Dunkirk

-Before I begin, this is not a return. This is an exception.-


 

If someone was to ask me when I first became a Christopher Nolan fan, I would not be able to answer honestly. I know, beyond any doubt, the first Nolan film I saw was The Prestige (2006), as my sister really enjoyed the film and wanted to show my mother and I. After that, I saw The Dark Knight (2008) a year after its release, and was excited to see Inception when it released in 2010.

However, at no point in seeing any of those films did I care to look at who had made them. Sometime over the next two years I came to learn of Nolan as The Dark Knight Rises was set to release in mid-2012. By the time that film came out, I knew who he was and appreciated his work.

Then came 2014, and out came Interstellar. I was exceptionally excited to see that film, and ended up doing so three separate times in theaters, and own multiple versions of the film. I even went back and watched Nolan’s older films Memento (2000), and Insomnia (2002).

If his name is attached to a film, I will see it. I feel such about no other director. Part of the reason for this, part of why I like him so much, is because he focuses more on emotion and feeling. The story is not always so important, and even then, it is. Memento is about the loss of one’s own self, and what one might be willing to do to make themselves happy. Insomnia is about self-doubt and overcoming one’s one demons. Inception is about what one would do for family, and Interstellar is about how strong a family bond, how strong love really is. I will always argue most people completely misunderstood the point of Interstellar.

With this in mind, I was not the least bit surprised when I first saw a trailer for his latest movie, Dunkirk. This is a man who has only done completely fictional stories thus far. He even made some of the best comic book movies out there. (At least The Dark Knight. The other two are debatable.) His films were always epic, big, and mysterious.

-I was going to write ‘Dunkirk, the actual event was not any of those.’ But as I thought about it, I realized it was all three.-

I can understand why Nolan chose to make this film. Earlier today, I went to go see it. It is the shortest film Nolan has released, at only 1 hour 46 minutes. A full hour shorter than Interstellar. I went to a mid-afternoon showing with my roommate as we believed the theater would not be too full. When we got there, it was not packed, but it was certainly occupied. Most of the attendees were elderly. In fact, I was very likely the youngest person in that theater.

Not wanting to spend money I did not have on concessions, I snuck in a small soda can, keeping it in my jacket pocket. I waited for the film to start as to not be heard opening it. There were no trailers playing. No pre-show. This was because we were seeing the 70mm version of the film, meaning a projector change simply would not be possible, so anything we were to see would have to be on the film reel.

It was eerie being in a theater with nothing playing. With the screen off. With nothing. The suddenly, a trailer starts. Blade Runner 2049. It fades out, and the film starts. It starts so simply. A few soldiers walking down the street. Pamphlets are falling from the sky. One of soldiers grabs a pamphlet. It is German propaganda stating the have the beach surrounded.

The soldier grabs some of the pamphlets, crumbling them, but keeps them. He needs to go the bathroom. It’s quiet. The soldiers are in no hurry, but the music composed by the immaculate Hans Zimmer has immediately set an uneasy tone.

Gunshot. The soldier starts to run. He meets up with the four others. We follow behind as they continue to run. Gunshot. One down. Gunshot. Two down. Gunshot. Three down. Gunshot. Four down. We’re left with just our soldier, as he desperately climbs over a fence. A spray of bullets. He loads his gun. More bullets break through the fence. He turns around and shoots.

He’s firing blindly. He gives up, turns around, and climbs another fence, all while still being shot at. More gunfire. Machine gun. He raises his hands, screaming, “BRITISH! BRITISH!” The firing stops and we see a barrier is set up. One of the soldiers manning it motions him to run over. He does. It’s the french. He looks at the men, and more gunfire rains down on all of them. The french return fire. Our soldier runs.

He goes through a small alley, emerging on the beach. It is covered in soldiers. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers. All with nowhere to go. They have to sit and wait.

 

And that is just the opening sequence. A plan comes in, bombing those waiting. Then another, and it manages to sink the medical boat they are using to help evacuate. Our soldier, and the French one he meets, are kicked off. They manage to get on another boat, but are still forced to wait to evacuate as that boat sinks. They move with a group of others to wait inside a small boat that has been grounded, as once the tide returns, it will be able to float. They are sitting ducks as the Germans use it for target practice, and barely manage to set sail, but the bullet holes cause too much damage, and they are forced to evacuate. The French man does not survive.

That’s not even to speak of the civilian storyline, or that of Cillian Murphy’s character, or that of Tom Hardy’s.  All which intersect in an interesting manner as the film is not told linearly. It begins as I wrote above. Then it cuts to the civilian perspective. A man, his son, and the son’s friend going out to help those at Dunkirk. They pick up Cillian Murphy as he sits alone on top of overturned boat.

We then cut to a story of a few soldiers going through the same hell, but being rescued by a small boat. Except, it is suddenly night time. The story of the soldier on the beach, the pilots in the air, and the civilian boat take place in the day, and suddenly this fourth story is at night. It keeps cutting back and forth between the different perspectives. We see the pilots in a dogfight. One of them gets hit, and goes for a crash landing. The remaining pilot, Tom Hardy, waves as the crashed man appears to be OK.

Then, later in the film, we see that same dogfight, from the perspective of the civilian boat. We learn the crashed pilot was not OK, but was drowning, and the civilians helped save him. This style continues. We see the same events happen from different perspectives. Including learning that the night scenes were showing how Cillian Murphy ended up on that overturned boat.

This film was phenomenal, and above all, it was absolutely intense. There is no other way to put it. This film was intense. Hans Zimmer’s score is perfect. It is there when it should be, and silent when it needs to be. It constantly builds, and the only moment of relief in his music comes when we finally see the civilian boats arrive at Dunkirk. That scene was filmed amazingly as the civilians on the boats stood strong like statues and they headed into a war.

This film moved me. For reasons a plenty. First, it felt very, very real. The sound was very real. When the plane’s were shot, they didn’t explode. They failed as they actually would have. When a boat was bombed, it was portrayed as real boat being bombed would be. The shell shock, the fear, the helplessness, it was all so real. All, while never once seeing the enemy. We see Nazi planes, but never a person. Not once in the film do we see the face of a Nazi soldier.

Second, there was a moment during the film when they showed a shot of all the men on the beach. It would not be appropriate to say it was a quiet part of the film, but certainly a slightly-more-calm moment. I looked at all the men, and I realized the only reason I was able to sit there in that theater and watch this film was because those men survived.

