“Listen as your day unfolds, challenge what the future holds.. ”

       I was awoken a minute early again to the lyrics of a song I hadn’t heard since I was a kid. I didn’t quite know the words, so I waited and listened for them to fill themselves in in my head.

 “Try and keep your head up to the sky.                                                 Lovers, they may cause you tears,     Go ahead release your fears,      Stand up and be counted-               Don’t be afraid to cry”

    Marla began the wake up calls. 

“Herald what your mother says, Read the books your father read;    Try and solve the puzzle in your own sweet time.”

         I pulled my phone out from under the mattress and read Jacob’s last message. A long, fairly irritated one. I had been able to manage to keep my phone to listen to music at night and since he worked Graveyard, we had gotten into the habit of texting most of the night until I fell asleep. And I had fallen asleep in the middle of yet another heated disagreement; but I didn’t know anyways what I could say that wouldn’t get turned around on me. There was no doubt I was crazy about this guy but the closer we got the more we were fighting about every little thing, but I don’t think it would be honest to omit that he was always instigating and I couldn’t ever seem to say the right thing. Of course, because of his  intelligence, intuition, and simply how much I liked him; he also had a way of completely disarming me and stealing some of my common sense, but in mere weeks we had fallen into a consistent pattern of misinterpreting or turning around everything the other one said, him getting mad and ignoring me for days; then trying to work it out with likely unequivocal apologizing. Then I would eventually in a sleepy stupor say something perhaps lame but rather benign, he’d get pissed off and attack, then we’d repeat the make-up process all over again in endless repetition the next day.  But I could never get mad- much less stay mad at him. But I also sucked at feeling at angry at anyone other than myself.

 Jacob was a “sober alcoholic” who had just gotten out of treatment, and was living in a transitional home. So I thought he might somewhat understand the kinds of things I felt, dealt, and struggled with. But I guess we would find out that we only thought we understood eachother, and that was the primary source of the fighting; as though he was convinced he knew me and what was necessary for me to be doing or not doing in my situation, better than I did; given he was a few years older, but in a different  situation, and he was forgetting I wasn’t dealing with a substance abuse that I could simply try to entirely walk away from and not use; I was dealing with battles that resided, originated, and manifested in my skull and skin. 

       The more time we talked the more we realized that though neither of us were prone to dillusions, we seemed from the beginning to have some kind of inexplicable connection- I hesitate to use the word psychic- but you could call it projection in that we began to experience coinciding thoughts, dreams, feelings, and physical states from the distance of some cities. It was unlike anything I’d experienced before, but having just begun studying quantum physics, some of it was perhaps explainable through those means, but I’d never been one to believe in the fantastical regarding human relationships, but many things were simply too freakishly coinciding.     

 We also however quickly came to realize just how starkly we contrasted in virtually every moral, lifestyle, and spiritual value; so we started setting  compromises, but which quickly multipled to the point that we were having to change our convictions and possibly who we each were in order to try and make whatever it even was work. But it hadn’t stopped us from continually going back to how we felt about eachother, regardless of how unrealistic and increasingly infeasible it may have been becoming for anything serious; because the closer we tried to get, the more problems arose. I could only imagine what in person was going to be like- but we had at that point been trying to figure out how to meet up with neither of us having a drivers license; as it were I would have to wait until I was able to gain the ability to get a pass to leave the unit for a few hours. Usually it was supposed to be only with family, but perhaps I could talk Shawna into something. 

        Today was visiting day, my parents and dad’s mom were evidently coming, and we were expected to play a board game together. I could hardly wait… Additionally, that afternoon I received an unexpected phone call from an old friend, who wanted to come and visit me when he somehow heard about my being in treatment again. I had not wanted to have any visitors, but if Nick Vujicic wanted to take time to visit, he was perhaps one of the few people on the planet I could not tell no. Though it felt pretty lame that at that point he was traveling the world as a motivational speaker, helping millions of people- and I was just in treatment again for the same old shit as a decade ago when he last visited me. I remember he even brought a bouquet of flowers, because I’d never been given flowers before or after- never really cared for the sorts of things; But there were Stargazer Lilies, which had always been my favorite since I saw them in bouquets my mom worked on as a kid. But I knew it was no show, Nick was the real deal with a bigger heart than most anyone I knew- despite his circumstances; Which is partly why I still felt so much shame, because I always thought of him and knew that my problems were comparatively nothing; but I still could never seem to get out of them. 



