Sunday, February 23, 2014


    Consequences. Life has them, yes? They word mostly has the connotation of being associated with bad happenings, but there can be good ones as well. Not the first thing to appear in most people's minds, perhaps, but they can be good at times. But I'm not so much wanting to write about the difference between the connotation and denotation of the word so much as various uses of this word.
    When it comes to the SL roleplay, dare I say, multiverse one of the main rules that's written basically everywhere is: IC actions, IC consequences. Or something similar to that if not that exactly. Now, of course OOC can get entangled at times, sometimes that can be good if it provides for a greater intensity, other times it leads to drama and people getting overly upset for your char insulting them or so. I'm talking about this because being someone who hates upsetting people I care about in RL, the possibility of ill consequences in roleplay leaves me at a sort of cliffhanger. At least it leaves me wondering and feeling kind of mopey for an hour or more, depending on the situation, afterward when it comes to roleplay with people who I connect with on an OOC level. If I don't know who you are, chances are I won't care that much and any of the IC feelings my character has will not translate to me for however temporary a time period. Usually, when something happens in RL/OOC with someone I care for, I can get rather stressed, probably the only thing that actually holds the potential to stress me out. So, as a result, i try to fix it however I can. i try to talk it out, try to get things smoothed enough that whatever guilt I have can be muffled, since it will never fully go away as I know I have upset someone I care for. I'm good with pretending things didn't happen, so that helps, too. And this one trait of mine, not the pretending things did not happen, seems to cross over to my main character; Armalla.
    The fact that follows her as well as myself, makes things...interesting and more like a book that just stops and you have to wait for some months for the next one to come out. (*waits impatiently for Silver Shadows to come out*) But, while I may only have to wait a day, it is different in the fact that there is a sort of connection there, to my character and the one who is usually involved in such situations. I am impatient and basically run thousands of scenarios through my head, wondering just which one will happen. I do that for a lot of things, but this is definitely one of those because it is a story, a cliffhanger, something that's just...having me bounce in place for the energy inside of me while I wait. And i know before anything even happens, Armalla will be thinking of hundreds upon hundreds of ways to fix whatever, even if not her fault directly.
     When it comes to consequences in roleplay, I don't like the bad ones. I don't like them because they make me feel bad for my character, the other character (which is really only ever the same one, he knows who he is,and I know he'll likely read this, too), and the other person. The other person because I know, at least when it comes to one person in particular, they have a certain connection to their character, too. So I just sit there like 'well, damn.' The current consequence that happened today has Malla stressing, and me wondering and feeling a bit bad. See, when it comes to these things, I know I'm like a little puppet master of sorts, but that I'm also only reacting, too. The current situation has to do with something that happened a while back and, while I didn't have to have any sort of consequence come from it, I did because it made sense. I didn't want to, because I knew that it could lead to two rather upset characters. And soon as I more or less made it official, sooner than I had originally planned to since I was still going back and forth on it, I felt bad. I wanted to hug Malla and, preemptively, hug Taeem, the other involved in this situation. I couldn't, but I wanted to. Of course I could have made it ten times worse, but I can't do that. Nope, I have to just do the bit that makes sense because of how long certain things went on and how often, too. I don't like it, but I had to go with what would probably happen if in RL. I feel awful for it, but it was a consequence that, to keep with sense and logic, more or less 'had' to happen.
    There are roleplayers who will not do anything whatsoever that could be thought of as 'bad'. They hate to 'lose'. They hate the possibility of their character not being all happy and peppy or however else they have planned. I'm not saying i try to play the victim, since people who want to always 'lose' are as bad as the ones who always want to 'win', but I don't care if Malla falls a few times. Okay, a lot if I'm honest with myself. A bunch of stuff has happened that has her so far from how she started that I sit and look back and am like 'well...that happened.' And it's not a bad thing, it's development. It seems to happen much quicker in roleplay than in RL, of course, but it still happens in RL none the less. I don't think it actually happens quicker in certain aspects, just it may be more noticeable. But if you look back tow or three years, are you truly the exact same person then as you are now? People seem to forget half the time that people change, and the things that make them fall can make them stronger in the long run. Maybe not always, but it holds potential.
