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Two Sides.



You're a failure, you know.

Shut up.

You can't keep me quiet, you should know that by now.

I can ignore you, can't I?

You think you can, but over time I have an effect. You know that as well.

Fine then, let's talk. Why, pray tell, am I a failure?

What have you achieved with your life?

That is why you are a failure.

What does anyone achieve with his life, really? Life is just the interval between birth and death.

You keep on telling yourself that. You'll never believe it.

I've achieved nothing with my life. Granted. What was I to have accomplished by this point anyway?

You already know.

Are you referring to the expectations people have had of me?

Which people?

You mean my parents?

Among others, yes.

How have I failed my parents?

Are you a good little Christian boy Robert?

I believe in God, yes.

But are you a 'good little Christian boy', Robbie?

Go to hell.

That's exactly the sinful attitude to which I'm referring.

You aren't funny when you imitate them, not at all.

Technically I'm not imitating them, you are. Because I'm you, and you're me.

So I'm the one imitating them then. What's your point?

My point is that you know exactly how you've failed your parents. You're a fallen Christian in their eyes, you're going to hell, and you know just how much that hurts them. You cause them nothing but pain and shame for what their sweet little child has turned into - a monster.

Could you please go away?

No. It's your fault you're this way, no one else's. You know that too.

They're unreasonable. They have no right to judge me and my faith and to lay odds on my salvation or lack thereof. They're bigoted, self-righteous fanatical, and furthermore -

And they're your parents and you know they're right.

No! I'm not the way they think I am! I'm just different…

So different in fact, that you can't go to church with them. You can't discuss your beliefs with them, your viewpoints, virtually anything about you. You're completely different from them, and completely a failure. Black sheep of the family, mailman's child, and bastard - take your pick.

Shut up! Generation gaps have caused the same misunderstandings in the past and the Christian religion has managed to continue. Just because we differ on some points doesn't mean that I'm a hell-bound infidel.

You like the darkness, don't you?

Please stop it now.

You prefer nighttime to the day, and darkness to light. That's fairly revealing of your nature, biblically, wouldn't you say so, son?

I'd much prefer it if you'd abstain from quoting my father.

Still has a bit of an emotional hold over you, does he?

You'd know as well as I.

Lost your faith in God, poor boy. So far removed from the happy little churchgoers around you. I'll bet you feel nothing during praise and worship time, absolutely nothing. Am I right? You stand there singing, listening to your own voice and the others around you, and making observations. You can't stop your mind from working in analytical overdrive, as usual. Just looking around, gathering data, speculating on what the other people feel. You're cut off from God, He has no interest in deviants like yourself.

If God hasn't seen fit to give me normal emotional responses to worship, so be it.

You don't have any normal emotional responses anymore, do you?

I have emotions. Granted I'm not certain if I'm just bad at handling and expressing them or if they're really that sparse…

People jokingly call you a robot for good reason. You hide what few feelings you do have. Are such feelings a sign of further weakness and failure to you?

Let's just say I don't like to be vulnerable.

So you suppress most of your feelings? No wonder you're so screwed up.

You sound like my ex.

Speaking of screwed up…

Let's not talk about it.

Sensitive about her are we? I bet you're still in love with her.

I was never out of love.

Oh yes, love's forever, isn't it?

Shut up.

You fall in love once in your life, and if you screw that up, well… one life to live, right? Or should I say imitation of life. You'll never get over her, you know. She's another big failure on your list.

It wasn't my fault.

The hell it wasn't. You loved her, you promised you'd never leave, you stayed with her for awhile and when the going got rough, you got the hell out of there.

That's not quite what happened, and you know that. We were together three and a half years.

"Together" were you?

Emotionally joined, we were rarely physically together.

Dependence on another really screwed you up didn't it? It took everything out of you to let yourself trust another person that much, and just when you were becoming two halves forming a whole, you left her. Now you're just a pitiful shell, not even half a human being anymore.

I'd really rather not talk about this.

Oh let's not ignore the past, especially one which you brought upon yourself, shall we? You fought your parents and rebelled repeatedly every minute of your relationship with her. They didn't like her from the start, especially since she wasn't a Christian. Perhaps she caused the start of your sinful ways?

I never intended to fall in love. I didn't know that I'd be too revealing online rather than in person. It never would have happened if we'd met in person. I'm very protective of myself, I just slipped once.

And that once made you go against everything you had been taught. Quite the hopeless romantic, aren't we?

You threw away your family like so much garbage to pursue being loved. You're pathetic, you know that?

Can you please give it a rest? I know what I did, and I'm not sure I regret my actions. She did become a Christian you'll recall. So it wasn't all for nothing, at least I changed her life.

Oh you surely did, you made her change colleges and live alone and end up a blubbering shell of a girl. When you met her she was normal, but within a few short years she was cutting her wrists for kicks, starving herself for fun, and staring at walls crying for hours for an encore.

Shut the fuck up!

Oh we've hardly come to the best part, have we? Then, after everything you put her through, you left her! Quite the gentleman and faithful lover! After everything your parents had said, they were right! They knew from the beginning what would happen and were trying in vain to save you from yourself!