           Sabrina was 19. She lived in LA with only her mother, who was also in the final stage of a very rare form of cancer, and had just lost her ability to even walk. Sabrina and her brother were the only ones really around to take care of her, but her brother didn’t live there so the weight of the responsibility fell on her, and had been so for the last couple years; leaving her with no time, energy, or will to properly take care of herself. She doodled nervously in the sketchbook in her lap  discussing the details of how all these things had affected her and had brought her to now being clearly far older than her age. She had been in the day program for some months to no avail before sent here after collapsing there. She didn’t really see any people or have any relationships other than one a couple years ago, the nature of which garnered too much disapproval to last. She felt extreme guilt about being in treatment instead of at home taking care of her mother, who had only a few months left to live; blaming herself for being selfish and not simply “just eating” so she could be well enough to make up for the help they could not afford not having insurance, barely able to even afford medications to ease the suffering of her mother’s slow passing. 

        But regardless, Sabrina was still the most animated and entertaining of us, often going off on long rants about the enormity of the universe and how much that freaked her out. I can recall only a couple other people whom I have come across in my life who could actually make me laugh so much. But like all of us, when she was dark, she was very dark; and it was reflected all throughout her sketchbook, which once looking through was every corner full of brilliant macabre sketches very similar to Shawn Coss.

        It was a particularly sobering hour of hearing her account, but her story and the soul with which it was relayed stood out to me more than most others’, particularly the love that was evident between her and her mother; in the way she looked and how she spoke about her mother, and the pictures I later saw- Though also because I personally did not understand the type of connection. 


       Shawna slowly paged through the weighty photo album I reluctantly had sent from home, acting as though she was legitimately interested or intrigued by remnants of my seemingly irrelevant childhood photos. 

“What do you see Kat?”

           “A little kid….” 

“Yeah, but it’s you.”

          “No shit Shawna.”

“Hm.Do you remember this?” she pointed to a picture of me with my parents when I was about 6. 

        “Nope. Should I? That’s too young to remember.”

“Actually, it’s really not for most people. How about this? Any of it?”

      “Nope. But it’s obviously right there, so I don’t really need to remember.”

“Hm.” she continued through each page, as though looking for something. “Interesting.”

             “Interesting? Looks to me about as boring as it gets. Just an All American Family.”

“Perhaps it would appear so, but in over twenty years of doing this with clients I’ve never seen this kind of dynamic before that I’m seeing in most of these pictures. ”

         “like what? Like the energy or reading eyes or something?”

“Huh? No I mean in every picture, all the way back to as a baby, you look not only terrified, but are either trying to get away from your mother or look like an entirely independent entity from the rest of the family- you only look present when you’re with your brother, and even here he looks a bit stand-offish and detached as well. Look, here and in every picture you’re faced away from your mother, ever when she’s holding you.” she turned another few pages. “But it almost looks like you’re trying to avoid eye contact, which is particularly interesting considering the significant role eye contact with the mother plays in the development of the prefrontal cortex and limbic system. Furthermore, and even more interesting is how those parts of the brain are implicated in mood and thought  regulation, interpretation of reality, and general will to live. 

          I laughed. “Well that would explain a lot. But if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that when it comes to parents, you get what you need and then get the fuck out. I don’t think she scared me so much as maybe just disgusted me and constantly made me feel like she was gonna give me an ulcer or something like that. But now that I’m an adult- and not even a functional one at that- I understand now why parents are always in a bad mood, yelling and stressed out.”

“Not all parents are like that.”

         “But it’s not a family if you’re not throwing shit at eachother,” I laughed facetiously. “OK, so maybe I learned that not ever family is like that in my early twenties. But when I first started dating Caden and spending time at his house, I eventually said to him that he and his family could stop pretending to be nice and like eachother just for my sake. He claimed that that was how they actually were most of the time, and I didn’t believe him until a year or two later when I never saw otherwise. Like they would sit around and watch tv, and talk to eachother and laugh, or even play lame- ass board games or video games, and looked like they actually enjoyed each other’s company. Needless to say, I started spending a lot of time there. But it felt foreign, because it felt safe.”

“Your family didn’t play games together? What about watching TV?”

         “Hell no games. And watching TV was used as a punishment for me because I thought it was absolutely mindless, boring, and I just didn’t want to be in the family room. I don’t know why. But not that I’m complaining, but my brother and I realized when we were in our twenties that not only did our family not get along, but mom didn’t play with either of us once our entire childhoods- even with my spotty memory, it’s consistent with his. But dad played with us often, but then mom would get mad and we’d have to stop because we were loud or roughhousing.”

