#1997

The human body is astoundingly stubborn; it clings to life long after the will to live has bled from the spirit. Deny it sustenance, deny it rest, deny it more than a bare modicum of care or attention and still it struggles to rise each day. You can force your body to breathe ash and swallow poison, yet still your heart labors to beat as long as it possibly can. It’s sad, really, to think that every cell in your body struggles unceasingly to survive when you couldn’t care less if you even live through the night. I’d have died years ago if it were up to me. Somehow I keep waking each morning, though, so I’ll just keep going until the day I don’t. Give up, heart. Give in, lungs. Nothing in this world is worth your desperate striving. I long for the day I’ll never see, when you have finally learned to let go.

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#1995

[The scene opens on the interior of a dim tavern, the name of which – Dragoneye Charlie’s – is painted above the bar in passably readable script. Judging by the dark windows and sparse remaining crowd, it’s nearly closing time. Only the regulars linger still, scattered among the bare wood tables and ill-lit corners, and even most of them have stopped ordering refills. Dragoneye Charlie himself stands behind the counter, idly polishing shot glasses as he keeps an eye on the two patrons still drinking at the bar. Despite their size, the tiefling and half-orc seem considerably tipsy. The tiefling, Remr, leans her elbows on the counter as Brutus, the half-orc, fights to keep his tears to a manly, albeit heartbroken, minimum. It is clear they have been here for a while.]

Brutus: I thought he was the one, okay? Like, deep down I knew he didn’t want anything serious, but I guess I thought it would be different with me, you know?

Remr [grimacing]: Oh, I know. And it’s never different. They’ll always leave you high and dry like a fuckin’… [she snaps her fingers] a fuckin’…

Brutus: Desert?

Remr: YEAH. Like a fuckin’ desert. Speaking of deserts, [she turns to Charlie and indicates their empty glasses] can I get another round over here?

[Dragoneye Charlie fills their glasses without comment.]

Brutus [staring into his glass]: I still have his yoga mat. Do you think I should let him know so he can come pick it up? It’s a nice mat. He probably wonders where it is. I should tell him.

Remr: No! Throw that thing away, man, like, just toss it. Make a clean break. It’s the only way you can move on. There are other fish in the sea. Other gay orc… fish. Like, so many, and you [she jabs Brutus’ chest with one finger to emphasize her point] could have any of them, because you are FABULOUS. No, wait, no, you know what? Forget about all those stupid fish. Dating’s for losers anyway. Who wants a person who’s, like, always around and supporting you and stuff? More time to discover miral… mircul… mir-AK-ulous scientific breakthroughs when you’re alone. [she chugs the remainder of her drink]

Brutus [confused]: I’m a baker.

Remr: Then more time to… I don’t know, invent better… pie. Hand pies. More time to invent better hand pies. [She holds out her empty glass to Charlie with a smile] More drink please!

Dragoneye Charlie [shaking his head]: I’m cutting you off.

Remr: But I’ve only had three!

Dragoneye Charlie: You’ve had six.

Remr [with much indignation]: …yeah, well… whatever, I’m a biologist, not a math-eh-muh-tician. Speaking of science, though, the process by which alcohol is fermented is fascinating on the molecular level, it really is. [she pulls a scrap of parchment and a piece of charcoal out of her pocket and starts drawing] You start with–

Brutus: Oookay. [he pats Remr’s shoulder with a giant hand] Let’s get you home.

Remr [blinking sleepily]: Oh. Okey doke. [she deposits a handful of coins on the bar and stands, or at least gets herself into a vertical position, albeit with a definite sway. Brutus, having weathered worse binges, hooks an arm around his companion and leads her out to the street with a minimal amount of wobbling. He deposits her at the door to her inn, where she revives a bit and slaps him on the shoulder in what she clearly intends to be a gesture of commiseration.]

Remr: Friendship’s all you need in life, buddy. Fuck that guy. Just you an’ me, it’s just you an’ me against the world. And science.

Brutus: Uh… thanks. [he pushes her toward the door] Get some sleep. And stop calling me in the middle of the night, okay?

Remr [attempting a combination of thumbs up and finger guns at the same time]: Call you in the middle of the night. Got it.

[She disappears through the door, just managing not to shut it on her tail. Brutus stares at the closed door for a second, contemplating how he got to this point in his life, then sighs and heads for his own home.]

