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Don’t Be Afraid Of Love – Once Upon a Time – 5×16 (Spoilers)

images-9We learned a few things about the supposed villains of this half of the season. Hades wants love and to have his heart beat again. While Zelena is finding that loving someone requires you to open yourself up and sometimes requires sacrifice. This episode showed us that yet again all these characters truly want is to love and be loved in return.

The episode started with Dorthy stopping Zelena from taking the Scarecrow’s brain, which Zelena needed for the time travel spell. Dorthy tells Zelena that she can never win because, unlike Dorthy, the people will never love her. Zelena can never have the respect that Dorthy has and no one will ever fight for her.

Hades shows up to help Zelena get what she wants and hopefully use the spell himself. We learn that Zesus stopped Hades’s heart and made it so he can’t love or feel joy. All he can feel is anger and the need for revenge. The only way his heart can restart is with a kiss of true love.

It doesn’t take long for Hades to fall in love with Zelena. He tells her that he no longer cares about the spell, he just wants to be with her. Zelena does not believe him. As Dorthy stated, no one can love her and she firmly believes that. She thinks that Hades is manipulating her in order to get the spell and use it for himself. But Hades is adamant that, that is not the truth. He just wants to be with her.

It is not surprising that Zelena is unable to believe him. Zelena was abandoned by her mother. She feels as if no one can ever love her. She has never had anyone on her side or fight for her. So it is natural for her to reject Hades’s advances. She firmly believes that no one can love her. Her heart beats but it is hardened against any true feelings. She can not open herself to anyone because that would leave her vulnerable and that is unacceptable to her.

Zelena sees the world this way until she had her daughter. In this episode, we see the extent of her love for her daughter. She tries to take her from Storybrooke and then runs off with her in order to keep the group from getting her. She has opened her heart to this baby. Her daughter is what matters to her and nothing else.But what Zelena realizes is that sometimes no matter how much you want to protect someone you are not always the best option. She uses her magic to repel the group and in the process hurts her daughter.

Zelena becomes terrified of what she has done and thinks that she can not truly protect her daughter. She makes a tough decision at this point and that is to let Robin, Regina, and the others protect the baby. She is able to see that the best option for her is to not be with her.

Zelena is no longer the cold manipulative person we have seen for so long. She can love. She can care. She is much like Maleficent from last season. Her child is what matters to her now. She will get her back and have the happy life she wants though the lengths she will go to get that end could be disastrous for everyone else.

Hades reveals that he has never given up on Zelena. He loves her, even after all the time that passed. We learn that the reason that The Underworld looks like Storybrooke is because Hades made it for Zelena. He wanted to give her what Regina had.

images-10Zelena refuses Hades advances. She tells him that she does not need him, she can get her daughter and everything she wants herself. Hades acknowledges that she is right. He knows she does not need him. He steps away from her and tells her to come to him when she wants him. This is an important point. Zelena does not need anyone to help her but she needs to give into her wants. She needs to open her arms and heart to Hades and let him love her. She is not unlovable and she needs to learn that before she makes a mistake she can’t go back from.

The other important moment of this episode happened between Rumple and Belle. Belle ends up in The Underworld and runs into Rumple. She learns she is pregnant, the deal Rumple made about their unborn child and that he is The Dark One again.

Belle is understandably angry with Rumple but Rumple isn’t upset by her anger. He is resolute and sure of himself. Rumple tells Belle that this is the man he is now. He will not change. Belle wants to see two separate people, the beast, and the man. What Rumple reveals is that he is both the beast and the man. That is all there is to him. He needs Belle to understand that.

Rumple is not going to change, we know who he is now. He has accepted the man he is and that is all there is to it. He still loves Belle and will love their child. But he needs power in his life, he needs that control that comes with power. That is the man Rumple is. He has finally figured that out.

Belle now has to decide if she can live with that. She can’t change him. She needs to accept the beast and the man or she needs to walk away for good.

Quotes:
“If you want me to be a different man, I’m sorry, this is who I am,” – Rumple- This sums it up well. This is Rumple, for better or worse, and Belle has to come to terms with that.

“Thing about true love, it endures and can’t be broken,” – Hades- We have seen his countless times in this series. Hades learned this and learned that he can love and it might be the way our group is saved from The Underworld.

Questions:
What is Zelena’s plan now?
Has Hades’s plans changed at all?
If Zelena accepts Hades will he let everyone go and forget his anger?
What else is Hades up to?
Will we meet Zesus?
Will we learn why he stopped Hades’s heart?
Will Zelena get some way of having custody of her daughter?
Will Zelena’s daughter continue to change her?
Will love change The Undeworld, change it into some kind of neutral purgatory?
Will Belle leave Rumple for good?
How will the group fight Hades?
What will Henry write next?
Can the quill come back with Henry?

How does magic work exactly in this place?

if i stay- Gayle Forman- Review (spoilers)

if-I-stayI saw the commercials for the movie that is coming out that is an adaptation of this novel. It is very common for me to see a commercial for a movie based off a book and want to read the source material before seeing the movie. I usually do it because I do not want the movie to cloud my opinion of the book because I am a firm believer that the book will be better then the movie (and I can count on one hand the number of times that I have been proven wrong).

There were two real reasons that this story attracted my attention. Number one was the small supernatural feel that there is to the story. The main character, Mia, is sort of a ghost/ spirit that is hovering outside of her body as she watches her family try to cope with the accident she was involved in. Right off the bat that idea attracted me. If there is anything slightly out of the ordinary, my interest is peeked.

Second, the story looked extremely emotional. I read “Fault in Our Stars,” recently and I found myself disappointed in the lack of deep emotion I felt from the book. I went into the book hoping for emotion that would really affect me and I found it all very surface level. I saw the commercial for this book and thought that the movie looked packed with a range of emotions which meant that the book had to be as well. So I found the book hoping that I would hit a deeper emotional side of me  to fill the gap that, “Fault in Our Stars,” left behind.

I won’t lie and say I cried during the story. I am not an overly emotional person and getting me to cry outright is a extremely difficult task. Unless it is a pet or animal that is injured or dies I don’t usually shed tears. While I didn’t actually cry during this story I did feel my chest tighten at times. There was some moments when I did feel my heart break for the characters. I was impressed and happy how the book had me doused in this cloak of sadness and happiness at the same time.

The tagline for this book is, “What would you do if you had to choose?” Mia is 17 and is involved in a horrific car accident that kills her parents instantly and gravely injures her and her younger brother. The bulk of the story is her not only trying to get her head around what is going on, realizing what happened and watching her fight for her life physically; but it also about her trying to cope with her losses and determine if life is worth living without her immediate family.

We start out shocked and confused with Mia as she tries to take in everything that has occurred to her in a very short time. We fall into step beside her and feel the pain of being pulled in both directions. If she dies she leaves behind her extended family, her best friend and a boyfriend she is head over heels in love with. If she lives she has to somehow move on in a life that is missing three essential pieces.

Mia has a life that many dream about. Her parents are fun and loving. Her brother is the typical annoying brother but she is lovingly attached to him. Her parents don’t control her every move. She has freedom to make her own choices but they are right there to catch her if she falls. She has a loving, encouraging and fun family. By reading her small takes on the way life was once we see how her life had more smiles then anything else.
Mia is an accomplished cello player with a very promising career ahead of her. Before the accident she had an audition to Juilliard that went very well. Her life after school had a path, one that is scary for her but one she is also extremely excited about. She had a life that people would pay to have and in a few second she has to watch as that world shatters around her.

One of the nurses tells her grandparents that medically they have done what they can, now it is her turn to decide if she is staying or going. Does she stay and live with the pain and sadness that will haunt her every day from the moment she opens her eyes? Or does she go and leave sadness, grief and even possibly anger behind her? It is a monumental choice for a teenager to make.

We as readers can relate to her struggle and can understand her choices because we get glimpses of her life in-between the present day action. If we just got her watching her loved ones begging her to stay or we just get her thoughts about them it would be harder for us to really understand how hard it is for her choose. By being able to watch her life play out in small vignettes as we go through the story we see how this choice isn’t a simple black and white one. We see moments with her parents and brother that make you root for her to just let go. How do you live with those memories and know that they can never happen again? But then we get stories where we see her connecting with her grandfather, her boyfriend and her best friend. We see that while she has lost her family she hasn’t lost everyone who loves and supports her. It is a rigorous ride that we are taken on but in only this format can we really be able to relate to this young woman.

From the commercials the story looked like it was very much a love story. It would seem that the story is centered on her being in love with Adam and how he is one of her major reasons for considering not letting go. I was very happy to see that, that isn’t true. The love story is there but it isn’t the full focus of the story. Forman shows us that there are numerous aspects to Mia’s life and that she has to choose to live or die for a variety of reasons. No one person or event is going to keep her alive.

There was one scene that I thought was the most powerful in this story. (SPOILER) Mia realizes in a moment that everyone is at one hospital which means that her younger brother also died as well as her parents. She runs away and breaks down. We see her running around searching desperately for him, knowing that he was never in this hospital to start with. She is desperate for what she has realizes is not be true. Reading it I could feel that heart breaking desperation fully. I could picture myself running through the halls wanting to find my brothers, knowing that just as she did that they weren’t there but refusing to accept this realization because of the pain it would cause.

