Monday, August 14, 2017


Weapons and metal scraps riddled the campground floor as Vhersly was completing her rounds. Her heavy boots leaving deep imprints as she marched through shouting orders as she passed some of her soldiers. Each of them soot and dirt covered many of them covered in gashes and bleeding.
"What did you think war was?!" She shouted down to a particularly young solider.
He shuddered and held back tears as he clung to his helmet and broken scythe. A sickening half smile spread across her face as she knelt down and caressed his face
"I am sorry. I didn't mean to upset you so badly. You have fought bravely."
He pulled his chin out her hands as he looked down and shook his head
"We are tired of this bitter battle you have decided to wage against a land we once called home."
Taking a deep breath and holding back a scream she pointed a finger at him. He eyes glowed a deep amber color before the solider dropped dead
"Who else shares these thought?"
None of the others looked at her and went about repairing their weapons and cleaning up camp. Vhersly continued her walk through and looked back to an adviser.
"The Order will give me all of Alderguard or I will continue to torch each and everyone one of them."
He wrote something down in a log as Vhersly came up to a human they had tied to a pole. He had been severely beaten and had open wounds bleeding unto the ground. She smiled as she watched him. Pursing her lips together and frowning as if she could understand his pain
"I don't want to do this. I just have to prove to your little group that I am not someone you want to face."
The human spit on her boot and she almost hissed as she slapped him across the face. His raggedy red hair covering his face now.
"You're not human are you..." She waited for someone to tell her his name.
"Neville." He rasped through gritted teeth.
"Oh, he can speak. Where are your friends now?"
Shaking his head he only laughed at her request. She punched him in the stomach causing him to retch.
"Don't worry, you won't die here."

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My reality is inherently diferent

The quietness of the tiny house was pierced by the sound of swords clashing and the whooshing sounds of spells being cast, along with the clicking and tapping of a computer keyboard. A girl with reddish brown hair, chubby cheeks, and a contagious smile took a sip of her coffee as she adjusted her glasses. Reaching for her headphones she made sure they were on the correct settings before placing them back in a comfortable position, speaking into the mic that was attached to them.
“We have adds on our left hand side attacking the healer.”
Her eyes darting back and forth as she frantically clicked the keys and shuffled the mouse back and forth.
“Did you want me to bring Cutta back?”
Another voice answering through her headphones, “ No, Coradwin. Hold it for a tank. You’re the only battle rez we have.”
For a moment she paused playing and selected another player as a target for her healing, but she didn't cast a spell instead moving to their location on the screen so that both of
their avatars were closer together. The characters name above his read: ‘Playswithspirit.’ for a quick moment before the boss in the game died and she whispered something to herself.
“Not creative Silvia, pffft.”
Text popping up on the screen in a separate window from where there was regular conversation scrolling by. Lots of ‘congrats’ and ‘good job’ were scrolling by as she selected the separate glowing window. The cheering in her headphones quite loud.
Playswithspirit: Great job healing tonight. Did you fix your talents yet?
Coradwin: Nope, I’m blonde. I forgot. I can now that we defeated Darkstar.
Playswithspirit: Did you want to come with me to the badlands?

-invite window pops up on her screen-
Coradwin: Let me grab coffee.

She pushed a button down and spoke into her mic, “Why am I typing? I am silly, BRB.”
Getting up Silvia hurried around grabbing snacks and coffee before sitting back down, placing her headphones back on.
“I am back.”

For some number of years this has been my routine. I go to work, come home,  play my online role-play fantasy game and I just live alone mostly. I have a best friend whom I speak to everyday, but she lives in another state and we text as our main form of communication. Other then that the only real socialization I get in through the game I play called Orcs vs Elves. I have a crush on a guy online that I have never met in person, and I am pretty sure he doesn’t know I exist. Besides all of this I am a successful store manager at a grocery store, and my parents have been bothering me recently to get my life in order now that I am over thirty years old and I have a steady job.
My parents would much rather I had been one of those teen screw ups who had a baby at the age of sixteen. I instead graduated from college, got a steady job, and bought a house. My sister is the one who had the baby too young.  I love Amanda dearly, but my best friend Natalie feels more like my sister then Amanda does.

