Damali's Journal

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Volume I[edit | edit source]

Okay, Journal... it's me again. Yeah, about the same old yang, too. Something has got to be wrong with me! Every night-- thinking about this stuff? That's not normal, is it? To be so fixated on "one thing". Marlene and the gang swear I'm some superhero-- and yet, I'm crazy about some guy from five years ago, who, I might add, is hustling? That happens to everyday sisters. I'm not so special in that regard.
They said I'm supposed to be on the side of The Light-- yeah, right! But, Journal, let me tell you, if I didn't have all those big brothers out there packing glocks, and Marlene... I can't even explain this mess to anybody. It makes no sense. I'm too embarrassed.
The dreams are getting worse than when I was with him and we were kids. I haven't been near him in years, and he's got me trippin' in a shower... calling him by name in my dreams... has me writing songs for him, and whatnot. Stupid, sentimental... I'm over the top--out of control, probably need a therapist. I'm sitting here writing and crying and laughing, just scribbling stream of consciousness, because my body aches so bad. I'm rocking just thinking about it. But I tell you no lie, it's almost as though I can feel him. Need to feel him... see, here I go again. Just the thought of being with him makes me get wet. Makes no sense!
I keep telling myself that I just want to find him to make sure he's safe; Im worried about him--that much is true. Carlos has never been anywhere safe in his life. I should be mad at him for the way he lives, and if he gets nicked, I should be the first one to tell him: I TOLD YOU SO!
But, aside from all that, and vampires added to the mix, if I really get down with the truth, fact is I almost can't write it. I want to do more than just find him and cuss him out for being so damned stubborn--have for years. Each time I see him, and Rider cold busted me during a two-by-two detail about it, my mind isn't totally on brotherman's safety... you know what I'm saying. I couldn't even look my Guardian brother in the face--just thinking about Carlos was making my hands shake. Then I went off, went into this blood-lust... it had been so crazy. Love will do that to you... oh, no, did I say love? Scratch that, now I'm really losing it.
Plus, with a doggone prayer line around me, a white bath for protection... I have to laugh. The last place I want to be is locked inside this compound and stuck in my room. Maybe I got nicked in one of the street fights, who knows? Because one thing is for sure, tonight... tonight... I was about two seconds from putting on my clothes, grabbing the keys to a Hummer, and breaking campyeah, going to look for what I know is trouble on two legs. Just for one night one indescribable night, then Ill come back. The night is calling my name like Im one of the night creatures. I keep asking myself, what if I keep wondering what being with him would be like.
Listen to me, Journal. Im talking myself into something I shouldnt even be considering. But its way beyond consideringthis is primal. Basic. Im practically chanting on it. This is unfinished business that I should have finished a long time ago. Now Im suffering, sitting here about to slide out of my chair. Im scaredno sca-ered to get in my own shower, even to take a cold one, cause facts being what they are, I dont trust myself. If I roll out of here and if I run into homeboyall hed have to do was blow on me from twenty-feet away, and Id be done. What am I talking about, Im done now.
And I have the choice between sitting in here and trying to chill or going in the rec room with the entire team and trying to chill. Either scene is torture. By myself, my mind wanders into places it shouldnt go. Being around them works my last nerves. Cant go clubbing. If I put the key in an ignition, and I turn over an engine, my Hum-V is going on autopilot to around the way Ill be cruising the streets, stopping at corners like a junkie, looking for Riveratrying to act all casual like nothing is up. Ill put out an all-points-bulletin, will be praying in my mind, brother come on and get with this tonight. Please!
Marlene will have a heart attack, and then might be so mad shed be tempted to throw some serious Ju Ju that would definitely compromise her soul. Shabazz will have natural heart failure then get up shootingno cool whatsoever, not when it comes to Carlos. Rider will go to jail for flat-blasting a brother in the streets, no matter what he said in the Jeep. I know dude. Big Mike might blow up hombres house with a damned shoulder cannon. JL and Jose will be roaming the streets on the hunt for a sure take down. Naw, I need to stay home. It aint worth all that. But, daaayum... 
All right. Its all good. This is part of that martial arts discipline Bazz was talking about. The mind over matter rhetoric that works when youre forty-something. The philosophical yang that prevails when youre getting yours with regularity, and can be cool. Maybe I need to ask Mar, in a round-about-sorta way, if shes got something herbal to remedy this problem.
But how would I seem, going to my mother-seer and just dropping this on her like Shabazz always drops his sciencestraight with no chaser. Journal, I ask you, how am I supposed to just say, Yo, Mar, Im horny as hell for this man. Do you have something to take the edge off? Never. Now I know Im crazy!
Laughing hard now to keep from crying, excuse the smudgeslaughing aint working, because the tears are still hitting the page. No offense, Journal, but you know one day soon youre gonna have to hit the fireplace, right? If my secret side ever got out, ever got told I cant even think about that right now, because Im sitting here still trembling, still feeling like I was almost with him. All I did was go to sleep and woke up in a cold sweat need to finish what my mind started so bad I can barely hold this pen to write it out of my system.
All right. Enough whining. It is what it is. One day the right one will come along, and this burn will go away. Just need to focus, get into my music, think about the mission, remember whats at stake, get realbe logical mind over matter. Need to stop playing with my own head. They say Im The Neteru. What the hell is that, anyway, though?
All I know is theres this brother from the barrios that has my nose wide open!

