I had a day to myself, while the weather was still lovely. A wine picnic in Mt. Hope, dressed to the nines, into the wines–it was autumn. It was normally the type of setting where I could let the world flow around me and speak to my headmates.
I’d invited someone to hang out with me, whoever was available. I’ve been feeling stuck in an all-too familiar spot, of talking people off ledges and not being allowed my own. Of being thrown under the bus in a betrayal that’s too public for my detractors not to be munching popcorn and chortling.
Of a suicide that seems always on the horizon, like the demise of a sickly, ageing relative and feeling helpless to stop it, but unwillingly booked for a front-row seat. And knowing the people that once claimed to be my family will be scrambling for an explanation of how their careless actions didn’t contribute directly.
“It wasn’t my idea. It was my suggestion.“
Chiefly, I wanted to speak with Phisoxa. My alchemist creator that had felt the crushing weight of other’d that it’d warped his sanity to a sort of dubious advantage. But no, today, it was Kajmir. The mauve-haired, primordial Atlantean whose life had been marked only by constant war and flecks of romantic passion that it all seemed to blur together.
I’m sure that’s not an allegory for anything.
I’d first thought of it as a past-life and ‘channeled’ Kajmir. Under the guise of ‘channeling a past-life’, it actually furthered my skills in coping with DID before I even knew I had it. Normally, when hanging around with an alter, the surface world would recede like a curtain and we would be side by side in either a version of the surface world, or in their area of the inner world.
I hope it’s not a sign that my moods are attracting darker entities than the vengeful and bitter Phisoxa.
As Kajmir and I had co-conned before, I was able to just sit back and… talk with it. “I feel like… I’m just used to disappointment. That I wasn’t meant to be able to trust.”
“No one is.” Kajmir’s primordial accent was musical and vaguely Trans-Atlantic when it spoke English. “People like us… we’re damned to be the first to learn.” It began to describe how, right now, my last household was telling themselves that I was just a freakish instance of unreality that caused this anomaly of their cruelties. Rowan, sleeping next to someone who has gone to someone else’s abuser, perhaps wondering if South Dakota were far enough away. Saying, ‘[Arkady] would never do that.’ And he has.
‘Rowan would never kick me out.’ ‘Rowan would never go through my legal documents/private conversations/journals.’ ‘Rowan would never break his promises to me.’ ‘Vali would never use my magical worlds against me.’ ‘Sage would never turn on me.’
If I were beginning to fall for Arkady and he’d told me that he did this to another human being, no matter how unstable they were, I would not have made the decision to move in with him.
Because they, deep down, know that even at my worst, I haven’t done anything they haven’t. They’ve lost track of reality. They’ve had suicidal dips. They’ve snapped under pressure. They’ve broken down. They’ve switched.
‘They would never do that to me! They love me! I know them! We’re family! They promised not to!’
Yeah. I’d thought that too.
I’d wrapped myself in constellations that day, the delicate white lines being traced by Kaj’s– and my– fingertip. The crows were purring and chatting above me. It was an altogether different view than mine, as I was still holding onto the hope that this is a result of protector alters reigning out of control. That they’ll wake up someday.
Maybe even in the next life, if my twin flame finds me again. Would he choose not to remember? Would I?
Unchecked DID would explain the constantly shifting boundaries, the ret-conning of both Spectre’s and my bonds with Rowan and Arkady– Hell, Kajmir even remembers one of Arkady’s ‘past lives’ as its old lover. “I’m not certain it was Thorne. There are actions since that are dripping with cowardice, and that’s nothing he’d associate with.”
I didn’t much think DID worked like that– that Thorne could just decide to fuck off from a system– but imagine telling an alter how DID works.
Kajmir’s final view was grimly comforting, though. Especially when it said something along the lines of, “We both know how already how to navigate our lives alone. Independent life is foreign to their lot.”
It was a cynical point of view, to be sure. None of them have ever even lived alone– now perhaps subconsciously praying that they continue to be exceptions from the lies, the violation of privacy, the vicious and baseless attacks of those they rely on. Though it was funny to hear Kajmir have this point of view, after what I knew of its backstory. “Didn’t you sacrifice yourself to save the life of your enemy because you fell for him?” In fact, their twisted love story was like an ancient version of the Genghis Khan music video– that had more of a tragic ending.
Kajmir seemed to find that amusing. I could feel my own mouth twisting in a smile. “If I hadn’t have fallen in love, he would’ve died first. Alone is alive.”
It was the first time I’ve ever realised that the words were only two letters off.
We talked for a long while more– Kajmir is actually rather relatable. It reminds me a lot of Kaspar, who is supposedly a distant descendant. You know, somehow.
I woke two hours later on the steps of a mausoleum. It was pitch black in the cemetery. An area my feet always carried me to in Mt. Hope was just under the peak of the hill, a somewhat hidden alcove surrounded by mausoleums. I was curled beside a column, my picnic blanket wrapped around me. Talking with Kajmir seemed to drain me so much that I briefly considered spending the rest of the night there.
I glanced at all the tombstones around me. Here I am, lying amongst all of promises made to me. I felt someone laughing in my head.
As much as I’ve been haunting my own life, it was natural that I’d feel so at home among the deceased, the crows– but not among the silenced.
I rode my bike to Insomnia Cookies, bought a Mint and a S’mores. My new book, “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” was tucked in my bag, the constellations on its cover promising to contain a fateful plotline.
Alone is alive.
As I rode past Mt. Hope once again, I could’ve sworn I heard a raven croaking.