The cell phone on the side of the computer going off with two different ringtones. Picking it up and quickly typing a paragraph before sending a text message with ‘replied.’ There was more text on her screen in the private chat window.

Plays: What are you doing?
Cora: Rping with Nats.
Plays: You message her a lot don’t you?
Cora: I do, She’s my best friend.
Plays: Oh that’s kewl. Are you coming?

As the evening came to a close Silvia, as Cora, bid Plays a goodbye. Logging out of the game and staring at the black screen before her rubbing her eyes that had become a little red as were her cheeks now. Picking up the dishes she had amassed and cleaning up before heading to bed.
The alarm blaring in loud long screeches beckoning the thirty-year-old to wake. “I'm up I'm up,” she told the clock as she hit the button and shuffled out of bed. She gained more vigor as she went about her morning routine with a smile on her face. Singing into her hairbrush as if it were a microphone. “Wake me up, before you go go!” Putting on her dress slacks and making sure the blouse was pressed before making her coffee to go and heading to the store she called home.

Silvia Richardson, the store manager of Greens, the local grocery store. It was one of those places where the cashiers knew all the customers and she was always happy to step inside it’s doors and feel like she was making a difference. The walls covered in photos from the latest community event the store had attended. As she walked in everyone seemed to approach her in a different aisle.
“Silvia this new produce vendor isn't cutting it. All this lettuce is rotten.” Her department head held up lettuce that had seen better days. One of the brown leaves falling to the ground.a
“I give you the authority to handle that Tyler.” She pointed at him with confidence. This caused Tyler to smile and rush off to fix it.
“Boss! Boss! The cooler is down!”
“Beatrice. Calm down, breath.”
Silvia began to deep breath with her employee before she continued to explain the problem.
A now calmer Beatrice started, “The cooler’s temperature says it's at 50 degrees.”
“There was a note from my repair guy. He was in this morning. He is probably in the back of house working on it. Just don't open the door until he is done. Let's make sure the fresh case is full first. That way all that cookable food we have out of the cooler already doesn't go to waste.”
“Good idea boss.” Beatrice heading off to complete that task.
“I hear that's why they chose me for the position.” Silvia joking about the reason for her being the store manager.
Reaching the back stock room and heading into her office she set her keys down and took a moment to close her eyes and take a deep breath. Checking her phone, but the blank screen before her only made her frown and find a drawer to stash it in.
The morning went more smoothly as she poured over her Profit and loss reports and made sure to create an action plan for the month of how they could improve sales. She stuck a post it on the side of her computer to remind her to post the latest sales in the main hallway. As good at her job as she was Silvia’s thought were always stuck inside the fantasy world she had become engrossed in from her college days. Orc vs. Elves had been a second life for her, some could argue it was her first. Her office painted the familiar red and blue from the two opposing faction in the game and she had posters hanging in her office from the game as well. Another day over before she knew it she was heading out of the door and back home.
“Enjoy your,” an employee in the deli paused “What did you call it, oh yes, enjoy your raid boss.”
Waving she smiled and turned a little bit pink. As she made it to her car her phone rang and she fumbled it in her excitement to answer it
“Plays…” She was stopped as she heard the voice on the other end
“Silvia Lindsley, who is playing? You’re not on that kiddy game of yours are you?”
Rolling her eyes as she leaned against her car and slid down it a little, “No mother I know who you are I was just talking to someone else.”
“A man perhaps? Are you seeing anyone?”
“You always ask me this and I have the same answer everytime.”
“Yes, you see them all the time shopping.” Her mother’s voice dismissive as if she didn’t like that answer. “I would really love if you could have a full and happy life. I just want what is best for my baby girl.”
“I appreciate that mom. You’re always an amazing fountain of knowledge. “ Her words were kind, but the pained expression on her face disagreed with everything her mother was saying.
“Are you coming to Sunday dinner tonight? Amanda is bringing Richard this time and Tommy.”
“You mean her husband is actually going to come along? Mom I see Tommy everytime I see Mandabear. He is after all my nephew.”
“I forget how often you girls talk. You should really call me more.”
“Mom i think I heard someone knock on your door. Yes I will be there for dinner, I love you goodbye.” Silvia rushing off the phone as fast as she could. Her breathing now heightened and she had to stop to take deep breaths before standing back up and composing herself before getting into her car.
Arriving home in a blur and not quite knowing how she had gotten home, but getting to her deck and preparing her computer with snacks and items she needed for the night gaming session. He house filing with the familiar sounds of the computerized fantasy world of Orcs vs. Elves. Silvia’s bobbed her head as she played and pretty soon she was waking up with her face on her keyboard and her phone going off with her mother’s ringtone and several messages.
“Crap!” She jumped up and ran around getting things together to arrive at her mother’s. Answering the second time the phone rang.
“I am on my way.”
“Change of plans, Richard isn’t coming either so we are going out, we’re almost to your house to get you.”
In a frenzy to get home now she sped home. Parking and taking a moment to breath before she saw a car pull up behind her. Her mother getting out of the car and coming over to open her door
“It’s nice to finally see you coming to visit us in a timely manner. Did we catch you just as you were leaving for the house?”
“Of course,” Silvia lied
Her mother looked her outfit over, “You didn’t have to dress up for us. It’s just Sunday dinner.”
She said nothing as she got in the car and sat next to her infant nephew. Breathing easier now as she looked up to see her sister staring at her in the rear view mirror from her passenger side seat. She turned away and checked her phone. A text from Playswithspirit was on there. *When are you coming online* She stared at the message preview for quite some time. Her sister grabbing her phone and reading it out loud.
“What kind of name is that?”
“He’s a friend of mine.”
“Oh it’s a he?”
“He who?” their mother asked as she got in and started the car.
“Silvi has a boyfriend.”
“Oh?” Their mother raised an eyebrow
“He is just a friend of mine from Orcs versus Elves.”
Her mother scrunched up her face and shook her head swiftly as if trying to ward off being ill. Amanda laughing cruelly as she handed the phone back. Silvia sighing and slumping don in her seat as a child would.
Dinner was quieter than usual. The three finished eat their food and as Amanda turned her attention to her little one so he could  finish his meal Silvia excused herself to the restroom. Closing the stall door and finally replying to the text. *at dinner after eight  I’ll be ok* she received an immediate answer *kk* Holding the phone to her heart she smiled and went back to the table. Amanda giving her a knowing look
“You forgot to flush if you actually used the thing.”

