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EDITOR'S NOTE: Faithful readers will no doubt know by now that I generally like to end almost every issue on an upbeat note. Well, today I have to take exception with that rule of thumb, for better or worse. This simply had to be the last story for this issue, especially since it ends with lyrics froma John Denver song (check out the wonderful cover Chantal Kreviazuk does of it on the soundtrack of "Armageddon," by the way). But I will say this to the author of this tale -- your life is not over. The adventure has only but begun.


Written by Todd VanDerWerff.

My life, perhaps, is over.

Although my already over-analytical mind has spent the last few hours screaming at me that I have so much left in my life that I should be happy for and proud of, I just don't care anymore, because everything is crumbling like the proverbial cookie. So, for all intents and purposes, my life is over. ("I WILL SURVIVE," shrieks my brain, a shrill disco goddess with no idea of what I've already gone through just to get this far.)

I'm not the first, by any means, nor am I the last. But it feels so raw and I'm reeling so much that it's just incredible that any other members of the human race have ever experienced pain this VIVID before. A knife plunging into first my heart and then my stomach and then my skull before finally withdrawing in mercy, only to go in again.

I spent the whole day trying to get perspective, but all I've gotten is anger, punching at my soul like Muhammed Ali on speed as I careen through my immediate social scene like a drunken pinball in zero gravity, searching for that next killer emotional high, anything to make me forget her and her icy pitchforks tearing apart my hearts.

Perhaps I should have just given an open invitation to everyone. "Here, people! Come and see! My guts on the floor! Go on! Do a Mexican hat dance! It'll be recreational fun for everyone but me!"

And then I just want to forgive her. We were friends once. Perhaps it can be that way again (fat chance screams the ever-resourceful cerebral cortex). Maybe... maybe I can salvage a faint glimmer in the Hiroshima of my heart and push onward but...

She is evil. Everything about her now makes me want to just puke. The fact that I actually believed she ever cared for me. How she made me forget that other girls even existed. All the time and effort and work and EVERYthing that I put into making her maybe, just maybe, THE girl. The one I could trust and confide in and... just... be with... but... it's as if...

What would be the POINT of hating her? If any? There isn't one. I can spend the rest of my life pretending, that, for all I'm hurt, she's still just one of my best friends in the whole world and I can buy her presents and meaningless momentos and things as I watch her...

Fall for other guys, I guess. Inevitably, there WILL be other guys. Terrifying thought. That I was never good enough, but some football super-jock just MIGHT be the one, because OH! he's muscular and OH! so handsome and just a little rough around the edges (giggle). But he's all MINE. And I was never hers, obviously. Just a play thing. A doggie bone, if you will. And who CARES if I'm the least bit sensitive because I can't be rough around the edges.

She blames it on herself, but I think it's all me in the end. The fact that I can never trust happiness. That I have this sublime fear that God is just a master trickster, making me chase a golden dream as he dangles it down my way on a stick. I live in a constant state of anhedonia. Perhaps you've never heard of it. It's a wonderful word. It's what happens when you're constantly snatching tragedy from the jaws of joy. Just when you're happy... you HAVE to screw it up. The way of the universe.

And so, I sit here, bouncing erratically between the four first stages of grieving (shock, denial, bargaining, and anger, doncha' know) and singing along at the top of my lungs with "Leaving on a Jet Plane" like a punch drunk fool. An idiot. That's what I am. So kiss me (good kisser, I'll give her that) and smile for me (smiling is now well-nigh impossible). Tell me that you'll wait for me (a bigger crock I have never heard). Hold me like you'll never let me go. (Did she really want me in her arms, or was it all a massive chess game to her?)

And the music swells...


Roll credits on the story of my life as I retreat into my solitairy corner of the land called sadness.

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