Top Ten Things Zetta Grace Excelled At

Submitted into Contest #74 in response to: Write a story in the form of a top-ten list.... view prompt

240 comments

Fiction Teens & Young Adult Sad


Ten


Singing. 

She had the voice of an angel, gossamer words flowing outwards, rejuvenating the sapping strings of life. When Zet sang, her voice connected everyone listening.

The first time I heard her sing was on a warm summer day in June. We sat on scratchy beach chairs we bought at Walmart, trash littering the sand our chairs were perched on. Broken bottles haunted the scene, my foot already sticky with blood. But I didn’t care. Nothing down here could take from the beauty of the pearl-studded night sky, the perfect unorder to the crashing ocean. It was so sudden when she did. We sat quietly, just the two of us, listening to the rhythmic waves sloshing on the sand. And then her sweet voice broke the silence, taking control of all sound for that moment in time.

One thought crossed my star-struck mind: Woah.

It was like she channeled happiness when she opened her mouth. Singing tales of the stars, the lyrics of smiles, the essence of rainbows. Buttery sunshine on a spring day, the first cool breeze at summer camp when you know everything will be alright. The ocean faded into the distance as I listened. It was like a fresh breath of air, resetting my timeline to oblivion.

I stared at her, I remember. Her dark hair falling in waves around her tan skin, moonlight dancing on her features. Her amber eyes are forever burned into my memory, playful yet serious, touches of humor in the endless shining hues.




Nine


Gymnastics.

Zet was like a willow branch, bending to the wind. She was flexible, curling into insane shapes, yet so strong. She could hold a contortion handstand for half an hour without breaking a sweat.And when she came down, hugging me as we cheered for her new record, I could hear the faint beats of her heart pumping a little faster.

Her red face looked exhilarated after that accomplishment.

On the gymnastics mat, her flurries of cartwheels and backflips rivaled the most professional athletes. I watched her string of movements, Zet mastering a performance then assembling another one.

Every day, she trained.

Every day, she prevailed.

And when she made it into the cancelled 2020 Olympics, I was so proud.




Eight


Patience.

Gosh, she was patient.

Waiting for her watermelon seeds to grow as she watered them every day.

Staying calm when her dog Balto tracked mud into the house again.

Doing those push-ups and sit-ups and weights, watching her muscles swell as she prepared for her gymnastics contests.

Focused.

Calm.

Patience is everything.




Seven


Writing.

Ever since I observed her first learn how to write in first grade, she’s been at it. Poems, songs, novels, Zet can do it all. I’m honestly amazed. Zetta is so many things. Feisty yet reserved, sociable yet introverted, sporty but excelling in literature.

Her poems, all brevities. Short and sweet, painting tales of sunsets and heartbreaks and fields of flowers. Imagery. She poked at your heart, seeing how emotional her words could make you feel, capturing even the simplest concepts beautifully.

Her songs, all enthusiastic. She wrote her own lyrics, drawing inspiration from her poems. Cheerful bops getting stuck in your head, softer sad songs, country music about life and sweat and tears. I think I’ve been in a couple of them.

Her books, tales that you never want to end. Zet always loved fantasy because anything could happen. She talked about unicorns and powers, penning fictional alternate-realities where all her dreams came true.

She feels her words. Pours her emotions and experiences into sentences. Her characters are part her, from the protagonists to villains to that one funny cat called Emerald. Her stories mimic the best writing: you feel like it's real. I ship Sofie and Cataline, I hope Oscar gets the Dragon Gem by the end of the book, and my eyes shedded oceans when Hazelle died.




Six


Desires.

Zet had desires, and she was great at chasing after her dreams.

She didn’t want to lead a normal life. She wanted adventure and exploration. I remember her eyes glinting as she pointed to New York on the map. “This is where we’re going next,” she had said.

Once or twice a month we went somewhere new. The trips sapped at her savings, but Zetta was the queen of YOLO. As she put it, why would she trade clinging to scraps of green paper over exploring other cultures?

I loved this about her.

