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Glitched - Second Story

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In the summer of 20xx I met my first boyfriend. At the time I was attending a small school in a small district in what was once Canada. As long as I can recall, this is where my father, mother and I had lived. The school was closed for break, but extra curriculars still met for practice and whatever suited them. In the remote area we lived I used it as a way to entertain myself through the warm, middling months. There was little else to do in all honesty. Working and staying at home had limited appeal to a girl my age, after all.


My parents wouldn't allow me to play organized sports. They felt it would be unfair to the other children and would single me out in some way, and in turn bring undo attention to our family. I was upset at them for a long time, but eventually I found something else to occupy myself. I became interested in and wanted to join the sword play club. My father was hesitant at first but it seems as though my mother convinced him somehow. I believe it had something to do with how it had no competitive awards and how it finally would get me off the computer and involved with school. And so in my junior year, with his permission, I began attending meetings.


Jerry was the president of the club. He was handsome, and fit, a young man who seemed just a bit out of touch with what was in fashion but who managed to dress appealingly anyway. He had got his position, the story went, because the previous president had become so upset with him over their skill discrepancy that he had left the club in a rage.


"If you want to be a prick and keep showing me up in front of everyone then why don't you just go ahead and run the stupid thing yourself!" He said. Jerry did exactly that, and became president.


This was all before my time. Initially, I had my heart set on joining volleyball or basketball but when my father refused I sulked all through my freshman and sophomore years. Finally in my junior year I ended up giving in and leaving my grievances behind, eventually joining sword play in the spring semester. It had come to the point where I was trying to find any excuse to keep from going straight home and enduring my parents making faces at each other for the entire evening.


By and large I wanted to meet people, and forge some sort of friendship. I had for many years felt fundamentally alone. This I'm sure is not a unique sentiment for girls my age but that didn't make it any easier to deal with. My father seemed to have no problem convincing people to like him. He was naturally charismatic. I seem to lack that particular trait. In social situations I find myself withdrawn, on the outer edge of everyone's consciousness while they interact with one another. I spent my time in school observing.


What I first noticed was that boys, particularly highschool boys, have no idea what to do with a quiet girl.


When I joined the club, at the request of one of my few acquaintances, Jerry caught my eye. Despite the claims of the previous president, he was not boastful but actually very kind. He became high strung sometimes, over excited perhaps, but he was always composed when it came to club activities.


I would sit in the back of the class room, watching as the students pushed the desks to the walls to clear room for practice. The other members would pull out their homemade weapons. The schol wouldn't allow real swords for obvous reasons, and it's not as if these kids could afford anything but fantasy crap from the internet anyway, so Jerry would show new members how to make a sword from steel and lumber and a bit of borrowing the shop class.


It always struck me how much he enjoyed himself. He had a wonderful smile, and I rarely saw it falter, even from my spot in the back of the class. I found myself looking for his eyes when his shaggy brown hair would fall over them when he looked down.


Several months later in the same class room he asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes.




I sat in the cafeteria tapping a pencil to paper with little intent on placing any marks on it. School work for me was a simple matter. I beleive that, honestly, if not for my occcasional deliqency and that I didn't speak up in class, I would be the top student in the school. I'm not particularly arrogant, so I don't think I'm being arrogant, it just seems to be a simple fact. What little effort I did put into school hurled me to the top of each class. Like a shooting star I'd burn brightly for a moment before returning to dull and innocuous normalicy.


I never got top grades but I knew I had the capability to. I hovered around a b all throughout school. My father never complained. He even seemed proud that I didn't go out of my way to be a show boat. He seemed proud, even. A word he seemd to be overly fond of was "Discression"


In school, but not out of it, I spent my time with a girl named Jane. She was slight and dressed weird and still wore glases out of some misquided sense of fashion. She obsessed over grades and even though our friendship wasn't terribly deep, the only thing we'd fight over were academics.


"It's important! You can't just ignore this stuff otherwise you'll end up uneducated and pregnant in a trailer." Jane said.


Jane could be way to dramatic about this stuff. Most of the time I would just block her out. Other times I would tease her.


"I really doubt it would knock me up. You're being too dramatic. I don't even think bad grades are that fertile. Weak seed. Just a splat, a dud. I bet it would have a limp dick anyway." I said.


Jane's nose wrinkled with distaste.


"That's sick. Why do you think about stuff like that, Ire?" She said.


I found much more pleasure spewing obscenities at Jane than keeping my grades in line. Jane often prove an easy target for my wild imagination. In spit of my urge to be more popular my natural urge to lash out took over. I justified this to myself by saying that Jane was already my friend. There was no need to disguise my true self anymore.


