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  • Back then, I couldn't even imagine myself doing it. But when I did, it was never myself, rather a characterization of me. As if I weren't safe to even think what I wanted. I remember the one character, Isaiah, I named him. He was my first true self. The person through whom I would live. Live out my fantasies, live out my sorrow, live out my hate. Living vicariously through a nonexistent entity.

    This time, Isaiah was in California. I don't know where; it didn't really matter. I just knew- somehow- he was in a better place than me. He was at a payphone; he had been there for an hour without so much as touching the receiver. He had to be sure this is what he wanted to do. He picked up the phone, calmed himself, and dialed.

    I think it's funny that I very distinctly chose a payphone; shows how much of a technological leap I've seen. I'm in no way who I thought I was- or would be- back then. The whole world seems different that how I imagined it. Back then, though, I never thought in terms of eventualities. It was hard enough to see through the pain that clouded my mind. I was simpler, and in some ways, blissfully simple- although I'm sure I didn't see it as blissful back then.

    His mother answered the phone; he had hoped she would. She was who he wanted to talk with, who he longed to hear. It was late where she lived, he could hear the sleep in her voice. As soon as she heard his voice, though, that sleep turned to sadness, to concern. He almost cried hearing her in this state; further down, there he felt a definite feeling of joy. As though she could finally feel what he had kept inside for so long. Maybe now she could understand how he felt. That's all he wanted, was understanding.

    I think life lessons are an amazing thing. I never realized how much I expected yet in return, gave nothing. A sense of entitlement has plagued me most my life. I'm not sure exactly why, either. I never had much, never took much, yet felt I somehow innately deserved; deserved so much. Maybe it was religion, teaching me that for the price of one commitment, I gained heaven as an eternal reward. Religion, I feel has many untruths such as that. I find it fortunate I was able to learn the hard way.

    She begged, pleaded- through tear-filled words- for him to return. He was in a better place now, with a better life, around better people. And she missed him. Yet in hearing this sorrow, this pain, he felt relieved. He matched her sob for sob before telling her what he called to say: that he loved her. He hung up the phone and collapsed into the now massive void where his hatred, his pain had been.

    Isaiah was a huge part of me. He helped me deal with the issues I couldn't; he acted where I couldn't; he was who I wasn't. Looking back with a less clouded mind; a mind no longer veiled by religion and self-loathing, I still find it funny that then- even symbolically- I couldn't confront my real issues.

    In every story in every relationship, Isaiah was straight. He never felt like a complete character.

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