“Seriously? Well I know what you guys are going to be doing next family visit then, playing a board game.” Shawna had made at least family visits essentially mandatory for me, because I didn’t care to see anyone.

        “Oh God no Shawna! That sounds awful…      But really it wasn’t just the not wanting to be around mom though, or her being all business- she really was legitimately busy, I think like most adults. She started and ran her own company from when she was my age, a “Forever Florals” bouquet preservation business, it was hugely successful and she did work for all kinds of celebrities who would come over. So we spent every weekend and many weeknights in the back seat of the car, begrudgingly dragged to wedding after wedding. I remember there was never anything to eat those nights but Ritz crackers and granola bars, so I never ate one again. But then she blew out her back  when I was maybe 10 and was in bed for nearly a year, wearing this gnarly back brace and sometimes walking with a walker. She had to sell the business not long after that, and retired when I was 11.”

“Oh wow- is she OK now? I mean, she looked OK.”

        “Well you of all people should know that looking OK means little to nothing. But yeah, she’s been fine for almost a decade. It took a bunch of doctors who all couldn’t figure out why she was in so much pain until a Dr. Grossman noticed that she had no vertebral disks at all in various places- just a minor detail for so many doctors to somehow fail to notice. But she had a double or triple spinal fusion and after recovery, her back is good.”

“OK, I’m glad to hear that. So, what is the first memory you do have?”

         “Easy. I was seven and I was being wheeled into the operating room, because I had to have double abdominal hernia surgery. My brother had just given me a plush ladybug he had gotten from the hospital store. I can see the oxygen mask on my face, administration of the bubblegum- flavored anesthesia, and looking up at the surgeons wondering how long it would be until I would be asleep. But I guess the red ladybug was the first thing I remember in life.”

“Two hernias at only seven?? What in the world from?”

         “I don’t know. They said probably congenital; but maybe from always carrying things that were too heavy for me.  I haven’t as much as thought about it since then. But then I got another hernia when I was an adult, a different kind though. I’ve had a couple practitioners suggest that perhaps something with my digestive system got messed up with the procedure, but I think that’s unlikely. ”

“I’ll bet. What seven year old carries things that heavy? But you had the two from in womb.”

       “I guess.”

“Funny, five minutes ago you said you always felt like she was going to give you an ulcer or something.”



      “OK. Hi, I’m Leo” he waved, facetiously emulating AA. “I’m 28. I grew up in Inglewood with my mom and two siblings. I’ve had depression, anxiety, anorexia,  and bulimia since I was 17. I moved a few years ago to Washington; I live with my fiance Phil. I attend a university there where I’m obtaining my Master’s in Law, and hoping to run for Senate in the next 5-10 years.” he was speaking a bit slow today- perhaps on an anti- anxiety med. He continued to fidget with his eyebrow ring, as he did when he was thinking. “My fiance felt that my eating disorder and depression had become unmanageable when I started collapsing at work. I was manager at the GAP, until I passed out, hitting my head, getting a terrible concussion that I dealt with for the next two years and have suffered a series of seizures. My insurance didn’t cover anywhere in state that wasn’t shitty, I had read about this place, and I figured I could see my family again for a while: but Phil said he was going to leave me if I didn’t go through treatment and try to get help because it’s hindering our life. I’m not sure if I want to get better or if I can, it’s been so long I don’t think it will ever go away.” he looked down at his boots. 

         “Thank you Leo.” Shawna looked to Melisa.

“I’m 27. I live in Washington on SSI with my mother. She is dying of end- stage lung cancer. My older sister Tisa lives there at times, but it’s stressful because she’s in and out of rehab for heroin, as well as other law- involving affairs. I came here after being in the hospital for a while because I had not eaten or drank for 5 days. I was on a feeding tube there, until I decided I couldn’t handle that anymore and when I was strong enough came out here to get far away from my mother and Tisa. I felt taken advantage of. That’s all I have to say.” 

       “Kat.”she skipped back to the window. “please join the group on the couch.” 

      I jumped over the back of the couch and thought for a moment what to say. 

