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2020.10.26 18:22 IdolA126Octl What you are looking for is..... (Link in the Desc.)4

What you are looking for is..... (Link in the Desc.)4
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submitted by IdolA126Octl to u/IdolA126Octl [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 12:40 throwaway5233142 How do you "go out there and get to know other people"?

I'm a 21 year old German computer science Student. I never had a date in my life. I would rate my skills in flirting/talking with people in general below average, but not terrible.


When trying to find a gf, you usually do the following:
Step 1: Meet a random girl.
Step 2: Talk/flirt with her, get to know her and if you like her, try to get her to have a date with you.
Step 3: Have a successful date with her.

This thread/question is exclusivly about the first step, not the other two.

When I see discussion about this Problem, people always say "You won't find a gf while sitting at your desk, you need to go out there and get to know other people.". This is precisely my problem, I am someone who nearly always sits at home.

I know, that this sounds like a stupid question, but how do you meet girls/people in general? Because "go out there and get to know other people" doesn't mean just standing in the street in front of your house. I know that sounds stupid, but I have no idea how to "go out there and get to know other people".


Things that did not work for me:

  1. Sport: I regulary go to a sports club (not to meet people, but to do sports). (To stay anonymous, I don't want to say what/where.) But because most people come there regulary, everytime I go there, I meet the same people -> No success.

  1. University: This is where I met more people than everywhere else. I know how to approach people that are in the same lecture etc. with me, but I don't know how to approach people that are not in the same lecture with me. Another problem is that Women in computer science are a rare sight. The last, obvious problem is that there are no lecture due to covid.

  1. Discos: Two problems: First, they are closed due to covid. Second, has anyone ever walked into a club alone and get to known someone? You can't even talk, because the music is so loud. (Note: I don't dance)

  1. Online Dating: Most online dating platforms are shady af. I'm smart enough to realize if a company wants to rip me off and I know that desperete, lonely people are an easy target.

Note: Ignore covid for a second, because covid makes this problem worse, but I also had this problem before covid. Where I live, there is no lockdown, most things (except for Discos and Universities) are open. You can also give advice that currently does not work because of covid, it will work after covid.
submitted by throwaway5233142 to relationship_advice [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 03:11 severakj Kaiser Lane, VOL 1, Chapter 5 (Azur Lane x Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg

[Chapter One]( https://www.reddit.com/AzureLane/comments/hidhf5/kaiser_lane_volume_one_the_gathering_stormchapte)
[Previous Chapter](https://www.reddit.com/AzureLane/comments/j6vpw7/kaiser_lane_vol_1_chapter_4_azur_lane_x/)
_____
Links to alternate sites:

[Fanfiction](https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13630036/1/Kaiser-Lane-Volume-One-The-Gathering-Storm)

[Ao3](https://archiveofourown.org/works/24989680/chapters/60504472)

