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Once Upon a Time – 4×09 – Fall- (Spoilers)

rumpelstiltskin-once-upon-a-time-poster-895d7This episode was very much to set up the next episode or two. The Snow Queen has cast The Spell of Shattered Sight and the town only has until sundown to do something to save themselves. Belle finds a spell that would make basically an antidote to the spell but they need something from someone who has already had the spell cast on them.

Elsa goes in search of Ana and through the use of the necklace, actually a Wishing Star, they were reunited but not in time. Rumple had Hook use the hat in a room full of fairies, allowing it to collect enough power to activate itself. The episode ended with everyone locking themselves away from all loved ones and hoping to ride out the spell. Judging by the previews for next week no one stays where they planned on staying and all hell breaks loose.

While everyone is running around trying to save themselves, Rumple is thinking only about getting the hat charged so he can be free of the dagger and be all powerful. He does ask The Snow Queen to allow him to leave with Belle and Henry which she agrees to. Unfortunately for Belle and Henry they do not get out of town in time and are forced to be locked away just like everyone else.

Rumple does want to save the only two people he cares about in this world. He appears to want to save loved ones but we have learned, especially in the last few episodes, that any good in Rumple is barely a whisper now. After this episode in particular I have very little hope left for any type of redemption for this man.

Last season he seemed so much on the path of good and turning his life around, he seemed to actually want to change. But the death of Neil really shook him and he stopped moving in that positive direction. The problem with Rumple is that he cannot give up any type of power. He loves power and control more than he loves anything and anyone else.

He says, “If I have to choose between everyone else and me, me wins every time.” Rumple is selfish. No gets to defeat him or break him down. He lived that life once and he will never return to it no matter what it may cost those around him. As long as Rumple is the Dark One he cannot ever think beyond the scope of power. His vision will alway have that dagger hanging on the edge. His mind and his actions will alway come down to choosing that power and that control. Always.

The only way Rumple will ever be able to begin on a path to real redemption is if he is no longer The Dark One. Somehow, someway he needs to lose his status as The Dark One. He can’t think clearly when he has this power hanging over and tempting him. With that dagger he can be controlled and no one controls Rumple outside of Rumple.

Rumple will be found out sooner or later. When everyone learns what he has done, purely for selfish reasons, he is going to lose everything. Belle will leave him. Emma and Regina will not allow Henry to be anywhere near him. He will become enemy number one of Storybrooke. And when he realizes that he is alone and hated he is going fully embrace the darkness that flats in his soul and he is going to fight until his death. I don’t see Rumple surviving much longer.

While Rumple is destroying himself he is also destroying Hook. Hook has no heart currently. Rumple has completely control over his actions. Whatever he says Hook has to do. In this episode we watched as Hook is forced to attack and kill all the fairies.

tumblr_nfxf07N43W1simxr4o1_1280Unlike Rumple, Hook has come a very long way. Hook went from a man who only cared about himself and his ship to a man who gave that ship up in order to save the woman he loves with all his heart. Emma is his world now. He adores her. He will do anything to be better for her. And now he is standing without a heart and as an accomplice to atrocities.

If Emma breaks down and pushes Hook away, telling him that he can’t be trusted and that she only sees him as a bad person who makes bad decisions, it will utterly destroy Hook. While Rumple will be consumed by darkness and implode. Hook will drown in grief and guilt and ultimately cause his own demise.

My hope is that everyone else will be able to stand and up tell Emma that Hook is not to blame for what he has done over the last few episodes. Regina will be especially powerful for this purpose because she has done what Rumple is doing. She has taken someone’s heart (Graham’s) and controlled them, until death. She can explain how it works, and tell Emma that the individual has no power or control, no matter what they do. Hopefully Emma will see that. This is one case where words are going to have to speak louder than actions.

Quotes:
“You’re talking like a hero,” – Snow – She is talking to Emma. Emma is immune to the curse so she is going to have to find that inner strength and power in order to save everyone she loves.

“I let my heart pull me elsewhere,” – Regina – Regina spent much of her life ignoring her heart, scared to death to let it be put in a vulnerable position ever again. Now her heart is out and laying where it can be hurt or destroyed and she is terrified.