“I’m 24. I live with my parents just half hour from here, I’ve had depression, anxiety, and anorexia since I was 14. I have not regularly attended any schools or colleges. I’ve never held a consistent job and have been entirely unable to work since 21. I have had long hospitalizations before, but the eating disorder I juggled with my life until it became unmanageable when I was diagnosed with evidently untreatable hypothyroid at 21. After reaching a “normal” weight,  I’ve mostly been starving myself for the last three years just to not gain more weight. I got tired enough of that and always feeling like sh- crap,  and generally hate every part of life; so I first began seriously  considering, planning, and a few half-assed attempts at suicide over the last couple years, until I almost hung myself a couple months ago. My therapist recently had reason to believe I was on the verge of succeeding in my attempts, as well as still eating so little, that she 5150’d me. I was at BHC Alhambra psych ward before this. I agree with Leo, it’s all been so long and gotten so bad that I don’t believe it will ever go away, or get better with all the treatment in the world. But I guess you guys are my babysitters anyway.”

     “Thank you. Amberlyn?”

She didn’t say anything. 


“I’m here because my parents put me here and I’m not old enough to sign myself the hell out of here.” she seethed. 

     “A little more…”

“I’ve had anorexia practically since I was born. Such a shame… The being born part I mean.”

 Lizzy interjected, “Just let her be, she obviously doesn’t feel well. I mean that’s practically already half of what would be my college thesis right there.”

       “Alright, Lizzy?

“I’m 19. Canadian. Anorexia, bulimia, drugs.  My parents kicked me out. No I’m not a citizen yet but I am going to. I’ve been im treatment nearly nonstop for over a year; partly because I don’t have anywhere to live. I’ve been to BHC- that place is awful. Tried overdosing a couple times on Oxy. Don’t do it. Stomach pumping is not fun…One year clean of heroin and one year sober. Yeeaah! Andre made me a purple cupcake for it! Yep. That’s about it. Oh and don’t do heroin, like ever.” 

       “OK and Sabrina, the rest is all your time.”

“Oh I’m going to drag this out as much as I can to pay you all back for fucking- I mean messing with my bunny slippers…” Sabrina asserted. 


          That afternoon was a once- monthly group involving everyone that was led up by Shawna. Style- wise it was very similar to the AA meetings we had been attending each week; a type of quick orientation for any new admits that month. After a quick go-around the room, each person taking perhaps five minutes tops; each time a different person had the remainder of the hour to share their life story up until what brought them there, of which I had heard today was Sabrina’s turn. 

Shawna led up the group, but had forewarned us that she needed to have a “talk” with us all before starting group. I arrived second to last in the living room, taking my usual place sitting against the window. Amberlyn stormed into the room, threw her hardcover textbook at the white bookcase, flopped down onto her spot on the couch, and hid her face pretending to be engrossed in something in her treatment binder. Sabrina looked like she was in no better of a mood than Amber or anyone else for that matter. Melisa and Amber were silent as usual.  I guess it was just one of those days where everyone had their own personal rain cloud.

      “I’m guessing that means Lauren is here today…?” Leo whispered. 

          Lauren was the dietician, aka the person we all spent the most time disagreeing with; though for different reasons. She was very friendly and peppy, but as it were, nobody liked being told their meal plan was going to be increased, but I had to eat by far the least of the lot, so we mostly only disagreed over opposing stances in diatetics in general; as I suppose it would be fair to say that I studied nutrition and worked in that field for years. Debating was sometimes interesting, but ultimately she subscribed to USDA guidelines and I was more Weston Price. 

         Shawna finally arrived, fashionably late as usual; with her famous grin like she was about to subtly kick all of our asses. 

       “So before we get started, I printed up a new copy of the rules for each of you.” she passed a stack of spiral bound books around the room.            “Since some of you seem to think that the rules don’t apply to you… Not naming any names…” she glanced at a few of us. “But I thought I’d make the house rules bit a more easily understood.”

 “Hey it’s not our fault they weren’t specific enough…” Sabrina said. 

“Holy shit, it’s a fucking novel!” Leo laughed, tossing it slightly up into the air to emphasize its weight.

         “And there’s another thing I wanted to address-” Shawna continued. “the language. Between you, Lizzy, and Kat; I swear you guys make sailors look like Saints. This is unacceptable for the kind of facility I choose to run; so I’m going to start docking half an hour of cell phone time for every profane word I hear. Unless you’re Kat, of which I’ll take one of your two 6oz coffees.”

“That’s low Shawna…real low…” Don’t get me wrong- coffee was the only love of my life- But I hadn’t told her yet that I had actually been texting someone. 

“Yeah, what’s up with that?” Leo exclaimed.”Six ounces isn’t even a cup according to the standard American unit of measurement. I mean six ounces, that’s just wrong- that’s like only foreplay!”

       “I’m sorry did you just compare coffee to-”

Lizzy’s unmistakable laughter drowned out Shawna’s disapproval. 