Silvia rolling her eyes as she Excused herself and went outside. Taking a seat by a garden that overlooked a scenic mountain trail view. People were walking on it as dusk was arriving in the small community. Remaining there until Amanda was ready to take her back to her house. The rest of the night was silent between them save for the goodbye she mousley eked out.

Her small bohemian abode was filled with the chaos of battle, but only in her headphones as the rest of the apartment was silent in the darkness. All the lights off and the glow of her computer screen the only thing illuminating the house. A scene of fantasy violence playing out in front of her. Clicking away and leaning into her desk as she concentrated so hard on the screen it almost seemed as if she was wishing it jump out at her.

-A message popping up in her chat box-

Plays: What are you working on?
Cora: I’m in a dungeon. We’re doing a challenge level 12
Plays: Oh wow, you’re doing twelves now? You should come with me after that. I can get you into fifteens.

Going to type something else but instead looking at her phone at the time. She tried to type something and then erased it, trying again she erased it again.

Plays: Corbears? You still there?
Cora: Sorry, yes I can totally do a fifteen.

-invite window pops up-

Accepting the invite another window opened summoning her to the front of the dungeon. Smiling as she checked her items in her digital bag and made sure she had everything she need before setting a robot out and offering everyone a free repair. Someone in the group made a statement how it was to have a healer who could also repair our gear. Playswithspirit typing in something about how talented a mechanic she was. The dungeon was challenging but they finished it and as Silvia looked at her clock it showed two in the morning. She said her goodnights to her friend, but before she logged off Plays stopped her, using her real life name she shook to a more awake state.
“So Sivia could I call you tomorrow?” Plays asked
“Oh, umm, yes yes of course you can. Wait what do I put as your contact name I don’t think I know your real name yet.
“It’s Thomas Cameron. Everyone just calls me Cameron though.”

“Cameron it is. I look forward to hearing from you tomorrow.”