Questions:
What will everyone reveal?
How will what they say and do affect them later on?

Can they realize it is the curse talking?

Will anyone be killed?

How are Emma, Elsa and Ana going to save everyone?

What will Rumple do?
When will they all learn what Rumple has done with the hat and to Hook?

What will Belle and Henry do when they find out what Rumple has done?

When will he use that hat?

Can Hook survive his actions?

Will Emma understand?

Will Hook survive this incident?

What was in the bottle that Elsa and Ana’s parents put in the ocean?

Will it change everything?

What will The Snow Queen do during this time?

Once Upon a Time 4X07- The Snow Queen (Review) (Spoilers)

Once-Upon-a-Time-4x06-Family-Business-Snow-Queen-looking-at-herself-in-the-mirror-650x365This episode gave us the backstory to The Snow Queen and gave us a much clearer picture of what she is up to and why she is doing all of this. The other major part of the episode was watching as Robin Hood struggled to do as his head says instead of listening to his heart.

The episode opened with the three sisters playing, Ingrid, Greta and Helga. (Ingrid becomes The Snow Queen and Greta is Ana and Elsa’s mother). They find a kite that belongs to a creepy man that tries to kidnap Helga and Greta. Ingrid freaks out and ends up using her power to save them. This is the first time Ingrid realizes she has the freezing power.

Ingrid is scared to death thinking that everyone will call her a monster and be terrified of her. Magic is not a huge presences in Arendelle. Her sisters, instead of being scared of her, tell her that they will all stick tighter. They tell her they will help her hide the power until she learns how to control it. They take ribbons from the kite and tie it around their wrists making a pact to be there for each other no matter what happens.

The Snow Queen’s story is also one of the power of the love sisters can hold for one another. I like that they brought out this story line even more. I didn’t know if it was going to extend beyond Elsa and Ana. I like seeing it being given more depth here. We get to see a different side of this story and the whole range of what sisterly love can do and how much it can really endure.
It was at the end of the episode where we saw how far a sister bond can be pushed. By accident Ingrid freezes and kills her sister Helga. She is devastated and horrified. Greta comes upon the scene and is instantly terrified. All the talk about being together no matter what and always caring and loving one another is completely forgotten in her fear. Not until that moment did Greta comprehend how dangerous Ingrid’s power could be.

Greta is the one who puts Ingrid in the urn because of how scared she becomes. I completely understand Greta’s reaction. She sees her sister dead by her other sister’s hand. Until that point it was a power that made snow and froze branches. She didn’t realize exactly what the power could really do. No one knew. They all believed that as long as they loved Ingrid and supported her they would be fine. In this moment Greta saw that sometimes love is not the full answer. No one showed Ingrid how to control the power and because of that someone died.

So when Greta actually sees what the power can do, it obviously scares her. No matter how much you love someone if you see them lose control and kill someones, especially a sibling, you are going to be afraid of them. This reaction is natural. Our survival instincts tell us to be afraid of anything or anyone that is a threat to our lives.

The issues here comes from the action that went with the reaction. It is never a good idea to make decisions when you are angry or upset. The rational side of you is gone and you are act purely on emotion. Which is exactly what Greta did to her sister. She was scared and did not know what to do so she put her sister somewhere where she could not hurt anyone else. She saw Ingrid as a threat and she got rid of that threat. It was all done in a matter of minutes.

The Snow Queen was trapped in an urn for years where she had nothing but time to think over her capture and her sisters frightened look. Instead of understanding why she was scared and trying to work around it, Ingrid’s emotions take control of her. Betrayal and anger are her only companions in her captivity and they boil over and completely change her.

She is hardened by those actions. She can’t see beyond what happened in that moment. Her goals is to create a new sisterly bond with Elsa and Emma who also possess power they can’t control fully. She seems to think that once they see how it is to lose control, they will understand and accept her.

She is constantly telling both of the women that they are not understood and they are feared. She wants them doubting those around them. She wants them to feel isolated and to come to her for comfort. She wants to be the only one who can understand them. Once everyone abandons them because of how afraid they are she will be there with open arms. They can become a family because they will understand each other and not turn on one another.