[Spacebattles](https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/kaiser-lane-azur-lane-x-kaiserreich-legacy-of-the-weltkrieg.863147/)
_____
A vicious war cry. The echoing boom of large-caliber guns. The shrill whistle of shells in the air. Scharnhorst’s ears rang with the familiar sounds of battle, the Yorck-class Fast Battleship’s body instinctively twisting to best protect itself from the incoming fire. Plumes of seawater burst skywards on every side as her opponent’s volley of twelve 45-cm shells plunged into the harbor around her. The waterspouts threw spray in all directions, soaking the Weltkrieg veteran to her bones.
Absent was the usual hellish flame of high explosives going off, as well as the deadly storm of shrapnel and metal fragments. The yellow clouds of dye that marked the impact of each shell, too, served as a reminder that this was not a fight to the death, but rather a ‘friendly’ training exercise. Not that that fact was going cause Scharnhorst to hold back that much: the Fast Battleship had been taught long ago that the sea did not forgive half-measures. Training was no exception to that rule. If you slacked off in a spar, you might slack off in a battle, and if you slacked off in a battle you wound up sunk. Her old instructor Von der Tann had, quite literally, beaten that lesson into her head, and Royal Navy had damn well made sure that it had stuck. Now it was the Weltkrieg veteran’s turn to try and pass on what she had learned from a lifetime in the Hochseeflotte.
Heavy emphasis on the word ‘try’.
Almost casually, Scharnhorst dodged sideways as her trainee Deutschland’s next salvo screamed in, an annoyed scowl decorating the Fast Battleship’s features. The younger shipgirl’s gun control was almost laughable, the shots she had fired having less been ‘aimed’ at the lavender-haired woman and more ‘fired in her vague direction’. The dozen shells that composed the volley fell in four loose and easily-avoided clusters (one from each of the other girl’s turrets) rather than as a singular overwhelming blow, the pinpoint precision that would have been a given among the veterans of Jutland or Skagerrak almost entirely absent.
Well, at least she’s using all her main guns at once. Only took her what, four years? Bitter sarcasm tinged the voice in Scharnhorst’s head as she took up her own firing stance, her eight 38-cm guns swinging into position. Completing her targeting calculations with near-trivial ease, the Weltkrieg veteran sent a real salvo back at her trainee: eight guns roaring as one, shells in a tight cluster, aim precise. For the sake of trying to teach the younger girl something, the Fast Battleship had made sure to telegraph her incoming attack as blatantly as possible, giving her opponent the chance to read her body language and try evading the volley instead of just relying on her armor.
No such luck. Deutschland, as per her norm, simply stood there and took the shots, apparently deciding that things like ‘dodging incoming fire’ were for lesser beings than the (not entirely fraudulently) self-proclaimed strongest ship in Ironblood. For a brief moment, the Super Dreadnought disappeared in a cloud of training dye and seaspray; a second later, a coughing noise sounded out from where Deutschland had been standing, the cloud clearing to reveal the Super Dreadnought’s face and torso had been painted lime green, the Flagship-to-be spluttering as she tried to spit the rancid-tasting training dye out of her mouth.
Another second later and a furious howl escaped from the black-haired girl’s lips, followed shortly by another flurry of 45-cm shells. Once again, to call it a volley would have been to stretch the definition of the word: it was clear to anyone with a trained eye that while the younger shipgirl may have been firing all her big guns together, she was still aiming each turret independently. Rather than in a true broadside, the shots were still plunging down as quartets of separate barrages, each one with only a bare fraction of the power that the shipgirl that had fired them should have been able to achieve.
Scharnhorst didn’t quite roll her eyes as she again easily evaded the worst of the incoming fire. That even with sloppy gun control and sloppier aim Deutschland’s shots made her teeth rattle, that even with training shells her student’s raw power was apparent, only served to disappoint and frustrate the Fast Battleship further. This was the girl that was the new pride of Ironblood? This was the girl that was meant to be the Hochseeflotte’s future flagship, the heir-apparent to Kaiserin Friedrich der Grosse herself?
In theory, yes. On paper, Deutschland was the greatest warship ever built, the ultimate symbol of the new order that the Kaiser’s Empire had brought to the world, a living testament to Teutonic might. Among all the shipgirls in the world, only her own sister Graf Spee could match her raw power: a hull close to 300 meters in length; enough engine power to give her a top speed of 27 knots; a dozen 45-cm guns and enough secondary firepower to arm a light cruiser flotilla; plate armor 410mm thick all along her hull, forged from only the strongest steel. Truly, Deutschland was born to rule the waves and lead the Kaiserliche Marine.