    So I had to make a choice I did not like to make yesterday. I did it, because it was what I basically had 'planned' already. I knew there had to be some consequence because of something else that I didn't decide on so much as the roleplay decided for me, but I kept from the extreme because...well, because I couldn't do that. I couldn't do the extreme. While it isn't really known IC that the extreme didn't happen, I know and that assuages my guilt a little. I hate to do 'bad' things to my characters, whether in roleplay or my books, but sometimes the bad has to happen. It's like when people say 'it hurts me as much as you', the only difference being is that I mean it. I mean, it may not hurt to the same degree or for the same amount of time, but while I'm making whatever split second decision, it does. I'm strange like that, I guess, but I like to think it helps with my writing. I'm an emotional person, I'll admit that, so I think with them more than with logic.
    For any and all of the roleplayers who may read this, remember: always having things go how you plan, doesn't make for the better. Sometimes it's good to cry with your character as you breathe life into their words and actions. Sometimes the 'bad', can make the good seem so much better. I know that something else I have in mind will seem a whole lot brighter now that this 'bad' thing has happened. It would seem good enough without it, yes, but it'll mean more to the characters I do think.

Welcome to My Dream

    Welcome to my dream,
    where the world is safe and warm.
    Colors and beauty abound.
    Welcome, for there is no fear.
    Welcome, for there is no pain.
    Welcome, for this our naivety,
     our innocence.

    Imagine the safety, the care, 
         that ignorance can bring.
    Forget, forget,
    And welcome to my dream.
    Welcome to my nightmare,
    where the world has forgotten to pretend.
    Logic and reason, 
    over pretending and dreaming.
    Fear as the mermaids dive beneath the waves.
    Pain as the fae pop in blasts of glitter.
    Innocence lost when the glasses were removed,
         ignorant no more,
            but the cost is great.
    Telling us to grow, 
    to forget the worlds of stories and fantasy.
    Telling us those things mean nothing,
    when they have only meant the world.
    Telling us our dreams were false,
    even though we knew 
             but dreamed anyway.
    Why must we grow,
     but lose our sense of wonder?
     The world is cold,
     we have seen.
     Pain, fear, hunger, loneliness.
    The world is cold,
     but they tell us to forget our dreams,
    tell us to cast away our comforting blankets,
    tell us to dive into the real world.
    Welcome to my nightmare,
    where my dreams are crushed to nothing.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beauty's Changing Standards

    Elementary school had been all sorts of hell for me. Really it was only the first to sixth grade since my kindergarten class was awesome. But then I moved since the government peoples basically kicked all the people in our neighborhood from their homes and tore down the school to rebuild. So, yea, we moved and I more or less had to finish growing up in those six years following. I already was a bit more independent since my mom had gone straight back to work after I was born, had me do more stuff for myself, but with my brother...not so much. He was coddled, still is. Anyone who sees him can attest to that, so it is not as if I'm revealing some big secret. So he's got some growing up left to do even with him quickly approaching legal adult age.
    But back to my elementary school experience. I was bullied. A lot. Made of for my glasses (though people think glasses are so cool now :/ ), called 'emo' even though i had no idea what that was, called anorexic just because I was naturally slender, and crybaby. The last one was because I would cry when people made fun of me. I didn't know how else to deal with it, I just...cried. I told my mom about this I think...once, but nothing came of it. She worked at the school so she assumed the teachers would do something. They didn't. One even said, and i remember with crystal clarity, "She's only doing it for attention. Ignore her and she'll stop." I couldn't understand that at all, and it hurt (it still hurts) and I wanted to cry more. But I did stop. I stopped because all it did was have people make fun of me more. I cried when I was home and alone in my room instead. I had friends of sorts, but...the most weren't that great. The ones who I am still friends with today... I wish had spoken to them more about what some people were saying and doing, since I know they would have done something.