Volume II[edit | edit source]

I think I'm losing my mind. I heard the man die. What am I saying? Carlos Rivera was dead when I last saw him. Correction--I heard him go down... heard them silence his voice. He's extinct. And what I'm feeling is beyond loss it's phantom memory, reflex... agony. Forever is a very long time for somebody to be gone.
I can't wipe out enough vamps to replace him, still can't sleep at night. I'm now like the walking dead--no feeling, just fury, raw, unadulterated anger rage so deep that I'm scaring myself. The team said we beat Hell. They're wrong. I'm the living dead in the middle of Hell with no way out...
But every night, when a stare up at the moon, it's almost as though I can hear him whispering my name. So I just have to keep my blade sharp and ride. I can't bring him back, not sure that I'd want to if I could... Marlene probably knows how to--but how crazy would that be? And if I did, then what? I have to laugh at myself... if Carlos Rivera ever came back from the dead, it would be all over. I'd wake it with fangs, no doubt 'cause there'd be no way to resist him this time around.

Volume III[edit | edit source]

If I could scribble out these last few hours I would, but I cant. I need somewhere to quietly, privately bleed and wail so this journal entry is between me and you, God. Ive been so far and so long away from writing that, somehow I know I may never get back to what I used to do. My life, everyones life, is so very different now, after what just went down.
If I could scribble out these last few hours I would, but I cant. I need somewhere to quietly, privately bleed and wail so this journal entry is between me and you, God. Ive been so far and so long away from writing that, somehow I know I may never get back to what I used to do. My life, everyones life, is so very different now, after what just went down.
Everything has been so hectic, who has had time to write? It shouldnt even go on paper, truth be told. I just wanna curl up in a ball and cry, but Im all cried out. I should be jumping for joy; part of me isI dont know why I feel this way. Conflicted. Thats the word. But the one thing I do know is, something is wrong with my man. I could feel it as my hand hovered millimeters above his feverish skin and finally touched his back. It was the way he nearly winced when my fingertips landed on his shoulders I was so gentle. My caress was from pure love. Hed called me his wife. I dont understand?
Maybe it was because hed been tortured so badly thats why I touched him like he was made of glass. Maybe his senses are overloaded. Please God, tell me thats it? He cant take no more. I cant take no more. Maybe all his nerve endings are messed up or what he saw down there just freaked him out so much he cant deal? Maybe he doesnt feel its right to even be touched by human hands after seeing the angels? Maybe its the ashes on my hands my hands are filthy from blood and battle and gore, and this man just saw something none of us have ever seen?
So, Im sitting here with my arms wrapped around my waist, trying to make the pain stop, trying not to touch him, trying not to holler and cry and act the fool. Im trying to stay very still and not rock. I dont want Mar or anyone, especially not Carlos, to even know what my body is going throughand they can never know what doubts are in my mind. I hesitate to even tell You, cause the last thing in the world I want is for You to be angry, think Im ungrateful, or to take away anything else. Thats not it at all Im just kinda scared.
The main thing is, hes back. That, and getting us to safety, is all that matters now. Ill live. But the cramps are making me sick to my stomach. Maybe hes feeling them, too? Maybe thats why, after his ordeal with The Chairman, he cant absorb that sensory overload? Thats the last thing I wanna do is hurt him. Yall know Id take a bullet for that man would ride or die with him, just like he would for me. But I keep passing these nasty, thick clots I just need a shower, to get clean, to forget, but how?
They took our baby, Lord God maybe thats why he cant even look at me now? All I can think of is what it might have been a little girl with wide brown eyes and fat pigtails I would have taught her everything I know how to fight, all of it how to sing, and dance, and love life. She would have had all these papi Guardians and wise Nana Marlene. Forgive me. I will not cry, I will not cry, I should be thankful that it was early, were young, and hes back. My man is back he called me his wife. Thank you, Lord, for every blessing bestowed.