Not only is grief tearing her apart but she can’t actually outwardly show her pain. She can’t touch things and break anything like she wants. She has no way of really releasing that pain and even though it is only a few pages that was very powerful. Feeling her grief and then her frustration at not being able to properly express that grief hit me hard. That was probably the moment where I felt myself being choked up the most.

This book hit me hard, like I expected and wanted it to. I was not disappointed by the range of emotions I felt and had to deal with right beside Mia. I am interested to see the movie though I am really hoping that they don’t make her struggle purely driven by her love for her boyfriend. There is so much more to this story and if told right many different audiences will be able to relate and enjoy the movie.

Where I am Going- Writing 101- Day 11

 

A/N: Todays prompt was to write about where you lived when you were twelve. The twist was to pay attention to sentence length and try to vary them. My story “Always,” provides more information about the guardian angel in this piece as well. That story gives you a better idea of who the guardian angel is.writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2

I slammed the door behind me. I didn’t care who had heard it. Didn’t care if my neighbors would be giving me dirty looks when I passed them by tomorrow. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. My bag slipped off my shoulder and hit the ground, the content spilling out in a heap. My cat walked over and began to scratch around the surface, smelling the pages and trying to decide if he wanted to make any use of the items or not.

For months now I had been holding myself together. It was like I had kept patching up the holes with duct tape but now they were combining into one another, creating huge holes that couldn’t be covered. No amount of tape or sewing was going to fix this problem.

I slid down the wall and buried my head into my knees. Pain, confusion, anger, sorrow and hurt came pouring out along with tears and sobs. Each deep breath brought forth another emotion that I didn’t get time to fully process before the next wave came crashing down. It was becoming too much. My brain was fuzzing over and I couldn’t breathe.

Just as I was desperately trying to decide between passing out and finding my phone to call from help I felt a gentle hand grip my fingers. I caught a sob in throat and instantly looked up. I looked left, right, to the ceiling and at the floor. There was no around me. I felt the touch, a strong yet gentle hand, but there was nothing physical that I could see.

Anyone else would have been freaking out. Most would have assumed they had finally lost their minds Stress can do that to a person. Yes, my mind was exhausted and screaming for release but I knew this touch. It was a touch that I had felt once or twice before. It was his hand, my guardian angel’s hand.

As my chest eased and my nerve ends loosened slightly I felt a calm begin to steal over me. The hand still gripped mine. I pictured my guardian angel sitting beside me, huge coke bottle glasses watching me. Eyes never leaving my face as I came down from my panic attack.

In my head I could almost hear his whisper, “It’s okay. Deep breaths and happy thoughts.’ My eyes fell closed and my spent brain ran back in time.
After flipping through a catalogue of happy memories I choose a simple summer day. I opened my eyes. I was twelve and standing inside the bedroom that had been mine for most of my life.

Our house was nothing special. It was small, barely accommodating the five of us plus an eighty pound Akita, a cockatiel and a guinea pig. Shouts of laughters and reprimands coated the hallway walls like wallpaper. I could hear all the conversations we had as children, full of crazy stories and imaginary friends. Conversations that matured as we did. Going from school work to plans for our now adult lives.

My parents always said and still say to this day that the house was too small and cramped. Not one surface wasn’t covered. Everything was falling apart and the place was just one big mess.

As a child and even to this day I have never agreed. My eyes glaze over the mess of papers and piles of dog hair that live in the corners. Yes, the doors had holes where frustrated feet had kicked in the wood. In the back-room there were cracks in the walls and the wallpaper was peeling. The tiles floor of the kitchen always had footprints and the walls always had handprints. The basement was a half finished place full of darkness and dirty laundry.

Each room was small and cramped. Finding a place to hide for privacy wasn’t a real option. Even your own room wasn’t safe, people always walking in with only a knock to announce their entrance. Silence or even quiet were words that had no place in our home.

No matter the issues though, it never changed what the place was. It was home. A home where laughter, love and creativity reigned supreme. I stood, as my twelve year old self, in my room. This was the room I had moved into once my youngest brother no longer needed a crib. For most of my life this had been my room. Right now the walls were covered in NSYNC posters. The floor was covered in everything from clothes, papers to stuffed animals and shoes. If you walked without shoes you had to be careful not to step on pen caps or push pins. Books overflowed from the bookshelf, spilling into piles on the floor.

Standing here I felt a welcome calm. This was my place. Over the years the band posters would come down to be replaced by pictures of friends and family. During my four years of college the room would become dark and lonely for most of the year. Until a year ago this had been where I went to cry, to study and to read. This is where I played school with my stuff animals and where I wrote my first stories.

A year ago I had packed up every piece of paper and every last sock and had left behind nothing but tears and memories. It was my middle brothers room now, but standing here at twelve I remembered how much this place had meant to me.

A knock sounded at the door. My mom opened it slowly, barely able to move it enough to talk to me because of the mess.

“Dinner,” she told me. No comment on the disaster inside. By this age she knew it was a fruitless battle with me. I cleaned the place and two days later it looked like I had never touched it. Organization and neatness would never be attributes of mine.

It only took a handful of steps to cross from my room across the hallway and into the kitchen. Our kitchen was unique in the neighborhood. Attached to the back was what we called the “back-room.” It was just an addition created to be a dining room, but it made this area the biggest part of the house.

Tonight the kitchen held the aroma of hamburgers and french fries. These counter tops saw everything from birthday cakes, report cards with good and bad grades, to final notices from credit card companies. Here cakes were made and here cakes were dropped. Here metal spoons were turned into drumsticks and tupperware bowl were drums. The floor was skating rink in our socks or a dance floor while music blasted from the radio. This room saw laughter from crazy family dinners where more food was thrown then eaten. Tearful dinners and angry dinners with no words spoken also lived here as well.

Dinner was enjoyable that night. I sat as my twelve year old self listening to my family joke and talk about random topics. Always being sure to include the imaginary friends into the conversation as well. After dinner it was everyone off onto their own.

My middle brother and father headed out the backdoor and into the backyard, the dog at their heels. A swing set stood at the very back of the small backyard. It was hand-me down, with two red swings and a slide. There was just enough room to hit a ball and play a simple game of baseball. Which was exactly what my dad and brother did tonight. Each of them tried to use only half their power, afraid of hitting the ball over the fence. It was a good try but my brother failed. He hit it a bit too hard and watched it soar over the back fence. He groaned, ran to the back and gripped the wooden tops and threw himself over, my dad keeping a watchful eye. I turned away as the ball came soaring back over the top.

I turned back towards the front of the house. A minute later I was in the living room. My mom was busy flipping through the channels looking for something she could watch but was also appropriate for me as well. She ended up on Nickelodeon. Just like the rest of the house this was also sort of a tight squeeze. Here the couch and arm chair took up all the wall space. You had just enough room to move between sitting places.

The living room saw the opening of birthday and Christmas presents, bedtime stories and sleepovers. Here was where we played with our current dog, as well as a future puppy we would get after this one passed away. Just this year was where we also lost yet another beloved dog. It wasn’t a large space but it was big enough to build forts with pop up tents or to jump from couch to chair avoiding the lava ground. These chairs would be where I would get lost in world of Harry Potter. As each book was released I would become completely cut off from the world until dragged to dinner or when my dad stole my book to tease me.

I only watched the television for a few moments before pulling a book out of the chair cushions. It was a companion book the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV series. As I turned the pages I felt myself sinking into the words and the soft sofa cushions.

My mom sitting on the couch and our dog settled at her feet began to fade. As the picture faded I began to surface from my memory. That house was not my parents dream home. It was small, and falling apart. But it held so many memories, whole lives worth. It wasn’t perfect and never would be. Something would always be cracked or in danger of falling apart on top of you. But for me it would always be my home, my safe haven, the keeper of so many of my memories.

I had lived there for nearly 24 years of my life. I was born there and grew up there. That house was my life. Remembering those rooms with its sights and sounds began to bring my frazzled mind back into focus.

I opened my eyes. I noticed that the gentle hand was gone. Yes, things were all twisted and tangled up in a ball right now. I had no idea what was going to happen. But as long as I remembered where I had started I could figure out where I was going.

Keep the Spark Alive- Writing 101- Day 9

writing-101-june-2014-class-badge-2A/n: Here is day nine of the challenge. (I completed day 8 but it didn’t fit in with my blog). Todays prompt was to write about a man and woman walking through a park where they see an old woman on a bench knitting a red sweater. The twist was to tell it from each of their perspectives.

 

His hand was curled tightly in my hand. My fingers were curled around his but I wasn’t actually using any pressure to hold on. He was doing all the holding, I was just present.
I had been just “here,” for months now. I woke up and gave him his good morning kiss every morning; lips to cheek but with no feeling to make it mean anything. I did it because I had been doing it for years. Why change that routine?

I moved around the house and through my day in a complete daze. My body moved, hands reaching for mugs and plates, using knives and forks, turning on light switches and turning doorknobs. My feet moved along paths that had been worn into the carpet. Same steps to the same destinations, everyday and through every hour.