    I had one 'friend', though, and...she was mean to me. She was mean, and she even told me once that she did things just to get a reaction form me. I stopped hanging out with her so much after that.
    By the sixth grade, I had stopped caring because I had to. If I cared, I knew i would hurt. If I didn't put up a shield of apathy, I would hurt. Maybe it's not the best coping technique, but it was, and is, the best I had. Things got better once i forced myself to stop caring.
    The thing is, we all try to create these perfect images and, if someone falls out of that, what do we do? Ostracize them. So few stop and think of how the other person may feel. Some people, like that 'friend' of mine, are simply mean for the sake of it. Others? They're like that because you are different. Now this is before being different counted as 'cool', and, even now, different is 'bad'. People go about saying how awkward they are, how different, how unique, when, really, they're jsut like all the rest. If someone dares do something different, jokes will be made to force the person to conform. But why must we conform? If the new thing is to be different, why can we not accept people for who they are? Why do we still strive for this perfect image?
    Because we are human.
    As humans, we have an image of beauty set into our brains by our culture. And we try. We try until it breaks us, and we try again. Starving. Binging. Surgery. Hair coloring. Shopping for clothes and shoes. We do whatever it takes for that perfect image. And in the places where things are so easily gained through TV and computers? It makes it worse. The 'perfect' woman or man is plastered everywhere, and most likely photoshopped and airbrushed to death.
    All of this translates over to SL, too. The only difference is that, as a different culture in its own right, it has a different ideal body. Women? You've seen the Lolas. Men? Muscular as all hell. Of course there are other things applied to that standard for both, but that's the basic of it. It translates to the RL standards, too, but not to the same degree. Things vary between cultures, including the virtual ones. But it always that you have to have certain things otherwise be labeled some sort of way. Like now: Slink hands and feet. Most shoe makers, that I know of, tend to lean towards Slink only shoes. And god forbid you have hands in your picture if you have 'meat hands'.
    As time goes on, beauty and the ingroup changes. In RL: when I was little, wearing a scarf that I had from my Grandma was wrong. But by middle school? The 'popular' people were wearing scarves like mine in the same fashion. No one made fun of them. In SL: Slink hands and feet, two things that didn't exist some months back are now the standard. In either life, I don't care to 'keep up with the times' since those change so quickly, especially the virtual one. I prefer to wear and do what feels right to me, without any care as to what others are thinking. If I want to wear something, put my hair a certain way, then I'll do it. I don't care if it's not the 'thing' at the time. We all claim to be different, but we're all still the same.

Ryleah: Long Nights

    ((This may or may not be a thing now...))
    I sigh and roll onto my side, so my back is to him, and bite my lip, squeezing my eyes shut. Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. No matter what he said, he clearly didn't want me to stay. Maybe a nostalgic part of him did, but not the whole! I should've taken the cash and gotten a cab....but, no, I have to torture myself like this. I could do it now, but...that would seem...rude. Rude to leave while he sleeps. And it was stupid to feel hurt at him saying just what I knew he would; that he has random girls over. But...I just... Fuck.
    I can rationalize this all I want, but deep down I know the truth.
    I swear I'm the only one who deals with their loneliness not by sleeping with whoever. I know that's why Lily is out every night, and...that's why Anis apparently sleeps with random girls. Maybe I should introduce them to one another... Oh, who am I kidding, if I did that I'd probably curl up on my bed for days. But, hell, they might introduce themselves to each other since, after all, Anis seemed to know everything that is going on with me without me having to have said anything. With my luck I'll see him walking out of her apartment one morning. Probably I'd hit him then go curl up on my bed for days.