But I cant lie to You and keep the tears from my eyes, cause it might have been a bronze skinned, rough and tumble little boy with a wild head of unruly hair, sly smile like his daddy beautiful brown eyes Carlos would have taught him how to be a man. His papi is all that. A soldier. And I would have loved to watch that new life grow inside me, feel my belly fill up, just to see the look on his face wed talked about it, and he was so happy. God, did you see the look on that mans face when he found out?
I will not cry, I will not cry, forgive me for crying Lord. Im still a woman and human. Did you see his face when he found out? Did you see his dreams? Did you see his fantasy when he put his head against my big stomach and spoke soft and gentle to what was his? I would have given him anything he wanted, even that. Especially that. Hed called me his wife.
Maybe thats why he cringed away from my touch his lovers hand his wifes caress, his friend to the bone, his confidant the one who will keep all his secrets and never tell a livin soul he came back but part of his dreams died in Hell. What could have been, what I held in me for him, thats gone.
Next time. Yeah. I know. Just please, no more drama make the pain stop. These clots remind me. I can feel the blood next to my skin. That was us. Me and him. I will not scream. I will not cry oh God, another one is passing and it hurts like hell.
Still, I keep wondering whats on this mans mind? I just wanna hold him, tell him that whatever went down its gonna be all right. But my touch isnt what he wants.
Hes cool just sitting near me, but each time I reach for him, I can feel him about to bolt. Is there something in my Neteru being thats causing it? Am I fluxing again, or something? He sounded insane was babbling about being a Neterubut if hes that, a touch from one of us shouldnt have this effect. Is it wishful thinking, or did he come back as something too horrible to mention? Oh, my God, tell me he isnt a daywalker, please Jesus, what is he?
I know I said I wouldnt cry and the tears wont stop running down my face. Yeah, okay, Im on the verge of hysteria. Truth. Cause, see, in a minute, were gonna get on that plane and get away from here. I cant take a daywalker back to civilization across how many continents and countries to get back home.
But dont ask me to behead the love of my life. I aint got it in me. Dont ask me to smoke this man, not him. Not Carlos. Not this man who went to Hell and back for me loved me like I aint never been loved went through the fire, saved my family, been my world since I knew there was a world not my husband. Not my best friend. Not my lover. Not under any circumstances, no. Thats the raw truth. I cant. Somebody else will have to do it, and then, theyll have to come through me and do us both. Do you know how much I love this man?
Is that why you let them kill the baby? I just need a minute to breathe gotta get my head right, just so I can stand. But, Im telling You, y'all can have The Isis, if that's what you want me to do with it.
Cant the clerics do something, if Marlene cant? He has this strange look in his eyes like Ive never seen before. Trauma. The color, silver, its wigging me out even though its beautiful. But its not his eyes. I cant read his mind. His aura is offdifferent. Its got colors in it Ive never seen before, and heavy metal, silver.
Is he angel or demon Neteru or just a man? What am I gonna do? I know I have a family to protect a world countin' on me That's my job. But Im only human, and I just lost my baby...
God, talk to me. Please.

Volume IV[edit | edit source]

Entries made while traveling between hotels enroute to “The House”… 

I still ain’t right about a LOT of stuff that went down. Lilith is out there, somewhere—I can feel that bitch in my skin. And, The Chairman… all of it makes me wanna puke just thinking about how badly I need to take both their heads.

Our compound is gone! SHIT! Home. That was home. Plus what they did to Rider… no words. By them kicking up the drama and burning down his spot, it just put Tara in a position. My heart breaks for both of them—and, yet, I also feel sorry for Yonnie, too. But what happened to Carlos… his Momma and Grandma; Heaven please make this right. I can’t even get my mind wrapped around Father Lopez being gone.

