I can say without hesitation that I am a writer because of writers like Brad. Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke. I can see Brad in each of them.
When I was 22, I wrote Heinlein a letter of encouragement (imagine my hubris!) after reading a melancholy non-fiction essay he’d recently published. I worshiped him that much, though.
So, when I read this story, I immediately identified with Melissa, and I connected powerfully with your poignant sketch of a hero worship and talent. I love the twist ending. Beautifully told.