    I shift a bit so I can trace over the heart on the pillow, but stay laying down, the snores of the small kitten closer to my ear now. I hate being alone myself, but I don't sleep around. I don't sleep around because...everything inside of me is this great big tangle. If it wasn't, likely I'd have no worry about anything. I can't help but wonder how long he's been here, how many women he's had on his...sleeping bags... Don't go there, Ry, you won't get any sleep tonight if ya do...
    The nights I keep spending alone with only my thoughts, and more recently my cat, are always long. Tonight, even though I'm not alone, is going to be long. I close my eyes and wrap my arms around myself, since I lack my owl for the night, and try to grab a few more hours of hopefully dreamless sleep, a few more hours of ignorance.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ryleah: Your Average Morning

((This RP char of mine doesn't have her own blog as Malla does, so, since she keeps talking in my head and I don't feel like scrawling in my notebook, again, here is this))

    I pull the blanket up over my head, groaning as I do. Last night...bad idea, very bad idea. It's not so much that I drank too much, which I did, but it's the fact I stayed up late just so Lily could believe I went home with that guy I was 'hitting on'. I wasn't. I was pretending just to get her off my back. Now, I'ts not that she isn't nice or, i guess, a friend of sorts, but...still. Sleeping with random guys? Not my definition of 'fun'. How yesterday went from me teasing her about her little walk of shame to me having to go out with her that night, I have no idea.
    I'm not sure how long i lay there before I, unwillingly, get up and sit on the edge of my bed. I don't want to do stuff today. My head hurts...and the giant windows are not helping. When Lily is back in her apartment later, I am so totally banging on her door. With pots and pans. And wind chimes. And anything else loud I can think of. But what did I have to do today? I feel around on my bed for my phone. Gun under the pillow. Clothes I melted out of when I got home. Wallet on top of said clothes. Cat I adopted on my peacoat from Anis. I frown at the black cat, pick him up, and set him on the floor, ignoring his insulted look. It takes some moments, but I find my phone tangled in my blankets. No missed calls or texts or anything. Figures. But the date... February 16th. Fuck. I'm twenty-two today, aren't I? Great. More reason to hide under my blankets and not leave this apartment.
    I fling the traitorous phone over to the pile of soon-to-be-washed clothes on my floor, and flop back on my bed. Ugh. Can i just...not move today? I know, i have to. I have to work tonight and probably pillage and burn for the people who gave me this place.
    Somehow I push myself back up into a sitting position and, jsut as I'm about to push off the bed, I pause, looking to the book on my bedside table. Suddenly I feel an ache in my heart. I do keep hoping that sooner or alter I'll hear from him, but it was stupid to hope for that. Stupid for...a lot of reasons. In general, I'm stupid with everything when it comes to...him. Oh..fuck.. I wipe at my eyes, silently cursing myself for caring so damn much. I don't care. I don't. People come, people go. I'm used to it. I'm used to people thinking I stop existing soon as I'm out of sight. Doesn't matter, it's just the usual. I may have hoped it would be different with Anis, but...well, I don't matter. All my life people haven't cared much for what I do, where I go, or whatever. Adn they certainly don't call me just to say 'yo, I'm still alive.' Everyone's the same: some fucker that doesn't matter. Easier that way for me, and for them.
    But it still does hurt when I think about how I did hope he'd use that number.
    I shake my head, even though that doesn't help the pain there, and stand, jumping as my phone vibrates and lights up. I look down, pushing down the hope that does swell in me, and pick it up. "'Ello?," I answer.
    "Ryleah, you may have off today since it's your birthday, but tomorrow before work, we need you to go get rid of some more files," a well-known, and by this point frustrating, male voice replies. I inwardly groan, but only agree, and listen for the details. Sometimes I wish I was a book or comic or something, since, if I was, today would be more than just run-of-the-mill.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

New Immersiva Exhibit!