Fate didn’t, apparently.

Neither did the driver who didn’t see her crossing the street to get to Paris’s top shuttle line…. 




Five


Academics.

Zetta was so many things, and that included smart. Genius, really. While I’m effortlessly smart (photographic memory perks) but didn’t care for raising my hand much, Zet was the perfect teacher’s pet. She studied and participated and never dipped below an A+. 

Our school grades were different in that way. I had to do almost nothing and she did everything. It’s almost unfair we both got A’s since she did so much and I did so little. But then, she got into Harvard with a full academic scholarship. I was scared to death we’d be separated during college, but Harvard took one look at my perfect CAT and SOL scores and I got the same.

So I definitely didn’t care about the unfairness after that relief.




Four


Empathy.

Knowing what to say at just the right time, who to wrap in a bare hug. She knew everything in a way the gossip-girl of our grade, Avila, never could. Zetta dissected and inferred from history texts in school, then glimpsed into the minds of everyone else still finishing the assignment.

Zetta understood. She felt the glowing pulse of nature, the heartbeat of the Earth. She pieced together clues and knew who to comfort and about what. It was like magic.

Zet and her patience, her mind, and her empathy would’ve made a better therapist than the school guidance counselor ever did.





Three


Her mind.

Zetta was amazing at her mind.

She mastered her thoughts—or at least, she tried, becoming one with her subconsciousness. Zetta would think and think and be lost in concepts and mysteries. Her head was like an endless funnel of ideas.

Sometimes it trapped her.

Weighed her down.

Brain whispering all sorts of things that made Zetta isolate herself from everyone for a full day or two. When she was like this, it broke my heart that she wouldn’t allow me to help. I want to plop her on a sofa with warm blankets and a cheesy romance movie, giving her puppies and rainbows and inserting happiness into her brain.

But she didn’t want any of that. She always said that the only way *she* could help herself was by *her* helping herself.  I kind of understood this. She talked about how any depressing thoughts or something was all in her mind, so she’d lose herself in her thoughts and make herself better.

Zet literally gave herself mental therapy.

And it always worked.

I don’t know what she did by herself, but while all of my other classmates had breakdowns every other day, Zet was controlled and eerily calm. She knew how to control her bad thoughts and let her good ideas and mysteries and midnight occurrences reign free.

Mind over matter.  




Two


Passion.

Zet had so much passion.

Every enchanted movement, every time she opened her mouth to sing, every story and every poem and flurries of moves to create a dance...she meant it.

There are fakers. That’s the sad reality. Gymnasts who are just in it for the money, writers who don’t feel their words, singers who don’t care about the impact of their lyrics.

Then there’s Zetta.

She’s genuine. Only does something by putting her heart into it.

She’s amazing, but sincerely amazing.

And no one can take that away from her. 





One

Most of all, Zetta Celestine Grace excelled at stealing the hearts of everyone she met. 

Every action was a gift, Zet granting the world with her existence. You loved you, you had to. As soon as you saw her gentle features smile, heard her voice like shells caressed to smoothness, witnessed her help somebody up off the ground...you would do anything for her. 

You couldn’t help but adore her.

I adored—adore—her.

I wish she were still here.

But I’ll always remember her pink-lipped smile, her fierce smirk when she roasted a friend. Her fidgeting with her charm bracelet when she was put on the spot or complimented. Her playful personality, modest and fun to be around.

Her voice is burned into my memory, that day at the beach. She sang me a song she wrote herself, a lyrical tale of friendship and heartache. I remember the chorus of the song:


Cuz you don’t see

How much you mean to me

You’re my heart

And my soul

My whole family 


And it’s true.

She was everything.

She still is.

And tonight, taking a step into the new year, Zetta Celestine Grace is taking the step with me. 



