I said I would not speak of the dead, yet still I cannot help but dream of them. We seem like dull pinpoint jewels in a quilted sky, and with a shake we send the fabric flying, to settle down in some strange new way with us all scattered far and wide and separated forever.

There was a man. I knew him a long-ago yesterday, a faded way-back-when. He said “I’m so lost, and I’m so tired” and I nodded because I knew it was true, and I knew it could not be helped, and I knew we all were (but he most of all). The body can stay young, but the heart and the soul at least must age, and sorrow especially takes its toll. You can be old before your time, and there is no Neverland to save you. What was he, even then, but a ghost? A man clinging to a figment of hope, to the memory of the boy he no longer saw in the mirror? To weightless words spoken by skilled liars? To the burden of false, fragmented, faithless family?

It is a mockery to name us family, after all. What kept us together? It cannot have been loyalty, for we are not loyal creatures. We act in our own interest, play the virgin and the martyr. It cannot have been love, for we cast from our side those we truly loved in favor of the ones who would use us and leave us. By condemning mortals, we chose sinners. What could ever keep us, a family of vengeful wraiths, a collection of the cold and malicious and lonely, together? Nothing, it proves, for forever were we pushed apart like magnets, too alike for our own good.

It is a mockery to name us family, but once you’ve called a man ‘brother’, his ghost will always follow you. Once you’ve named a woman ‘sister’, you are forever haunted.

He was a man who put his heart in the hands of selfish children and watched it waste away. He said “I’m so tired” and I replied “I know, I know” because no man can live forever and the good always die young. The rest of us just linger on.

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