    Okay, yes, I'm procrastinating when i should be making up chapter questions for my public speaking class... But I can do that within an hour and I really don't want to, so here's this instead :P Now, granted I'm 70/30 percent certain that no one glances at this blog but the one or two that I know for certain reads this, but, still, I have to say this because it is awesome: The Singularity of Kumiko opens up on the 14th. It's another art-piece done by Bryn Oh for Immersiva, the same person/place as Imogen and the Pigeons. The only thing's...darker, literally, and you can die. I'm not kidding, I died like...really quick cause I looked away for a bit >.> But the story is neat as far as I got into it, and I am so going back. I just love her work and stories. I was tempted to try for pics, but it's kinda needed to have shadows and stuff on, so, even with the ten avi limit, I was afraid of crashing...and then the dying bit. Will see if I can manage some or not, not sure. It officially opens on the 14th, as I said, but, for the ones in the Immersiva group, Bryn sent out a LM today. I would put the SLurl here, but since the real date isn't for a can read about it and watch a youtube vid here, if you're curious. I'll update this and put a SLurl in just to cover all bases, since I really think this is worth checking out. Just...make sure your home location isn't a medieval rp sim and you happen to be wearing modern clothes when you go poking about, since dying apparently leads to you being sent home *coughs* Not that that happened to me in any way <.< >.>
    But, yea, so, new walk about in art stuff that's pretty awesome. Dark and making me think Slender Man is about to jump out and kill me, but, hey, it happens. So, yea...go poke about when it's open, or go dig in the Immersiva group past notices for a LM. Okay, maybe not dig, but my point remains, I think... If you do go, just...I hope you get further in the story on the first go around than I did. And don't forget to read the settings needed and grab your head lamp!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Warning: Tiny Bit of a Rant Ahead

    Anyone who's talked to me for, like, a few minutes probably can guess that I'm open indeed to pretty much everything. I may not do certain things or whatever, but that's not saying I'll look down on people who are/are into whatever. BDSM? Not my thing, but if you like, sure, whatever, that's you. LGBT? None of those orientations do I belong to, but if you are, awesome for you. Catholic? Not me, but if you are, okay, good. Just so long as people don't try to force anything on me, I don't care what they are. I have a friend who wears a wolf tail (fake one, not one from an actual wolf O.o ) in RL sometimes, not sure what that makes him since he doesn't always wear it or if that matters, but I don't care. I have my mind generally wide open on any topic, other than stupidity, bigotry, close-mindedness...basically anything that clashes with my own self.
    Why am I talking about this? In my state, there is currently a court case going on about getting rid of the law that bans gay marriage. Two couples are involved in this and one, the lesbian couple (not the gay partnership that started this) are legally married in California, but, with the law as it is, they do not have the rights married couples have. Even though they are married. Now, I'll admit, where I am is very conservative and, I think, part of the Bible Belt, if not part of it, it is one of the really close neighbors. So, yes, we're the stupid fucks who don't want anything to change. Yep. Now, with this case, I'm hoping for the best, but I'm not optimistic. If it changes, there's a chance that this could cause ripples, since this is one of the more conservative states. If it happens, maybe, jsut maybe, more states will loosen some. The Supreme Court, in my opinion, should get up and say 'yo, this breaks the countries constitution', but they don't because 'marriage is in the states' jurisdiction'. Now, I think they only give a damn about that because they don't want to become unpopular with the decision that is the only lawful way to go.
    Okay, I'm not saying people can't be against gay marriage, but, really, how the hell does it affect you? If it doesn't affect you, why do you care so much? Are you going to go marry someone of your sex just because the law allows it? No, I don't think so. The people who love those of their own sex deserve love and marriage as much as the rest of us. I always have the scenario in my head of  straights being the minority and their rights being taken away because of who they are attracted to, and I have asked people: what if you couldn't marry someone because they are of the opposite sex? What if you couldn't make decisions any other married couple could because you are not married or 'only' in a civil union? People tend to brush it off because 'that's not the way it is'. And calling being homosexual 'unnatural' is wrong. There has been studies, there is proof that there is a cell cluster in a gay man's brain about the same size as the same cluster in a woman's brain. I don't remember if it is bigger or smaller than the one in a straight man's brain, but that's proof it's not 'unnatural'. Hell, there are lesbian swans, people! (granted some do argue they are only a couple because there weren't enough male swans around, but the fact remains they are a couple.)