Monday, June 26, 2017

Warrior tightrope

You are in need of assistance. You're are damaged and broken and need fixing. See a doctor. Get some help. You're weird. You can't sit with us. I don't like you. Have I heard it all? Have we? The answer to that is yes. Sad thing is some of the things said have even been said my close friends, lovers, and parents. I am now 34. I learned I was allowed to parents myself and make up for the things my own parents were missing. It''s okay they loved me as much as they could or were able to. The big thing is that I love me now. It has taken me a long time and a lot of broken experiences to find myself in the mesh of tumbled around things that life provided. It is funny how thing have turned out. In loving myself i don't put up with any sort of crap and I easily let go of people i they are being toxic. It's so easy to do knowing what i am worth and seeing now  that i have surrounded myself with amazing people who would never say such things or if they truly had a concern about me they would be loving in their delivery of such concerns. I treat myself just as I would treat  best friend of mine, with gentleness and care. No more self hate or bad self talk. I am gorgeous, and creative. I am wonderful and amazing. As a preface to what I am about to write...

They call me lots of nicknames. Some of my favorite ones are Cerbear, Celery, Rob, and the elf. I'm ready.

This goes out to all my friend who are still trying to find their way. In case they are confused who they might be, eh, well i hope, eh that this tell them who its aboot. (for)

The glow of the armor ad faded long ago and the fresh blood that stained his chest plate was smeared down the front and across his shoulder. Pulling his blade from a new kill he turned around to his companion. Covered in leaves and antlers she appeared as more a art of nature then she was the elf that was underneath the leather clad armor she wore. Bringing forth her staff and setting it into the ground. A swirl of magic around the spot she had laid it into as a swirl of blue closed all wound on the warrior in front of her.
"You'll need to slow down. You always run too far out of the range of my magic." The girl elf noted
"We don't have time to wait. At the end of this dungeon is exactly what Dark asked us to retrieve."
"Is it worth sacrificing our lives for?" He calm tone not reaching him
"You don't understand! Why do you always make this about you!" He shouted as he picked up a rock to throw, "Just go! Leave me alone! I don't need your healing!"
The druid backing away and lowering her head, "As you wish."
Turning to go she only looked back once, her stomach turning as she exited the cavern,  a glowing orb in hand to take back to their leader. The sacrifice for this item more then she believed she could bear. Casting a spell to take her back to her home she walked through the glowing blue of the portal and appeared in a grove with lots of other druids all clad in similar garb to hers.
She made it to the main part of the grove where there was a large tree stump that had been fashioned into a table and She approached a bear that was  nealy three times the size of a regular bear.
"Darkcrows, we have succeeded. The legion of Stone can continue our quest."
The bear nodding and not saying anything. The druid girl turning to leave
She stopped and turned back around slowly. Grasping her staff as tightly as she could with her sweating hands.
"What of Slayen?"
"He is lost."
"He no longer believe in our cause. He needs healing."
"Are you not a druid of mine?"
"I am, but I cannot heal him. I do not possess that kind of magic."
"You are telling me he needs something other then our natural magics?"
Cerity nodding.
"Have you spoken to our deathlord to seek this help?"
Cerity shook her head., "What help can the undeath of those knights bring a warrior such as Slayen?"
"They are wise."
"So are you. I do not understand."
"There are somethings druid should not handle."
"He just needs time."
"You care. I can see that." The bear turning back into his elf form and came over to his friend and guild mate, "All will be well I promise you this."
Breaking down in tears as her leader hugged her. Setting her staff down and crumpling into a pile of herself.
"There are thing still yet to come young one. This is not the end of your story or his just yet."

Behind the two druids a heavily armored figure appeared. Everything he touched in the grove dying as he reached for Cerity.
"Go Cerbear. Denariarion will help you. He knows what to do."
giving a sad sort of smile she went to the dark knight and left with him through another portal.

Even when things seem to fall apart or change there is a reason. The tale of the druid and the deathknight is for another time.