What she doesn’t understand is that Emma’s family is not walking away that easily. Yes, they are initially freaked out but that evaporates fast. Snow instantly regrets her reaction and they know that they need to be there to help her. They will not see Emma as a monster, no matter what she does. They understand magic much better than Ingrid’s sisters ever did. They also understand losing control and making decisions that they aren’t always proud of. Emma’s family will not walk away from her easily. They also like Elsa too much to leave her as well. Emma will not be able to give up without a fight from her family.

4iPfg3BSpeaking of not giving up without a fight, we got see how truly conflicted Robin Hood is about his feelings for Regina and Marian. Regina keeps telling him he needs to forget her and fall back in love with Marian in order to save Marian’s life. Robin Hood knows that what she is telling him is the right thing to do, that is what his head says. But his heart does not care or agree, which is the case much of the time. He is going back and forth and it is driving him nuts.

Robin Hood has a conversation with Will Scarlett about what someone will do for true love. Will tells him you fight for love. Robin Hood mentions that he needs to remember the good Marian saw and brought out in him and that she made him the man he is now. But that was then. She made him who he was. He has grown and changed since meeting Regina as well. She has also shown him a new side of himself. That thought and logic goes both ways now.

We see him come to Regina again. He tells her he lives by a certain code of righteousness and good and he knows what that means and what he should do. But he also doesn’t care anymore. He kisses her because that is where his heart lies. Regina has his heart and he isn’t going to let her let go of it.

Yes, he needs to love Marian to save her but he can’t do that so easily. He loves Regina and he does not want to lose her. True love can’t be manipulated and changed. We’ve seen you don’t get to choose when it comes to true love. Robin Hood can’t un-love Regina. He can’t forget her. They will have to find a different way to save Marian because Robin Hood can’t change where his heart lives.

Quotes:
“Next time a happy ending knocks on my door I’ll be ready,” – Regina – She wants so badly to control how the ending will come but that is not possible. It is already at her feet,she just has to dust off the pieces and figure out how to put them together.

“Sometimes even when you win, you lose,” – Will – Where is the Red Queen? What happened to them since Once Upon a Time in Wonderland? And how true is this statement? Is there always going to be someone who loses in some way?

“When you see the good in someone even when they don’t see it in themselves,” – Will – Here he is speaking about love. Robin Hood sees all the good that Regina has in her heart. She needs him around to continue to show that good side and not lose it, in this desire to manufacture a happy ending.

“Faith can be powerful,” – Rumple – This is an interesting statement. Will Emma have faith not only in herself but faith in her families love for her? How much faith is needed?

Questions:
How will The Snow Queen bond the three of them?
Can she get them to trust her?
Will she be the only one there to help them learn control and not fear them?
How will Emma’s friends and family help her?
Will she trust them?
Can they control their emotions and not let it rule their actions?

Has Robin chosen Regina?
What will that mean for Marian and her fate?
If he wanted to could Robin forget his true love feelings for Regina?

What will the ribbons do for The Snow Queen?

What did she tell Rumple about the hat?
How did Elsa get into the urn?
Where is Ana?

Today, Tomorrow Died

I heard his muffled cry from the bedroom. It was just a quick shriek at first. I listened and waited for it to escalate or to disappear entirely. When I didn’t hear another harsher cry I went back to the dishes. I was drying a plate when I heard the pained whimper.

I put the towel on the side of the sink and my hands flat on the edge. Again I waited. I knew I should go to him, see what was causing that terrible whine that was starting to pierce my heart but another side of me was terrified to go to him. I had heard that devastated moan before, I knew exactly what was causing it.

“Kelly,” he called. I turned toward the hallways, my decision being made for me. I walked through the short hallway to the bedroom. He was sitting on the ground, legs outstretched in front of him, head hung low. He looked like a child who just had his favorite toy taken away from him.

“Hon?” I whispered.

He looked up. I saw complete devastation on his face. I knelt beside him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders. I patted his side.