I didn’t even known what day it was let alone what month or year. I felt like my body was on auto pilot. My brain was set to the most basic setting, only completing those tasks necessary for survival. I don’t know when that switch got flipped or what caused me to check out front the world. Nothing had happened. No fight with my husband. I hadn’t gotten fired. And I hadn’t been diagnosed with some incurable disease. So what had caused me to just be content with being a playing piece that life just moved along the easy and simple paths?
Nothing had happened. Maybe that was it? Nothing had happened to me in years. After I graduated, got my job and got married there was nothing left to happen in my life. We weren’t going to have kids so there was nothing left to happen until we retired and died. I was tired of waiting for life to get interesting so I just stopped caring. I was alive and that was enough. Wasn’t it?

My husband was pulling me down a shaded lane of the park, long branches intertwined high above us throwing cool shadows down on us. It should have been a welcome relief from the sun, if only I actually had felt the warmth. Ahead on a bench sat an elderly woman, hands moving back and forth as she knitted a blood red sweater. Her eyes were trained on a spot right in front of her. She wasn’t actually paying attention to her knitting, she was waiting.
A part of me wanted to turn a different way, run through the grass to avoid having to walk in front of this mystery woman. As we got closer and closer I felt the last live part of me shut down, my feet just stopped moving completely. My husband hadn’t noticed, he kept walking until he got the extent of my arm length.

He stopped and turned to look at me. The minuscule part of my brain that was still chugging and puffing away at staying awake saw the tears on his face and wanted to desperately make them stop. I wanted those tears to leave this wonderful man alone. Tears I would take from him, if only to feel again.

 

I had suggested a walk through the park. I had told her that after the winter we had endured we had to soak up every ounce of sunlight just in case we had to endure the torture again next season. She had agreed, just nodding. Not an enthusiastic nod as if I had suggested we go on a year long vacation. Not a casual nod, as if it was a good idea just nothing special. Just a nod that said, yes, because that was what nods were for.

As we walked I realized I was basically pulling her along behind me. Her hand rested in mine. I held on tightly afraid that if I let go she would collapse onto the ground.
I had no idea what had happened to this woman that I had fallen into cloud 9 with years ago. When we had met she was so bright, everyone smiled when she entered the room. You couldn’t help but feel uplifted when she interacted with you. It was like trying not to squeal with delight at a bunch of puppies.

She was spontaneous, always up to try something new. Brand new restaurant? She was the first in no matter how experimental the menu was. You said you were bored? She would pull your to the car and take off for some destination that no one had ever knew existed.
Now she just moved because she had to. She ate because she couldn’t live without food. She barely spoke and when she did her tone was devoid of anything resembling life and vitality.
We came up to a tree lined path. I moved down the path, maybe cause of the shade? Maybe because it didn’t matter what way we moved as long as we moved? In the middle sat an old womb knitting a red sweater on a bench. She was very concentrated on her work. Never did she look up or move her eyes from her work. I wondered if she knew where she sat.
As we got closer I felt a hard tug on my hand. Inch by inch it got more and more difficult to move forward while still attached to my wife. We were feet from the woman now and I felt as if I was pulling dead weight behind me.

My heart sped up, pounding inside my chest so hard I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bruise there tomorrow. It had happened. I had tried so hard to save her but I had failed. She was gone. I was going turn around to find a crumple heap of what once had been an alive and beautiful woman at my feet.

I tasted the salt from my tears sneak past my lips and my chest got so tight it was almost impossible to breathe. I had to turn around and see. See what had become of the woman I had once loved beyond my own life.

I held my breath and turned around.

 

I knew they were going to come to the park. Parks were neutral zones to talk. A place full of life that moved on despite your issues. Here your problems meant nothing to the trees, flowers and breeze. Here your problems felt insignificant and meaningless, making it easier to deal with whatever was hurting you.

I scratched at the high collar chocking me. I hated this disguise. Old women were always treated either with pity or sickly sweet kindness. Neither emotion was ever real, just done because it was expected. I hated that. Doing something because the world expected it made me fidget, it was irritating like a mosquito in your ear.

I have no idea how to knit. My hands were just moving back and forth and around in a circle. If anyone glimpsed the real me they would see a huge knotted ball on my lap, a tangled mess so bad it was pointless to try to save the yarn. To the world though I was on my way to creating the perfect sweater.

I felt them enter the park and went on alert. I had to watch for when they got close then I could get this party started. They rounded a corner and it was showtime.

The wife walked by placing one foot directly in front of the other, like it was her first time on two legs. She didn’t glance around her. Her eyes just stared at the back of her husband. Without her husband she would have walked into a pole or fallen on her face by now. She had no idea where she was. Her eyes were open but she wasn’t see a thing.

He was two steps ahead of her. He was pulling her along like a disobedient child. He never looked back at her, never said a word. Just desperately kept forcing her to move forward. I doubt he had a real destination in mind, he just wanted to move forward. Forward had the solution.

He was right this time. I whispered softly and her feet stopped completely. She wouldn’t be moving again for a moment. He got to the end of her arm and took a step backward at the resistance. I let him ponder what it meant for a moment. Gave him a look at his biggest fear in bright color; finding a wounded woman in a mess on the ground behind him. Then I forced him to turn around.

Now they were face to face. He saw she was still standing and she saw the utter relief and love covering his face. He raced forward and gathered her in his arms. I released her and let her melt into his safe embrace.

I put the “knitting,” away and dusted off my hands. Another job well done for me. I knew patting myself on the back wasn’t humble but I didn’t care. Everyone thought cupid was only around to spark love. I thought did a pretty damn good job keeping the spark alive as well, thank you very much.

Once Upon a Time Season Three Finale- Review- (Spoilers)

Once-Upon-a-Time-season-3-episode-21-photo-preview-feature

We were given a two hour season finale and they used every single minute to explore time travel, finally allow Emma to realize that she has a home and a family who care about her and also to yet again hurt Regina. Everything Regina has worked so hard for in this entire season seems to be about to be unraveled. And at the very end we were shown that The Snow Queen is in town, a revelation I am slightly worried about but more on that later. I loved this finale because it was fun to watch and did a great job at giving us some throw back moments to season one while also allowing one of our major characters to really grow.

 
I knew that time travel would have to make an appearance in this episode in some manner. They couldn’t introduce the idea, get so close to it happening and then not use it in any manner. I was worried that we were going to spend the episode trying to close the portal and end up traveling through time as our cliff hanger. An entire season trying to fix time mistakes would have gotten extremely complicated and convoluted. You can only mess with so much until you have a tangled mess that has nowhere to go. I like the way they used the concept in this finale though. We used it to allow Emma to learn something that she has been refusing to understand for so long. Emma finally saw for herself that Storybrooke has everything she ever wanted. Storybrooke is her home and that is what matters in the end.

 
The episode began with a glimpse into the past. Teenage Emma watches as one of the members of her group home goes off to live with her new family. Yet again Emma is left alone and feeling broken hearted. She hates being the one who is left behind. She is told she will get a home soon, but that never becomes true. Emma never finds that home and because of that she stops believing that home is a concept she can ever truly have for herself.

 
All Emma ever wanted was a home and a loving family, which is why she has been driving me crazy for this last half of the season. Standing right in front of her is everything she has ever wanted in life; a family, a home, and somewhere where she can feel wanted and loved. Yet she refuses to see what is staring her directly in the face.

Everyone gangs up on Emma when they find out her plans to return to New York. She runs off, frustrated because no one understands why she wants to leave so badly. Henry gives Hook the storybook hoping that it will help his mother remember what she has here in this town. The book literally holds all the stories that have led to her life as it is now.

 

When Hook confronted Emma he asked her a very simple, yet specific question. “What are you looking for?” With one question Hook sums up this whole half of the season. What does Emma want? Why does she continuously run? What is she scared of? What is it that will make her feel complete and happy?

 

This whole season I have been asking myself that same question about Emma. What does she truly want? Emma opens the book and says that she doesn’t feel like she is apart of this world. She says this is a book full of fairytales, princes and princesses, concepts that don’t include her and never have included her. Emma reacts like many of us would if we were told that our family are fairytales characters; we wouldn’t believe it and would have trouble reconciling the idea. To us, this is an impossible life, one we can never truly hope to live. For Emma the idea of having this family is the impossible idea, no matter who they are or where they have come from.

 

Emma has never truly been apart of anything. She has always felt like an outsider, never a main character. Now she is scared to be put into that position, scared to be put into the spotlight. Emma is scared to take what is being presented to her because she doesn’t understand it in any manner.

 

I firmly believe Emma has been terrified of giving into this new life because of how easily she could lose all of it. She has this comfort zone, the outskirts or supporting character. She keeps people at arms length all the time. It took her a very long time to let Henry in and now she is expected to let the rest of these people in as well. Opening up her heart to these people could get her hurt; see Regina as an example. But then she thinks she sees Snow die and she realizes what she has had all this time.

 

I love that she defines home by a statement Neal once said to her, “Home is the place when you leave you just miss it.” All these years she has been defining home from someone who was an intricate part of this world she is trying to run away from. She can’t escape this life, no matter how hard she tries. She is using a fairytale characters definition of home to define her happiness, slightly ironic because of how much she tries to not be part of the fairytale world. She is meant to be a part of this world and always has been.