Yeah, I know I’m the Neteru and all, and I know what we do is dangerous—but he was a priest, man… a good one, too. Why do the good have to die young, not that I’m questioning you, Lord. It just scares me so much, truth be told, because we’ve got all these new Guardians—my best girl, Inez. To my way of looking at it, if a good, kind, sweet, faithful young priest can buy-it, then any of the newbies can, too. Before I had an intellectual understanding of that; now I know it from experience.

Lord, I’m freaked. Yeah, straight up battle freaked. Folks are looking to me for the answers and directions, and right now I don’t have any.

Which brings up another whole layer of drama—folks are still looking to ME as the Neteru, and not my man, yet… not as though we’re a team with equal say. Right about through here, though, I want him to have some of the answers, wanna let him make some of the big decisions, too. I hate to admit it, but that’s the stone cold truth, although I’d never tell the Queens… talk about freaking out. They’d have a conniption if they heard me say it.

But what I’m talking about is being tired of carrying the team load, tired of being the one to know this Neteru thing like the back of my hand—yeah, I know, I know, it’s not fair, because he taught me the whole vamp life and was patient. So, like he always says, fair exchange is no robbery. What’s wrong with me? Why am I feeling like this and acting like this? Why am I crying about being tired of taking the weight, even though that’s what I have to keep doing? You know I don’t normally have a problem with doing what has to be done. This entire head trip is just not the normal me!

Maybe what I’m saying is, while I’m waiting for all of Carlos’s powers to kick in, what if I mess up? I guess that’s the real thing I’m tired of, that’s what’s wearing me out—wondering if I might mess up. Maybe it’s more about me being scared than about his powers, and whateva. I have to think about that more, as right now it’s very confusing.

Besides, the older Guardians have paid their dues and have basically passed the baton because they’re tired, too. They’ve almost dropped in their tracks, and can’t sustain this level of bullshit any longer—can I blame them? Only problem is that, somebody died this time. Not somebody on the edge of the team, but a dear soul right in the heart of it; a man of the cloth, even.

I think the thing that’s working my nerves so bad is the Berkfield kids. If anything foul happens to their children, I’ll die. I’m stressed. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted being that. More truth, ‘cause I am.

I guess that’s also why my music has been blocked. Deep. Usually I go to that, and lean on it hard to relax when my head gets tight and I just need to release some emotion. You know that best, diary. Poetry opens up my Muse, let’s me get things off my chest. I have only just begun to be able to write in my journal again. Miss ya.

But what’s seriously tripping me out is, it feels like the music, the poetry and lyrics, that gift is slowly dying inside me—and that scares the shit out of me, too. Not for the fame, because who cares about losing that in the grand scheme of things I’ve seen? No, it’s messing with my mind because it was a gift; it was a whole part of me, part of my soul. It’s like a black cloud of dense smoke is hovering between me and the inner light I had within. I’m slowly collapsing from the inside out the way a building implodes. Everything that was inside just got hollowed out… even something I don’t hardly wanna write down. Making love with my man is really throwed off. It’s still real good, but… lately, it hasn’t been a religious experience. My fault not his.

I need to stop writing now. This is too personal for paper. Can’t write this. My life is different—don’t have my own bedroom or space anymore to stash my private stuff in a dresser drawer somewhere. Everything is shared. When we get to the house it’ll be worse. Can’t even discuss it. Tears are blurring the damned page. Hold up. Okay. Whew… this next thing I’m gonna drop on you, diary, is too heavy.

How about a compromise? I’ma write it all down, and then burn the danged thing, just to get it out of me—okay? At least this way you heard me. Least this way it’s not pressing on my soul. Even though I know it’s a violation between me and you if I go ripping out a section in the middle of you as my confidential journal, but I have to. In fact, I might have to stop writing in you altogether. May have to do what Carlos does; keep my real secret mess locked up in a mental black box. Yeah. This way I can talk to you in my head, diary, and then let it go.

I’m laughing—a mental black book. Now I know I’ve lost my mind.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m stalling. The music is dying day by day. Can’t even hear it in my head the way I used to. But my partner who kicked it with me best, got that going when I’d run dry… I can’t be in Jose’s space one-on-one for any reason whatsoever, like I could before I really knew how he felt. Not knowing all the way was a good thing. Best left unsaid. Maybe it was a punk position on my part all that time (I have to sadly laugh at myself), but it was easier. Note: I will kick my own ass if I ever call Carlos a punk again.