I cried. To see what all those men had to go through, just to survive, it got to me. These were men who were never safe on that beach, and once they finally got a boat, they still were not safe. They still had to make it across the sea to Britain, where they were still not safe. How could they be? How could they feel safe?

But they did not just survive. They returned to a home they could not feel safe at, survived for FOUR more years, before they returned to France, knowing what was there, knowing what it was like, and retook it, and then continued marching on.

Third, for obvious reasons it reminded me of Boatlift, the evacuation of Manhattan through the use of civilian boats during the September 11th terrorist attacks. I knew almost nothing about Dunkirk prior to seeing this film. I had heard the name, but did not really know what happened. I do remember 9/11, I do remember that evacuation, and because of that, I felt like I could understand the civilian aspect of this film just a little bit better.

Fourth, I am a pacifist. I do not hide that. This film was more than just a film. It was reason. I advocate for peace, on all fronts (perhaps not as strongly as I should) so that no one ever has to go through what these men went through. Not just Dunkirk, but war.

When the film ended, I could not say anything. I was not entirely sure what to say. The lights came up, I walked to the stairs and down to the aisle, and I looked upon the attendees. That is when I realized what I had been blind to before. Most of them were veterans. I cannot even begin to imagine what this film must have been like for them.

Dunkirk is one of the best films I have ever seen, but I hesitate to call it a film. It is more of an experience. One I could have because those men on that beach survived.

 

-I do want to mention something I am sure will be brought up. Normally I would attempt to use the character names when speaking of a film, but we really don’t learn any. The main soldier’s name is never said. Cillian’s Murphy’s isn’t either. The father on the civilian boat isn’t even given a name. That’s not just me. The father is credited as ‘Mr. Dawson’, and Cillian Murphy is credited as ‘Shivering Soldier’. They are literally not given names, and that is done so intentionally of course.-


 

Chester Bennington, you made great music. You helped many. I hope you have found peace.


Mariana San Miguel, it has been four years now. It’s not gotten any easier. Thank you for dancing with me to the Mexican Medley. Thank you for being a joy to this world. I miss you dearly, and I often times find myself still looking up to the stars hoping to find that small little window you’re looking down from.

No More Posts.

To the reader-

I began this blog just over five years ago as I was about to go on a journey around the world. I gave it the best name I could think of at the time. One I hoped would represent me, and one that would be appropriate for the journey at hand.

Through this journey, my blog served its purpose and I was able to document -to the best of my ability- what was taking place. However, the true purpose of this blog didn’t come to fruition until some time after my travels when I found the need to document my thoughts.

I used this blog as a place to post movie reviews and analysis, my own short stories, random thoughts that would come into my mind, ideas I wished to discuss and mishaps and fascinations of my life.

One aspect of my life I haven’t expressed much in writing, but have certainly done so is person, is my desire to help people. I wish to spread positivity and kindness. I want to do what I can to help make this world a better place. That includes my writing. Recently, I have attempted to keep my writings on a more positive tone.

Unfortunately, it has become abundantly clear the opposite is true. For one reason or another, my postings had continued to produce either negative or non-reactions. I try to put a great deal of work into my writings. Especially my short stories and world building exercises.

Just recently I spent a few days working on and writing the history of Firewall, a book I have spent almost five years working on. Any person who has ever met me knows this. I have put so much work in, I can pinpoint the exact location of where the story takes place in Alaska. A location chosen because of the plausibility of such a location actually existing in the real world.

Yet, not a comment. Not a care. Nothing. It becomes almost depressing to continuously post my work and hear absolutely nothing on it. The comments instead are focused on the posts of my real life. Whether the topic be good or bad, I am always criticized for posting it. Always.

For these reasons it has become clear that continuing to publish any writing on this blog is no longer worthwhile. If anything, I cannot continue for my own sanity. To bring such negativity when I mean the opposite, and to find myself saddened or depressed at non-reactions, it is unhealthy.

I am not sure if this will be a temporary hiatus or a permanent end. Whatever the case, for now or forever, this is the final post.

Five years ago I was expecting to change.

I did.

-Jon.

June 13th- A letter to myself.

Ever since September I have worked to improve my life. I made sure to go out more, to try and meet new people and to not spend so much time inside. I started to exercise, sleep regularly, and I even began searching for a better job.

For a while, things were going well. But I quickly realized none of that mattered without someone to share it with.

I cannot stand being alone.

With Nichole, I wasn’t. I was happier than I had ever been. In her, I discovered my purpose. With her, I knew I had a future.

But the future is a funny thing. We (my family and I) have spent the last few years teaching others about the emerging future. About creating, molding, and shaping their own future. It would be hypocritical of me to ignore the implications. If the future could be changed, it did not necessarily have to be done so willingly.

I tried to be the best person I could be. I didn’t steal. I tried not to lie. I did everything I could to ensure the universe would have no reason to have things go wrong. Yet, it is the simplest of mistakes that has sealed this fate and solidified my decision.

I have been shown my future. It was to be bittersweet. I had also always known the alternative. Death. Not natural, and likely by my own hand.

This became clear earlier this year when my connection to God grew greater than it has ever been before. It was through that connection I also understood my time would come only when it was meant to. That time is not now.

The future which has changed in my future with Nichole. It has become clear she no longer intends to be in a relationship with me.

So be it.

It does me no good to dwell on “what if’s”. My time with her was fine, but it has come to its end.

Now, I will take all that which I have learned from, and through, her, and I will move forward. There is no other option, and no reason to do otherwise.

I will go on.

The World of Firewall

In the later years of the second World War, and going into the Cold War, a secret military program was setup throughout the country to help prepare the nation to have the upper hand if war was to break out again. The SSUN Initiative, as it would be known, was not known to many during the years in the facilities were active.

These facilities served several purposes. Primarily, they were used for the development and study of experimental projects. They were also designed to last through nuclear attacks, and were able to be completely independent from the outside world for several years. Each facility, though capable of communicating with the others, was designed to be able to run without the need to do so.  They were self-sustaining underground networks.

Each facility was capable of comfortably housing at least 100 staff and crew.  A full-scale kitchen and dining room were included, along with fully functioning bathrooms and showers. The lower levels of the facilities were home to the hydroponic labs and greenhouses, as well as the radar and weather stations. It was often said ‘If those living in the SSUN burned out, the world was long gone‘. The facilities were truly magnificent as each one was marked by a unique mansion built as the entrance to the hidden base below.