Finally he spoke, “I thought I was doing well. I thought I was trying. Why me? Why?” he kept asking the last question over and over again. I couldn’t look him in the eyes, couldn’t give him an answer because I had no answer to give him. No answer at least that would make all this go away and would make him feel less like he was dying.

“You know they have ways of making the decision They say they don’t make them simply. It hurts them too,” I told him. Such empty and rehearsed words. I knew exactly how they made their decisions and it was nothing short of throwing darts at a board.

I didn’t say anything more as he cried himself into silence. I just stared at my reflection in the mirror that hung on the back of our closet door. I looked, at least to me, calm and put together. I was being the rock he needed right now. I was holding my boyfriend as he grieved the loss of his dreams. I was keeping my face straight and devoid of emotions to keep him calm.
My mouth quirked up at the edges. I should have registered as wanting to be an actress instead of company assistant. I had learned quite skillfully how to hold back all the emotions that chased themselves around my mind. Right now I was breaking and I couldn’t show it. My love was watching his own world crumble around him and it was all because of me. I had caused all this pain and the worst part was that he didn’t even know. He blamed some featureless company, New Day, a name that made people shake when anyone even mentioned that place.

He sat up and wiped his eyes on the back of his hand. “I’m going to go make the arrangements. Get this whole hell over with,” he gave me a peck on my cheek and went to find his phone in the kitchen.

I watched him go, leaning my head back against the bed and took deep breath. I let it out slowly, feeling my chest deflate. My heart calmed and I managed to hold in the tears that were stinging the back of my eyes.
I hadn’t known what was I was doing when I had begun the project. They had only asked me to make a census type list at first. The wanted everyone’s name and registered dreams. I had done the task never thinking twice about what I was doing. They did this occasionally, made a quick list to see what the trend would be like and how the world could be changing soon. Usually it was just information to pass on to tech companies and medical personnel. Stuff like, a number of people have registered as wanting to rework the tablet computer to make life even more convenient, better alert the big technology companies and big wigs. Give them a heads up on who to follow and who could end up being a competitor sooner or later. Many people are now determined to scale the tallest mountains, better staff the hospitals nearby.

The dream registry concept was kind of a passing joke throughout the country. No one knew why it had really started. Something about wanting to show the world the number of different and innovated dreams that Americans were working towards each and every day. It wasn’t mandatory to register but almost everyone did because when you did you got resources to help you. Usually it was spam papers from companies wanting your business but sometime it was useful stuff like conference notifications and new classes teaching what you needed to know. You did it without really thinking twice about it
So I had never thought too hard about them taking a greater interest in the list. That was until they start making me track select groups of people. They all of sudden had a vast amount of information about what certain people bought and where they shopped. They knew who was taking classes, who was going to retreats to help them better themselves. They knew who was making new contacts and who was just sitting around not doing much.

“Why do you care?” I had asked one day as I had handed over a folder full of papers on the latest group.

“We did not become the greatest by being lazy and waiting for the world to change around us. People here work towards what they want. We will ensure that, that practice continues.”

It was just last year that I saw what I was helping them do. They took over every channel on TV and the radio and made the announcement. The president and CEO of New Day stood before his microphone and told the country about a new way of life. From that day onwards everyone would be watched though that wasn’t real new information since everyone knew they were being watched already. Spending would be tracked, visits to stores would be monitored. In every place you visited some of the people would be plants, sent to keep an eye on you. Not every single citizen would be watched but you couldn’t know if or if not you were being selected. Best to work and not to worry. If you worked and didn’t waste your time and the countries resources you would be perfectly fine.

If it was determined you were not working towards your goal and you are not seen to ever begin the work properly you would be notified. There were no warnings. You would receive a call saying you were done and you could no longer achieve what you desired. You could not register for necessary classes, buy certain items or watch shows with the themes of what you had once hoped to achieve. You would be cut off from that portion of the world.

Of course chaos had ensued throughout the country. Once the first calls came and it was seen that it wasn’t all a game it was too late they had completely closed their hands around our necks. We couldn’t do anything, we couldn’t get away. Who knew who was following you or how far their influence reached. Some rebelled but many began to work with vigor determined to never get that call. The land of the free became the land of the controlled and I had helped start it all.

