JK clung to me, not like a leech, more like a heartworm, inseparable, and we felt unable to live without each other. She lied about who she was, where she came from, what her life was like. I lied and told her I might love something other than my work. She wasn’t Irish (that was, perhaps, the funniest lie)—but since she pretended to be for half a year, she adopted many charming mannerisms that accompanied a lilting voice beautifully. In lyrical moments, sometimes I do the same—though I’m only one-sixteenth Irish myself.
MK made herself indispensable in my life, knew that the way to my soul was through my work. Ironically, when I was no longer famous, no longer beloved, no longer easy to love, that’s when MK, who kept saying she was devoted in ways that all the “glamorous people” (her words) could never be…why, that’s when she decided to stop helping me. My love wasn’t conditional, wasn’t based on the things she did for me; but it wasn’t a fool’s love, either. She did things for me because she wanted to brag she’d done something for someone famous; when I became ugly-famous, she wanted and needed nothing I could give her.
The Girl from Wonderland had a temper. She never did fight fair. No-one I’ve ever met was as good at getting under your skin, and every time she got you really mad, she’d taunt you, take everything she knew about you, every secret sadness or pain you’d ever disclosed in friendship, and throw them at you, trying to see what hit you hardest, trying to see what hurt you most. Then, a little while later, she’d be crying on your shoulder and apologizing.
There was consolation in knowing that she did this to everyone, but it wasn’t much consolation. Few people were as good as she was at making you feel worthless.
When she was brutally physically murdered, her exes and her friends, myself included, wept; I still can’t believe I’ll never see her again; I still can’t believe her light is extinguished; I can’t believe some monster took her life.
But none of us is surprised she was murdered. We say it quietly—and was say, and we mean, that no-one deserves murder.
But while most of us us are horrified, and some (myself, again, included) are more than a little horrified—I can’t say I’m surprised. It was a tragic life with a tragic end, and she had some great people around her who helped and supported her, and some of those great people always told her she was brave and strong and capable of doing anything, and I believe it was those of us who always told her she could do anything…
…who gave her the confidence to enter a bad situation, thinking she’d come out okay, and I think we murdered her.
C was a good chap. It was his utter decency which made it inevitable that he would become a monster. We live in strange times.
W said I was a sociopath, with no personality of my own. I’m not; that is as close as I can imagine anyone getting to a completely opposite picture of how I feel. They never bothered to look behind the persona they saw onstage. It was their dearest desire to believe that, because I could get on stage and draw the cheers of thousands, I was some kind of machine, some dystopian pop-star, reflecting what the audience loved, having nothing real of my own. They never understood that I had a self offstage, partly, because they wanted to believe that my stage success was due to some trick or some manipulation, but mostly, because they wanted to believe everyone was like them, no empathy, no love, just a face you sliced off someone else and wore in public to fool the shills. I feel bad for them, but if they were drowning, I wouldn’t trust them with a glass of water.
H is a ghost. I know she was real, but I also know that the monster in my closet is really hoping I’ll leave the room and turn out the light so he can grab a quick nip of the whiskey I keep in my desk drawer; and this is why nightlights are a wise investment.
Are these stories true? Are these people real?
I don’t know. One day, for the evils I was said to have done, they cast me out of the World, thinking it would make me gone. And what crawled back has the memories of the person I was, and the responsibilities; anything he did or did not do, that is now 100% on me, mine to figure out as best I can.
Time used to make me more wistful for my former loves, and I imagined them as being wondrous beings, now tragically lost. Now time has made me see them all as monsters. These are strange days, and we tell ourselves strange stories, now.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order “I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.