One of these facilities was located in the wilderness of Alaska, completely hidden away from any civilization, about 230 miles east of Fairbanks. This was for good reason. Their project, code-named Firewall, focused entirely on harnessing the power of an Electromagnetic Pulse and using it to disable the enemy. The pulse, known since the early days of nuclear weapon testing, was known. The effect, and the power, were not.

Using the remoteness of Alaska, the facility was able to conduct several large-scaled experiments seemingly unnoticed. Years later, after the discover of the facility, evidence was found in the surrounding area of the extent of the experiments. It is estimated the largest test of an EMP reached as far east as the Canadian border. It is unknown how long the experiments went on for, but it is believed the facility was abandoned around the 1980’s.

~~~~~

In early 1989, it was discovered by an unnamed woman and her husband. Several theories surround the discovery. The most prominent include a plane crash, and an intentional search for the location. Though there is obviously evidence of a plane crash, the possibility of pinning wreckage to a plane the couple flew in would be nearly impossible. Records do indicate they owned a small plane, but there is also recorded use of the plane in the years to follow.

For this reason, the second theory is more wildly believed. Firewall housed a hidden runway, able to land a small plane without incident. Records indicate the woman and her husband flew over, and near, the location of Firewall several times before their 1990 encounter. It is known they did choose to intentionally investigate the location, but whether or not they were aware of the existence of the base, or were merely curious as to what was there, is still up for debate.

Unbeknownst to the outside world, this couple made the facility, primarily the mansion above, their home. Whether or not they knew the purpose of Firewall upon arriving, they certainly learned soon afterwards. Records indicate a small-scale EMP test in May of 1990.

Over the next 7 years, the couple would come to have 9 children. In order from eldest to youngest, they were: George, Salacia, Rhea, Jove, Marty, Velia Botis, ‘Liz’, Ari Di, and Mercury.

George, Jove, Marty and Mercury were the four males among the group. George, born in 1989, tended to be the one to take charge over the others while he was with them. He left the family for unknown reasons when he turned 20. Jove was said to be very large. Larger than anyone else in the family. Marty was known as the trouble maker. Though small, he would cause quite a ruckus on the occasion. Mercury was the youngest of all the children. He was said to be very quiet and usually spent time exploring the facility.

Salacia was the oldest of the females and the fraternal twin to George. She stuck by his side, including leaving the family when he did. Rhea was born a year after her twin siblings. She was said to adorn herself in rings and jewelry. Velia was another planned child. ‘Liz’, her twin sister, was not. ‘Liz’ is not her real name. However, no records remain to show what her real name was. Her and her sister were born in 1993. Ari Di was much like her older sisters in appearance, but known for being hot headed. She was best kept to herself.

Together, the family of 11 refurbished the facility and transformed it into what it is now known for. It is believed knowledge of what they were truly doing is what caused the defection of George and Salacia. The two have yet to be found.

~~~~~

Almost as soon as the tests began, so did the victims. In October of 1990, shortly after the births of George and Salacia, a young father, Richard, and his daughter, Amy,  were flying over the area when a precisely timed EMP caused them to crash-land in the now exposed and rundown runway. Now, not much more than a pit, there was little hope for escape. Amy and her father were able to search the first level of the facility, compromised entirely of the living quarters.

The two were stranded for a total of 21 days. They were able to survive off of the little water and food they had brought with them, most of which was used by Amy. At the time of their crash, the bottom half of the stairs, leading from the pit to the mansion were still in tact. Though quite a gap, with limited options, Richard told his daughter was he going to attempt to traverse the broken stairs and get help. He never returned.