And here she was losing a training match to a two-decade old Fast Battleship that wasn’t much more than half her displacement and had maybe 3/5ths of her firepower.
Such things made one worry about for the future of the Kaiser’s Empire. It was a worry that only deepened when one remembered that a Wisdom Cube was shaped by the ideals and wills of the nation that built used it, and that an Ironblood shipgirl’s personality was therefore reflective of the mindset of the whole of the German people. Deutschland’s issues were emblematic of the problems that had developed in the entire nation’s post-war psyche: in the years since the Weltkrieg had ended, Ironblood’s eisen had become softened, and its blut had started running cold.
The younger generations of the German people knew only the fruits of the labor of their forebears, not the blood, sweat toil and tears of the labor itself. The children that had grown up with the Kaiser’s Empire on top of the world had come to have an attitude built around three things: ingrained feelings of complacency, arrogance and decadence; a pig-headed belief that that just being German made you the best; and the dangerous assumption that the Empire’s place in the sun had been owed, and not earned. Gone was the unshakable discipline and unbreakable will that had won the Weltkrieg, replaced with…well, nothing of value, really.
It was Ironblood’s own fault, of course. Omnipresent state propaganda, so key in holding the nation together through the war’s long, dark and grinding final years, had ultimately proved a double-edged sword. Not that it hadn’t been a necessary evil: The Empire had come closer, far closer, to collapse (both on the home front and the frontlines) than even its own citizens knew. If the public had had any idea of how bad things had actually been, the whole of Ironblood would have almost certainly collapsed.
To be bluntly truthful, the Kaiser’s Empire hadn’t actually won the war: they’d merely convinced their enemies that they had lost. Half of a victory is accomplished by arms: the rest is done by convincing the foe that they’ve been beaten, regardless of whether or not they actually are. Or to put it another way: you can win at poker with a pair of twos if everyone else at the table thinks that you’re holding a full house.
No better analogy could describe Ironblood’s victory in the Weltkrieg. The war had not been won with guns or shells, but with cracked codes and counterintelligence, with government proclamations that had not been allowed to be questioned and very tight controls on what the public had been allowed to know. The shining example of this policy of deception’s success was the tale of the Kaiserliche Marine’s victory in the naval war: in one of the greatest intelligence coups in history, the Ironblood propaganda machine had managed to bluff the entire British Empire (and the Kaiser’s) into believing that the Hochseeflotte had scored a ‘Trafalgar-esque’ victory over Royal Navy at the Battle of the Skagerrak, when nothing could have been further from the truth.
Far from a smashing success, Skagerrak had been for Ironblood the very definition of a pyrrhic victory, and even merely achieving that had taken a near-miraculous series of lucky flukes. Almost everything had gone right for the Hochseeflotte (they had all-but annihilated the Royal Battlecruisers; they had savagely mauled Britain’s Dreadnoughts; they had decimated their light ships; they had even cut down Queen Elizabeth herself), and still Ironblood had come within a hair’s breadth of defeat.
Royal Navy had matched their foes blow for blow, loss for loss, sinking for sinking. Skagerrak had not been (as was told to the German people and the world) a glorious rout of an outsmarted and outmatched enemy, but the Kaiserliche Marine’s most desperate and darkest hour. The Hochseeflotte had thrown everything and anything that it had had at Royal Navy. Experimental seaplane tenders, practically every U-Boat in Ironblood, and even the brand-new Yorck-class Battlecruiser sisters, who hadn’t even had their shakedown cruises before being thrown into the fire: all of them had been sent forth in an all-or-nothing operation that had relied on a battleplan that many had considered so insane that it looped back around to genius.
The ‘victory’ the Kaiserliche Marine won that day was bought with the sacrifices of dozens, hundreds of Ironblood shipgirls. Their Light Ships were decimated earning it: sent on death-or-glory torpedo attacks against the Dreadnoughts of Royal Navy (essentially being sent to die to buy breathing room for the Hochseeflotte’s Capital Ships), nearly a third of the entire Fleet’s combat-capable Destroyers had either been sunk or were badly damaged-losses further amplified by the destruction or crippling of around one-fifth of all Ironblood cruisers and a full half of their U-Boats.