“yeah, that’s just wrong! I protest! I’m leading a hunger strike! Who’s with me? ” Sabrina jumped up from her corner of the couch, throwing her tiny fist in the air. 

     Lizzy’s laughter was still undying. 

A faint smile played at Melisa’s lips. Amberlyn had yet to look up from her binder. I think because she was crying. 

        “So while I’m glad to have such a lively group that seems to get along so well, but I never thought I’d have to rewrite the rules for it. I’m serious however, no more loopholes. No more profanity.”

“Call me Mother Theresa,” Sabrina saluted. 

“Profanity? Dear no, who would use such distasteful verbiage?” I added.

Yes Boss Mom…” Leo rolled his eyes. 

Lizzy echoed his reply. 

         “OK, so now on to orientation and life stories; today is Sabrina’s turn. Obviously our newest admit is still Kat; So starting to my right, Leo will you please begin.”

P.51 the Last Letters

       3:33. I opened my eyes to the empty bed beside me in the muted light cast upon the brick floor. I felt the air change, and an unmistakable sensation boring into my back. I took a shallow breath and braced myself as I turned to look over at the window. 

There it stood; some eight or nine feet tall, exceedingly broad shoulders, the expected long black hooded robes cinched about a starkly skeletal waist; the contrasting white skull of either a horse or donkey stared back at me, with a stare that was most literally felt, naturally causing every hair to stand on end. 

       “In the name of Jesus Christ I demand you leave.”

 It simultaneously leapt forward at me, hands outstretched for my neck, and vanished the moment it’s hands reached me. 

          No matter how times this had happened to me before, I still often froze for a moment or had to muffle a scream; but I hated to give them the satisfaction of my showing fear. But it had been a few weeks since I’d awoken to a watcher. Usually I would say something they hated, like reciting parts of Revelation 7 or most often simply commanding in the name of Jesus Christ that it leave; which every once in a while took standing up and saying it a few times, but never failed. 

       As a little girl I was of course afraid of the dark, always tucking the covers around me on all sides;  but I swore that I could see things moving about the room, and would hear the ringing of a bell on one of my toys put away in the dresser drawer, or other things moving around. Sometimes I would hear a voice call my name from out of the darkness.  I was told and later in psychology studied that some of this was considered a normal phenomenon, but I never believed that was the case, because typically hypnagogic or other related- type hallucinations were accompanied by sleep paralysis or dissipated upon sitting up. But as I grew older the instances became much more frequent, aggressive, and vivid; until throughout my teenage years I was familiar with three demons in particular that would stand around my bed, which was in a corner. Every night I would open my eyes to find them there, and wonder how long they had been there for, or what they were doing. But each time the three would either lunge at me and disappear until they came back later that night or the next; or they would pull me out of my body and I would physically wrestle with them, but they would make a game of keeping me away from my body, which I would see lying on the bed. When the instances grew too frequent, I would often sleep with worship music or otherwise uplifting music playing; because I concluded they didn’t like that either. 

I hadn’t awoken Melisa. 

      Oftentimes I could feel something in the room that I couldn’t see, or sometimes in various places I went, or even people. I suppose you could say they can speak to you like most any person if you knew what to listen for, but I neither sought this nor ever spoke back to them. I already knew and had been told various times that their assignment was to kill me. Which up until a few years ago made me want to stick around some more just for the sake of saying fuck you. 

       Oddly enough, I was afraid of the dark until the day we moved out of that house when I was 19; only some time later did I realize my instantaneous cure of it. As though some affirmation that I had not been simply hallucinating all those years, the buyers later contacted us to say that there was a voice that had been calling their names in my old bedroom, moving things around, and other such behavior. And that day I knew I wasn’t crazy. Not in that regard, that is. They followed me back and years ago however. I suppose like cockroaches; until the trash is cleaned out of the mess that has become my life and my health, It was no wonder to find them coming back again to watch. I still however wondered what it was they really did while I was sleeping. I still was a stubborn fuck and would never give up my territory though. 

I went back to sleep, drifting into a world where perhaps someday color would mean something to me. 


        When I checked back the next night, 3rdEyeOfHorus had replied within only a couple hours, with a mini- novel; of which I was further intrigued. We sent a few messages of equivalent length back and forth before concluding we obviously vibed inordinately well and exchanged cell numbers. I had my usual reservations about becoming potentially involved with any romantic expectations, but figured I wouldn’t get ahead of myself and should at least try talking to someone other than a therapist.