Amy kept a journal during her time there. Her despair and frustration in each passing day was documented as rescue never came. In her deteriorating state over the three weeks, she became mentally unstable, hearing voices. Some speculate the voices were of the family members there. Amy died of starvation on the 21st day.

~~~~~

The wreckage of the plane was cleaned, and any evidence of the existence of Amy and Richard was removed. Except for the notebook, without which most of the information of the coming years would have been lost. Sadly, Amy and her father were only the first of a long line of victims to fall to Firewall.

The pattern was always the same. A small plane would be flying in rainy conditions. Someone at Firewall would use their systems to take over as Air Traffic Controller for the small plane, putting them on a path towards the facility. When they reached a certain location, the EMP would be detonated, the plane would lose power, and if all went well, they would crash land in the open pit. It is said an estimated 17 planes were manipulated in such a way, with only 13 making it into the facility with at least a survivor. No planes escaped.

At least 1 of the 4 to not survive is known to have crashed before Amy and Richard, but the plane missed the pit by almost a mile. A second plane crashed too early, almost hitting the mansion. The third plane made it into the pit, but was not able to stop before hitting the far wall. The 4th plane remains an oddity as it crash landed outside of the facility, but a single occupant. It is believed they died in the crash as the pilot was never heard from again. However, later evidence suggests they did survive, and were captured.

As the planes went missing over the years, Firewall became a myth amongst pilots. Several knew of the vanishing planes, but as none had been found, most thought it was simply a myth. Some of the more experienced pilots believed the myth to be based in facts.

This included Mark Pine, pilot of Alaskan 1075. Holding a few dozen people on board, it was the largest plane to be targeted by Firewall. The routine was kept. A storm grew over the area of Firewall. The flight was redirected. When they reached a predetermined location, an EMP was detonated, causing the flight to lose power. Whether from the pulse, or by other means, one of the engines began to smoke. With no power, the pilots were forced to glide the plane to safety. At first the believed they would be able to bring the plane to a nearby airport, however Captain Pine recognized the situation and knew it would be impossible. They were well out of range of any airports.

The power in the flight also failed to restart. Pine and his copilot had no other choice than to attempt to land the plane in the wilderness. As many had done before them, they spotted the opening, circled around, and came in to land. It was a rough landing, erupting the engines into flames. The plane came to a rest mere feet from the end wall. There were several injuries, but no deaths during the crash. Everyone on board managed to successfully escape the plane before it was engulfed in flames.

At the word of Pine, several passengers and crew helped unload as much of the luggage as they could before it was consumed by the growing fire. Some of these passengers expressed their concerns, but in a mix of adrenaline and confusion, helped anyways. The crash of Alaska 1075 was early in the morning, and according to Pine, took place at just after 3AM.

Throughout the night, Pine attempted to call for help. Though none of the other electronics were working, his emergency radio had been shielded and still functioned. He received but one answer. “There’s no one out there.” It was later discovered the reply came from Mercury, who had himself shielded a radio. His late journals would detail his ever growing discomfort with the doings of his mother and the rest of his family. He had planned to help the survivors of the plane escape.

This plan was discovered by his mother, who immediately called for his death. Despite being tied at the arms, Mercury was able to run out into the pit during the night. There, his death was witnessed by two of the passengers. James (Ryan) King, and Aria Airington. The two had just met moments before, and during a conversation, heard Mercury escaping into the pit.

After witnessing the murder, the two ran back to their companions. Ryan and been traveling with his best friend, Cole, and Cole’s girlfriend Liliana (Lilly) Idalia. Before returning to his friends, Ryan and Aria ran into a younger girl name Charlotte.

When morning rolled around, the passengers quickly realized their unusual predicament. While Captain Pine urged the passengers to stay near the plane, as smoke still billowed into the sky, several of the younger passengers wandered off, wanting a look around.

Charlotte and Aria followed the path of one of the walls, and in doing so, discovered the tunnels inside, and the broken stairs at the end. However, there were some noticeable differences from the time of Amy and Richard. No doors were present anywhere, but in the stalls of the bathroom. Florescent lights filled the bathroom and the entire area was in significantly better condition. Most notably, the upper half of the stairs remained. The lower half was gone. For this reason, it is believed one of the early victims did escape and the woman later changed the design.

When the young girls returned, they went with their group to report their findings to the Captain. Pine would then entrust the young group to help help him going forward. They were to ensure the other passengers would stay by the plane, and help find whatever information they could.

In this time, another one of the passengers, Alice Dael, came to the group. Though she had also explored earlier that morning, she claimed to have not seen the tunnels found by Aria and Charlotte. This prompted the group to go and explore, and in doing so, they discovered the kitchen was now filled with fresh food. It was in this exploration they would come across the notebook left by all those before them.

As the day moved on, it became very apparent to the passengers rescue was not coming yet. Not wanting to sleep on the cold of the ground again, several of the passengers relocated to the rooms discovered earlier that day. It is said not a single one of them expected the walls themselves to close, shutting them in. Several of the survivors now suffer PTSD from the nights forcibly spent in those rooms.

On the next day, an entire array of breakfast foods had been left out in the kitchen. After eating, the young group realized the difference in the stairs from the time of Amy to their own. They go and investigate, and while doing so, it begins to rain. Several of the survivors now suffer PTSD when it rains.

During the rain, to wall opposite to where the plane lay opened up, revealing what was described only as an ‘army of beasts of men’. Humans, extorted to unfathomable sizes, fueled in anger, but their humanity was so far gone, they became more like beasts. With no warning, and no caution, they attacked the passengers.

Several ran, some fought. In the chaos, the lower half of the stairs moved back into the position, allowed an escape route. Cole was able to make it to the top of the stairs, at the same time as another passenger, but as neither Lilly nor Ryan was able to make it with him, he returned to the pit. When he found Lilly, as quickly as the attack began, it ended. The beasts retreated, and all was silent. In the end, only a single passenger was killed.

Along with the sole death, 5 other passengers had gone missing, including Alice, who was showering during the attack. There was a new mood amongst those there. The accident was no longer an accident. Captain Pine attempted to keep control, but hope was very quickly being lost.

As the second day went on, Ryan read more of the journal, discovering and seeing the progression of the facility. He would be the first of Alaska 1075 to write in the book.

When night fell on day 2, a pyre was held for the man who had died. Captain Pine, knowing the chances of rescue were almost non-existent, was the one to suggest the idea. He would later say he regretted not telling others sooner of his knowledge, but in every passing moment, he hoped he was wrong.

It was several more days until the rain came again. A young mother was killed. The food was still made fresh every morning, for lunch, and for dinner. It was always enough to serve those there.

After the second attack, the young group, with the help of the Captain, formed a plan. In reading the notebook, and with sightings from Aria, Ryan learned of the woman. Aria had seen her several times, and they believed she was the one leaving the food. They had come to know the doors into the tunnels would close at certain times throughout the day, for but half an hour, and of course through the night.

That night, the plan went into effect, and the Ryan was able to capture ‘Liz’. They would learn several things from the young girl. Though most of it was taken with a grain of salt as she was clearly mentally unstable. It was discovered Liz had been the one making the food, and they would later discover she was the one who made sure the notebook was always found.

The next day, the rain came again, and another victim fell. Every time, only 1 passenger was killed. This lead to the idea of sacrifices or volunteers. The thought of rescue was long gone from the minds of the passengers. Desperation began to fill the air, as the colder weather was settling in.

Seeing the hopelessness in those around her, and with another sighting of the woman, Aria openly speaks out against her, stating she would be no sacrifice. She would not die. That night, Aria is kidnapped from her room. In the morning, she is found in the same spot Mercury was killed. Her arms are tied behind her back, and her mouth has been sewn shut.

It begins to snow lightly. The beasts return. This occasion was notably different however, as at the lead, was Velia. Having let Liz go in order for her to be able to continue to help, Cole and the others were confused to see who they thought was her there, leading the charge. At the time, they were unaware of Liz’s nature as a twin.

Cole and Lilly immediately went to Aria and were able to help free her arms. Several of the beasts charged the two and threw them off of Aria. They began to attack the girl, causing her to scream so much, she was able to rip open her mouth. Lilly ran to Cole, who had been smacked against the wall. Velia stabbed her through the heart. With a smile on her face, and in a simple motion of her hand, Velia ordered the retreat of the beasts. Lilly would not survive.

Like the others, Lilly’s body was burned and a new plan was made. Every time it rained or snowed, the stairs would fully form. With nothing left to lose, Cole would reach the top again. Several days later, when it snowed again, he did just that. When he reached the top, he was met face to face with the woman, who sat around a table with Velia, Liz, Alice and 3 other passengers. The 5th passenger’s body had been discovered in the the day before.

The woman would tell Cole she gad been waiting for him, and would invite him to join. Hesitantly, he sat down and partook in their drinks, only to find himself drugged, and waking up in a room in the mansion. Now on the inside, and with more access to Liz, he was able to start piecing together the clues.

Cole would learn of the EMP, of Firewall, of the SSUN, and how their plane was redirected. He would learn of how the whole system was kept operational, and how the beasts came to be. This would include meeting with Richard, who had been turned into a beast.

With Liz’s help, Cole kept in constant communication with his other passengers, but despite being able to return to the pit, he knew better than to do so. The woman was unaware of his communication with the others, and he had to ensure it stayed like that. In the coming days and weeks though, the food Liz was able to give grew less and less. With Cole’s knowledge, he was able to help the others know of when attacks would come, but still, 1 would always die.

With food running out, those stuck in the pit grew desperate, and Cole knew he had to do something. With Liz’s help, he was taken down to the depths of Firewall where he finally destroyed the power source. This kept all the doors permanently open.

Cole was invited to a lunch with the woman, who knew of what he had done. Cole spoke about how he knew he would not survive past the day. For in his knowledge gained in the time stuck in the mansion, he was successfully able to poison the woman’s drink. This lead to the immediate order of his execution.

When morning came around, Cole was found chained to the floor in the same spot Mercury and Aria and been. Despite attempts to free him, he never was. With all the doors open, the beasts marched forward. Velia was with them, angered at the death of her mother. Liz, having cared over Mercury, intervened. The two would fight.

When all was said and done, Only about 15 passengers would remain. Liz would defeat Velia and in turn, take control of the beasts. Richard, having been shown kindness from Cole, would also lead several others to help defend the passengers. With Firewall now destroyed, they were able to call for help. Within a day, rescue crews arrived.

Many of the survivors faced sever rehabilitation, including ‘Liz’. She would be taken to a mental hospital, and due to the unknown nature of her family, was kept separate from the others. Several years after arriving, not wanting any trouble, her death was ordered. Having learned of this, her caretaker would help her escape, and the two would run off to Wyoming.

Here, they would meet up with Ryan and Aria who had been attempting to find, and free, Liz. The two would have moved out there, wanting to live in a quite place, but not in the state of which their nightmares occurred. While staying with Ryan and Aria, they received a surprise visit from Cole.

Here, Cole would explain how during their time in Firewall, when it first rained, he was the 5th person to reach the top. This meant he was immune from the beasts. None of them could harm him, even under orders of execution.

They five would live their days in peace.

The notebook of Firewall was wildly publicized, as in many cases, it became the only account of what took place in that remote location in Alaska. For the most part, the entries and dated, and the author is known. The final entry remains unknown however. Some speculate the woman herself wrote it. Others say it was Cole.

Either way, it was the end.