My parents were completely clueless! They didn't know her at all, even at the end! They merely protested because she wasn't a Christian and they didn't trust her or me! And I did not cause her insanity! Her breakdown was no fault of mine, in fact I kept her going for years and kept her alive through the worst of it! If it hadn't been for me, she would have killed herself a few months after we met!

Oh I never for once doubted that you were, after all, a hero. I mean look at the chain of events - how could there be any doubt of your courage? You supported her for years, then just as you met her family and they fully accepted you, you dumped her! If that's not perfect protocol for a lover, then what indeed can it be?

Fine then, I loved, lost, and gave up on her. She's probably dead by now, and it's my entire fault. I've killed the only girl I ever loved by my inaction. Is that what you'd like to hear? I've failed my parents and my ex.

Let's not forget everyone else you've failed and the many other ways you're a failure.

My fault, what have I neglected to mention?

You've failed yourself. You're unworthy to live and definitely unworthy of being loved again. For such a sweet little boy, you certainly grew into a bitter and cynical old man of twenty-one. Anyone who looks into your eyes can see that you're dead inside. But the amusing part is, no one will ever look into your eyes again, not really. Rather they'll never look and be able to see. No one cares enough to see.

My ex saw. She could see all the times I'd been hurt over the years and remembered them. It's not my fault I have a perfect memory, another of God's curses I suppose.

Well she was certainly the first and the last - the beginning and the end, if you will. You're such a stickler for those symbolic Christian references. Look at you, you're repulsive. You're a fat, ugly, cold, cynical, geeky bastard. Only your cruelty stands out to people, you tease and mock and try to hurt them as best you can. Spread the pain, is that it? To look upon you is pain enough for everyone else.

Some have found me mildly attractive. There is yet hope.

Hope? Don't make me laugh. Hope is only going to hurt you more later. You might as well end it now and stop delaying the inevitable and prolonging your misery. Those who have found you attractive were only taking pity upon you, or in the case of your ex, were so warped by their love for you. But no one is ever going to love you again and you know that. Even if someone could, would you wish yourself upon someone? Do you really think any girl sweet enough to love you could possibly deserve a fate such as you?

Perhaps? At least I would know it was truly her choice to love me, since I would never seek attention or try to make someone love me. I'm not a manipulator.

Oh, but you are. You can play some people as if they were puppets, and you freely do. You're a liar and everything that is vile. If you can get your way through messing with someone's mind or using their affection for you, it's almost certain that you will.

I'm not like that anymore. Yes I can read people and guess their reactions before they occur, but that's all in the past and over with.

Pity, that's the only way you could ever sucker some girl into having any feelings for you. Actually, pity is the only feeling that any girl could have for you.

I hate pity. I'd rather be rejected than pitied.

Pity is what you'll get. You're mentally unbalanced, though you do a good job of hiding it. The proof is that you're constantly fighting with yourself - me. Your darker half will always win in the end. Would you really wish such a damaged piece of used humanity upon a girl good enough to pity you?

I don't intend to marry, you know I want to stay single.


Intend would be a better word, I suppose.

You don't suppose, you know. You want desperately to find a girl to love you and be loved by you and give you happiness and a family. You think you can undo all of the mistakes your parents made in having and raising you. But better you die single without reproducing. You're the mistake yourself, it's no fault of your parents. You spend too much time with your younger cousins as it is.

I love them, they're the closest I'll ever have to having sons of my own. When I'm with them I'm accepted and even admired. They look up to me…God knows why…maybe they see something that I can't.

You're a bad influence on them, your parents know that. That's why they stopped letting you be anything resembling a role model to younger kids at your church. You're nothing resembling a good role model - you're the scum of the earth and no one wants kids acting like you. Your cousins don't love you, they only love the illusion of freedom which you exude around them. You have your own car, your own toys, and they envy you your belongings. It's nothing more than that - you have something they want.

So no one loves me, is that it?

Quite the perceptive scholar, aren't we?

Has no one ever loved me then?

Your parents might have at one point, who knows? Though you were a bit of a wimp, you were an obedient wimp, and there's merit in that. When you rebelled… well now you're just a wimp. You're garbage to them, a wasted collection of time and effort on their parts.

She loved me.

Did she? Well even if she did - doesn't it strike you as beautifully ironic that the only person to ever love you was an insane girl? That's the state of mind required to love someone like you - complete insanity.

My sister then - is she insane?

You think she loves you? I seriously doubt it. She's a mirror of your parents. Yes she goes through her rebellious times, but overall she's what you aren't. She is of the same mind as your parents and the way you were in earlier years. You're the first model, the prototype. She's the newer, improved line of your family. She is a strong Christian, certain to marry well and maintain the same correct worldview as your parents - you're the failure.

So what have I to live for, then? Is that your argument?

It's your own argument as well, you consider it often enough.

That's merely because I believe one must have a reason to live in order to do so.

So what is your decision?

I'll quote myself - "So I will wait and watch awhile, hoping for that little smile."

© 2002 Robert H. Harrison