“Tomorrow at 10,” he was leaning on the door, eyes on the ground. “You’ll come right?” he sounded as if he was doubting me.
“Of course,” I told him. He nodded and went into the living room. I heard the muffled sounds of some sitcom. I waited for the renewed sobs when he flipped the channels and realized that he could no longer access the history channel, his favorite channel.

Mike had registered as wanting to become a world renowned historian. He didn’t give any more details then that when he had done his paper work. That had made him an easy target. New Day loved people like Mike. They registered this huge and broad dreams with so many different parts to them that it was simple to say, “Nope, they aren’t working on this piece, lets end this.” People like Mike became examples for everyone else. Those who had very specific dreams with real details had a much better chance of never getting that call.

Why I stood up and made my way to the living room I had no idea. Mike was watching a home shopping channel. “I’m so sorry,” I said, surprised my voice was still strong. “I did all this.” I should stop talking right now. I was not allowed to say these words out loud. Why was I doing this to him? I was all he had left and now I was taking even that from him. Did I want him to be completely destroyed? What was I doing?

“What?” he hit mute and looked up at me, confused.

“I started this whole thing. That call you got? I drafted it. I helped track everyone, made all the lists they use. I didn’t know what they were doing. I swear,” I didn’t move. He was watching me like I was an alien life form, speaking a completely different language.

“You?” was all he asked. I nodded, my long held in tears spilling from my eyes.

He stood up. I flinched. He had never attempted to hurt me before but I had just told him all his pain was my fault.
He gave me the most disappointed look before turning and walking out the door. I watched him go and finally broke down.
I wasn’t welcome here. I knew that. I knew I was being insensitive and I should leave right now. He was already having to be reminded with each hug that his life was now pointless. To have me looking back at him was going to be like being slapped across the face. But I still loved him and I needed to be here. If not for him then for myself.

I was next in line. He looked up at me. I held out my arms and when he didn’t move I walk to him and wrapped him in a hug. A hug he did not return. I turned and went to the side room where his casket stood.

This part was not New Day’s idea. It was all created by those who had gotten the call and it was their way of dealing. It was a way of putting an end to the whole ordeal. This was a way to bury the pain in some manner. Mike’s casket was pretty bare. His registration form and a few of his favorite articles about new discoveries were all that laid on the white cushions.

My hands brushed the page and I sighed. How could I let this happen to our lives?

A hand squeezed my shoulder. I turned to find Mike watching me, “You caused this. You can fix it.” he looked down at me.
“I can’t,” I told him, my voice and heart breaking. “I have no access to any of this.”

“You can give me yours,” he said. There was the opportunity for one person to trade their dreams for another. You signed over your potential so someone else could succeed.

I felt something snap in me and before I knew it was I was on the ground laughing so hard I could barely breathe. I couldn’t put a real thought together. Tears rolled down my cheeks and a sharp pains started in my sides.

Mike just watched me with anger and a bit of fear on his face.

I finally gained control of myself and said from my place on the ground. “ I can’t. I already achieved mine. I registered as wanting to help a company change the world. Exactly one year ago today I did just that,” I breathed out. He walked away without a word and I let the laughter and sobs fight each other for dominance as I laid on the ground completely broken

Scarlett- Ultimate Winged One

 

A/N: This is the Winged One who tricked Julius in Unfeathered.  I felt like she needed her own voice as well.

largeShe kissed him gently on the cheek and then turned away from him. He would remain staring at the window for sometime. His mind was racing. A small part of him was trying to hold onto his past self. While another much larger part of him was asking why he cared about that man anymore. There was no real reason to hold onto that old life. A life full of sadness and fear. A life without ever a minute of rest or calm. A life where he was constantly looking over his shoulder wondering when his time would be up.

His brain was having an all out fist fight with itself. While his heart was the small spectator trying to break up the fight with only words of wisdom; not actually strong enough to physically help in anyway. His world was resetting itself back to the default settings of birth. No cares or worries, just bliss and happiness. The only desires were linked to satisfying primal needs for continuous life. Soon he would be fine, wings full while his heart and head were light and free.