~~~~

That is the (abridged) full story of Firewall.

 

 

 

 

The rapscallion that showed me the stars.

In May of 2004, my family and I moved into a new home. Most of the transporting and hard labor was done while my sister and I were at school, so when we arrived home that day, all we really had to do was settle in.

My father and I went out to our new porch and looked upon what was to be our new neighborhood. I cared not for the boxes haphazardly piled into the garage, or the beautiful pine growing in our lawn. What caught my attention, what I was interested in, was the little boy about my age, playing catch with his father. I was a huge fan of baseball and, some would say, in desperate need of a friend. It was the perfect opportunity.

I asked my father if we could go over and say hello, but as it had been raining lightly, he asked me to wait until the weather cleared. According to my dad, it never did. Months later our two families found each other at another neighbor’s birthday. I was determined to say hello.

I had seen this young boy playing with his younger sister outside all the time. When I was playing baseball by myself, the two of them were messing around or racing each other. Her on her tricycle, him on his scooter. More than once I wished to join, but I had yet to build the confidence in myself. At the time, venturing across the street might as well have been a journey across the world.

There at that birthday party, they had a clown. He was making balloon animals for everyone, and his sister asked if he could make her a fruit basket. The clown slightly inflated a small green balloon and handed it to her. It was a pear. The rest of the basket was imaginary. I had my chance.

With every last inch of me scared, I turned to this boy and said, “Hi, what’s your name?”

“Anthony.” He responded sheepishly as he turned away. I didn’t really know where to go from there, so I didn’t say anything else. I ended up talking to his father about Revenge of the Sith, and I knew this family was something.

Not too long later I was once again playing outside by myself when I noticed the two of them had left their bikes in their driveways and disappeared. I stayed outside, watching over their bikes, worried something might happen. When they returned from their dinner, I knew the moment had come. I marched across the street and went to the sister who had emerged first.

“You know, you really shouldn’t leave your bikes out here. Someone might steal them.” Not the best hello, but it was enough, and it worked. Anthony came out moments later and we started hanging out. That day. The next day. Onward.

We made plans to build our own car, and even tried. Twice. We created our own mini soccer tournament and even built a small trophy to go with it. He showed me the wondrous world of video games, came over for makeshift piano recitals and talked with me endlessly about Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Every day I would come home from school and wait for him. We’d mess around, usually until his mom came home, where we would then continue to hang out. In the summers we would launch rockets together, and chase after them. We’d set off fireworks, even though we weren’t supposed to. Then we’d set off more.

In the winter we planned out a giant snowball fight that would encompass the entire street, which of course, we had divided into the North and South. One time we even tried to catch a leaf of fire, and he diligently reminded me the Sun was in fact more powerful than a flashlight.

We created our own game in his basement. We made countless videos, and even more memories. We became best friends, and we became brothers.

Anthony helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life, always standing there with a smile on his face, knowing when to listen. Even when I did something dumb, he always helped steer me straight again. Whenever I would get angry, he would remain calm. Whenever I was flustered or frustrated, he had such a nonchalant attitude, I couldn’t help but not care about my problems anymore.

With him, the world kept turning, and it was going to be OK.

When we finished High School, he sat down with me and listened as I talked about wanting to travel the world. Then he came and said goodbye the day I left to do just that. When I came back, he was ready to hear all the stories and share those he had been waiting to tell.

Because the wonderful thing about Anthony, besides everything, is just how smart he really is. Smart is an understatement. This man is absolutely one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. That is saying something.

Anthony tended to be busy during the school year, as one is, so we never really got to talk much. If he wasn’t sending something to space, he was learning how to, or taking care of the younger students, or finding some way to outdo himself yet again.

Yet, he never forgot me. Every time he came back we would talk for hours about our adventures and lives. He would show me what he had been up to, and it was always so amazing. He even showed me how to spot satellites, and every time I look up at the night sky, I look for them now.

Every time I look up at the night sky, I think of my best friend. My brother.

Because the amazing thing about Anthony, is in his incredibly intelligence and all it is, he is even more down to Earth and one of the most humble people I have ever met. And he’s a giant goofball.