 

The time travel aspect of this episode was used to show Emma that Storybrooke is where she belongs. She has always been apart of these stories. This is her life if she is willing to let it be her life. Emma gets to see her parents go through trials and tribulations to end up together. She sees how real they are finally.

After her heart breaks because she believes that Snow dies she finally sees what she has, a family. She has parents who love her and it takes this whole process of almost losing everything to realize what life has put in front of her. As always you don’t realize what you have until you lose it. Thankfully Emma didn’t have to permanently lose her mother to learn this lesson. Emma returns to Storybrooke able to open her heart to her parents and in the end hopefully opening up her life to real and true love.

 

Once-Upon-a-Time-season-3-episode-21-robin-reginaUnfortunately for Regina we see that putting her heart on the line does not end well for her. As soon as Emma released the unnamed prisoner I knew she Marian. The conversation in the beginning of the episode between Robin Hood and Regina foreshadowed this twist. We see him talking about losing his wife and coming to terms with it and now that wife is back. I waited anxiously for the reveal and it really did break my heart.

 

Regina is one of my favorite characters because of who well she is written. I love watching a character fall to their lowest point and then watch as they claw their way back to the top and to happiness. No one is completely unredeemable and Regina portrays that idea so well. Nothing is more fulfilling then to watch someone we believe to the ultimate “villain,” become a “hero.”

 

Regina has had to work so hard to get to this point in her life. She had to not only forgive Snow and walk away from her plans of revenge but she also had to accept Snow has a friend as well as many of the other residents of this town. Regina stopped living for destruction and began to live for love first through Henry and then with Robin Hood.

 

She literally handed her heart to Robin Hood for safe keeping. She finally completely opened herself up to love and happiness. Watching her walk down the street with Robin and his son was heart warming. And then they completely snatched everything away from her. Clearly Robin still loves his wife. Once again Regina is going to be displaced.

 

This whole thing has the theme of history repeating itself running through it. Like mother like daughter; Emma accidentally destroys Regina’s chance at true love. And we see that Regina is not at all happy with Emma and her actions.

 

I sincerely hope that Regina’s character doesn’t backslide into the hate/revenge filled woman from the early seasons. She has come so far it would be horrible to watch her fall right back to the bottom again. We’ve done that story with her many times before. Hopefully they find a way to make this just a small setback in Regina’s growth story. Maybe they can have some way of not having Marian being able to stay in this time because of some time travel rules.

And ideas is to have Marian fade away and having Robin have to lose her all over again. This would not only build up Robin’s character but could put Regina’s character into a new light. Regina has to stand back and be a friend to Robin, be there to talk to but not be his lover. As he loses his wife again she has to, selflessly, comfort and help him. This would build Regina up even more. Having her revert to her old ways would be disappointing to watch.

Regina tells Emma she better, “Hope to hell you didn’t bring anything else back,” and we see very quickly that Regina wasn’t off with her suspicions. In the last moments of this episode we see the Snow Queen make her first appearance.

 

Now while watching this last moment me and my brother both screamed, “Elsa,” when she appeared on screen. “Frozen” is one of my favorite Disney movies. It was a refreshing take on the princess story line that Disney has done so many times. That being said I sincerely hope they don’t end up trying to just retell the movie storyline next season. Though I was a little worried about the OZ storyline and that was done very well. If they keep up the way they tell these stories we should be okay.

 

onceuponatime_elsa_frozenI have the full works of Hans Christian Anderson and I read “The Snow Queen,” after I saw “Frozen.” The original Snow Queen isn’t a friendly woman, she is cold and evil. She isn’t Elsa. That leaves the writers with two choices when it comes to this storyline. They can use the original story and make the queen the new villain. She can be cold and pure evil, which would not be a bad thing. We’ve had our true villains, Zelena and Pan, who we were able to hate and not want to see redeemed or win in any way. But both had past stories that made them the way they were. Stories that still had moments when we felt bad for them. We haven’t had a purely evil character yet. Someone who is just evil to be evil.

 

Or they can go alone the lines of the “Frozen,” move and have the Snow Queen become a strong woman. She can start off as evil and slowly change, (much like Regina). We can watch her become more of an Elsa type character. A possible idea is to have her be enslaved to her power, (through curse or some other power) and she has to break free. She is trapped by not knowing how to control or use her power, making her angry at the world. In “Frozen,” Elsa hid away from the world but in the show maybe she can fight for her freedom. That would be interesting to watch someone enslaved to something outside of themselves and have to use the people around her to help her fight and win her life back. Then she can become a new main character as well.

 

I loved this finale. We got a taste of time travel that was full of suspense and “Dammit Emma,” moments while not spinning out of control. We watched as Emma finally grew up and accepted her home and family. Regina has taken another blow but she is a resilient woman and I believe she will bounce back stronger then before. And in the final scenes we are given a new character that can have a lot of potential to give us a new and exciting season.

 

Quotes:
“Maybe things work out when they’re supposed to. Maybe it’s about timing,”- Robin Hood- Interesting phrasing considering what happens later. How does this idea apply when time is messed with? Can Marian stay in this time without consequences?

“Not Regina, the evil queen”- Hook – I love that Hook makes this distinction. Regina and the evil queen are no longer the same person. Hopefully Regina realizes this as well.

“What’s your story Neal?”- Emma

“Interesting choice of words”- Neal- Emma’s life has always been about these stories even if she never saw this connection before.

“Only one who saves me, is me”- Emma- Emma is strong and has to find her own way to her home. She had to see with her own eyes where she truly belongs. People can only talk at her so much.

“All actions have consequences”- Regina- Unfortunately this is a concept that Regina understands way too well.

“I’ve not spent my life losing you. I’ve spent my life finding you”- Belle How true will that be when she finds out what Rumble has done and how he has lied to her? She is going to be broken hearted but can she still trust Rumple?

 

Questions:
Who will this Snow Queen be?

Elsa?

Trouble?

Strongly independent?
Will she have a connection to anyone else?
Why was she trapped by Rumple?
What is next for Regina?
Will she begin to hate Emma again?
Will she become depressed?
Revenge filled?
Will she hold onto Robin has a friend?
Can Regina walk away if she has to?

Can Marian stay in this time?
Will it create a paradoxe?

What will happen when Belle learns about Rumple lying?
Can she forgive him?
Will she walk away for good?
Are there any other consequences form the time travel trip?

“Feed” By M. T. Anderson- Review- (Spoilers)

51wto7fyuolI picked up this book for really one reason. I am always intrigued by stories set in futuristic worlds where machines and computers rule our lives. I am interested because it hits close to home in this day and age or because I like to see people fight this system. I love to see people defy an oppressive world, and even if they don’t always win I like to see them fight with everything that they have. I love dystopian type novels where people consciously fight against a system that they know isn’t right.

This story had that element of someone fighting the systems but is was more a tragic love story and a coming of age story. There is no big fight that changes the way the world works for everyone. The only real change we see is in our main character Titus. Whether he takes action after the novel ends we will never know. But a fire is ignited inside of this young man and that is what is most important. By the end this lost teenager is ready to move forward, he has a reason and drive to begin to fight.

Titus is a teenager living in a world where almost everyone has a “feed,” directly put into their head. Computers are with you at all times. In this world you can chat someone by just thinking about them. TV runs inside your head.The feeds are integrated into every aspect of your body, which is where the major conflict comes from for this story. Take your current Smartphone and have it implanted directly into your brain and you have what the feed is like.

Titus comes from a wealthy family. He has had a feed ever since he could remember. On a vacation on the moon he meets Violet. Violet is the opposite of Titus. She is poor, she has none of the privileges that Titus has come to see as routine. Her mother left her family and her father is very anti-corporation and a tad bit detached from reality (or it would seem). Violet got her feed late in life, because her parents were told she would have to have it to live in this world. A hacker breaks down their feeds for a time and leaves them vulnerable. Violet’s feed is damaged permanently. Over the course of the novel we watch as Violet deteriorates. The feed breaking is like cancer, it slowly destroys her body, leaving her helpless.

Titus is our main character and our narrator. We watch as he not only tries to deal with Violet essentially dying but we also struggle with him coming to terms with the failures of the world he lives in and trusts. Up until his trip to the moon and meeting Violet he lived a perfectly simple life. His parents paid for everything and his feed kept him connected to the world, very simple and safe. He didn’t have to do much of anything for himself.

Then he falls for Violet and she changes how he sees the world. First she shows him how to defy the feed. Violet constantly shops around, shows interested in items but never actually buys anything. She tries to keep the feed from getting a real hold on her. She doesn’t want them to be able to control her. She doesn’t want them to determine what she wants, how she acts and what she knows.

Titus finds it amusing at first but once Violet’s feed starts shutting down and her body starts breaking, it is no longer a joke. Because of this act of defiance no one will help Violet get the help she needs. Violet petitions for free repairs but is denied because the corporations (that run everything), can’t get a handle on her. She isn’t seen as a “reliable investment” (Anderson, 247). This is a turning point for Titus. He sees just how out of control his world is. Because a corporation can’t get sales from you, you don’t deserve to live (essentially).