The fact remains, after what the incubus showed me in NYC, after what got said on the ship between me and Jose in Sydney, there’s now too much knowledge in my head. So I can’t just kick it with him like I used to, ya know? But he was my boyie. We was thick as thieves, yo! He was the one that helped me rock the lyrics. He had the monster beats. He set the framework for the funky cuts, and the rest of the band fell in between those lines that me and Jose set up. The man can draw… Me and him could just bust out laughing for no reason while chillin’ and be on the same page. Now this.

See… the main problem is, I can’t figure out how much of what I know now was demon bullshit, and how much was already there within me for it to work with. That’s the problem. I also can’t be sure how much of what it was showing me was, or is, all up in Jose’s head, or not. That’s the problem. I can’t separate it out, because I never allowed myself to fully know just how I felt—and before all this went down, I dimmy-damn-sure didn’t sweep the compound with mental radar to try to get into Jose’s personal space like that. That’s the problem. And, let me add that the really, really, really crazy problem is having Carlos in my face, in the mix, with radar like a mutha, while I’m getting it all sorted out.

Plus, plus, oh, yeah, diary—how about this—I never had a truly accurate picture of, you know, Jose in that, uh, well… feeling that type of way. Speculation is a whole different animal than actually seeing it and feeling it, okaaaay. I wouldn’t allow myself to go there before. Ever. But I can hardly look the man in his face now! Shit! And, being stooopid, trying to be a little nosy to see how much was real or just demon yang—aw’ight, I’ll finally come clean and admit it. I swept him after the Philadelphia job. There. Happy?

I didn’t actually mean to---aw, lemme be real, yes I did. I wasn’t trying to be funny and was only going in for a light scan, just impressions. The only reason I did it, was because after the dust settled in Philly, I wanted to just sit down and privately talk to Jose so we could clear up that kiss on the vamp boat, and then I thought I’d be able to let him know I still loved him—but like a sister. Family. And I was gonna tell him that things sorta get confusing during the heat of battle. Jose had to be able to save face, and not be left feeling some type of way. There wasn’t space or time on the plane after Sydney, and then things got mad-crazy. Whack.

But in order to have that conversation on a real honest basis, I needed to know where my feelings began and ended and where his did, and what was only incubi and succubae drama lingering in our subconscious so Marlene could help purge us both.

All I wanted to do was put things right with me and him; how did I know he was feeling it that hard! I didn’t know the thing that attacked him on the plane really didn’t have to work! The shit was so hot it knocked my head back, so I shut down radar around him… you have no idea. I can’t even tell Mar, because she would be soooo disappointed that I did the scan in the first place, and I already know what she’d say: “Serves your nosy Neteru ass right for getting into that man’s business. I oughta bring you up on charges before the Queens! You can’t violate a fellow Guardian’s personal space like that.” Blah, blah, blah. She’s right, this time.

So here I am, left with the consequences of doing something truly stupid where curiosity got the best of me and I scanned the brother to see if he was feeling it as intense as that mess from the lower realms had projected. THAT’S what’s twisting my brain, along with everything else that’s pressing me. I dredged the dream Lilith sent. My bad!

Problem is, I didn’t realize just how much I had pushed way down deep into my core about Jose to keep from stepping wrong when I thought Carlos was dead. I had come so close one night while I was going through that first, awful ripening period alone, I was crying.

Only thing that kept me from going down the hall back then was, I loved Jose so much that, I would never play with his feelings—I knew once the ripening was over, I would go back to him being my compound brother again. But the way I was feeling then, and the things I would have done then, there would have been no going back. I had that much sense.

In my heart and soul I knew that would have been so foul to do that to him. But, if I had known during that time, if I had done a real scan against Mar’s orders… plus I think girlfriend wisely had some kinda extra mental block around him then; Marlene ain’t crazy, knows me, wise to the bone… yeah I’m rambling, gotta tell you the truth, I would have been in his room with the quickness—and that scares me, now that I know.

The scan locked into the old emotion, his and mine, the one that’s still there like that for him. It was so intense, right on his surface that, it wet my draws for the man. THAT goes into a SERIOUS black box.