#1994

Wherein I Visit a Psychic and Leave With More Questions Than Answers

As you can tell from my previous pieces, I’m not doing so great in the life department right now. A deep spiritual crisis has somehow perfectly coincided with both a supremely busy time in my life (getting married in 25 days, holy shit) and what feels like the worst depression I’ve ever experienced. I’m not just questioning my spiritual path – I’m questioning whether anything beyond the scientifically provable even exists, and whether there’s much point in our existence if it doesn’t. I feel listless and apathetic, and I’m really only getting the absolute minimum done in all aspects of my life. It’s not fun! Super not fun.

All this is to say that for the last few weeks, I’ve pondered seeing a psychic. I thought that if a psychic could tell me something they would have no way of knowing or really guessing, that would be my proof that the spiritual side of our world actually exists. At first I thought the idea was silly, or at least a waste of my money and time, but I finally grew desperate enough to make an appointment. Before I met the woman, Jody, I removed all of my jewelry so she wouldn’t have anything to work from and I could feel confident that her conclusions weren’t biased or just good guesses. I’m not naturally suspicious of psychics, and Jody certainly didn’t give me charlatan vibes; I just knew my pessimistic mindset would magnify any little flaw or uncertainty. So with some trepidation, but also hope, on my part, Jody began the session.

  • Past lives: Jody told me I have lived many, many past lives. Among the ones she touched on were lives in which I was an ancient Egyptian, a monk with a special affinity for animals, a shepherd, an old Irish man with a wolfhound, a young girl who loved horses, an Italian man who spent most of his time sailing, and a Native American tracker who spent much of their time alone in the woods, exploring and bringing back news and discoveries to the tribe.
    • I asked for clarification on the Egyptian life and Jody told me I was an Egyptian man who did energy work (possibly in a religious capacity?). She said I would “hold” energy, and in example of this she raised her arms up as if offering a large bowl to something taller – perhaps a statue. This evidently became my demise, as someone I trusted and for whom I was or had held energy took my life. It was a brutal end to a rather short life, according to Jody. She also said my connection with cats comes from this life, which isn’t surprising but still nice to have confirmed.
    • The Italian lifetime struck a deep chord with me, as it reminded me strongly of my father. Judy said she kept getting “Italian” vibes as she read my past lives, which could have been a good guess based on my hair but would also make sense due to my strong Italian roots.
  • My spirit: Jody conducted what she called a “rose reading” of my spirit and told me it looked like a purple rose so open that its petals were nearly falling off, which she interpreted to mean I have been in a time of development and change for the last three years, but it is coming to a close. I found this particularly interesting since my spiritual path began almost three years ago with Bast’s calling me to Her service.
  • Spirits/Companions: Jody seemed surprised that I had a whole gaggle of spirits with me during the reading. She noted at least three that were spirits of those who had passed on, several animal guides, and a few others of the deity/spiritual entity persuasion. Among the gathered were the following:
    • An older woman who was laughing, evidently amused and pleased by the entire event. Jody didn’t describe this spirit much, only saying that she liked her. I wondered if this might be Bast, as She often gives me the feeling of an amused, loving mother watching her daughter stumble around when learning to walk.
    • The Archangel Raphael, whose presence definitely surprised me; I have very little connection with the Abrahamic religions and if I was going to be visited by an angel, I’d think it would be Lucifer. Jody said he was with me in a healing capacity, which made sense from the rest of her reading. When I told my fiance about this, she pointed out that Raphael is known for bestowing sight to the blind. Ah, I see what you did there, Universe.
    • An old woman who reportedly told Jody that I can’t hear her, though she is always with me. Jody told me this woman had known me when she was alive, but that I hadn’t known her. I suspect this spirit was my mother’s mother, who died when I was just a baby.
    • Two spirits of cats I knew or had known in my life. The first she said I had known many times, which didn’t surprise me; I have often felt that my cats were reincarnations of the same spirit visiting me again and again. Jody described the other cat spirit as large (personality-wise) and extremely loving but kind of doofy. I laughed out loud at this and asked if the spirit could be living now – it sounded exactly like my cat Lorne, who we call a “precious gift” when he does anything remarkably silly or dumb. It was so nice to know he was sitting beside me for the reading, like he wanted me to know I wasn’t alone.
      • Strangely enough, though I got home much later than usual and way past our cats’ dinner time, they greeted me at the door in patient silence instead of their customary starved howling. It was like they knew I was going to be late but that it was for an important reason, so they gave me some slack.
    • An animal guide in the form of a large black panther. There were also two other animal guides with me, but Jody was apparently warned (though I forgot to ask by whom) that she couldn’t tell me what they were – I either needed to discover them for myself or I knew their identities on a deeper level. I wondered after the session if they took the forms of a raven and coyote, as I’ve always been drawn to those animals.
    • Jody also identified what she called my “sister spirit”. She said we had been together in many lives, and each time traded off who was more reserved and who was more lively. We always found each other and brought each other companionship, support, and love. This could honestly match any of my closest friends, so many of whom feel like sisters to me, but I think she could also have been indicating my fiance. For years I’ve longed for this abstract someone, always female, who felt like both a lover and a sister, and I knew pretty much the moment I met my fiance that she was that person. On top of that, my fiance longed for exactly the same thing – though she called this person her “Stranger” while I called them “Shakespeare’s Sister”.