    Now, the only argument that makes some logical sense is the one that children need a male and female role model. My only problem with that is that children can get the same from people outside their family, or other family members. But, still, there seems only two arguments against it: the Bible says no, and it is not good for children. From a psychological standpoint, yes, children need male and female role models, but they can get that influence elsewhere. Though, still, as I said, the only argument I'll half-ways accept is the latter, not the Bible. And I know a lot of other people who could care less about what it says because they are not under a faith that follows it. I'm not even going to get into how we pick and choose what we want to listen to.
    I just...I don't understand how people can be so against certain things. It's's not your issue, you aren't involved in any way shape or form. Gay marriage. Abortion. Interracial relationships. (Didn't the Cheerio's commercial get some uproar for that? So glad they keep playing it.) And all the other things that are controversial. Why must certain things be either illegal or 'not seen'? I advocate a lot few things, but that doesn't mean I'd do it.(Marijuana and prostitution being illegal for weed-brothels.. Hell, if you can tax it, it'll make the country more money, which is desperately needed as anyone who dens't live under a rock (maybe other countries, depending on how wordly said country/person is) can probably attest to.) Like abortion. It's your choice, do whatever. Would I personally have one? I don't see me ever doing that in any situation, even the most dire unless I had absolutely no choice. But that's me, not someone else. I highly doubt anyone goes around, paying for some expensive procedure, just because they got pregnant. Unless you're a sociopath, I don't see anyone being able to do that without some emotional toll. And, a small tangent: making abortion illegal won't do anything. It was illegal at one point, and that led to women using coat hangers and other backalley abortion procedures. Just because something is illegal, it won't put a stop to it.
    But back to the topic of love. I fully believe that people should be able to love whoever, no matter what. Different race, same sex, different ages. If you love someone, you deserve to be able to be with them without some stigma saying you can't. I'm still waiting on a black and white gay couple where one is...20 and the other...35.Imagine what that would cause. (I say 35 only because I personally am not against a 15 year or so difference since said person is not old enough to be my parent. I haven't had such a relationship to see how well that would go, but I'm not like 'no, bad'.) But, hell, if you want to marry someone old enough to be your grandparent, go ahead, I don't care. You love 'em? They love you? Good. That's all that should matter.
    I hope with Valentine's Day coming up that'll make whoever is deciding the case in my state a bit more leaning towards love for all, but not sure how well that'll go. I'll hope, for the sake of the couples and their children, as I know at least the legally married in California couple has a daughter. All that can be done with these sorts of things, is hope for the outcome that is more inline with the changing of the world.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


    Why can't I jsut leave things be? I don't know, but my mind is whirring once more and...well, this happened: a story to a picture I had taken just yesterday >.>

    The wind is always soft and gentle. The tall, pinkish grass always soft and caressing. The sky always perfectly streaked with fluffy clouds tinted pink by the sun. There's a grove of dead trees and a ruin, but it's not allowed to go there. Only stay where the light can touch your face, that's the rule.
    But one day I broke the rule, and I'm not entirely certain if I regret it or not.
    I remember spinning, laughing, playing with the white and black butterflies. But one of them started going towards the Dead Place. I followed because I knew that it shouldn't go there; there were reasons we didn't go there. My mother always told me stories about what is kept there. The dark is kept there, the bad is there. I didn't even know how to define the word 'bad' or 'dark' other than to point to the dead trees and darkened ruin. I knew nothing beyond the small, naive world I was born in, or created for....I am not certain which.