This was the conclusion of the druid and the warrior.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Art of Conversation

      He looked up from his keys as he fiddled with them  waiting for her to take some action before they got back into the car. The bright lights from the theater accentuating her lush brown locks.
      "The real life love is under the mirror of the surface." She sang.
      "So cut my chord. I want to know how deep we can take this." He responded in kind.
      "See the things you've been chasing you'll never find them wearing a life vest." She continued to sing in perfect pitch.
      "You've gotta risk your neck, and know that in your heart it will be worth it. That we are worth it."
     "So here we go, head first and no regrets." She took steps closer to him, "and no rules we can stay as long as we want."
      "Slow dancing in the darkness, and I all I know is I want to be with you, here, from now on." He placed his arms around her, hugging her tightly.
      "It's been my fashion to keep my head dry and get my feet wet, but step by step I've been letting you lead me into the deep end." Her voice an almost whisper as she continued to sing to him.
      "I've learned my lesson honey. Just when you think you're where all the adults swim."
      "That's precisely when somebody shows you to the ocean."
     Finally she kissed him and the keys fell to the ground with the click and jingle almost as melodic as her voice. That was when I knew I had truly fallen in love with my soulmate.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Creeping Darkness

     They call it utopia. They say it is a wonderful place to be, but I have only know pain and anguish from the place they all call their haven. It is a place of darkness and where my dreams have gone to die. Where I had gone to die. Whoever she was, whoever I used to be is long gone. Buried in so many layers of damage like a cocoon of hurt. Secluded from all else I realized that within this state I could morph into something else and transform I did. 
     Enemy, evil, demon they shouted. Had I allowed the darkness to erode that which I truly was? My own mirror image foreign to me as I see the fully armored figure. Sword in hand, bloodied from battle and weather beaten from so many days and nights under the sun. The sting of the air forcing me to squint. The tears coming now strange to my stoic glare. I hate life. This is who I have become I must embrace it. 
     The crackle of wood burning and the clang of metal being formed into weapons echoed around the campground. Near a cliff's edge stood a warrior wearing hefty black plate armor. They watched as the water kissed the shore and was rejected only to return time and time again. Shaking their head as they watched as if telling the waves to give up, but they refused. 
    "Master," another man dressed in tattered and dirty apparel was coming up the hill and handed her a scroll
    "What word has come?"
    "They mean to find them. They are sending the seeker."
     "Let him come. He will only find anguish among my men." She shooed the man off.
     The servant rushed off quickly and back into the camp. Each tent poorly constructed and very temporary. A gust of wind knocking one over as the camp worked hard to create weapons of war and hurt. Walking through the mass of disheveled homes and people she touched the tops of their heads as if to say she was sorry there was not more. They all smiled through the dirt smeared on their faces as she passed and a strange light also followed her. Someone in the back shouting her praise.

Darkness I may be, but I can change the course of this land. I can save it. Sometimes it takes evil to undo evil.

Saturday, January 21, 2017


I had a revelation today. I have accepted far too many people telling me negative things, even friends of mine. Even close friends of mine. I've had people say I am emotionally unstable and that I cannot handle my job and that I can't. That I can't I can't, I can't can't can't can't can't can't... ... ....

CAN! I will, I do, and I have!

I will never again accept someone who tells me these things. I am a brilliant writer,with a magical mind. I will be someone other than just RSWE to myself. This girl, Somber, Cerity, Ember, Whoever I am;


That's right this story goes on. I can visualize it. Hey Falkor, wonderboy, jerkface, watch me run far far ahead of you. Anyone who wants to keep up can. I will have a book published by the end of this year. I will. Then another and another and after that another. I am not going to stop, and with my final agonizing breath I will continue to write and I will continue to pursue my dreams no matter what worth you think I have I know you're all wrong.

I am amazing and anyone who can't see it... Yes you too Mr. dubious huntard. I will never be in love with someone who doesn't support this mind of mine that floats in the mother fucking clouds. You might have been able to keep me down for a little while but that will not be how it is ever again. EVER AGAIN! *shouts it from the top or the worlds tallest structure natural or otherwise until Nasa discovers something taller and that I will shout it from that apparatus as well.

While you all try and catch up with me and say you knew me when I will have those who believed in me all along around me who have always loved and supported me. Who never failed me, and who continue to tell me I am worth it, but the most important voice among all of them in my own. Cerity Tradewind you go girl, heal me just like you heal others online.

Come on, come all, I have a tale to tell you of how I became legendary in real life. My bank account isn't an experience bar. I will never measure myself in the amount of money I make. I refuse to be limited by something so small. If that is as far as my mind can reach then I am very stunted indeed. My heart is the strongest organ in my body, and i'm using it. It's stronger then your tiny tiny little mind that only calculates what is happening tomorrow. I will love what is happening an eternity from now. You're not there, I can't see that analytical mind keeping up with my bleeding heart. There is more blood in these veins then in the entire universe and I will use every last drop.