  • My father: The first and main spirit Jody identified was very clearly that of my father, though she originally identified him as a friend and said we had been together in many lifetimes. She told me he kept showing her things I had written about him and told her he was proud of me. She also saw him placing something around my neck, which she later interpreted as him giving me his “pearls of wisdom”.
    • He also had with him a female spirit (we both sensed this was his mother) and a male spirit who seemed like friend or brother. My father’s brother is alive but they weren’t very close, so I don’t think it was his spirit. I suspect, but would love to confirm, that it was the spirit of my fiance’s father. We often feel as if one or both of our fathers are present, and they would have gotten along in real life – it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to think they hang out as spirits.
    • In addition to the two other human spirits, my dad also had two dogs with him, which Jody said made him very happy. When I was a kid we had two golden retrievers whom my father cared for, so I think they are with him in the afterlife as well.
    • Jody indicated that my father had died unexpectedly from something like an illness, but she seemed hesitant to define it further. Considering my father was originally hospitalized for a stroke, but died of complications related in part to his treatment by the hospital staff, this uncertainty makes sense. More importantly, she said my father knew (either consciously or subconsciously) for about a year that he would be passing soon and was okay with it. He felt ready to go, and lived that last year to its fullest. This detail was particularly comforting, and seemed to be confirmed by actual events – that year was my parents’ first without any kids in the house, so they spent a lot of time together doing new things, and my father actually became sick while on a family vacation with myself and my mother. Jody also told me that my father was happy as a spirit, because he could go anywhere he wanted and wasn’t confined to a physical body. She told me to hang up wind chimes as a way for him to signal his presence, which I will definitely do.
    • Jody told me my father wants me to write. He said I have a book inside me that I need to write, possibly because it might help people. This statement originally confused me, since my preferred writing style is very short and discordant – not exactly the stuff of long novels. Jody seemed to think my father meant some sort of spiritual or self-help book, possibly based on my own experiences, but this didn’t feel correct. I’m not a huge fan of those kinds of books in the first place, and am not yet in a place emotionally where I would feel comfortable acting like an authority on, well, anything. But then a few days later I remembered that I had indeed been pondering a book idea! I gave it up immediately because I couldn’t fathom how to go about researching the topic (paranormal activity in relation to natural disasters), but it sits at the back of my mind anyway. Could this be what my dad was indicating? He definitely would have found the concept interesting, and would have encouraged my research. I’m super intimidated by the prospect, though, so I’m not sure yet what I’ll do.
    • To top this all off, I came home and found my dad’s keychain on the floor of my room. I keep it on a bookshelf where I have set up a kind of ancestor shrine to him. It’s not impossible for my cats to get onto that shelf, but they usually knock more down when they do because it’s a cramped space. This time, though the keychain was on the floor, nothing else had been disturbed – even the cloth underneath that would surely have been rumpled if a cat had jumped onto it.
  • My aura: Jody conducted an aura/chakra reading, in which she reiterated that I was doing a lot of healing on different levels (indicated by the color green). The most interesting thing she mentioned during this reading, though, was that my crown chakra’s aura was a light lavender speckled with stardust, and that this indicated that I am able to “know” things without knowing why. The combination of lavender and stardust, which I immediately imagined as freckles, made me think of Bast. She is associated with the color purple and lavender in general, and I always imagine her dusted with freckles. That this particular aura was also associated with my spiritual connection and this “knowing” which I can feel but never explain felt like a jolt of desperately needed evidence. Jody never named Bast or otherwise indicated Her presence, but when she told me about the state of my crown chakra, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of rightness.
  • Overall: Jody emphasized throughout the reading that I am a healer and empathetic person who has difficulty shielding myself from the pain of the world – the understatement of the century, if my general mood through 2017 is anything to go by. Jody told me I can give too much of myself and must make sure not to take on others’ pain or sorrow, but to try to lift them up with my own light. This is actually something I’ve worked on with my therapist, but haven’t made much progress; it’s very easy for me to adopt someone’s bad mood and incredibly hard to retain my good mood if I’m around someone negative.
    • Jody indicated my third eye is just barely opening, and that I need to nurture it through confidence and faith in order to open myself more to my spiritual guides, companions, and messages from the universe. She told me to listen to my dreams, look for signs, and take chances on things I want to do or learn, especially if they are creative activities.
Overall, the session left me reeling and totally uncertain as to how much I believed and how what I believed would shape my spiritual path. Unfortunately, my general malaise hasn’t lifted yet, making it even harder to do the soul searching and difficult mental processes necessary to sift through everything to find the valuable bits. The session was definitely interesting, though, and I think over time I will get more and more out of it. Right now, though, I’m still processing. There are questions I never got even remotely close to answering – where were Tanim and Daren in all of this, for example? or Inanna? – and answers to questions I don’t yet know how to ask. Part of me wants to go back to ask for more detail, to dig deeper into whatever Jody can find, but part of me knows that could be a dangerous slope. It’d be so easy to accept everything she said at face value and operate accordingly, yet I don’t think even she would support that tactic. So I’ll be sifting for gold dust for a while, I guess, and trying to shut up that voice of doubt I can’t ever be totally rid of.