Only things went much differently than the norm I had expected;  I actually started caring about using my phone during the three allotted evening hours, during which we talked the entire three hours each night via text; things got intense very quickly, along with the whole finishing eachother’s sentences, feeling as though you’d known them for the longest time, and all of those other cliches that usually made me rather nauseous. We talked like this for just under a week, until one night he never replied.

          I waited- rather aware that I was being ignored, but figured there was a reason; I wasn’t angry, as in my life I had been forced to grow very, very good at waiting. But I wondered in a somehow tormented silence if I had somehow managed to say something wrong, despite that I had still been rather vague as to the true nature of my life. He knew I was in treatment but as usual I downplayed how bad things were. I worried in a manner so highly uncharacteristic of me- had I scared him away, did he think I was crazy, or what in the hell was the deal when we seemed to be getting along so supernaturally well.

I felt foolish and childish, I felt that I had grown already somehow attached to this person who was barely more than a stranger. What the hell was going on with me? I had always been so great at not minding anyone or being ignored; how could this person’s doing so hurt so much? Was I becoming obsessed? I usually didn’t even give a shit if people liked me. I had no idea what was going on with me. I felt mixed up since the first day we spoke; like my insides had been ripped out and set on fire, but in a way that simultaneously felt as wonderful as it did hellish; like everything was wrong and right at the same time.

         I heard from Jacob a bit over three days later, of which he said that he had needed some time alone to “think things over;” Things I wasn’t exactly sure what.  He said that he was confused because he was always one to be very careful and reserved to not get carried away in mere childish infatuation, but that he felt he was in love with me. At first I was so surprised I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t exactly know if what I felt was love, lust, a bit of both, or simply getting too caught up in a chemical cascade; but there was definitely an undeniably compelling  attraction- a thing I had never as much as felt before in my life. I was pretty sure I’d never even been “in love” before- much less one to prematurely assume such- but ventured to say that I loved him too. And that was when the fighting started.



I ascended the flight of steps and rung the doorbell, to which Tom answered, obviously very surprised to find me there- as we were strictly disallowed to ever be in the front yard unsupervised. He actually looked surprisingly angry, which was out of sorts for him, usually being one of the more timid and reserved day staff members. Tom was a quiet man of likely 60 years of age, of whom most of the residents didn’t particularly like, for reasons difficult to specify; perhaps he simply didn’t know how to deal with most of us, or was overly careful with his words- but he tended to unintentionally get walked all over around here. He turned out to be one of the most sensitive of the staff- in a good way- but we never really got around to talking much at all until the very end of my stay. I guess he was trying to put his foot down with me or something, but he did not believe my story about the owl and the raccoon, thinking that I was trying to play him and avoid consequence- of which I urged him to go look for himself. I stood in the lobby for a few minutes, so as to not drip water all over the house while I watched Tom go out the back door, and then quickly come back in the house, with an “oh” look on his face. “That’s a big raccoon,” he admitted. Apparently this bitchy racoon was having at the lemon tree, and made a show of charging at Tom as well. I felt a bit foolish for being chased off by a raccoon, but I’d seen what one had done to my dog as a kid.

Leaving an adequate rain puddle in the middle of the foyer, I went into the living room to watch the five of them crowd around the window seat, trying to find the raccoon as though it were some terribly interesting spectacle. The TV was still terribly loud, and the movie was then in the middle of the part the company wakes in Lothlorien and Frodo is speaking with Galadriel.

              “I give you the light of Eärendil,” she said.Our most beloved star. May it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”

I realized then that I was a nerd with too much free time as a kid when I could quote most of her speech; but that line in particular had long stood out to me.

I decided to take another quick look on the computer at the message I had previously received, and I guess because the power had gone out so suddenly, I hadn’t noticed another few messages. I sorted through a handful more, but was particularly intrigued by the profile of one by the username “3rdEyeofHorus”.

“Black isn’t your natural hair color is it?”

Ok, so it wasn’t exactly the most brilliant starter line, but it was sure more decent than most of the others; but most notably, the length and inordinately intricate nature of his profile self- summary and question/answers showed that this was a deep- thinker and a highly-detailed individual; lots of esoteric references, a decent mention of God; A late- August Virgo- like the last 5 or 6 people I had met up with from the site- with long jet black hair and an apparent penchant for writing and music. I figured what the hell, worst case scenario I could ghost him and disappear like I usually do with anyone I talk to, so I ventured sending him a quick reply, and a simple question or two about his hobbies; then logged off for the evening.