Today, I got to see that goofball graduate. Aerospace Engineering. Wow. Ten years ago we were launching toy rockets from a field a block away, and now, that’s his life. Now he gets to help with the real thing. I couldn’t be more proud.

Anthony is not the greatest friend I could ever ask for. That would be an insult. He is far, far more. I am truly privileged to be able to call him my friend.

I wish him the best of luck going forward, and I was so ready to hear all the wonderful stories I am sure will come.

Congratulations Anthony! You’re one of a kind ya big goof.

 

The Exploration of Reality

The future is a complicated topic to discuss. To many it is the unknown of what is to come, and to most, that idea is true. What comes tomorrow comes. Events will take place, and whatever they may be is generally outside of our control. We, as humans, simply cannot know what comes next.

We have become pretty good at predicting what tomorrow might bring. In more ways than one. Hourly weather reports, scheduled events, and others of like help us have an idea of what may come. Even still, jokes of the weatherman always being wrong exist.

What if the weatherman wasn’t wrong?

My father, and more recently I, have been exploring, learning, and creating the idea of the Emerging Future. A future which one creates themselves. A future which not only adapts to the present, but also helps mold it. Of course, in reality, the two are one in the same.

If the future is unknown, instead of predicting, how does one shape what might come?

There is no need for a weatherman when you control the rain.

With this idea, when I meet someone new, there is a question I always try to ask. I do this to help me better understand them, and more importantly, their mentality. The question itself is quite simple. It is the discussion afterwards where the real interest lies. It is here where I can truly probe the mind of the person.

The question is: “If you knew what was to come, and it wasn’t necessarily good, would you still go down that path?”

If somehow, it was possible to see what is to come, and it didn’t necessarily end well, would it be worth going down that path then? Or would it be better to try and take a new path, one with a different outcome?

Because of the nature of the question, the discussion inevitably will come back around to whether or not it is even possible to change the outcome. If one has seen the future, is that not then what is to come? Obviously countless forms of entertainment have ventured into stories of changing the future, usually leading to drastic results. The idea of changing the future is not new.

These discussion tend to be with casual fans of baseball. They can understand the future, but not quite how it interacts with the present. They understand the future can be changed, but not how.

Then some conversations will begin to ask not if the outcome could be changed, but if it should be changed. They outcome they saw was that way for a reason. Their life would take them to that point, and would it not then be reasonable to walk that path as the end is known?

I’ve discussed in length society’s fear of the unknown. For some simply having knowledge of what comes next, good or bad, is better than remaining blind. But those who see the option and ask whether it should be taken or not, are not blind. Simply ignorant. These are the fans who know the ground-rule double.

Then very few conversations will truly tell me why they would remain on the path, or why they would attempt to change it. They will focus in on a single word of the question. “Necessarily.” What does “wasn’t necessarily good” mean?

I never intended to the question to imply the end result was some miserable existence. In fact, it doesn’t mean anything like that. These people tend to begin asking the deeper questions. They ask whether or not they should even try to change the result, not because the known is easier, but instead because not everything might be bad.

Maybe the life lived between the asking of the question and the end seen are some of the most amazing years of one’s life. Maybe something incredible happens! The end result was not necessarily good, but that does not mean the existence or time before then was too. So maybe it would be worth walking the path to see what it would offer. If it starts looking bad, there’s always time to change.

These are the conversations from the people who know of the balk. They are very well aware of the rules, and they find interesting ways to show it.

But only once have I met someone who saw beyond the game. I met her quite recently, and though I am still new in her life, she has proven to be something quite special and interesting. To her, there is no box to thing outside of. Just the one others keep attempting to draw around her.

When I first brought forth the question, she responded in a way unlike any other. There was no question of clarification. She understood what it was I was asking. There was no discussion on whether or not she should or should not walk the path. There was no discussion on her future. Instead, what I asked her the question, she responded with a four word question of her own.

“What have you seen?”

I saw a girl who didn’t care for the game of baseball.

The Disappointment of Reality

My thoughts on this subject are still cluttered. I am certain once I get some sleep, and some time passes, they will become more focused. Still, I find it important to write about.

Over the last few months, every Sunday, I have leading a small youth group. These kids range from age 11 to age 18. They are all Hispanic. The majority of them are 14 or 15. Meaning, most of the kids I teach are going through several transitional periods right now.

A lot of these kids self-harmed, or attempted suicide in one way or another. I had made it my goal to help prepare these kids for their future, and to help them want a future. That was my plan. I wanted to help kids, going through a rough time, be ready for the next step.

There was never a moment I took it lightly. The classes, though important to the kids, were also therapeutic for me. I was able to use these classes as a way to help express my own thoughts, and go through my own recovery, while ensuring no one else in that room would have to do the same.

There were certainly some days I had not planned as well I would have liked. Some days were completely improvised – such as the day focused on Rachel Joy Scott’s story. I still had a plan throughout the course. There was a point I was going towards.

That point will never come now.

My classes were cancelled.

If you ask those who cancelled them, they will say otherwise. They will say today was always going to be the final course. If that were true, I would likely be writing something completely different tonight. I would probably be writing about the course ending, and I’d likely be given a summary of my thoughts.

Instead, I’m left disappointed and angry. I had absolutely no idea today would be the final class until I showed up. If you know me, you should know better than to tell me I will no longer be doing something on the day I’m meant to do it.

They had more than plenty of ways to contact me. We have been meeting for weeks. At no point did a single person inform me the classes would not be finishing at the end of May. No one came up to me and told me the classes were done today.

What’s most disappointing, is how this isn’t the only time this group (they) interfered with me and my classes. My classes directed to a group of kids where half of them have attempted suicide.

I have had several classes completely ruined by interference. Classes where they planned out a car was for the first 45 minutes, without consulting me over this at all. Not only was I then given only 15 minutes to speak, the car was ended up being completely useless.

I have had a class completely derailed on more than one occasion by someone wanting to ‘get involved’. Though I appreciate that, and I certainly do, I was the one placed in charge. It was my class. It was a class I preferred to describe as a conversation, but guided and directed conversation nonetheless.

I have had someone who was asked not to be there, be there first of all, but then also completely change the layout of the room, yell at my students, and suck the mood out of the room.

I was approached and asked to take on a leadership role in this group to help these kids, and not a single other person took it seriously. No one on their end seemed to care, and I don’t think any of them did. They will tell you otherwise, but they are the casual fans of baseball.