Artistic minds unite, and don't accept  anyone who tells you that you can't. Throw that word away and just get down to business.

Monday, December 5, 2016

In reguards to Tresta

I found an article that perfectly describes my experience with someone I thought for a brief moment in time that I might be in love with. It was instead all an elaborate facade. A folly perpetrated to get what he wanted out of me and it seems he succeeded. I should have listened to the advice of my long time friends. All three of them were very right about him. To D, I am sorry I didn't liste. To H, damn were you and your mom were dead on. Also, M, you were so brutally honest I almost wanted to prove you wrong. Here is the article and I will also add it... to my experience with this cad... (I am amazed I was not affected by his actions beyond a learning experience. I could have done myself serious harm)

He told me he loved me 10 minutes into our first date. Yes, looking back, it should have been a sign, but I was distracted by his straight teeth and crooked smile. The first time I met his eyes, they were wild: furtive, feral; brown-black pools that sparkled with equal parts charm and menace. He seemed like the right kind of dangerous. He burst through the door of my apartment like he owned the place. He was handsome, undoubtedly, but his presence was something more than his externality. He had a manic energy, and it sucked me in entirely. His words were deliberate, his voice was raspy, and he was acutely aware of the effect he had over me – over everyone, really. We stole lemon beers from my shared fridge and tiptoed barefoot down the metal stairs to the rectangle of pavement New Yorkers call a yard. He chain-smoked while I did the crossword. We were old and married and cold and drunk. I had known him for less than an hour, but we’re the kind of people who just don’t know how to say “when.” There were no breaks in conversation; we never tripped over words. We spoke about the oddest things. He was indisputably intelligent and laughed in harsh, measured barks. He was never lost; he picked up on every allusion, on every note of latent sarcasm, on things I couldn’t begin to explain. There’s nothing sexier to me than conversation, and his tongue was all too ready for the verbal spar that sent shivers down my spine. He never skipped a beat, and our dialogue hurdled in a million different directions. No area was off limits; there was nothing we didn’t have in common, no books we hadn’t both inhaled, no movies we hadn’t both adored, no music that hadn’t gotten both of us through our emotionally-stunted childhoods. We just gradually drew closer until our knees brushed and, eventually, our lips met. And then he started with the promises. He said that relationships were for the dogs, but I was different. He said if I asked him to, right then and there, he would drop everything and be mine. He said he loved me and then he said he had never told anyone that ever. He told me stories. They felt like stories. It takes a liar to know one, but I could forgive him. I appreciate embellishment and hyperbole as much as the next adventure junkie. His brain seemed to work like mine. We held the same hyper-analytical, clinical assessment of the world, tempered with bursts of rapturous sensation and an incredible ferocity to be alive. He walked the same contradictions I did. He didn’t give one flying fuck about the world and how it perceived him. It was magnetic. It was never boring. When I saw him to the door, he leaned across the threshold for a long, slow kiss. He said there was something special, and he knew I felt it too. We made plans for the following day. This began a long string of canceled dates. Some nights he would keep me up until sunrise with secrets and commiseration. We’d go for hours on end, phone calls and texts. He would say this was something different. He would say we can’t ignore this. Then he would disappear. It could be days. Sometimes it was a week. One time it was a month. I’ve never been the kind of girl to stare at a phone, but every vibration that wasn’t his name sent my stomach into a lurch and flattened me into the ground. All the same, I refused to believe the guy who said all those things could be the guy who didn’t mean any of them. I made the requisite excuses for him time and time again. I assured myself I was a cool girl and I didn’t mind when he didn’t call when he said he would, when he didn’t text for days, when he made plans and then fell off the face of the earth. I felt addicted to his conversation; I felt addicted to his attention. Because when I had it, there was nothing like it. The intensity, the devotion, the electricity — everything fell into place, and I could see the whole of our future painted in bright, vibrant lights. Then he’d leave mid-sentence. And I would lapse heavily in withdrawal. The minutes, hours, days between our communication drained the world of its color. He said just enough to keep me there, dangling by a thread — and I was unraveling. And the moment I felt strong enough to sever all ties, he came back with a million