She would leave him to reset on his own. She knew it was a tough and long process, hampered by any attempts to help. At one time she could have helped. Actually she still could help but she knew it would only hurt him. He was fighting against himself at the moment and the last thing he needed was another voice to confuse the process. Soon it would be over and they could rule the skies together.

She went into the backyard opened her great wings and took off into the sky. She was just about to head straight to the highest point of the atmosphere when a faint flutter caught her gaze. She turned her head to see a Winged One taking off from a house away. The Winged One kept glancing back every few seconds.

Scarlett turned back to the sky not concerned. Whoever it was, was just intrigued by the show. Hopefully it was convincing enough. Scratch that ,she didn’t actually care. Anyone who questioned her would regret it fully.

She reached the highest point of the clouds and let herself hover as her mind wandered. She had been ten when the affliction had started. She was the first, patient zero as she became known in hospitals and to every specialist in more countries then she knew existed on the planet. She was scanned, poked and prodded so much she begun to wonder if there was any part of her that was known only to her anymore. They had tested everywhere even into the depths of her brain and heart.

She had met Julius during the highest peak of the testing period. He was her age, which made talking to him simple and easy. She had learned quickly how to hide her wings, her parents feared what others would say or do if they saw her wings, so Julius never saw them. He was friendly and she loved chatting with him. At night when her and his parents were asleep she would fly over to his house and perch on his window. They would talk about the stars, and about school. She made up stories most of the time because she was no longer apart of society anymore. His parents kept him hidden away, not letting him near a TV or newspaper so he didn’t recognize her from the countless shows she had appeared on. He never asked her how she got over at the hour or how she got up on to his window. He just liked talking with her, she was his secret friend and he was hers.

As they grew their talks got longer and more serious. She was no longer the only one afflicted by the new disease. There were reports of new Winged Ones everyday. It started with just a handful of new cases a day, but soon the numbers soared into the thousands and eventually they just stopped counting.

Julius always told her to be careful every night when she would leave him. He was worried she would become one of them. His parents were extremely protective of him, making sure he understood how to save himself. Since he was so sequestered away from the world she was the only friend he had. He became very protective of her. She would smile and tell him she was always careful before jumping to the ground, finding a deep patch of shadows and taking off into the sky. Until a few moments ago he had never known what she really was.

By the time she was sixteen the doctors and her parents stopped trying to make anything make sense about her. The “curse,”, as it was now called, had no antidote and couldn’t be contained. Was it airborne? Water borne? Because of the food? Genetics? Was this humanities next step in evolution? No one had any answers and slowly those who tried to care were locked away and the world became silent and afraid.

Winged Ones outnumbered the Unfeathered three to one now. Maybe some of the hardest fighters were locked away in some government building somewhere still desperately searching for a way to put things back to normal. Maybe they were still examining her DNA, still hoping as the first afflicted, that she held the answer.

She didn’t care. They would find nothing and even if they would have to get her to cooperate. An impossible task. Twenty years she had been a Winged One. Twenty years she had been living with this new side of herself. At first the feelings of lack of care and concern were overwhelming. The world became nothing more than a place to live inside of. You detached and you enjoyed being detached. Or so she had heard.

She hadn’t had the luxury to live the Winged One’s life fully. Her parents had forced her to hold onto to her humanity. It had been like grasping onto a life preserver in a tumultuous ocean. They made her yell and made her cry, constantly reminding her of emotions and what having them meant. She hadn’t ever been able to fully let go and live completely free like every other Winged One.

Twenty years later and she and mastered control of this switch though. She didn’t have to feel when she didn’t want to. If she wanted to be upset she could just flip the switch and she started the water works and felt the pain twist her heart. But it only took one thought to turn that all off and rise above the Unfeathered once again.

This control was why she ruled. Only a handful of Winged Ones, her soldiers, knew what she could do. They kept an eye out on the newly Winged Ones and made sure they stayed in line. All Winged Ones lived without a care but they lived by her rules or they disappeared. It was pretty simple to maintain control. No one missed a Winged One.

