Sunday, August 24, 2008


Three days after the dramatic denouement, he found himself in the midnight air beside the gunnery placements overlooking Ville du Coeur. Centuries ago, blood red thaumaturgical lines would have encircled the city during times of war, with the lights of the city streets serving as the intricate symbols casting the protective seal. Ville du Coeur would have beat a deep crimson in the cold night. There was no way to stem a feeling of romanticism and nostalgia in viewing the old daguerrotypes of the lost days.

Now, the thaumaturges worked their craft underground with particle accelarators. The old lines of faults, salt and blood were no defense to probability weapons, atomic leviathans and stealth dragons. Ville du Coeur during modern wartime was black and cold, the crenalations of Le Coeur, the cold-steel and glass skyscrapers, only illuminated if one wore night-vision goggles or during the fast and furious times when the anti-ballistic harpies were let loose against incoming MIRV missiles.

He was senior enough to walk the emplacements without answering to anyone first, much to the consternation of his staff. He didn't bother to take off his commandant livery--if there were any sniper able to get this close to Le Coeur, then she would deserve her target. And if Carcassone's slealth dragons were able to get past the basilisks and anti-aircraft artillery, then there's was nothing much anyone could do to save themselves.

He, as well as the regional commanders of the Northern Avalon Treaty Alliance, and the remaining battalions of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Expeditionary Forces not engaged in protecting the Government-in-Exile, were now simply waiting three days after Le Coeur had been evacuated of the civilian population.

It had been his duty to ensure that those who were not necessary to the war effort had left quickly, whether they wanted to or not. He had led preliminary Expeditionary Forces months before to chart out the safest route, and to eliminate any Carcassone submarines or krakens that might attack the retreating population. He had overseen the production of Class 3 Leviathans that could serve as civilian shelters if Nova Avalon were not readied, or if the convoy fell through a probability shift. And, three days ago, Alice had found him to say her farewell. Yes, he had ensured her and her husband a secure berth among the floating leviathan H.M.S. Abaresque, but he had not wanted to see her. But she had still found him at the airyards at Mt. St. Michel.

She had said, "I don't want you to think that I'm not grateful, or that I don't care about you anymore. I do. Please, I am worried about you. You've done enough. Certainly they can see that."

In return, he said, "If I don't come back, then I can stop loving you." And then he turned away from her.

That would have been a fitting end to a story, he thought. But here he was, in a deserted city, waiting for, what, his doom? An epiphany? Still breathing, feeling boredom at times, sadness mostly. And waiting for something, anything, to come over the horizon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

When you wrote, "I miss you," I'm not sure how you wanted me to respond. After all, the next day, you would go to work, see the guy you're dating, snd all suddenly all thoughts about me would be gone.

Maybe it's in those quiet times, when he's not around and all that's left around you are your thoughts and small dust motes floating in the afternoon sun when you think about all the attention I gave you over the last year. Maybe that's when you think how comfortable we were together, on those long hikes that we would both look forward to, the day ending in scratches, exhaustion, a feeling of contentment ending with a nice, long meal. Or those daily, random e-mails, little snippets of warmth that we would look forward to, easing each other through the day. But really, when you say, "I miss you," it isn't enough.

When you talk about love, you talk about a fling that lasted, when you place the days back to back, a total of a month. You become devastated at relationships that end with the passing of a season. You talk about how you wish you can follow your thoughts instead of your emotions. You talk about the excitement of men who will treat you badly.

And when I talk about love, true love and not that on rush of giddiness and excitement of a school boy crush, but that feeling when time seems to stand still and the warm moments that are a sepia-toned instant captured in amber, I talk about months of getting to know you, of being close to you and being there for you. I talk about the years since we've known each other, and that feeling of contentment and excitement.

You can say that you can't help what you feel. And I can't blame you for that. But I can't help what I feel either. And I feel anger, and I feel betrayed. That your heart would pass me over for someone you knew for a season, while, in your own words, I became the person you shared most of your life with for this last year. I can't help being laid low, devastated, taking it personally. If you want me to accept that you can't help but feel the way you feel, you have to accept that I can never forgive you for how you made me feel.

Because, when you say, "I miss you," I know you only mean you'll miss me during those occasional quiet times when he's not around. And soon enough, when he encompasses your life, you will mean "I miss you" only in fleeting thoughts as months pass by. If it doesn't last, then in your heart of hearts, you'll want him back more that you'll miss me. And soon, I'll only be a sad, occasional thought.

And when I say, "I miss you too," I mean that you're the first thought I have in the morning, and the last thought I have before I sleep. It is this disparity that makes me sad and angry, and it is this I can never forgive you for.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


"With all the shit that's going down in my life, I can't imagine what the fuck I'll be doing when I'm 45."

"I can -- crystal meth."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I'm Gonna Tell You My Secrets

So this is what you do.

At some point, you crunch the figures in that office of yours. Perhaps the office is in the back corner, away from all the machines, where the lighting above the door flickers erratically, a small closet of a space with yellowed walls and a cheap gun metal desk. Or perhaps its a bright corner office with two floor to ceiling windows for walls overlooking the ocean, a spartan, cold, rich affair. Whatever it is, at some point, you crunch the figures, on your old calculator, on the spreadsheet over two LCD monitors, and at some point, the accounts payable outweigh the accounts receivables. It began as a trickle, a little bead of drop from a cut, but now, you've let it continue for too long, hoping maybe it would heal, scab over.

And so you feel that weight, and really, you've been around, and you know that at this point, despite the scenarios that run in your head, that voice that tells you what you really need is more modern equipement, a better qualified staff, an influx of capital, you know it's simply time to shut the business down.

And so, you begin the process. You wind up the affairs, let the staff go and face their recriminations, deal with creditors and repossessions and auctions. You bury yourself in the minutiae of winding down. And as the days and weeks past, it's that last day.

And so, as you pass through the empty space of the warehouse in some industrial zone, on the quiet office in the commercial district of prefabricated white buildings, watching the shafts of yellow light create their own illusory floor plan, you remember the first day of the venture just as it was yesterday. You let yourself feel the bitterness and the sadness that wells up, but you've felt if before. And right now, you're just too tired to do anything but walk out the door, turn off the lights.

And so, the world continues, cars pass you by, people move on, not knowing you, nor caring. There is nothing to contemplate at this point. There is no decision to be made, no lessons to be learned just yet. It is too soon.

And so, you just walk away.

A Return

It is far better to be alone than to be lonely.
It is far better to be lonely than to be vulnerable.