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Sparky

 

I never saw myself living in the same room as a full-length mirror. Alright, okay, I never truly thought I'd make it far enough with a girl to be sharing a room with one. And mirrors come along with girls. Which is nice, because it's fun watching her stare into it, and worry, and tug at her hair, when all I want to do is burst out laughing and yell YOU'RE CRAZY YOU'RE PERFECT WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT THE MIRROR TO TELL YOU?

So I have this wife. She's kinda short, but it's hard not to notice her. She's got nice pretty blond hair which I like because it reminds me of sunshine, which I miss. She gets angry about things and does something about them, and I wish I was like that but we tend to dislike the same things anyway so it kinda gets sorted out in the end. And at the same time she's so nice and kind and loveable. It irks me when kids mouth off at her when she's just trying to teach them something. Sometimes I tell them so, but that never goes real well. But her and me, it's like the most right thing on the planet, us together. Us together and all it's implications.

Still doesn't feel completely real, today. And that face in the mirror, ho boy, it isn't what it used to be. Those glasses haven't been there all that long. And I have muscles. Not big ones, actually pretty piddly compared to all the bodies around here, but they're there all the same, making me appear less skinny and awkward. Like my father, I'm going to tell Milantha some day. I'm just like my father.

I'm thirty. I have two sons, aged eight and six, and a two-year old daughter. Every morning I hear Flash and Lawler bicker and laugh, and Jayla's hands are so very small. Sometimes I'm terrified to touch her in case I break her since I can't seem to kick that habit, and Lanny gets irritated when I won't help her, but I don't tell her why because I've tried explaining before and it sounds stupid.

It's like there's two sides to my life. Home and work. Love and obligation. Happy and sad. Good and evil. Except if it was only work it wouldn't be such a big deal, but it's not, it's often fun and usually wrong, and it's teaching my kids to want to be these things that deep down I just don't like, and I try and show them something else, and they get confused. It's two sides on one coin and we seem to be flipping it and landing on a different face each day.

Stealing is wrong wrong wrong, and I can't get away from that, and I'm going to go to my grave a liar and a hypocrite and a thief and a murderer. And I'm so far gone that I can go for days, weeks, months without even noticing. Too busy to feel all the conscience pain that being a bad man brings, except then it twists and turns in my gut to try and wake me up and get me out.

How many times have I run away? Three technically, two intentionally. The first time when there was no Milantha. The third time, when I killed. The second time, when she reminded me who I was, and brought me back.

It took me a long time to completely forgive her for that.

So when I tell her I love her more than myself, I think that I've proved it. And I do love her, her and our kids, more than myself, more than feeling good and moral.

I keep it a secret that when I stormed out during that big huge fight that I can't really remember the point of, I was telling myself that I really wasn't coming back this time, gone for good and finally out of Keltor, leaving-leaving, and I got all the way to the highway to thumb a ride else-where before I saw the wedding ring on my finger and ran back, terrified at the idea of never seeing her again.

And I don't remind her about the times we talked vaguely about leaving together, before we got married. I've stopped telling her that she's the only thing holding me here. I don't mention my little daydreams where I went to university and stayed to teach and have my own lab and long holidays where we went everywhere, even to other planets.

Because even though I know she puts me before her job in her heart, sometimes that don't-mess-with-the-Loremaster look she gets (which I agree with totally, don't mess with my wife the Loremaster, nobody had better dare) is sent in my direction too. And I get apprehensive about what she would think and say if she knew, that they would be two different things. I'd hate to make things difficult for her.

If I left now, and got caught, she would be the one who had to kill me. And that would be unpardonable, worse than all my sins together, putting her in that position. Not going to happen.

So I can't leave without my family, these four people who hold me together. I can't do anything that might put them at risk. I have to do the best I can to keep us okay. No matter how different I am from the image I created of the man I was to be?

"What are you doing?"

Yikes! My whole body jumps. "You scared me!"

Milantha stands in the doorway between our room and the children's. "Sorry, but I was surprised to see you sitting on the floor."

I guess I must look kinda silly, with my back against the bed and my legs sprawled in front of me, stretching towards the mirror. I hold my hands out to her. "Come here."

She hesitates. "I just came back to grab a book?"

"I know. Come anyway."

And of course she does, because she really is my wife before she's my Loremaster, and I hold her in my arms on the floor, soft and warm and comforting, and she holds me back.

I swear I'll be as good as I can, to deserve this. I won't forget who I'm meant to be.

 

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