“Satan and his Gucci gang...oh my god. Why is this already so funny” Cole giggles, he actually giggles, then proceeds to continue reading.
“In Paradise Lost, Hell is inhabited by Satan and his possy.” A pause, he closes his eyes and purses his lips for a moment to revel in the beautiful comedy of that phrase, then proceeds.
“This includes Satan himself, Mammon, Beelzebub, Belial, and Moloc, the Mean Girls of the afterlife.” He doesn’t look away immediately after he finishes reading. Instead, he blinks fast, five or six times, and suddenly bursts into uncontrollable laughter. Not even two seconds later, the whole room fills up with mirth. Even Diana, who hardly ever laughs at anything, cracks a small smile. It doesn’t last long though, as she’s already back to her hard exterior.
“Okay, but what I really want to know is why you’re reading a Tumblr format meme on Pininterest” she narrows her eyes as she watches our laughter come to a slow halt. I wipe my eyes, wet from the tears of joy.
“Okay first of all, it’s not a meme in a Tumblr format. It’s from Tumblr itself, obviously. Second of all, it’s not Pin-in-terest, it’s Pinterest. Ingenious play on words” I exclaimed proudly. Pinterest is literally the best social media site in existence, and I’m willing to fight anyone who believes otherwise.
“You sound exactly like Hermione from Harry Potter” Reese pointed out, the last part considerately for the sake of our latest Writer, Angela. He snuck a glance her way as he said it, but she was already looking at him with concern.
“I know I’m new and you guys hardly know anything about me, but to assume that I haven’t read HP truly hurts” she faux clutches her heart, stands up, her braids swinging just beneath her elbows, and swishes her hand like she’s conducting an orchestra.
“It’s wingardium leviosa, not wingardium leviosaaaaar” she finishes this off with an impeccable eye roll, and the room’s back to the sounds of amused laughter. In my felicity, I look around and realize that in this moment, I’m content with where I am and who I’m with. I scan the faces of my fellow young adults, writers, and friends. Wonder fills me up as I recognize that each of them, even Angela, had their own distinct personalities, yet, possessed a bond that radiated with unity and acceptance.
Cole, a Singaporean who’d moved to England six years ago and constantly reminded us that he’d bend all our books and give them spine lines if we ever called him Ongjiayi, his Chinese name. He was also completely gay and completely in love with Reese, which made for an interesting group dynamic, considering Reese was totally straight and totally in love with Diana.
Reese himself was a pure Brit who prided himself on having the “sexiest accent in the world” and being “akin to Reese’s chocolates, actually. Everyone loves Reese’s Pieces.” And as conceited as it was, it was true; everyone did have an affinity towards his light brown haired charm, everyone except Diana. Then again, Diana didn’t really like anything apart from her dog Fritter and fictional characters.
My mind drifts to Diana, but I remember that if I explain her, then I’d have to explain Sze, and if I explained Sze I’d have to explain Taryn, and if I explained Taryn I’d have to explain Anna, and if-
A stinging sensation pierces my arm, and I come out of my trance to see Diana staring at me with her intense abyss eyes.
“Ouch, what the hell” I slap her fingers away from my upper arm, which was now a faded red and sore from her pinch.
“Why’d you do that for?!” I’m rubbing my skin furiously, but the strength of my sausage fingers against her slender ones was futile.
“I’m not as naive as everyone else, you know. I know exactly what you were up to when you decided to show us these literature memes. Granted, they’re absolutely hilarious, but you’re not gonna get away with it” her blank stare made me think that she didn't think they were hilarious at all while her eyes were burning straight into my soul, and I felt like I was about to spontaneously combust.
“I don’t know what-”
“Come on, Arya. You’ve been promising to show us your chapters for weeks now!” and then she did something that I’ve never seen Diana do. Or maybe I have and just convinced myself that I imagined it, it was too un-Diana like. But this time it was definitely real, because the rest of the group noticed it too.
“What?” she sounded worried, now aware of the looks she was getting. As if on cue, both Reese and Cole started up with manic laughter. Cole, delighted that the universe had synced this moment with Reese. Reese, looking at Diana with a mix of awe and disbelief.
“Did you just...did you just pout?” Reese sputtered out between wheezes. Angela was the only one not trying to contain bouts of laughter, which was understandable. Unlike her, we’d known Diana for 4 years, and in all that time, she had never done something as girly as this. Unbelievable.
“Unbelievable” Diana mirrored my thoughts, but in a different context. “Y’all are really gonna condemn me for pouting when Arya’s the real culprit here” her voice came out irritated, but we knew she was far from it.
“No one’s condemning you, it was cute actually” Reese winked and contorted his body to slither out of the way before her fist could connect with his arm. Gosh, Diana definitely had some sort of convoluted fetish for arms.
“Shut up, all of you. We’re getting distracted, again. Don’t you guys want to see Arya’s writing? We haven’t seen one of her pieces in literal ages. So much for a writing circle when the founder herself can’t even show us her works. Tsk ” she raised her eyebrows and twisted her mouth to the side in the way that she does when she knows her blunt words are enough to win an argument.
“Ughh. It’s not that I don’t want to show you guys, it’s just…” I veered off, but all of them were now looking at me expectedly.
“FINE” I conceded, knowing that with Diana leading the charge, they wouldn’t let up. I dug the Samsung Tablet out of my bag and hesitantly clicked on Google Docs. Before I could even open the document that read “My Novel, Chapter One”, Cole had grabbed the gadget out of my hands and beckoned the rest to run off to the corner with him. My heart suddenly started to flutter, my hands accumulating sweat. The next hour was going to be way too long.
The whole ordeal actually spilled over for a week, the gang analysing my every paragraph. They had loved it; of course. I had only completed three chapters, but it was enough to include vivid descriptions of everyone from the club, even Angela. I had never seen Diana smile so much as I did in that week, with her constantly congratulatiny me on how I had illustrated her perfectly and how much she loved the book already.
“Come on guys, it’s not that good” my genuine disappointment came across as modesty, and they all groaned in unison.
“It’s not!” I exclaimed with wide eyes, half elated that they actually liked it, half embarrassed that they didn’t know they were going to be the protagonists in my book sooner.
“Oh, shut up for once, will you?” Cole shot me daggers as he perused through my third chapter for the tenth time.
“I know it’s still early, but do you have any idea what you’re gonna call it? Maybe it’ll help with the rest of the plot and inevitable writers block” Angela questioned while the others listened attentively. I thought for a while, once again scanning their faces and mentally describing their existence, just as I had done on paper. The truth was, I had no idea what I’d call it, or where it’d even go. I did know one thing for sure though; these people, this writing circle for the past four years had become my life. They had become my family, and if I ever was to become a published author in the future, I’d want it to be because I preserved them through my inked words forever.
“I don’t know yet” I responded, “but I was thinking maybe it could be along the lines of something we all have in common, you know? Well, apart from being fucking AWESOME and aspiring authors. Maybe something like Satan’s Gucci Gang.”
And even though I was being dead serious, they laughed and I joined them, reveling in the fact that I was a writer, we were all writers, in a group, content with where we were and who we were with.