Titus cuts off contact with Violet after they have a major fight about what they mean to each other and what is happening to Violet. Titus feels Violet is getting too serious. He tells her, “I didn’t sign up to go out with you forever when you’re dead,” (Anderson, 274). Titus is a kid, who wants to stays locked in his ignorant bubble. Violet’s life is ending and the last thing she wants to do is pretend everything is perfect. Titus can’t handle that mentality. He can’t handle knowing that the world is at war, that they are all losing their skin and are being destroyed by corporations That is a lot for a teenager to handle.

I loved how this all dealt with everything in such a real and believable manner. A teenager, especially a privileged one, isn’t going to change their out-look on life so easily. Teenagers are stubborn and the last thing they want is to be told how big and scary the world truly is. Reality about life is the last thing they want to deal with. In a world where you can escape into the feed it makes sense for Titus to hide and run away from Violet and her problems.

He ignores her because he doesn’t know what to do or say. She is right, he knows this but he doesn’t want to know it. He doesn’t want his life to be upturned and confusing. He wants to be able to move forward without having to question every move he makes. Violet makes him wonder what is real, what he doesn’t know about the world and if the feed is something that should be feared. Violet is dying because of a very broken system and he doesn’t know what to do or where to turn.

It ends with him realizing the truth about this corrupt system. He cries as he tells her their story. A story about an ignorant man meeting a woman who shows him the truth and the man realizing that he has to fight the feed. The last words are from an advertisement that says, “Everything must go.” For Titus this means moving away from this reliance on the feed and to stop letting it rule his life. He couldn’t save Violet but you get a feeling that he is determined not to let this ever happen to anyone else. His friends are falling apart before his eyes and now he has the fire inside of him to fight for them. He watched the feed destroy this girl he might have loved and he that motivated him to fight this system.

Once Upon a Time- S3 E15- Quiet Minds Review (Spoilers)

This episode answered a handful of questions and had us say goodbye to a character I am really going to miss. I had high hopes for Neal and I am disappointed that we aren’t going to see him and Emma come together to create a true family. Judging by the actors twitter and comments Neal’s death is permanent. This will create a possibility for a story line between Emma and Hook and some new growth for Emma.

This episode brought about a few questions that plagued me beyond what will Emma do now? Three questions really held on to my mind. One was why is Emma so unsure of bringing back Henry’s memories? She seems scared and reluctant and I am unsure of why. Second is now that Regina knows Robin Hood is supposed to be her true love how will that affect her as a person? And further does knowing you are supposed to fall in love with someone change how you respond and reveal that love? Is that love still pure and will it always exist? And lastly what does Zelena want with Snow’s baby? What did Rumple mean “she wants what she never had?” A family? Someone to love her?

My first question came after Emma told Neal how she was unsure if Henry should be given back his memories. Her justification is that in New York he was happy, he had friends and a normal life without all the craziness of Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest. She doesn’t want to take that away from Henry and replace it with the painful memories he used to have. I understand her thought process here, she is his mother and the last thing a mother wants is to put her son in danger or cause him any pain. What she feels is understandable and what a mother should feel.

That being said, Emma is denying Henry all the good that comes with those memories. Without the pain and sorrow the triumphs and good moments don’t mean much, if anything. Henry believes he has led a normal life now, without the memories and struggles he is a very different person. I’ve stated this idea before.

What Emma has to realize is that Henry was not meant to be a normal child, living in our mortal world. He isn’t meant to go to school and take part in after school activities, then go to college and get a good job, raise a family and die peacefully with his family by his side. This isn’t his path. He is the product of people defined by magic and wonderment. Emma could have ended up with a million people and created Henry. Instead she ended up with Neal, someone else form the magical world. That is destiny. By denying him this true memories and true life, she is denying him the chance to be who is meant to be. Henry is truly extraordinary kid and he deserves to live out life that way.

Also without his memories Henry will never be able to truly honor his father’s memory. Emma has to tell Henry Neal was a hero and a great man. Henry already knew that and suffering through Neal’s death should spark a fire in him to live his life the same way. He should be determined to live up to Neal as a role model; to protect those he loves, forgive them for their mistakes and strive for a life full of family and love. Without his memories Henry gets none of this, he gets no push and no way for him to truly grow.

The second question that struck me in this episode was now that Regina know who Robin Hood is supposed to be how will she react? We saw she got scared and had to leave right away. They were getting along well, flirting almost. Robin Hood didn’t automatically accuse Regina of being evil. He saw past her image in both this world and the Enchanted Forest.

I knew that Regina was going to be scared of all of this at first. Having someone to love her, truly with all his heart is more than she knows what to do with. She doesn’t know what that means for herself and what she is supposed to do in return. She is just beginning to move past her past of hate and revenge. Now she sees a new path in front of her and she is scared to lay her foot on that ground. It is understandable.

I loved how she watch Robin Hod with his son at the end. She saw potential there. She saw that she could have a true family, someone to love her. Now it will be interesting to see how she moves forward.

My true question thought is, if you know the person standing in front of you is going to be your true love, does that change that love? Do you open up easier? Or do you change to make them like you more? Does it make the process easier or a hundred times harder? For me I think it would be more difficult with all that pressure. I know that this is my only shot, and I could screw it up horribly. Then what will I do?

Also does that knowledge change the type of love that it is? Is it completely genuine then? Or more a product of something? Is it a hundred percent going to happen? Or can your attitude and behavior completely change the outcome? I don’t know if the show will explore any of this but it is interesting to consider.

The last question was what does Zelena want with Snow’s child? She is dead set on being part of the birth. She obviously has some ulterior motive. Rumple says, “She wants what she never had.” What does that mean exactly?

We know Zelena was an outcast, shunned by her mother and obviously by everyone else in her life as well. So does she want a child to love and respect her? Like Regina wanted? I think that is too simple, there has to be more to it then that.

She told Regina she wants to destroy her so how does Snow’s kid come into that idea? What connection do they have? She hasn’t gone after Henry so what is the ultimate plan here? I have very little ideas but I do know that whatever she is planning is not only going to destroy Regina but everyone connected to her as well.

Quotes:
“A good man trying to get out”- Neal – He is talking about Rumple here. Neal died knowing he had his father’s love and knowing that good still wins.

“Something better than magic, books.” – Belle- As a book love I just adore this quote. So true!


“ I am in your way”- Hook- There was a very touching moment between him and Neal. He was sweet, Hook remembering Neal as a child that he loved and protected. I liked this moment of brotherly love between the two of them. I had an issue at first determining if it was genuine but I now I think it was. It was a sweet way for them to ultimately say goodbye.

“I almost married an evil minion of my grandfather, Peter Pan”- Neal- Just funny.

Questions:
How much control does Zelena have over Rumple?

She has his brain but what about his heart?

Some OZ connection there?

What will Regina do now that she knows about Robin Hood?

How will it change her?

Will their love prevail as it should?

Is this her chance at a true family?

What will happen with Hook and Emma now?

Will Henry get his memories back?

Will it change him?

What is Zelena’s ultimate plan?

A family?

Revenge?

How does it all connect to Regina?

Left Behind

My eyes snapped open and my heart went into overdrive. The surface below me wasn’t smooth. I scraped at the harsh rigid fabric, there were no sheets to bunch up into my fists. On top of me wasn’t my comforter but my warm and heavy fleece blanket. I didn’t move, didn’t blink and barely drew in breath. This couldn’t be happening.

I had fallen asleep in my bed last night. I was positive of that. I remembered pulling the comforter over my shoulders and curling up on my side into my usual ball. The last thing I had seen was the shadows of the trees dancing across my closed bedroom door. The branches curled into skeletal fists, rapping to get out of my room and into the rest of the apartment. It had all been there before my exhausted brain had finally turned off and shut down.

Now I opened my eyes to a stark white ceiling, only a sliver of the morning sun cutting across the surface. I could see the edge of the television from the lower edge of my vision. A black speck marring the surface of what should be a tranquil new morning. How did I end up in the living room?

I slowly sat up and placed my blanket to the side. With shaking legs, I stood and carefully made my way to the bathroom. One foot slid in front of the other, coming to rest, heel touching toes. I wanted to get to the mirror but it was also the last thing  on this Earth that I wanted to do.

I turned the corner of the hall and saw the open bathroom door, a door I knew I had closed last night. My feet stopped moving and I just stood there, completely still and staring dead ahead of me. This was the moment when I should walk in that room, turn on the light and know if I had destroyed everything or not.

Ten minutes later and I was still standing and staring. My feet were glued to the carpet. My brain was screaming at me to run and my heart was barely beating. I felt sick, my stomach wanted to throw up and release all of the anxiety and fear building up inside of me. My brain wanted me to just sit down and cry and deal with the world falling apart. None of that would matter though unless I knew, knew if I had done it or not.

Finally I couldn’t let my racing emotions hold me any longer. I had to know. No matter what better judgement said, I had to see. Even if I didn’t look that wouldn’t change anything. If I had touched it, I had touched it. There was no turning back time, no undoing whatever I had done.

When I restarted moving, I was in fast forward. I nearly jogged to the doorway. I stepped in front of the mirror, flicked on the light and let out all the breath I had been holding. They were still there. Those small round marks, with the waving lines stared back at me, they were still there. I hadn’t taken them away, I hadn’t erased him.

