By: Julz Savard Hall


JUNE 2018 Journeys end in lovers meeting...again. This is how I coax myself through the doors of a packed Starbucks Reserve on La Brea and 4th, overflowing with people in loud conversation. I nervously adjust my dress and scour the room.

There he is, like some apparition from the past. A whole ten years. I see him sitting in the farthest corner right next to the glass window. He looks so different. Skinnier, hair long tied in a bun on the top of his head. Sam Hoffman in all his new lumberjack glory.

As if on cue, he looks up quickly and locates me where I’m still standing, swallowing down the nervousness that feels like a frog in my throat. As I make eye contact with him, the only familiar feature is his 100-watt smile, big teeth, and that one dimple in the left cheek. But he’s older now, and it shows in his much narrower face and the creases that accompany his smile.

I walk towards him until I’m two feet away. “Hey stranger.” I say as I wave. He waves back. All cordiality and politeness.

“Hey. Good to see you.” He motions for me to sit down as he adjusts his chair to face me. I cross my legs and feel them graze against his.

“It’s good to see you, too! You look...different.” Is all I can manage to comment on his new features.

“Bad different, good different?”

“Just different.”

He shrugs casually and awkwardly, I look around.

“Would you like to get some coffee?” He asks. I notice the necklace hanging in front of his open-buttoned long sleeve shirt, a silver chain descending into a star-shaped jewel at his sternum. Somewhere down the line, someone must have had a strong influence on him and turned him into a country-wanderlust-hippie.

“Yeah! Sure...” I quickly fix my bag in front of me, reaching for my wallet––

“Don’t worry! On me. What do you want?”

“Just a latte.”

“Alright.” He taps my leg gently and gets up to order. I take a moment to look at my phone, quickly going over the messages we exchanged before meeting.


By: Julz Savard Hall


It’s 2007, the heyday of MySpace, emo music, Britney’s breakdown, Blockbuster threequels, the Motorola Razr, and shows like One Tree Hill and The O.C. Annie is a 17-year-old performing arts high school student whose only wish is to go to New York, get into a top performing arts college, and become the kind of singer whose picture kids will put up on their walls, just like the posters Annie puts up in her own room: Alanis Morrisette, Britney Spears, Michelle Branch. A lot of things work against Annie and her dream, though; her father passed away a year ago and she deals with the constant anxiety the traumatic loss has brought and which left Annie and her mom in a financial bind, doing everything to make ends meet. Her dream hinges upon doing well at her school’s showcase that’s giving a scholarship to the best performer, the only way she can ever even afford to go to a prestigious music school. Annie works at a fine dining restaurant to save up money, all the while preparing for college auditions, her high school showcase, graduation, and falling in love for the first time with the most popular guy in school, Josh...and maybe Elliot, the geeky punk-rock boy next door.

It just takes some time Little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride

“The Middle” - Jimmy Eat World