I wanted to open their minds. I wanted to help them see beyond the game, and find that life worth living. I was stripped of that chance. It’s insulting. I can understand when one week I am unable to be paid. But when I am promised to be compensated the following week, and months later the money is still nowhere to be seen, it is hard to trust anyone there. Especially when they do it again.

What’s truly insulting about it all, and what angers me, is the lack of acknowledgement that I am my own person. I took time out of my life to be there. Every single week. I would much rather be doing other things. Sleeping. Watching soccer. Not working. But I found it important to go there, and be there with those kids. I found it important to teach them and learn from them. I made it so I was not available at my real job on Sunday’s, just so I could always go. Even when I did have to work, I left early to be there.

Yet they come up to me and ask if I want to keep the classes going. Of course I do! They should be going for another 4 weeks! Instead, now they want to restart the classes in 4 weeks, at a different time. When I told them that would be difficult for me, they seemed confused. If I could make it at 3:30, how come I couldn’t go at 1?

The answer is simple. I live off of my own schedule. Not theirs. If I don’t work my normal job, I don’t set an alarm. When I don’t set an alarm, I don’t wake up until noon, sometimes later. That’s problem number 1. Number 2 would be that at the 3:30 time, I can still work, leave slightly early, and and everything would be OK. At the 1pm time, I have to miss the entire day. Number 3, less students will go.

There were only 10 students there today, which is just under half of the total group. If we continue in 3 weeks time, I have no idea how many of them will show up. We were supposed to talk about that in today’s class. —

-Actually no, we weren’t. We were supposed to talk about the Depression of Reality.—

They asked me to talk about if we wanted the classes to keep going. The same guy who derailed the class on more than once occasion, decided to speak up and take charge. Disappointed, I let him. At that point I didn’t care. I should have.

He talked about how the new classes would not be Futuro Emergente. Yes, they will. They will be something completely different. No, they won’t. And the classes are going to be part of their first hour. I don’t teach or get involved in religious teachings. I have studied the religious mind, but that is completely different. He ended by saying they would be called our catch phrase, Hummen Been. They I like it, no they won’t.

Hummen Been was someone’s attempt to spell ‘human being’. It became an ongoing joke and a staple of the class. Without being able to complete the final lesson, and revisit the very reason ‘hummen been’ exists, it’s essentially become useless.

I spoke with my father after I left the class today and I made some things clear. It was mainly so I could express myself in the moment as I couldn’t with those in the group.

First, this whole thing was absolutely ridiculous. Of that, there was no doubt. Second, I absolutely wanted the classes to keep going. They were and are important to me. Third, if they do continue, this time it will be under my terms. I would want a contract.

I don’t like playing mean. I don’t want to take advantage of people. But I also cannot allow the opposite to take place. Whether that was their intention or not, that is what happened. I hate setting rules, but there would be rules. And I would probably have to ask a few people to not return. Good people, but bad for the group.

As I sit here and write this, I can recognize how annoyed I am with the whole situation. It should not have happened, but poor planning and sudden changes killed it. The problems I’ve listed, and the problems I haven’t, make me extremely hesitant to keep going. It’s almost not worth.

It is disappointing.

The Depression of Reality

In a game of baseball when a batter steps up to the plate, he does not merely walk to the box and swing. When a batter is standing at the plate, a tremendous amount of unseen preparation has gone into that moment.

It all starts in the dugout. From there the upcoming batter will watch as his teammate faces off against the opposing pitcher. He will learn what he can from a distance. He will try to pick up on any tells the pitcher might give. If even the slightest advantage shows itself, he will want to know.

Then the upcoming batter will move to the on-deck circle. Here, he begins to practice his swings, usually using hitting devices to try and increase the batter’s bat velocity. Here, they watch the pitches a bit more closely. They practice their swings thoroughly, and they prepare mentally and physically to bat.

Finally, the move to the batter’s box. There work is not done though. Here, every batter will find a comfortable stance inside the box. Whether it is close to the front, or pinned against the back of the box. Then, using the information they’ve carefully studied before reaching the box, they analyze the information they receive in the box to attempt and perform at the best of their ability. In other words, they try to hit the ball.

It doesn’t always work. It is not an easy task, but when done well, the work is invisible. The analysis from the dugout, the practice from the circle, the countless hours of watching tape, all goes unnoticed. Ironically so. Despite the work clearly being there, it remains unseen.

Growing up, baseball was my absolute favorite game. I would watch the Rockies any time I found them playing. Even though they are generally a terrible team, I would still sit down and watch. I didn’t really understand the rules back then. Like anyone, I was able to comprehend strikes, balls, and outs. It upset me when a player wouldn’t just hit a home run, and I thought a 3-2 count was one of the best parts of the game.

I had no idea of the complexity that goes into what is honestly a simple game. There is an understand, a flow. There is a proper way to play the game of baseball. Up on a 3-0 count? Don’t swing on the next pitch. Ever. Such a simple idea, but my young mind could not understand it.

As I went into middle school, minus their one amazing year in 2007, I didn’t really watch much of the Rockies, or baseball in general. It was too slow-paced for me. It took too long, and not much happened. Sure, on the occasion I would see how they were doing, but for the most part my focus has switched to soccer.

Then last year, while closing one night, one of my coworkers put the game on. I heard it. The old semi-poor quality of an AM radio call. I found myself focusing mainly on the game that night, and my interest was renewed. I started to watch the Rockies again, and the though the game is still very slow at times, it’s completely different to me. I understand it now.

Sure, it might take 6 1/2 innings for a run to be scored, but I can recognize the ability of the pitchers, instead of blaming the batters. I understand why they switch pitchers, what a shift means, and I can see a much bigger picture than I was previously able to. All it took, was someone turning on the radio.

When I look at society I see the mind of my young self. I see a recognition of the game, but not an understanding. Not from stupidity, but instead from of knowledge. From of lack of knowing there is more. There is an ignorance, cancerous in nature, if not caught and treated.

It is frustrating.

Most people recognize the game. Some care to learn the rules. The effort it takes to speak with either group is more than I am willing, or often times capable, of putting in most days. Not from a lack of care. Quite the opposite. I would love to sit down and talk with people, but more often than not, it is quite literally pointless.

The conversations go nowhere. People are focused on the most trivial of matters. Time is completely misunderstood, and any attempt made at having a deeper, more profound conversation is met with a single word.

Weird.