My legs felt like jelly, I had to sit down. Gripping the edge of the sink I lowered myself onto the toilet seat and let my body release all the tension from the last half hour.

I cried until I had no tears left and my stomach was queasy. It felt so good to let all of that go. It had been months since his eyes had closed for the last time. Months since I had heard his laugh ringing from the living room. Months since his hands had wrapped around my stomach and held me close. Months since cruel fate had stolen the only person in this world who knew and understood me.

I never had to voice my fears or worries to him, he could always just read them on my face. Without asking he knew what I needed and was there to give it to me. Whether it was a hug, kiss, flowers or a joke he always had exactly what I needed. It was wrong, we knew that. We knew that what we were doing was wrong, but we didn’t care.

We tried to hide it. We tried to be like every other couple, satisfied but not happy. We really did try to pretend. I am just not much of an actress. He was alway better then me, always able to hold a stoic stance and tight lipped grimace when we were out together. I alway resented his skill a little bit. I knew it wasn’t personal but a small side of me had issues believing that some days. He loved me, he adored me, and he couldn’t live without me. He just couldn’t show the world that he loved me.

Love isn’t alive anymore. I don’t remember when or how but someone destroyed it for the rest of us. Someone pissed off the higher-ups and they outlawed love. They said it created inequality. If people were only able to fight for a handful of others, that left too many people without any help. They said it left the world crumbling and would eventually lead to the end of civilization as we knew it. If the human race was to survive we all had to fight for everyone else, you couldn’t be attached to only one person. They said this was the best way, groups working together could accomplish so much more.

Children were raised by a “family group.” Elders were moved to different quads and cohorts, where a group also took care of them. Each stage of life moved you into different areas, different cohorts. In each one you lived with others your age and at your stage of life. You worked with them and survived with them. You didn’t attach yourself to them, no one was friends, and no one cared about one person more than any another. At least not in public.

Marriage was to create children and to keep a shelter up and running. You were assigned your partner at age 22 and you dealt with them until old age. You were not friends, lovers or even companions. It was a business contract, nothing more.

Love can’t be eliminated though. It isn’t a disease or a passing fad. Fate will step in and partners will fall for each other. It was inevitable that eventually a pair would actually fall for each other. You can hide some things but a heart full of true love can’t be shut off.

I was ten at the first “divorce.” Groups were gathered together of all ages. Everyone got to see what breaking the rules would mean. It took place in the dead center of the city. A pair was brought up on a stage and ripped from each other’s arms. She wouldn’t let him go at first and he begged for another chance. The guards, dressed completely in blinding white, dragged them to the opposite end of the stage.

Still sobbing and breaking they stood the two before us and made us choose which one would be left behind, the woman or the man? Which one would get to suffer on Earth and which one would suffer in Hell? (Because that was what we were led to believe, lovers ended up in Hell). We choose the woman. The guards not saying a word, had shot the man, pushed the body aside and dismissed us.

As a child I hadn’t understood. They had broke the rules and were punished, to me that was logical. I remember asking a member of one of the other cohorts, “Why didn’t they just follow the rules?” To me rules were simple and plainly laid out, why break them?

“Because sometimes rules can’t be followed. You don’t always get a choice,” she had answered me with a hard and bitter edge to her voice.

Two years ago she was the one the crowd had chosen. I had watched, understanding finally what she had meant. You can say no all you want but that word doesn’t mean much to the heart. Laws aren’t meant to govern the soul.

At home we were supposedly safe. No one cared what happened behind our four walls. This was considered our shelter, our one spot where we were given an illusion of privacy. They didn’t have cameras or anything spying on us, but we did have windows on all walls. The world was never completely gone.

In public was where they cared. It was where others could watch your every move and gain ideas that worried them. At home it was only yourselves you hurt, out in the world you could destroy the whole group. If you slipped up outside, you could and would lose everything.

There had been no trial. We had woken up to our door being busted open and shouts sounding from the hallway. We didn’t ask what was wrong. We didn’t attempt to play dumb. We knew. The day before I had smiled at him and him at me. It had been an accident, one I had prayed no one had noticed. That prayer went unanswered.

I didn’t cry on stage. He didn’t beg them to choose him or to let us go. We shut down everything. There was no whispered declarations of love or promises to be together forever. We let them separate us without a word or ounce of emotion. The crowd choose him and I had watched the life leave his eyes with a steady heart and my own eyes dry.

At the end we finally did it. We finally shut everything off, at that last moment we refused to let them win. They could kill us, and damn our souls but they couldn’t destroy what we shared. We didn’t need to cry it from the mountains or whisper it to each other. We knew it and that was all that mattered.

I was empty for about a month. For month I pretended to not care like the rest of the world. I didn’t cry or get angry. I lived one day to the next. There is only a finite amount of time you can do that for though. You can only pretend for so long before reality rears its ugly head.

I woke up one morning and saw everywhere he had ever been. I knew where each of his feet had fallen and each surface his hands had touched. I lived in an obstacle course. If I touched those spots, if I erased him, he would be completely gone.

For weeks I tried to avoid every memory of his. I didn’t wipe down counters, sweep the floor or move any pillows. If I left it all the same he wouldn’t truly be gone.

You can’t live like that forever. Life has to move on. You can fight and build a new life or you can give up and let it all destroy you. He would kill me if I let them win. I had to fight but that meant I had to let him go, slowly but surely. Gradually I began pushing each piece of him away. I walked in his shoe impressions on the carpet, sat in his sagged place on the sofa. Slowly I consumed each piece of him.

All that was left were a few fingerprints on the mirror. The fingerprints I had stared at so intently a moment ago. They were all that was left of him. Life had destroyed every other piece. Those marks were my only memory of him now. I didn’t know what would happen if I swept those prints away.

Would I completely forget him? I had heard stories, once all traces were gone of that person it was like they never existed. You got a new partner and life moved on. Was it possible? Did they actually do that? Would it matter? What did I want? What did I deserve?

If I let the world back in it could happen again. What if I fell for my next partner? Would I be betraying him? Could I stand to live life in hiding again? Was there something wrong with me? Was I doomed to live life in constant fear and always looking over my shoulder? Did I care?

I stood up, got back in front of the mirror, splayed my hands on the sink and concentrated on each and every line. I stared so hard, trying to fully and completely commit each wavy line to memory. Last night I had left my bed, roamed around and did who knows what. Was my subconscious trying to tell me something? Should I just let it go?

I slowly raised my my hand and pressed it to the glass right beside his print. I held it there for a moment before pulling away, leaving my own impression behind. I looked at the two hands, so different. Yet the same.

I turned off the light, locked the door, shut it completely and went to begin my day.

I’ll Try

He spun in the mirror, twisting his head around trying to get a good look at his entire outfit. The blouse slipped over his arms blossoming out just right, hugging them and making them seem slimmer. They no longer looked simply muscular and masculine, more delicate and soft. Arms that were for comforting and not fighting.

The end of the skirt rested just above his ankles, it fluffed out as he spun catching the air and making him grin. He wanted to just continue to spin and spin letting the hem lift him in the air, sky blue wings for him to fly up above this complicated and difficult world.

He stared straight into the mirror trying to ignore the face that looked back at him, that masculine face full of hard angles and tight edges. He concentrated on his body instead, in the charcoal grey blouse and sky blue flowing skirt. His hard abbs and roughs edges were hidden, made softer, more gentle by these light airy clothes. His legs weren’t hair stalks out to stomp on the world, they were long and slender, perfect for gently walking above and beyond the world around him.

The front door clicked shut and he felt his heart drop out of his chest and into his feet. He quickly fumbled with the buttons on the blouse, the little pieces of plastic refusing to easily slip away from their fabric homes. Swearing he got the last one out and tore the soft sheer fabric from his chest.

He pulled the zipper down the side of the skirt and let the jean material pool at his feet. He folded it neatly as he could and shoved it back into the dresser. The blouse had just been thrown back into the closet, the door not quiet shutting when she came into the room.

He stood in his underwear, heart racing. He stared like a child caught in the act of stealing a cooking, at his fiancé, Samantha. She gave him a quizzical look and shrugged, clearly not going to ask. He knew he should pull out a pair of paints and a T-shirt but he was too scared to move. Did she know?

 

Samantha stood staring at Jack who was standing in his tight white underwear just staring at her.

She wasn’t going to ask but she ultimately couldn’t help it. “You alright?” His eyes were wide, a look of nervous terror shone out. He stood so still, like he was a criminal unsure if he had been caught red handed or just at a suspicious moment.

“Fine,” he said. His voice was normal not a squeak or a wobble to be heard.

“Did I catch you at an awkward moment? Do you have some pretty girl on the computer waiting for you?” She laughed.She tried to sound casual, but she felt a tinge of worry. He couldn’t be cheating on her could he? Something was wrong, she just needed to fish out what.

“Haha very funny,” he said finally moving, the awkward frozen moment breaking. He turned to his own dresser and pulled out a plain white T-shirt and a roughly worn pair of jeans. “ I was just changing from work and you scared me. Being caught basically naked by a robber would have been a little unsettling.” He said with half a smile as he pulled on his jeans.

“Or perfect timing, might end up saving your life. He would take one look at you in your tighty whiteys and bolt. Crisis averted,” she said chuckling, walking over to her own dresser.