    I remember being...not afraid, for i did not know fear. I felt...curious, since the butterfly kept going through what used to be a grand entryway. I followed. The ruin was big with no top left, only walls. Brown ivy clung to the breaking stone, dead trees shot up from the ground. I kept walking, even though i had long lost the butterfly. Another gaping opening. It led to what looked like a courtyard for there was a dried out fountain in the center and the open top seemed purposeful. There was this...strange plant there. It was certainly living and was as tall as I was. Thick, green vines curled up into an oval, little white flowers blooming off of it. But that was not the strange part. What was odd was the water that seemed suspended in the oval opening, like a mirror almost. I walked to it and gently laid my hand on the surface, little circles coming from my hand like when you skip a stone on water. When the surface smoothed again, I saw a bench facing away from me. A moment later, I saw the bench was under a tree. On green grass. A gray sky overhead. More. People milling about with...things over their heads to protect them from... Water. Water coming from the sky. And there were these tall things with windows in the distance, reaching into the sky. Things zipping pass on something black between the tall things and the grass.
    I was amazed, enraptured. I had never seen such a thing, and I wanted to go touch everything. But I knew that Mother would be wanting to see me soon. I left reluctantly, but came back that night. I hadn't asked on the strange mirror, since I had this feeling I shouldn't. I never kept anything from anyone before. it was...strange, and a rush somehow.
    This time when I put my hand on the mirror, it was the same scene, only there was a night sky littered with these bright spots up above and no water fell from the sky. I have never seen night before, never known its beauty. But...there was something wrong. No people were wandering, but there was a man on the bench. He was hunched over, shoulders shaking. I had never seen someone act so...oddly. Curious, I pushed my hand through the watery mirror and, once it went through, I smiled brightly and went in fully.
    The air smelled funny. Tangy. Sick. And the things zipping on the black stuff sounded loud even from there. And there were poles emitting light that seemed to dull the night's strength. I didn't like it, but the man was so close now. I slipped over tot eh tree and peered around it, biting my lip. He was making these...choking sounds. Why did he sound like that? From where I was, i could see only his back. Short brown hair, black clothes. I puffed my cheeks out and moved to sit next to the man. "Why do you sound so strange?," I asked, reaching out to put a hand on his arm for his attention. The cloth of his clothes was strange. He turned to me, blue eyes wide and red. I could see now that he wore all black, other than a white shirt underneath his upper layer. Why was he wearing more than one layer? And what was that black thing around his neck and under his top layer? He only kept staring at me, so I poked his arm. "Why do you not answer?"
    He opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, but only got up and left then. I was confused, but did not think much of it. Instead, I slipped back to the water mirror that now showed the ruin's courtyard.
    A while later I was dancing through the green grass near the bench, just as I would with the butterflies on the other side of the mirror. People stared. I didn't know why. And then i saw the man on the bench again, smiling amusedly. "You're not from here, are you?," he called, patting the spot next to him. I blinked, shook my head, and went to sit. We talked. He apologized for having left so abruptly before. He said he was surprised to see me here again. He said his name was Nick. I told him mine was Feather. He thought I was not serious, but soon believed me. I decided I liked him. He was sad, though. He didn't tell me why.
    And then I had to go. I kissed his cheek and skipped off to the mirror.
    We met more times, too. He ended up telling me that, the night I found him, his closest friend had died. I did not know what to say, for I did not know what death was. When I asked, he looked at me strangely, but explained. "It's...when people just...stop. Their bodies stay, but...they are gone. Their heart stops beating, and they don't breathe anymore. It happens to everyone sooner or later...but it's never easy to accept." I was horrified. How could one just...stop? I left. I asked my mother. She asked where I heard about death from.
    "Will I die? Will you? Everyone dies!" I felt...I don't know. She assured me I wouldn't die, that she wouldn't...that...people where I live don't. She asked again where I heard about death from. I didn't answer.
     I went back through the mirror. He was there with roses. He apologized, gave me the flowers. I didn't understand, but I smiled and said it was alright, that I was glad he told me. And i was. But now I was worried, even though I didn't know the word at the time. He could die. We talked more. He asked where I am from. I told him about the mirror.