I don't think anyone in the school revealed their true selves. They wandered through the halls, through their lives, with thick masks on their faces. I felt as though I had been the only one the throw my mask down and scream that I was I. As I hide myself more effectively from the general population, I had the feeling my dad would be disappointed. "Discresion," he would say, "Doesn't mean lying about who you are."


Of course, I was selfish and, more than that, lonely.


"I didn't mean to gross you out," I said to Jane. Even though I had.




I knew I couldn't stay in the back of the room watching over meeting likea voyuer forever. I asked Jerry if he could help me make my sword.


This sort of thing feel way outside my experience. I had never done much with my hands, so it was a good thing Jerry made himself availible to new members like me. I spent most of my free time reading and sleeping and thinking about men late at night. I lacked hobbies in any tangible sense. My aspirations for athletics had fallen flat at my parent's refusal, so I had spent the next few years drifting without a cause to rally behind. My life was incomplete. I wasn't a real person.


Of course, I had no idea what kind of sword I wanted.


Jerry showed me all sorts of styles and options.


"There's one handed or two handed grips, long and short blades, single or double edge, heavy or light, and any design and combination to the above you can think of. It's really totally up to you. We don't teach any real style or art, just whatever works best for the person. The type of sword you want should be the type of sword you always use, and you'll adapt what you learn to that." He said.


Jerry didn't look at me while he talked. He was intent on the parts he was showing me. It was as if he were an impartial judge, laying out all the fact before me to make my decision. He was unaffected, but not cold. His prescence was warm and comforting. It made me feel good. I could feel my mind getting away from me: I saw myself closing the door behind us and seducing him. Of course, that would never happen.


"Any clue?" He offered.


I smiled and shook my head, "No clue."


He put his hand on my shoulder and my eyes locked onto it like a mousetrap. Snap!


"Go home and give it some thought. How heavy you want it, how you want to hold it, how you want it to look, and we'll figure it out together. And if you don't like what we come up with we can just make another one."




At home I dropped heavily onto the bed. My books lay scattered on the floor.


The small room my parents had provided served as my sanctuary. I had one major appliance to myself and that was my computer. Most of my life was contained on that little sphere on my desk. It was by far the most sophisticated and expensive thing my family owned, besides the house. It was all mine.


I languished on the bed for a moment before standing and locking my door. My dad hated it when I locked the door but after a few years of practice I became quick enough to avoid worring about getting caught for it. Either way, it would be better to be caught with the door locked than the alternative.


Jerry's hand was still warm on my shoulder when I laid back. I spent a quick moment cueing up some pornography and then I masturbated. After I had finished I unlocked the door and composed myself, and shortly after I was called down for dinner.




I came down the stairs to see my father and mother carrying on as usual. My father didn't have a steady job. What he did was work consultation jobs when he felt like it. He was talented enough and in high enough demand that we never hurt for money, but we lived frugally regardless. I'm sure we could have a mansion if he worked 9 - 5. But then again he wouldn't be my father if he did, and I wasn't all that materialistic that I cared about that. Our house wasn't huge, and my computer was the most sophisticated thing we owned. My father, for the most part, avoided corporate products. He wasn't unrealistic about it, but he didn't buy them when he could. There was a massive machine that he had built himself in the garage. He would spend lots of time with that, as did my mother. He offered to build my computer for me, but I made him buy one. I was worried he would try and track my computer use. I know he was capable of it. There were lots of things I didn't want my father of all people to know about.


"What are we having?" I asked.


My dad was sitting at the table, sipping some tea. Mom was at the stove scooping whatever it was we were eating onto a plate.


"I dunno sweetie. What is that, Spam?" my father asked.


My mother looked at him with her dead eyes.


"Eggs and bacon," She said simply.


I frowned and took my seat. My mother and I often did not get along. My father was certainly the disciplinarian in the family but it was my mom that I resented most of the time. She was always cold to my father and I. I often found myself thinking I hated her. I can't recall ever seeing her smile.


I took my portion and ate quickly as usual. As cold as my mother seemed, my father was anything but, teasing her by waggling his eyebrows, and playing footsy under the table. She remained mostly unresponsive, though her face flushed and her eyes found themselves glued to the table.


"I'm done." I said unceremoniously, pushing my plate away.


My mother looked at me for a momement.


"Please wash the dishes, Iris."


I frowned and rolled my eyes, walking to the staircase.


"Call me when you're done then." I said.


"Iris!" My fahter yelled at me. I stopped instantly; my father's voice, especailly his loud voice, commanded obediance. I turned to look at him. His face was serious and stoney. It split into a reconciliatory smile.