“They aren’t that bad,” he said, pulling his shirt over his head.

“Sure they aren’t,” she replied, still grinning. Why was his banter so strained? Generally their verbal spats were easy and fun. Now it felt forced and like a play neither of them had read or understood. She watched him from the corner of her eye, it took him two tries to fasten the button on his jeans and his shirt was on backward. He quickly right himself and headed out of the room. She wanted to follow him and tell him to cut the crap and tell her what the hell was wrong. She stopped herself. Whatever it was he would tell her soon enough, he always did in the end.

 

Jack went out onto the porch and leaned on the railing, taking deep gulps of the sweet summer air. The wind danced over his face and gently lifted a few strands of his auburn hair out of his eyes. Out here he felt calmer, less jumpy, less shameful.

That had been a close call. Samantha wasn’t supposed to be home so early, he knew her schedule and routines to the exact second. He knew she always stopped for a diet pop at the same McDonalds on her way home. He knew she always hit every red light on Main Street, never being able to get out of work a minute earlier to avoid them. He knew it all, knew exactly how long he had to the minute Exactly  how long he had to live that sweet daydream, one he desired above any other but one he was too terrified to voice out loud. Always hiding in the closet, playing behind closed doors where no one could see or judge him.

It had always been an interest of his, what women’s clothes felt like. They just looked so soft and comfortable, enveloping women, allowing them to dance past him. The fluidity of dresses and skirts had always intrigued him. When he was young he had liked stealing his mothers clothes and playing dress up, though her clothes were always too big not allowing him to get the full effect. No one thought twice, he was just a child playing and exploring, nothing more.  As he grew older and the idea got more taboo, he found himself sneaking quick try-on’s of his friends clothes, generally in theater, where it didn’t seem so out of place. Everyone wore strange clothes and played strange roles in there, it was expected and accepted. He loved all the pieces; blouses, skirts and dresses. He loved everything expect heels, those were just painful and pointless he thought.

He had at first thought it was an innocent interest, one that would fade as the clothes become more familiar and ultimately boring. But the more he tried them on, the more he loved it, the more comfortable and at home he felt in his own skin. More and more often he stared at himself in the mirror and wondered what it would feel like to be an actual woman. Not just wear the clothes but to live that life.

He hated his bulging arms and rough hairy face. He couldn’t stand the fur that coated his legs and chest. He wanted soft and smooth skin, skin like Samantha’s. He wanted long hair that laid down his back and got twisted and blown around in the breeze. He didn’t want to have to live like a cliche male, being excessively masculine to avoid any questions or concerns. He waned to be emotional without being called names, to not worry about if he cried in public or got choked up at a movie. He wanted that body, that maternal feel for the world, that softer, gentler side he associated with women. As days and days went by he found himself daydreaming about what being a woman would be like.

Those daydreams felt so good, so right. He felt so happy and comfortable in that imaginary body. Felt at home with that gentle face and the softer lines and edges. He felt like he could say what he felt, be who he wanted to be. Months ago he had started researching Gender Identity Disorder, trying to understand this feeling that had always plagued him. This feeling of just not being in the right body, this lack of happiness and comfort that he felt every time he looked at himself in the mirror as he got dressed. An image that clothes alone couldn’t change, they helped but didn’t fix it. He needed all of it, every piece.

After much consideration, tears and near break downs he knew what he truly wanted. He finally had said it out loud the other day, the words he had been suppressing for ages now. “I want to be a woman.” Now he just had to decide how to tell his fiancé.

 

Samantha finished getting dressed and was about to go out and find Jack when she backtracked to her closet. It was opened a few inches and she could see something stuck in the side of it. She carefully opened the door the rest of the way to find her favorite dark grey blouse hanging halfway off the hanger, about to fall into a heap on the floor.

She pulled it up on the hanger and carefully shut the closet once again. As she went back to the doorway she racked her brain, trying to remember the last time she had worn that shirt. It had been months. The weather had just turned warm again and they had had no fancy places to go that would have been appropriate for that outfit.  So why was it haphazardly hanging like that?

She shrugged figuring that it must have been a result of her harried morning. She must have knocked it around as she had tried to beat the clock this morning. She headed into the kitchen to look for Jack but he wasn’t there. She instead headed out onto the front porch and found him leaning on the railing, staring out at the neighborhood. His shoulders were bunched, head bent, she knew if she could see his face his eyes would be open but not seeing anything.

She carefully came up to his side but didn’t say a word. This had been a normal stance of his lately, just standing lost in thought. They could have been taking a walk, at the store or just getting ready in the morning and he would just go silent and watch the world around him. He never said anything or gave a hint about these moments of silence, what they meant or what caused them. He just stared in silence for a moment then began moving again, like he was a video chat that periodically lagged.

She wanted more than anything to ask him what the problem was. Because there had to be a problem, you didn’t detach yourself form the world and the one you loved for no reason. But she was scared, scared that the problem was her. Was he tired of her? Did he want to go on a break or worse to never see her again? She couldn’t face that, if he was going to end it she wanted to prolong it as long as possible. That knife wound was one she would dodge as long as she was humanely able. Everyday he got farther away and everyday she got more and more scared.

“Thinking hard? Or has the brain finally turned off?” She tried to joke. She knew it didn’t sound playful, more painful.

He jumped, clearly he hadn’t noticed her coming up to him. He turned to look at her, the look he gave her was full of fright yet set with an odd determination. As if in that moment he had made a decision, one he had been fighting for ages. His hands were taut and tight on the railing, as if he was holding onto the last stable thing in the world. He didn’t want to do this, but he going to. She felt her breath catch in her chest.

“Thinking,” he said softly. She almost started crying, she wanted to beg him not to do this. They could fix whatever was wrong, together. The last thing they needed was to be apart.

“About?” she asked, not even trying to hide the shake in her voice.

“I have something I have to tell you. To talk to you about,” he said. He released the rail and held out a hand for hers. She took it and about lost it completely, his grip was firm and strong.

“Okay,” she would not break down, not yet.

They sat on the swing and he turned sitting sideways so he could look directly in her eye. He took a deep breath and she almost leapt to her feet and ran off but she forced herself to remain seated. She was not going to be able to handle this but she had to try.

 

Jack watched Samantha breaking in front of him. Her voice was shaking as bad as  her hands, she was a fragile piece of glass on the brink of shattering. He knew what she was thinking, that he was about to break off the engagement. Tell her he loved her but not enough to marry her. Say that he didn’t want the ring back just a sound end to everything. He knew she wanted to beg him not to do it. God how he wished it was something so simple and straight forward.

“Samantha I love you more than I can ever state. I will always love you. Always hold you in the best place of my heart. I will always hold your happiness above my own. I want to live everyday by your side,” he professed.

“Okay,” she said, tears streaming down her cheeks. “What’s the but?” she asked with a tear choked voice. He shouldn’t have been surprised by that question. She wasn’t dumb, she knew he wouldn’t be saying this, in this way, without having a damned good reason.

“I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m not the same man you met five years ago. I’ve changed as we all do but I’ve also lost a part of me. I though at first it was just how fast the world had changed around me. I ran around trying to fit everything back into place. But there is one piece that no matter how I turn it, shape it or rearrange it, it will not fit into the puzzle,’ he explained.

“Me?” she barely got the question out of her tightened throat.

He felt a tear fall down his cheek, that was the last thing he wanted her to think. “No, no, no,” he said over and over. “You are not even close. You are the piece that began connecting everything in the first place. It is me, I won’t fit or more specifically my outward appearance won’t fit,” he tried. He didn’t know how to say this.

“What?” she wasn’t crying anymore, just looking lost and confused.

He knew he could try to dress it up and spin it so many different ways but that would only delay the inevitable.

“I’m not supposed to be a man, I want to become a woman.” It was all he said. He didn’t dive into the reasons, his struggle or his plans. That was too much for right now. The idea had to sink in first.

She dropped his hands and stood up looking shocked and horrified. She opened her mouth twice but no words came out. She just shook her head, as if trying to dispel a dream, held up her hands and walked back inside. A minute later she was back with her keys and was in her car before he could recover and move. She was down the street before he found his voice.

“Sorry,” he whispered, watching her disappear. Now it was his turn to break down.

 

She turned the wheel and headed down the driveway and down the street without a backwards glance. Samantha felt her heartbeat skipping back and forth with all sorts of different rhythms. Her mind raced ahead with so many questions and concerns.

For half a second she thought he had been joking. One look into those eyes and that hesitant terrified yet determined tone of voice told her that it was not anywhere close to a joke.

She couldn’t begin to figure out what to do with the revelation he had thrown at her. She just knew she had to get away. She didn’t want to cry or scream or get angry with him, until she knew what her true emotions were. Was she mad?

No, she wasn’t mad. Well, maybe she was a little bit. Mad that he hadn’t come to her with this dilemma when he first began to wonder about all of it. How long had this been on his mind? Was this always swimming around from the moment they had met? Was he with her because she wasn’t extremely feminine, allowing him to take over that role? Was she some sick experiment? Or was this whole thing some horrible test that he was giving her, the supportive girlfriend test. If it was, she was going to lose all her control and go off on him, because that was just cruel.