    "Are you only a dream and I've gone insane?," he asked me after I explained. I was confused, but assured him I was real. I left again. or tried. I couldn't go with the flowers, somehow I knew that. So I put them up in the tree, then left.
    Months, though I only learned the word later, passed and the leaves in the tree were changing. The air felt colder. But I kept in my not so warm dress. He told me he love me one of those days. I didn't understand, but it felt right to say I felt the same. He kissed me, and I indulged in it. When I left, I couldn't help but run to my mother and tell her about the man I met. I didn't tell her about the mirror.
    "Feather. You do not see him again. These...things only serve to weigh you down. And certain things will not allow you to be at your home. You must understand that," she said firmly, seeming not so happy with me. I didn't understand. Love felt...wonderful. I told her as much. She told me a whole list of things that would keep from returning. And one of those things was...something strange... She said that it was how some 'lesser creatures' have children, and that it was a very bad thing. I still didn't understand, but I knew better than to say so.
    I couldn't go back in the winter. The water in the mirror froze up on a scene of white snow falling from the sky and on the ground and everywhere. It was pretty, but I wanted to see, to speak to, Nick. The months were long and slow. And now I knew about time.
    But spring came and i went through. Nick was there. he too me in his arms and spun me around. I told him the mirror had frozen. He didn't seem to care. He kissed me and took my hand, leading me through the loud noise and choking air to one of those tall things. He called them buildings, apartments. There was that we went into. he pressed something into the wall, it lit up, and the box moved. I was amazed. And when he showed me his apartment, I had to touch everything. He told me what things were called while he made food. Books. Table. Couch. TV. Bed. Remote. Laptop. Clock. Phone. Stove. Microwave. Refrigerator. Everything was so amazing. I even foudn something he called underwear, boxers. He didn't seem to like me trying to figure out what they were for. Especially when i put them in the microwave and pressed the buttons. We ate...chicken. I never had chicken. We talked. I had to leave, though he asked me to stay. I promised to come back for dinner again. I did. night in summer, a year after we had met... A year after, things... It still makes me sad.
    I decided to stay with him, sleep in his home one night. I didn't care if my mother were to find out because I was in love. He offered to stay on the couch, wanting me to have his bed. But there was room for us both, so I let him stay with me. I kissed him, in a way to say good night, but, after a moment of him seeming hesitant, he kissed me for a long while. I indulged. He put his hands on my hips and slowly moved so that he was over me, kissing my neck. I didn't know why, but I enjoyed it, so i let him. His kisses moved to where the dip of my dress stopped. he sighed and looked to me, biting his lip, and spoke. Now I wish he hadn't. "I love you...and I feel that, if I don't ask you this, I'll take advantage of you. I...want you, Feather."
    I furrowed my brows, trailing my finger tips over his lips. "I love you, too. have can you want me?," I wondered.
    He didn't explain so much as utter one word. A word my mother told me would keep me here, keep me from going home. But it wasn't that that had me say what I did. I...realized then that I could only serve to keep him from having certain things, and I did not belong here. If I stayed, it would end as surely as if I left. "Nick..I...have to go," i whispered, feeling this strange stinging in my eyes as I moved out form under him and off the bed. "I love you, but...I don't belong here. You asked if I was a dream once, remember? It seems that is all I can be...I'm sorry." I kissed him softly and quickly left before he could say anything. Something wet was on my cheeks, coming from my eyes. Crying. He told me about this. I...was crying. And I felt so...sad...
    I ran back to the mirror.
    Mother found me sitting under a tree, the butterflies staying from me as I wove a new daisy chain the next day. I had left my old one in his apartment. "You went to him." I nodded, cheeks still wet with tears. "I told you it would not work, Feather. Now you know."
    I nodded. "I know, Mother," I whispered, "Certain things only serve to hurt. I know where I belong." And I know where i want to be. But I never told her that.