December 24, 2020 17:47

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240 comments

17:56 Dec 24, 2020

Like always, I have notes about this story. Let’s start with: WHAT THE HECK IS THIS??! I have no idea. Sorry, guys. This is WEIRDDDD! And totally differently than what I normally write. My stories are typically light and funny and long and REGULAR, whereas this is a saddish romance-ish weird-formated 1.5k-word story. And by the way, Zetta is more of the main character than the unnamed narrator, so don’t attack me about having an undeveloped protagonist 😂 Anyways.... 1. WOAHHH I POSTED! Again! I’ve actually been posting more frequently lat...

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18:26 Dec 24, 2020

PLOT TWIST: the narrator is a dog. (Not really, lol. I’m just being ~wEiRd~. A lot of times you’ll find comments like this on, like, YouTube videos so now I’m confusing pretty much everyone with my randomness on my own story😂)

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Maraika!!! 😎
04:04 Mar 20, 2021

OMG YUS! That would be amazing.

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15:43 Mar 20, 2021

XD

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"Zetta." Why do I love that name?? "Celestine." STOP THAT'S AMAZING-ER. "Grace." So beautiful and heavenly 🥺 Anywayyyy, amazing story! And you submitted so fast! I didn't even know the prompts came out until I looked at what prompt you submitted. I was like, "WHOA IT AIN'T EVEN FRIDAY YET AND PROMPTS CAME OUT!" Or is it Friday? No, it's Thursday. Lol Merry early Christmas!

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19:01 Dec 24, 2020

Haha, thank youuuu! It takes a while for me to choose names 😂 Tysmmmm Kendra! Yup! The prompts and winner is out early, oddly enough. You too!

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yeee! Lol, your welcome. Ikr? Thanks!

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Olivia Henderson
05:12 Jan 12, 2021

OMG tj9s is sooo good! I just loved every part of this story! I was engrossed since the first sentence, it is just wonderful how you write so good like afghladsaf?!! How?! Though, I'm new here, and I dont get the point system. Like I read a couple stories of others, like Raquel, but one really bad one. It's something like "Happy Birthday (or not)" soo wouldn't recommend reading that one. The descriptions are totally messed up by that girl who wrote happy birthday thing. She shouldn't even be here! Anyways, Kudos! Keep Writing -O

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14:06 Jan 12, 2021

Aw, thanks so much! Lol! Well, basically, you get points if people like your stories/you (as likes and upvotes are the main ways to gain points). Ummm, ‘Happy Birthday’ is a story by my friend Sia, and she’s an amazing friend and growing writer, so it’s okay if you don’t like her story but you don’t need to go as far as tell ME. Reedsy is an inclusive place and welcoming community, and EVERYONE can be here. Sia is just as much a writer as the rest of us 🙂 Bye! Thanks! - A :)

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Olivia Henderson
14:14 Jan 12, 2021

Welcome!! Really?! I thought it was trash. I'd rather such stories to be deleted. ("Sia's)

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14:18 Jan 12, 2021

Alright, Olivia, you can lay off the bashing a little, kay? Reedsy is a place for all writers to grow and make friends. Literally the worst people do is constructive criticism. You don’t need to be mean to her if you dislike her style, and you certainly don’t need to tell me because I love Sia and her writing. We should be able to have a normal conversation without bringing up your writing opinions, right? But I don’t really want to talk anymore because you’re being mean to my friends.

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Olivia Henderson
14:27 Jan 12, 2021

Fine. Whatever 🙄🙄 I wont talk about her with YOU .

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Asa Green
15:09 Jan 26, 2021

Ha! Well you have no problem saying to Sia's face how bad her stories are. Well guess what?! You have no stories! SO you have no right to go around making rude comments on stories you don't like! And by the way, great story 𝔸𝕖𝕣𝕚𝕟 ℝ𝕖𝕓𝕖𝕔𝕔𝕒 ❤️. Loved it. And why does it seem like you, Olivia, and Sia know each other?

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Amaya .
23:10 Jan 14, 2021

reedsy is place to grow and improve, alright? I came on here with the idea of getting feedback so I could get better at writing. Why would someone who is a perfect writer come on here, anyway. It's a place to get better! I don't understand why we've gotta push each other down. If there was a specific thing you didn;t like about the story you should tell her so that she can improve, I personally loved the story but, as I just said, this is a place to get multiple opinions. <333 have a nice day, that's all i had to say!