She was about to dip back down to check on Julius when she saw a form enter her cloud cover. It was Jack.

“Good acting tonight,” he grinned.

“Thanks. I know Julius and I knew what would break him finally. Why are you here?” she wasn’t one to just chat.

“Well, as I was leaving Julius’s place I noticed something,” he said.

“A female? Looks to be pretty new? Just hovering and watching?” Scarlett asked.

Jack nodded. “She was staring so intently,” He paused and said the next part very hesitantly. “Almost like she cared.”

“I see,” Scarlett waved her hand. “Thank you.” Jack sank back towards the Earth, he knew she was dismissing him.

Scarlett remained in her clouds mulling over what Jack had just told her. She had seen the glances but she hadn’t been close enough to see the actual face and features. Jack was reliable though and he would lie to her. A newly Winged One who appeared to care? This was new and new wasn’t good. New was a threat. Her kingdom was too close to being fully formed. New was not welcome here and new would have to be eliminated. Immediately.

Can you see me now?

No one sees me over here. I am invisible, the same color and texture as the wall behind me. Beige and smooth were my new characteristics. No one can touch me here. No one can bump me or ask a question I can’t answer. I don’t have to fumble with my words. I am not making a mistake and ingraining a negative image of myself into these minds. I am safe here. This is my hideaway.

My best friend slides down the wall and lands on his butt with a thump. He sits pretending to tie his right shoe, “Going to hide all night?” He whispers, careful to not let a soul see him talking to himself.

“How did you know I was here?” I whispered back. I had been so careful when I had come in. Shrinking from shadow to shadow until I had found my little corner out of the way.

“How long have I known you?” He asked, switching to the left foot. We only had a few more seconds before this act became obvious and questionable.

“Too long,” I laughed. He stood up and gave me a wide grin. He stretched out a hand, fingers wiggling.

My whole body wanted to reach out and take that hand. I trusted him, would do anything to help and protect him. He knew almost everything about me. If anyone could lead me out of this hole, he could. But my hand refused to move.

I shouted inside my head, commanding myself to stand. Demanding that I go out there and truly laugh and have fun but my feet didn’t budge and my legs never twitched. He gave me one last pleading look before turning away and disappearing into the crowd.

I felt a tear slide down my cheek. I took a rattling breath and calmed my racing heart. It was okay, I was fine. I was perfectly content in my corner. I was safe here. Here I could watch the world, see what went wrong and not worry about being in the middle of the disaster. Here nothing could happen to me.

I sat and watched the people mingle. Some conversations were loud and excited. Big warm greetings and genuine smiles were met with boisterous demands for details about lives and loves. Other interactions were more muted, less loud and extreme but still genuine and comforting.

The quiet laughter was like music to my ears,easy and as nice to hear as were the loud shrieks and laughs. People bumped into one another, drinks spilled and no one said a word about it. Mistakes were righted and life kept moving. No one shouted at anyone else or made jokes at anyone else’s expense.

I was on my feet now, my heart racing. It was okay. I could be out there and I would leave again in one piece. I stepped an inch from the wall but still concealed by the shadows. My friend came into view, shrugging at someone’s comment.

As he turned to switch groups his foot caught on a chair and he hit the ground, hard. The room didn’t come to a stand still while everyone stared. The Earth kept spinning, and tomorrow would still come. No one shouted and pointed. Those on the opposite side of the room and no idea anything had happened. Their conversations continued without pause.

He was helped up by those he was going to speak with. He was brushed off and gave them a laugh. The breath I had been holding quickly escaped as a laughing sigh of relief and realization. My feet moved forward, one in the front of the next. As the shadows receded I came into view, my brown hair and hazel eyes catching the light of the room. My grey turtle-neck and straight black skirt made their appearance. I got a smile and a nod, but otherwise no one questioned or noticed.

I came to a halt at my friends arm, hands wrapping around his elbows. “Can you see me?” my voice shook slightly but recovered quickly.

He laughed and side-hugged me. “Yes, yes I can.”

I answered with a genuine smile and a lightened heart.

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