Those who recognize the game are comfortable in their position. They watch, learn the basics, and that is that. When something inevitably goes differently than how they anticipated it would, it is not from a lack of understanding, but instead it is always because something else had to be wrong.

Years ago, during one of the countless games I watched, Todd Helton was up to bat. He hit the ball, it went deep, and then bounced into the stands. I was angry that he did not keep running after second. It didn’t make sense. I knew a home run was when the ball went over the wall, and this ball went over the wall. It was weird.

In reality, it was the ground-rule double, and everything went exactly as it should have.

But even in the sport of baseball, an attempt to explain such a rule to a casual fan would likely be met with a dismissive statement along the lines of, “That’s dumb.” The conversation would end there.

I have given up on attempting to explain the ground-rule double.

Those who understand the rules are more open to talk, and usually the conversations will run deeper, but often times it is met with similar results. The initial conversations might be nice, but eventually and inevitably the same road block will always appear.

For both with groups, I always begin in the dugout. I observe and watch. I will listen and see. I will find any advantage I can. I will look for the slightest of sparks attempting to show there is something greater within. Then I move to the circle. I make jokes. I say hi. I will take swings to see where it gets me. I will literally rehearse conversations, and think about the outcomes of situations yet to happen. Then I will swing, and find the best way to handle them.

Finally, I will step into the box. I will find my position. I will ready myself, and I will try to hold a conversation. But the same road block appears time and time again.

If a runner is on base, and the pitcher begins a clear pitching motion, but then stops (meaning for any reason the pitch is NOT thrown to the batter), a balk is given. Any runners on base advance forward. There is no point to even attempt to explain a balk. It rarely happens. It is simple, but has quite a few different ways to be called.

In life, in society, I can’t converse with most people I meet. Most barely understand one thing at a time. In life, in society, I am looking for the third group of people. There are not many of them out there, but they exist.

I’m looking for the people who turned off the TV and realized there is no game.

Those around, namely at work, have no idea the effort I put in to speak with them. Few of them, those who have known me for about a year now, have seen seen me as I am, and not as the caricature I play at work.

If they want to think there is a game, then why not make up some rules?

To put all this simply- It is frustrating to be around those with such tiny, tiny intellects.

The Edge of the Universe *A Short Story*

Not many believe in destiny. It’s a strange concept, to believe in a set path you are always walking, determined to lead you where you are meant to be. I never once doubted the concept, as I was born on Saturday, July 20th, 2069. My destiny flowed within my very veins.

Growing up, I was absolutely fascinated with the cosmos. I took every change, every opportunity, to learn more. To extend my knowledge of the unknown and push the boundaries forward. I learned of the planets, and the stars beyond them. Of the nebulae, and the galaxies beyond them. I learned of the local clusters, the super clusters, the black holes, dark matter, and everything there was to learn. I pushed my knowledge to its limits, ever expanding.

I took this knowledge with me as I moved forward in life. My eyes, my mind, were always focused on the stars. At my birth, we had already returned to the Moon. We had gone to Mars, and the moons of Jupiter. As I grew up, we established several mining operations on the asteroids beyond Mars. Our technology was expanding at a tremendous rate.

By the time I hit college, space travel was as easy as a trip to the store. It was a trip to the store. Our travel speeds grew faster and faster until we finally found a way to break the speed of light. With this newfound knowledge, our reach went beyond the stars themselves, and a new project was coined.

We had conquered the Earth, the Moon, and the planets beyond. The stars became ours. The Galaxy was but a stepping stone. Our reach was endless, and so we wanted to find the end. We wanted to find the edge of the galaxy. Once thought an impossible task, we learned it could be done.

It was my destiny.

I joined the program. I tried, and I studied, and I learned. I went onwards, pushing myself to the absolute limit. I needed to go. I completed every task perfectly and still found the way to improve. I became my biggest critique. I taught those who were teaching me. I had to be on that crew.

Finally, the day came to choose. My efforts were not in vain. There was no doubt. No second thought. I would be the lead. I was to be the Captain. The mission was mine. With me, there would be one other. A man who had trained almost as hard, but knew just as much. I could have no other at my side.

The training continued for several more years, growing more and more rigorous with each passing day. Our technology improved with our knowledge. It took mere minutes to travel to the nearest galaxies. Though it would still take years to reach the edge of the universe.

The day came to take off. July 20th, 2097. As if it could have been any other day.

Our launch was successful, and we were on our way. Anything outside our capsule was but a blur. For my companion and I, but a few months would pass at our speed. Two years would pass on Earth. When that day came, we sat in our chairs, facing the window, eagerly anticipating to witness what no man has ever seen.

Our capsule decelerated, the blur outside the window focused. There it was. The edge of the universe. The void. The nothingness. So empty, no words exist to describe what we could not even see. There, at my destiny, I could not find myself excited. My companion could not help but notice.

There in the void, at the edge of the universe, I turned to him and said, “I have achieved all I have wanted, but there is nothing to look forward to.”

😉

–Don’t worry, that’s all behind him now. 🙂

A Letter to a Character *A Short Story*

Dear A,

You are not the character I wanted you to be. When we first met, my thoughts were on others. I remembered you. I cared. But I did not focus on you. You were not the character I wanted you to be.

When discussions of you first began, I had imagined someone different. Long red hair. Freckles dotting your face. A touch of insecurity so there could be a story to discover. All capped off with a nearly-perfect body.

Yet, when you came to be, I did not recognize you. Your hair was not red, but blonde. There were absolutely no freckles on your face, and your body was far from my definition of perfect. You were not my character. You were simply there.

You never went away though, and it was almost as if you were trying to enter my life. Like you wanted to be there. Though I never tried to get rid of you, nor did I want to, I didn’t really want you. You were just there.

As my time with other characters came and went, you persisted. You never gave up. You never stopped being you.

One day, I opened my eyes, she whom I’ve seen a thousand times, and still, my eyes gazed upon someone new. Someone different. Your blonde hair had become red. You had no freckles, but instead dimples placed so precisely on the end of a perfect smile, that when it shines, it makes the world go round.

Your body was not my definition of perfect, but my definition had to change. The perfection, the real you, came not from what you looked like, but from who you really came to be. Smart, but careful to show it. Funny, but careful to be serious. More than anything, you were caring. You showed love.

I gazed upon you and what I found was not the character I had created. You were not what I had wanted. Still, you understood me. You helped me. You grew with me, and changed me, and you in this, you became the character I needed.

And I became yours.