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Avani G
15:10 Dec 26, 2020

Hi, Aerin! Wow. Very different from your usual stories, but in a good way ;) Here's for the bio, which I always take pleasure in reading: 🍌 And here's for the 26th, one day after Christmas! Merry Christmas, Aerin. Did you do anything fun yesterday?

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16:36 Dec 26, 2020

Hey, Avani! Thank you!! Yayyyyyyyyy lol thx :D Yup! Shanks! You too :) Mostly laying around and doing nothing, lol. You?

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Avani G
18:33 Dec 26, 2020

Christmas was fun for me, thanks! It was just like any other regular day, but we did get to do some fun stuff. :)

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Izzie Chan
20:58 Dec 24, 2020

Wait, wait, wait, let me stop crying first- Okay, hi! This story(or list?) was amazing and beautifully written, Aerin! Very different from your usual style, but I loved it so much!!! ❤️ I like how it wasn't just a “list”, and you included a lot of background information on each of Zetta’s qualities. I was immediately attracted to this story because of the (kind of) first line: “She had the voice of an angel, gossamer words flowing outwards, rejuvenating the sapping strings of life.” Your ability to describe things like this really made me f...

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21:38 Dec 24, 2020

Adjejdoejowhd, thank you so much!!!!! I’m really glad you enjoyed because it’s a bit different...er, *abstract*, yes, lol. Thankyouthankyouthankyou! Oh, haha, I normal do NOT. I’ve hardly been submitting since school started, soooo even writing a story was an accomplishment, lol. But shanks :D Ackkkk thx for reading!

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Izzie Chan
01:16 Dec 25, 2020

lol no problem!!! oh really? yeah I don’t usually have time to write either because of schoolwork and stuff. dunno about you, but I’m on break right now, so I do actually have time :D I’m thinking of doing a collab, but idk lol youre welcome!!!

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01:39 Jan 04, 2021

Wow, that was just... wow! I never thought of putting a story into a LIST like that, so genius! I think a lot of people can connect with this, not only because they love Zetta, but because of what she represents. I feel like this girl is the person almost everyone wants to be. Exquisite job capturing that image.

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01:40 Jan 04, 2021

Eep, thank you so much!

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Emma Kate
12:19 Jan 02, 2021

Hey, Good story! Um...and I just want to tell that someone named Benjamin Brown has copied your story (I was just checking out submissions). I don't know whether you know it, but should I send a link? -Emma-

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14:20 Jan 02, 2021

Thank you! Bye! Happy New Years! (Well, Jan 2nd, butttt....) Aerin

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Emma Kate
15:08 Jan 02, 2021

Oh my GOD, I think the replies doubled, there's a problem with *my* reedsy, so sorry.......

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Emma Kate
14:57 Jan 02, 2021

Oh, good! Happy new year to you too! I also gave my first story but it isn't approved yet! but I am still writing a new one! Congrats on making 1st (btw). -Emma-

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Livia Rhyder
21:31 Dec 31, 2020

I was here like two minutes ago and I swear your bio changed again. Am I just seeing things? -Confused and befuddled Ps, 🍌

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21:44 Dec 31, 2020

Haha, yup, I updated it XD P. S. Yay lol

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Livia Rhyder
23:00 Dec 31, 2020

Lolol

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Livia Rhyder
21:30 Dec 31, 2020

Hi, Aerin. Great story! I really loved the descriptions and similes you used to describe Zetta. They're really illustrative. :D -Lillian

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21:43 Dec 31, 2020

Aw, thank you so much!

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Livia Rhyder
04:35 Jan 01, 2021

Hey, could you check out one of my new stories, please?

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15:14 Jan 01, 2021

Sure!

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Amaya .
20:52 Dec 30, 2020

hii could you check my bio?