excuses to quell the million questions I had racked my brain with when he wasn’t around. It was the first time in my life I was vulnerable; I had always been the texted, the chased, the desired. I had never been on the other side of the phone, hoping for a message to disrupt the blocks of blue I carefully constructed ad nauseum to no avail. Maybe his phone was broken; maybe mine was. Maybe he was scared of what we had; maybe I was. He made me feel helpless; he rooted himself firmly under my skin, and no amount of scratching could exorcize the idea of him. His scent. His fingers. The way his full lips formed words, even if they were lies. Because lies can be beautiful if they’re told the right way. He was just better at being me than I was. It’s hard to make sense of that, but he cared less about things than I do, he took unbelievable risks I couldn’t dream of and he spun elaborate, beautiful entanglements of deceit and adventure that eclipsed all of my own. I thought I was an extreme person… until I met him. Every wonderfully flawed piece of myself I cherished, he outdid. Every rotten part of me I treasured, the bits that left men slain at my feet, was exceeded. It was like I was choked with the heavy recoil of the millions of lies I had shot in the dark in the pursuit of being an ephemeral, untouchable creature. But everything I’ve ever done and will ever do paled in comparison to whatever this man was. When I found out he was a diagnosed sociopath, it was like the millions of tiny pieces he fractured me into finally solidified into a neat conclusion. It finally made sense why each week he’d have a new, gorgeous “best friend” on Instagram. Why his stories never quite lived up to his reality. Why his eyes felt just the tiniest bit empty. Why he couldn’t do anything without being some form of fucked up. Why he didn’t care enough to sustain relationships. Why he strung me along, played with me and liked it. It was all for sport. The longest we went without speaking was a little over a month. At first, I had felt trampled on, chewed up and weak. Then I felt numb; I ghosted through my day to day, pretending it didn’t hurt to breathe. And just when I was able to say his name and not wince, when I was able to look at my phone without the silent prayer for a message, when absolutely random things didn’t jolt me back to a pained vision of his face, he flicked a careless text at me. He asked me why I had stopped talking to him. Apparently, it was all a hilarious misunderstanding. A classic mixup. A comedy of errors. He thought I spurned him, and I thought he rejected me. The laughs we had! Of course, I didn’t really believe him — I couldn’t — but I told myself I did. Because it felt better when it was true. Because it suddenly didn’t hurt so much. Loving a sociopath is taking all the shortcuts in life. There’s immediate charm, intense connection, an all or nothingness that is unlike any normal relationship. It’s like you skip all the bullshit — until you realize it’s only bullshit. Most of all, it’s a shortcut to a broken heart. Because as detached as you try to be, you’ll never be as unattached as someone who lives his life completely separate from the basic spectrum of human emotions. Because sometimes he isn’t human; sometimes it feels like he’s one step up on the food chain and you’ve been looking particularly tasty lately. There’s a term in biology called “surplus killing,” and it refers to predators that kill prey with absolutely no intention of eating it. It could be a show of strength or it could be because a little part of them enjoys it. We tell ourselves it’s the former because we only like violence when we can explain it away. But I know there’s a distinct difference between the animals who play with their prey before they eat it and the animals who kill just because it’s fun. It took me a long time to realize I wasn’t the cat in this cat and mouse game. And it took me even longer to move on. I can say his name now; I can talk about him fondly; I can reminisce about the time I doused my heart in gasoline, lit a match and hoped for the best. Because all he ever could be was a story; he wasn’t the one — he was who I wanted him to be. Because he held me but never really touched me. Because he sat himself in the stitches of the skin, superficial enough to burn and deep enough to bruise. Because the only cure for pain is time. And when the sting is gone, all that’s left is truth. He couldn’t be real if he tried. And something that isn’t real can’t hurt you. At least not in the long run. Because, ultimately, he didn’t get the better of me. Because I’d rather feel than fake it. Because I’d rather love and be loved. Because, because, because.

To this coward who seeped into who I was a burned holes into places I had just recently stiched up. I want to thank you. Thank you for showing me who my real friends are. Thank you for showing me how strong and resilient I am. Most of all thank you for pointing me in the direction of where I could learn what real love is about. Thank you unknowingly helping me grow in ways i never thought I would.