Obscenely and Courageously


We will meet; and there we may rehearse most

obscenely and courageously.

—William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Dear Diary,

Truth and lies dance in my soul like misbegotten lovers whom fate has kept apart too long. The steely certainty of right and wrong, good and bad, has bled into a batch of listless gray soup, leaving me colored in doubt. The people I trusted most have turned against me. My enemies have proven to be kind. The foundation of my world is splitting apart, and I don't know who to trust or what to believe.

If our life is a quilt made of the patchwork of memories, then mine has been shredded, with nothing left to me but lost fragments of what should have been.

As Poe once wrote, I exist within myself alone. Only I'm not alone; I'm surrounded by faceless enemies that once looked like family.

THE COLD GRAY of winter clung to world outside, and not in the postcard-of-a-winter-wonderland kind of way, but in that dreary Stephen-King-horror-story kind of way. Like at any moment something terrifying would pop out from behind one of the sad looking trees and eat my soul for lunch.

Given how I was feeling, I'm pretty sure they'd spit me back out when the indigestion hit.

I pulled Ocean's car into a parking spot and stared at the door that had changed the course of my fate. Had it really been less than a month ago that I'd first walked into Master Kyoung's martial arts studio and right in to Derek's arms? It felt like so much longer.

The car cooled, and a shiver ran up my spine. He likely wouldn't be there. I shouldn't expect to see him. In fact, I wasn't even there to see him at all.

With these self-lies spinning in my head, I grabbed my computer and walked in to the warm studio.

When the bell on the door dinged, a short Korean man with tight muscles looked up from the front desk. He smiled and bowed. "Miss Wintersong, it nice to see you. You well?"

I bowed back. "Good to see you too, Master Kyoung. I'm okay. I finished your website and came by to show you. Is this a good time?"

"Yes, good time. I alone here," he said, answering my unspoken question.

So I really wouldn't see him today. Just as well.

I pulled out my laptop and turned it on, then found the files for his website and gave him a tour. "As I said before, your original site was pro, so basically my changes were cosmetic. I did add a community area where your students can come to chat and exchange stories of their training. This way, there's a sense of connection and involvement. I thought it would help inspire more members to get involved, but I can take it out if you want."

He shook his head. "I like. Very smart. Good for people to talk, connect, help each other. Community important."

Again I felt his words carried an underlying meaning meant only for me. "I also changed the color scheme, focusing on power colors, using red as an accent to give the site more impact."

He put his hand on mine. "You did good job. But only got few lessons for this. I train you myself to pay rest. Okay?"

Tears filled my eyes, and I swiped at them with the back of my hand before they escaped. Derek had been my trainer, but now he wouldn't even speak to me. "It's okay, Master Kyoung. I'm sure your time is far too valuable. I enjoyed the work, and maybe your members will see it and hire me for more? If you know anyone who needs a new site, I could use the referrals." Especially if I'll soon be homeless.

"I know people. I put word out. But first, we train. You need confidence."

I needed Derek to call me back. I needed to know why Mother had lied to everyone. I needed this whole nightmare to be over.

But today, I'd settle for confidence.

His style was similar to Derek's, but felt very different. Working with Master Kyoung, with the absence of any physical attraction, should have pulled my mind off of Derek, but instead, it only served as a painful reminder of what I was missing.

Halfway through our hour, Master Kyoung stopped and looked at me. "Your head not in this. You miss your man."

"He's not my man." My chin fell to my chest in emotional defeat. "But yes, I miss him. It's my fault all of this happened. My family's fault. I've ruined everything."

He lifted my chin with his finger. "Nothing ruined. Caterpillar think life is over in cocoon, that darkness means death. Not so. Darkness bring new life. And wings. Caterpillar becomes butterfly and fly away."

While the metaphor resonated with me, I didn't believe this darkness would lead to anything beautiful.

"You no give up hope, young Rose. I know secret things, and I tell you, this darkness not death."

We went back to training, and I tried to stay focused, but his words repeated in my mind with each punch and kick. Could he be right? Was there any hope at all left?

I told Ocean about the conversation when I got home, and she agreed with Mr. Kyoung. "He's a wise man, and he knows Derek. If he says there's hope, I believe him. Oh, and while you were gone, your mother had a fit that you'd left without telling her. I heard her screaming at your dad to keep an eye on you. Apparently, she's telling people that you and I are sorting through our own moral code and trying to decide if this coven is the right fit for us, as if she's graciously allowing us to stay from the goodness of her forgiving heart. Give me a freaking break."

Give me a break, indeed. What was Mother's game?

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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