If you actually read to the end of this, wow, damn. I’d love to hear your feedback or insight!

#1992

Can asexuals feel love?
Fun fact: no, we can’t!
I’m just a monster with a barbaric heart.
In some states it’s legal to shoot me on sight;
in others you need a permit.
I’ve been waiting for someone to put me out of my misery.
It hasn’t happened yet, but still I hope.

#1991

[ The great DM in the sky told us to design masquerade outfits for our characters, so here is Remr being predictably nerdy and over the top. ]

“Companions, hello!” Remr hurried down the last few stairs to where her party waited and spun in a circle to show them her masquerade costume. Beneath her mask, she grinned with glee. “Get it?” The tiefling seemed very proud of her creation, and it was both easy and yet incredibly difficult to see why. On the one hand, her dress was clearly of very fine quality; black velvet, silk, and lace cascaded over the large black crinoline cage beneath, and at each bunching little jewels glimmered. Her mask, too, was of fine black lace and glittering jewels, and the raven feathers that framed it extended back to encompass her horns and wrap into her carefully spiked hair. On the other hand, though, the dress was also torn to shreds. The bodice was fine, neatly sewn and studded with rhinestones, but at her waist things seemed to have gone rather south. The front of the dress had been torn back completely, revealing the hoop skirt beneath. Its ragged edges tapered back to Remr’s sides, where the fabric devolved into a shredded mess that just brushed the floor. Likewise, Remr’s black sleeves and tights also sported tears halfway down and ended in unraveling strings. It was quite possibly the most expensive wreck any of them had ever seen.

Never and Tevasshus exchanged their usual Remr is being weird again look, but did not answer. Solena, still new to the group, smiled encouragingly yet waited for someone else to speak. Finally, Tarcella took the bait. “Get what? Did your dress lose a fight with a wolverine or something?”

“No, silly. I’m the concept of entropy!” Remr held out her arms as if a better display of the outfit might render further explanation unnecessary. She received only blank stares. Sighing, she lowered her arms. “I know what you’re thinking; this is way too oversimplified to really represent a complex thermodynamic system. I was worried about that. I almost went with a costume that represented the known universe using the mask as the sun and radiating outward and downward through the cloth of the dress based on the distances between objects in space, but I couldn’t get the calculations to accurately account for all the folds and pleats in the fabric. So I thought of this but then I wasn’t sure if people would understand that I was going for more of an artistic representation of the common understanding of entropy, you know, as in order versus disorder, versus the obviously more accurate and more recent understanding of entropy as it relates to quantum theory and statistical thermodynamics.” She frowned uncertainly. “Do you think anyone will call me on it?”

Silence. Blinking. More silence.

“Uh,” said Tarcella.

“…what the fuck,” said Never.

“I think you look great!” said Solena, despite having understood none of what Remr just explained.

“Oh good, thank you,” Remr, visibly relieved, hugged the cleric and then gestured toward the door with an excited grin. “Shall we be off, then?”