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23:25 Dec 30, 2020

I did, and signed the petition, the put the link in my bio! 😬

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Amaya .
23:31 Dec 30, 2020

THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! a lot of people see your bios so I am sososososo grateful

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23:34 Dec 30, 2020

No problem! SAVE DA ANIMALSSSSS 🥺🙂

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Amaya .
23:39 Dec 30, 2020

YESSSSS

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03:40 Dec 31, 2020

Oh and alsooooo, helllllllllllo, I’m replying again to let you know part two (from Zet’s perspective on the ten seconds before...er....) is out!! Lol. It’s also super weird like this one, lol. Totally don’t feel pressured to read it just cuz I left this comment, but if you were interesting in a continuation of this story, ‘Haze of Black and White’ is out! Shanks :D

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Amaya .
19:54 Dec 30, 2020

bio

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Scout Tahoe
14:38 Dec 28, 2020

*insert banana emoji* And this story stole my heart. Beautiful.

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17:21 Dec 28, 2020

Thx lol :D Thanks so much, Scout!

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Amany Sayed
01:41 Dec 28, 2020

OK THIS HAS BEEN BOTHERING ME! For the quote. About tomatoes. TOMATO IS NOT A QUOTE I THINK IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FRUIT SO YEAH

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03:28 Dec 28, 2020

OOP LOL wow my bad thx

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03:28 Dec 28, 2020

OOP LOL wow my bad thx

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David Francis
12:28 Jan 07, 2021

Lovely story. Tightly told and structured with a beautiful use of imagery. 'beach haunted by broken bottles'. That image is sticking with me. Great work - thank you

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12:44 Jan 07, 2021

Eep, thanks so much!

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01:41 Jan 04, 2021

Also, you probably get this a lot, but how do you change the font of your name tag??

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01:42 Jan 04, 2021

I use a font generator! XD There are lots of good copy and paste font changers, but here’s the one I use: https://coolsymbol.com/cool-fancy-text-generator.html Hope that helps!

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01:51 Jan 04, 2021

Nice! Thank you!

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01:51 Jan 04, 2021

Nice! Thank you!

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Amaya .
18:11 Dec 30, 2020

25000!!!

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03:47 Dec 31, 2020

Yayyyyy lol

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Amany Sayed
14:07 Dec 30, 2020

My fav was probably starting reedsy or my blog, least fav was ya know, corona as a whole since I missed so many things that got canceld

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15:02 Dec 30, 2020

Ooh noice! And yeah, kinda same. On one hand, this year was the year I got my iPad and joined all the fun sites, buuuut C O R O N A Stupid COVID. 😭 Thx for answering lo

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15:02 Dec 30, 2020

Ooh noice! And yeah, kinda same. On one hand, this year was the year I got my iPad and joined all the fun sites, buuuut C O R O N A Stupid COVID. 😭 Thx for answering lol

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for the riddles 1: a needle i already answered for 2 and 3

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Amaya .
02:17 Dec 30, 2020

i agree, it's a needle.

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02:56 Dec 30, 2020

Haha, actually, I was going for a potato, but both ‘needle’ and Mississippi are valid answers too. Awesome!

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Amaya .
15:35 Dec 30, 2020

oooohhh that also makes sense haha

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Amaya .
15:35 Dec 30, 2020

Aerin replied!

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answers for the riddles 1. i cant figure this one out and its taking all my power not to look the answer up 2. a carrot 3. they weigh the same i love riddles

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Amaya .
01:07 Dec 30, 2020

SAME FOR #1 I WANNA LOOK IT UP SO BAD

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i forgot about the riddles until now but now i wanna look it up again

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i forgot about the riddles until now but now i wanna look it up again

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i forgot about the riddles until now but now i wanna look it up again

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Amaya .
01:37 Dec 30, 2020

ahhh i didn't mean to remind you sryyy have you figured it out? i think I know what it is but I'm not sure

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its okay and no i havent figured it out

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Amaya .
01:52 Dec 30, 2020

yeah i don't think my answer is right and now I'm confused again

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