A Sample of As the Birds Sing


Mercury Catanzarite, Staff Writer

To start off this article, I would like to provide a bit of context for this. As the Birds Sing is a YA novel I am writing in my spare time, and it’s about struggling with school, relationships, and fitting in. It’s half-creative work and half-journal for my feelings, and I hope if/when I publish the entire novel, teens like me can have a book they can fully relate to.

The two main characters of this novel are Bridgette (vae/vaem pronouns) and Mara (she/her pronouns), who are twin sisters. This sample focuses on Bridgette and how vae met vaer to-be boyfriend, a boy by the name of Jasper (he/him pronouns), in vaer drama class.

So, without further ado, here is the sample!


Vae had been trying to enter the classroom with a mysterious swagger, but the shape of the classroom shocked vaem out of the act. It looked more like a lecture room than anything vae’d expect out of a typical high school classroom, and the shock made vaem trip and fall down the stairs, tumbling right into a classmate of vaers. 

Bridgette yelped, scooting back towards the nearest set of stairs as vae looked up at the person. Vae had expected them to burst out, or to even just look down at vaem with disdain, but- all they did was smile at vaem…

And Gods, it felt like a summer day. Even as the cold winds blew in through the window and the sun still remained partly hidden under the horizon, vae saw sun rays through their eyes and felt a distinct warmth in their hands as they helped vaem up.

“I’m… I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to do that, I’m just- I’m just clumsy, I’m so sorry,” vae apologized, extending vaer arms out for a hug, which the stranger accepted with that same alluring grin.

“Oh, no, darling! Don’t worry about it, it’s okay! You seem really sweet, you know- the name’s Jasper, and I use he/him pronouns! It’s truly a pleasure to meet you…” 

His voice was just as refreshing as everything else about him. He had a “Protect Trans Youth” pin on his shirt, making vaer nonbinary heart sing with joy, and his hair was dyed orange, one of Bridgette’s many favorite colors. His brown roots were showing, however, so it must have been a while since he last touched it up. 

After a few moments of silence, Jasper spoke up again. “…Are you okay, dear?”

Vae wiped away tears that vae didn’t even realize were there, shakily replying, “Yeah, I’m- completely fine… the name’s Bridgette, and I use vae/vaem pronouns. You’re… really nice, has anyone told you that?”

“Aww, thank you! Yeah, a lot of people have, but I try to not let it go to my head.” He chuckled, pulling away from the hug. “You’re really lovely as well. How are you?”

“Well, I’m- emotionally okay, but everything hurts…”

“Oh, no! I’m sorry, darling… d’you wanna go to the nurse or anything? I can take you, y’know, the teacher trusts me a lot.”

“…Yeah, yeah, a nurse would be nice right about now… thank you.” Vae continued holding onto him as he led vaem down to the office.

Vae felt him rest his head on vaers for a few moments before lifting himself up. “Now, you go in there, okay? And tell the nurse what’s going on with you… I’ll be going back really quick to Mrs. Huntley’s class, just to tell her where you’ve went, and then I’ll be right back so I can pick you up, okay?”

Vae nodded, limping into the office and watching him walk back to class from one of the beds there.

Vae had to admit how lovely it was to be cared for like that, even if it was only for a few moments. With ice packs all over vaer body, vae sighed, knowing that Jasper had probably gone back to class and forgotten about vaem by now. Even if the knowledge did hurt, vae’d be fine without his help. Vae’d helped vaerself out of sticky situations like this a million times before on vaer own, and vae could do it again.

So, after a few minutes of radio silence from Jasper, vae started to sit up from vaer bed, contemplating whether or not to actually get up. In hindsight, vae felt like an absolute fool. After all, vae caused all this injury to vaerself because vae got shocked at what the classroom looked like and fell down a flight of stairs. 

And, to make matters even worse, vae bumped into the coolest person in vaer entire class. At least he didn’t hate vaem for it.

Vae at last decided to stand up from the nurse’s bed, taking a moment to look around at the office, which had nothing but posters on each drawer with uncipherable text on them… oh, shit, vae forgot vaer glasses. Vae’d have to make sure to bring them tomorrow, or vaer school day would be hell.

With a loud sigh, vae started to grab the ice packs, wincing as vae felt the pain surge throughout vaer body. However, just as vae took vaer first step out of the office and toward the classroom, Jasper came bursting in once again.

“Don’t strain yourself so hard! You can lean on me if you need, okay?” He gave that same smile that he did when the two first met, making Bridgette melt in his arms as vae leaned on him as heavily as vae could.

And so, the two started walking back to their class, hand-in-hand.

“…Why’d you come back for me?” vae asked, furrowing vaer eyebrows. “I mean, I can’t be that important to you, I only met you today.”

“And? That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve kindness from me. I came back because I want to help you.”

The concept of him trying to help vaem instead of leaving vaem on vaer own took a few moments to register in vaer head. However, once vae fully realized what was happening, it made vaem immediately stop leaning on him. Vae wanted to prove that vae could help vaerself and that vae could do this alone, so he should just focus on himself like everybody else does.

However, all he did in response was hold onto vaem tighter. 

“No, darling, I insist on helping you… please, just let me, okay?”

Vae struggled against him for a few moments, but he seemed to be unaffected by this, causing vaem to sigh and give up.

“…Thank you. I’m just- not used to people doing this for me,” vae said, hiding vaer scarlet-red cheeks on Jasper’s shoulder.

“You should be used to it, though… this is what you deserve.” He gently lifted vaer face, holding it for a few moments before starting to walk with vaem back to their drama class.