Her phone vibrated against her side making her jump. At first she ignored it believing it was Jack trying to get her to come home. After a few more vibrations she got irritated and answered it.

“I can’t talk, I’m still thinking,” she didn’t want to snap but it was extremely difficult to keep the bite out of her voice.

“Think about what honey?” It was her mother.

The rush of relief that came over Sam nearly made her swerve off the road. “Are you home?” she asked her mother, her cold tinged voice was gone and a scared little girl was asking.

“Yeah I just got home. I was calling to see if you wanted to come over for dinner tonight. I’m making chicken parmesan.”

“Yes, yes I do. I need to talk to you,” her voice broke on the last word.

“Honey what happened, are you alright?” her mother sounded scared, worried.

“I don’t know. I’ll explain when I get over,” she answered.

“Alright,” her mother answered. Samantha hung up the phone and drove to her parents house, mind completely blank. She didn’t want to contemplate the whole thing right now, all she wanted was to get to her mother. She would know exactly what to do.

 

Samantha pulled into her parents gravel driveway twenty minutes after she had hung up the phone. The phone was clasped tightly in her hand, it hadn’t made a single noise during the whole drive. Jack hadn’t tired to contact her once.

She walked inside to music softly playing from the kitchen. She entered the kitchen to her mother swaying and humming out of key with the radio while she prepared for dinner.

Samantha sat herself at the counter, gently set her phone in front of her and waited quietly until her mother noticed her arrival.

“Oh hi, didn’t hear you come in,” her mother said smiling and wiping her hands. Her smile vanished quickly though once she caught a look at Samantha’s face. Sam knew she must a look a wreck, her confusion, hurt and anger along with other twisted emotions must be making her look deranged.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” her mother cried as she threw her towel aside. She ran around the peninsula and turned Sam to get a better look at her. “What happened? Did Jack hurt you? Is Jack hurt? Something with your job? Your health? Did your house burn down? Your car? Are the animals alright? Your friends?” her mother rambled on and on. Sam let her go, guessing disaster after disaster, not even coming vaguely close to what had actually transpired. Once she went silent, out of ideas, Sam looked up and directly into her mother’s eyes.

“Jack told me he wants to become a woman,” tone flat and devoid of emotion. She didn’t know exactly what she had expected her mother to say or do.  Maybe get angry or disgusted or hug her tight with tears in her eyes telling her she was so sorry. Any of those would have made sense, the chuckle and release of breathy relief left her just as lost as she had been minutes ago. Laughter and relief, really?

“Huh?” was all Samantha could get out.

“You scared me there for a minute. I thought something dreadful had happened,” she patted her daughter’s cheek and went back to the sink to finish preparing dinner.

“Did you hear me right? My male fiancé just told me he wants to be a female. What am I supposed to do with that?” Sam felt anger creeping up her arms, heating her blood. Why was her mother being so damn flippant about this?

Her mother put the chicken back into the sink and took her daughter’s hand and led her to the kitchen table. She sat across from Samantha and asked, “Did  he rob a bank? Kill someone? Cheat on you? Have a secret love child? Or a family and life you never knew about? Is he part of the mafia? Going to become a hermit and forsake society? Does he plan on making you his slave or prisoner? Is he going to hurt you?” Again with the litany of ridiculous possibilities.

“No,” Samantha spat. She wasn’t even going to begin to tell her mother how dumb all of that sounded.

“Good, then you’ll be alright. You can handle this,” her mother said patting her daughter’s hands. She looked so calm, like this was normal issue. Would she be acting like this if it was happening to her?

“How?” Sam shrieked leaping to her feet. “How do I handle the man I love wanting to change who he is? I’m not a lesbian, I’m attracted to men! What is going to happen when he’s not a guy anymore?” Sam asked, desperation replacing her anger. Her mother was supposed to have all the answers, where was her wisdom now?

“Let’s think this through. First of all he isn’t changing who he is.” Her mother emphasized the last part hard. She gestured for Samantha to sit down, but Sam refused. She wasn’t doing the calm rational thing right now. “He is still Jack no matter how his body looks or what clothes he wears or name he has. Who he is isn’t going to change,” her mother looked up at her daughter. “You of all people should understand that. Aren’t you always saying the outside is just a casing, what is inside is the real treat? His personality won’t change.” Her mother kept trying to catch her gaze but Sam kept avoiding the eye contact. She knew she would see reason there and she didn’t want reason. She wanted outrage and confusion, someone to make her feel like she was reacting like a normal person and not a naive teenager.

“How do you know? What if this process messes with something?” Sam asked. She was desperate for her mother to understand her terror. Desperate for her to tell her she could walk away guiltless from this.

“I doubt it. Things might shift slightly, but he will still make you laugh, still make you feel like a princess. He’ll still strive to help and care for you. He’ll still be hardworking, determined and stubborn. His fighting spirit and strong resolve won’t die. Those attributes might even get stronger once he is comfortable in his skin,” her mother explained.

Sam sighed, sitting down. You would think her mother was a psychiatrist and not a kindergarden teacher.

“Fine, but I won’t be attracted to him anymore. I’m not a lesbian.” Sam threw out again. There was something wrong with this, they just had to agree on exactly what it was.  “What if I don’t feel anything when he hugs or kisses me? What if it becomes like we are best girlfriends and nothing deeper?”

“Then you part ways as a romantic couple. You stay strong friends and look for someone else. But I doubt that will happen. He has your heart,” her mother gave her a sweet smile but is again disappeared at the frustration on Sam’s face. “Honey you have to at least try. You can’t run away from this without at least trying. You’ll hate yourself in the end if you do.”

“Why didn’t he tell me? I thought we had the perfect relationship, no secrets and no miscommunications. Now I find out that was all a lie,” she almost broke into tears again.

“Honey, has he told anyone about this desire?’ her mother asked gently.

“Not that I know of.”

“He probably couldn’t even admit it to himself until recently.  Have you been paying attention, noticing the little things? Anything out of place?”

“I guess,” Sam shrugged as the disheveled closet came back into her head. Now that she thought about it, him being quieter wasn’t the only out of place thing lately. Her makeup was disappearing faster then usual, shoes and skirts ended up in places she swore she didn’t put them. His concentration on women who passed, not in an flirting interested way, just a careful observant way had been increasing. She sat back as she watched the last few months play out, so many signs that he had been struggling, so many she had missed.

“Did you say anything?” her mother asked softly.

“No,” Sam felt her heart sink. The signs were all there, screaming at her out at the top of their lungs. She had known his out of touch attitude was wrong, his interest in her clothes and morning routine was different, a slow increase in the amount of questions about shaving and how she felt inside, deeper than a casual care for her. A curiosity she found odd but had ignored. She had seen things slowly shifting, from way before they even had gotten engaged. She thought the shifts were just natural changes, letting walls down as you got closer to someone. Now she could have kicked herself, he had been screaming for her attention and she had turned away every time.

“Honey talk to him and just try,” her mother was almost begging her. “Don’t walk away without trying.” She clasped her daughters hands tightly.

“Okay,” Sam responded. She was still scared, still somewhat confused but she also felt ashamed of herself. She was supposed to be his protector, his love and caregiver. How could she walk away now, when he needed her the most?

They went silent. Her mother went back to bustling around baking the chicken and cooking pasta. Samantha sat staring at her phone, hoping his face would flash across it just once. It never rang.

After dinner she gave her parents a hug and headed home.

 

Jack was lying on the couch in the darkening living room, staring at the wall when he heard the front door open and shut. He didn’t call out, half of him hoped it was a robber and not Samantha. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

“Hey,” Sam’s voice was quiet as she entered the dim room.

Jack nodded at her, not trusting his voice.

“Dark in here,” she reached over to the standing lamp and switched it on flooding the room with light.

Jack squinted at the sudden burst of light. He didn’t sit up to look at her. He wanted to tell her he understood, that she could leave him without feeling guilty. He would get on with his life without her. Tell her he didn’t blame her for being upset, angry or even disgusted at him. But he couldn’t say those words, no matter how much easier it would make all of this for her. Saying any of that would mean it was all over. He wanted to beg her not to leave him, to tell her he wouldn’t do it, if it meant her staying with him. His love for he reached far beyond his desire to feel happy in his own skin and body.

“I’ll try,” two words that nearly gave him a heart attack.

“What!?’ he cried sitting straight up and throwing his legs off the side of the couch. He looked directly at her, trying to decide if he had heard her right, heart racing like a runner at the finish line.

“I said I’ll try. I have no idea how this works or if we can do this. But I still love you more than I can say, you still have my heart. So I’ll try,” she shrugged. “I hope that is okay.”

“It’s more than okay. It is all I could ask of you,” he said, voice chocked up so much that the words were barely audible. She must have understood though because she came and collapsed into his arms, snuggling close into his side.

He held her as tight as he could. Ten minutes ago he had thought his whole world was going to slip through his fingers, like water from a pitcher unable to ever be caught again. Now he held his world in his arms and she was going to try to help him through this transition.

imagesHe had no idea what was going to happen next. He might not be able to go through with the whole thing, or it might all break into a million little pieces around him. Right now that didn’t matter. All that mattered was that they were both going to try, try to create a life were both of them could live in happiness and comfort.

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