I played myself, because I didn’t just get impressions, I felt the burn, felt his breath on my skin, and saw him tossing and turning naked in the bed and needing to be made love to so badly he was near sobbing… and it linked to those old days of when I was feeling like that—just synced me up to the past when I had ripened. I accidentally locked right in on the agony and couldn’t pull up out of the vision until he came. He was awake. Was in the hotel room down the hall alone, which so reminded me of him being down the hall in the compound. He said my name.

Okay. I have got to get it together—because it was a jolt of knowledge that I didn’t need… and Carlos can NEVER get even the slightest hint that for one moment, I felt that way about somebody we have to live with? Are you crazy? AM I crazy?

I’m all messed up, we have all these issues going on within the team—everybody is suffering losses and dealing with some heavy shit… plus I feel like something else is going wrong between me and Carlos. Things have not been the same.

Sure we talk, we laugh… he’s mourning, I know that part, and I love the ground he walks on. I’m not feining for Jose, or anything crazy like that. I saw what I saw, it messed me up, but the moment passed. But it’s uncomfortable, now, when Carlos approaches me to, you know.

In these hotels, man, it’s not private, even though we have our own room. We can’t be making noise, and whatnot… having my family hear all of that, knowing how Jose feels, knowing what Rider is going through, got two sets of parents around, Mar and ‘Bazz, plus the Berkfields, and the kids… my girl… Mike can hear a pin drop. I just can’t relax and get into our flow, like before. And that heifer, Juanita, I do NOT want her in our business.

I also don’t want Juanita playing with Jose’s mind. I know the brother needs to get with somebody in the worst way, and she flounces her stank ass around him, trying to make Carlos jealous, but really turning Jose on, and then when she doesn’t get a rise out of Carlos, she takes her foul behind to bed solo, leaving Jose all jacked around. It ain’t right. One day she’s gonna make me beat her ass for messing with Jose as much for trying to come for my man.

A couple of nights ago, I literally had to body-block Inez to keep her off Juanita’s ass. Inez is crazy. Girlfriend don’t play. But if Inez is picking up how much Juanita is playing games and dissing me in from of the team, then you know the senior Guardians are feeling it, too. I can’t even imagine what’s running through Carlos’s head—which is also working my nerves. His black box is locked tighter than a Sherman tank.

I don’t like that. Especially not for the reason he’s shut down on me. Juanita.

The few times when we did make love… aw, man, it just wasn’t right. He’s got stuff going on with him that he’s not sharing; I’ve got stuff going on inside my head that I’m not sharing, and it’s messing with our flow.

A few months have passed, and me and Carlos have only been together a coupla times? Us? THAT’S scaring the bullshit out of me. Now I find myself making crazy excuses for not going there, and there’s this undercurrent between us—I can tell he’s pissed off, and I can’t blame him.

This journal entry is history. Diary, I’m forewarning you, your pages are about to get yanked out from the binding and burned TODAY. My nerves are so bad. I am soooo nervous about moving into Jose’s people’s old house, their strong shaman prayer barriers notwithstanding. It’ll have his originating charge in it, his energy, which is some strong mojo. But I have to do it for the team so that all of us can be safe. I can’t let this nonsense put our safety at risk, but I also can’t explain to people why it’s gonna be super hard for me to be there, and for him, most likely.

Every time Carlos rolls up on me to even talk, I put a steel barrier around my brain. But part of our whole magic was that he and I could lock… I can’t lock with him with this up in my head. I just can’t risk it, can’t let him all the way in, and if he’s not all the way synced up with me, when we make love, we miss each other’s cues. I cried the last time, because he told me I don’t even light up for him any more—he can’t see my aura. It broke my heart because the man asked me to my face, “What’s wrong, baby,” and I lied to him for the first time in my life. Told him I didn’t know. That it had to maybe do with the hormonal things going on with me after all the changes my body went through since Sydney, with fatigue added in. I blamed it all on stress, which wasn’t a total lie, but now I sound like him… his old way of halfway coming clean.

He accepted that and backed off me, but I could tell he wasn’t buying it. I miss my friend… miss my lover… miss him so much. A lie is a damnable thing.

Bye. I’m tearing out these pages just so I can breathe. Maybe I’ll try to work on a poem or some lyrics.