"Thank your mother for dinner."


I paused, looking at him, and then to at my mother. I saw something I had never noticed before. Instantly, my heart fell from my chest and landed in my feet. Her face was tense, and her eyes couldn't meet mine. I was horrified to realize that she was hanging on my words. She was looking for praise, any praise, from me, her daughter. Her face was filled with hope tinged with fear.


All she wanted from me was a kind word about the dinner she had made.


I felt horrible, like I wanted to die. I recalled a million terrible things I had said to her and I wished them away, prayed that she didn't recall them.


I thanked her and ran up the stairs, slamming the door to my room.




Into my still warm pillow I cried the first tears I had since I was a child. For some reason I had never in my life seen my mother for the woman she really was. The fact that hatred had grown out of this oversight made it even worse.


"She doesn't hate me," I thought, "She's unhappy."


I was sure I was the cause of her unahppiness.


"Hey dad," I thought, "How can you this to mom? How can you force her to live this unhappy life with you and I? Why doesn't she go out and leave us and be happy?"


No answer was forthcoming so I rolled over and stared at the ceiling. There was a poster for "Jack & the Bloodhound Boys" that I had obtained some time previous. I had stopped listening to them when I was 14. Dad had bought the poster for me. When I was busy hating dad, I hated the band too. Yet more fallout from my freshman year.


I realized unhappily that I had spent almost a quarter of my life angry at my dad over a something as silly as throwing balls across a court.


My father called up about the dishes, so I went back downstairs.




"Hey sweet thing why the dour look?" my dad asked.


My mother was no longer anywhere to be seen. Our living room connected to our kitchen / dinningroom so it was likely she had gone out.


"Where's mom?" I asked.


Dad smirked, a hint of tension in his face.


"She's having a dive," he said.


Whenever someone used that machine in the garage, they called it "diving." Supposedly its like the interent but you interact directly or soemthing. They were the only people I had ever heard anything about it from, so who knows what the truth was.


"Oh," I said. I went over to the sink and started the water. My mother was a very precise and thorough woman. After just rinsing the plates they were enarly clean enough to eat off of again. My chores were more like power struggles. It was an act we played, she took on her role as mother and I the role as daughter and we played them accordingly.


"Whatever," I thought.


My dad say silently at the table watching my back, with the hint of a smile on his face. I was still unsure of what exactly was going through my mothers head, but the experience at dinenr had left me shaken. I knew at least that my dad loved me. I never doubted that. I had at times doubted my love for him, but rationally I knew it would and should never falter.


But such is the heart of a teenaged girl.


"Why does mom stay with us?" I thought. I still had no really reason why. There wasn't enough information available to me.


"Why does mom stay with us?" I asked. My father remained silent and I didn't turn to face him for a moment. When I finally did I found him smiling warmly.


"Your mother loves us very much, more than even her own happiness." he said.


This took me off guard. More than her happiness? Didn't love make you happy?


"She loves us but isn't happy, is that what you're saying?" I repeated.


My father stood . He was very tall, much taller than me even after I had my growth spurt. He was the tallest man I'd ever seen outside of the internet or television.


"She wasn't built to be a mother, or a house wife," He said, smiling earnestly, "She wasn't made to work 9-5 either. This life isn't what she was destined for," He rubbed the stubble on his jaw, glancing at the garage, "Her life is over, in the sense that she once knew it. For her, this is what comes after life."


Seeing my blank and uncomprehending face, he laughed, a soft but deep sound that I had grown up with.


"Maybe I can paint a picture for you, darling. Christians live a hard life with lots of ups and downs and when they die they go to heaven and there aren't any downs anymore.


He shook his head.


"When the ups are only ups they becomet he ground level, even in heaven. There's no where to go. Basically your mom is in heaven and she doesn't have a way out." he finished.


I leaned back against the kitchen counter, which soaked the back of my pants in a straight line with dish water.


"She should just leave us then..." I said.


My father shrugged, "If you fought your whole life to get into heaven would you throw it away to feel pain? Esspecially if you could never come back?" No, she leaves for hours at a time and then comes back to us. I do it to. Someday you'll discover that after a scertain point you've done all the living you can for yourself and it's time to start doing it for someone else. I do it for you and your mother, she for you and I. In this way, the two of us will live forever."


I glanced at the door that led to the garage. I could only hope my parents weren't spicing their lives up with some sort of virtual spouse swapping or something gross like that.


"I guess I understand," I said, turning back to the dishes.


My father laughed again, "No, you don't" he said, "but you might someday. Just try and remember this conversation."

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