the wooden ground.

“I’ve never seen it, Amira,” Mia finally responds, shaking her head as she looks up to Amira’s eyes. 

“Are you sure?”

“Definitely. I would have known it by now. You know we both know every inch of this castle,” Mia argues, handing the key back to Amira.

“Well then, I guess I will go search for a door that this key unlocks,” Amira says, turning slowly. I know Mia won’t say no to this, she thinks. One… two…

“Wait. Can I come too?”

Knew it.

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Amira says, smiling, and grabs her sister’s hand. They start on the first floor, trying every door while steering away from the decorations being placed on the walls and tables for the upcoming banquet. 

“If our parents find us, they’ll scold us,” Mia whispers as they run to the second floor.

“Girls, you’re wasting time -” Amira starts in her mother’s voice.

“-On trivial things rather than helping with decorating,” Mia finishes, laughing. They search the entire second floor with no luck. Then the third. And the fourth. Amira knows that she didn’t find this key coincidentally; she still believes in magic and destiny. 

“I guess it leads to nowhere,” Mia says, as they near the end of the corridor of the fourth floor. 

“Don’t say that, Mia. It has to lead somewhere,” Amira insists, looking once more at the key. They’re both tired from racing up and down so many stairs, but Amira won’t stop looking for the door that unlocks with this key. 

“Somewhere?” Mia asks, “We’ve looked everywhere.” She frowns and stops walking, crossing her arms. 

“I know it does,” Amira continues, trying her best to believe in her own words.

“Somewhere.” And all of sudden, the wall behind them slowly transforms into a door with elaborate designs on it, spirals and patterns that intertwine. Amira and Mia are speechless, their eyes wide open as they take it all in. The door continues transforming, every piece of it delicate yet strong. At last, it finishes with the door handle that is just a few inches away from Amira. 

“Wha-what just happened?” Mia asks, dumbfounded. 

“I don’t know,” Amira admits, “But whatever that was, it was amazing.”

“Should we open it?”

“Are you serious? You know the banquet is in less than two hours and we need to get ready,” Mia replies. Then, they hear their mother’s voice, loud and clear, calling for them.

“Come on, Mia,” Amira pleads, opening her hand to reveal the key. “Let’s find out what this door leads to.”

“Mia, Amira, come and get ready!”

Mia turns to the sound of her mother’s voice, frowning as she ponders over the issue. Sighing, she turns back to Amira and smiles.


Amira smiles and gives Mia the key, anxious to see what this key will unlock behind this door and hoping they’ll find an adventure waiting for them. 

Mia pushes the key inside the lock and turns the handle. The lock clicks and the door swings open. Mia and Amira both go in, their hearts hopeful as they go on a grand adventure.