Among the Capital Ships, the news had been similarly grim. Of the four Bayern-class girls that could go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Queen Elizabeth- and Revenge-classes, two had fallen in the course of the battle, and the other pair would require months in drydock before they were ready to fight again. The rest of Ironblood’s Dreadnoughts had fared little better, with even the Kaiserin herself receiving wounds that could not quickly be repaired.
It was the Battlecruisers that came closest to achieving what the government’s proclamations of victory declared that they had done (having decisively defeated their Royal counterparts in the battle’s early phases) but in the grinding night action that had ultimately decided the engagement’s victor they, too, had been made to pay the butcher’s bill. The old First Scouting Group, the proud veterans of Jutland, had been hammered so badly drawing fire away from their more modern comrades that none of them would see combat again for the duration of the war.
That Seydlitz and her direct command had even managed to survive the battle could largely be attributed to the spectacular performances of their Mackensen- and Yorck-class protégés in the Second Scouting Group, who had thrived in the hellfire of their baptism by flame. It had been mainly been their guns that had responsible for the obliteration of the Royal Battlecruisers, and it was their arrival into the chaos of the night action that had sealed Queen Elizabeth’s fate. They would be the ones to be declared the heroines of the hour, and if anyone doubted those honors then Second Scouting Group possessed more than enough battle scars to prove that they rightfully had earned them.
But that Ironblood’s Battlecruisers (half their number crippled and the rest badly maimed) had been by far the Hochseeflotte’s most intact formations by the time that the Fleet had returned to the safety of the Jade Estuary was telling. The Kaiserliche Marine may have struck the Royal Navy a blow the likes of which it had not felt in centuries, but they had effectively crippled themselves in doing it. There was no doubt in Wilhelmshaven: after Skagerrak, the Hochseeflotte could not afford to launch another assault against the Royal Knights. One more battle of such magnitude would have meant the utter destruction of Ironblood.
But Royal Navy hadn’t known that. Royal Navy had known nothing about the losses their foes had suffered: as the final phases of the battle had been fought in near pitch darkness, the Royal Knights had not been able to see that they were bloodying their foes just as badly as they themselves had been bloodied. In the confusion and chaos of the night battle, Queen Elizabeth and her command had had no idea of what the tactical situation was outside of what they could see with their own eyes, and what they could see was sorely limited.
And in the black of night, Ironblood had given Royal Navy a rather compelling reason to believe that it was they, not the Kaiserliche Marine, that were the ones to suffer the greater losses. When the First and Second Scouting Groups had limped into the confusing and brutal fray of the night action, they had done so by essentially pincering the Royal Knights between themselves and the Kaiserin’s Battle Line. Unable to clearly see the enemy’s reinforcements, the Queen was left to assume the worst: that Ironblood’s Battlecruisers were fully intact and that her own Battlecruisers had been completely wiped out.
This, in turn, lead Elizabeth to believe that the arriving Ironblood reinforcements (which had caught the Royal Navy main body almost completely by surprise) were far combat capable than they had actually been. The Royal Knights, thinking themselves to now be surrounded by a superior force (and inexperienced in night combat), had panicked. Fearing a disaster, they had tried to retreat, and had then, at the absolute worst possible moment, Royal Navy been confronted by an actual disaster: in the chaos of their attempt to disengage, their Queen had fallen.
Staggering away from the battlefield, Elizabeth’s successors would be left stunned by the shock of her loss, the Flagship’s sinking amplifying the psychological impact of Royal Navy’s casualties tenfold. The shocks to their pride and self-confidence were massive: Not since the Siren Wars had a Royal Navy Flagship been lost in battle. And not only had the sinking of Queen Elizabeth been devastating to the Grand Fleet’s morale (indeed, Elizabeth’s fall would inflict upon her successor Warspite and most of her Court a kind of mental paralysis which the Grand Old Lady would never fully shake), it had thrown Royal Navy’s chain of command into chaos, crippling their ability to deal with the ensuing crisis. And as they scrambled to rearrange its hierarchy and regain its bearings, the Hochseeflotte had struck again.
The decisive blow of Skagerrak would not be made by a naval cannon, but by the printing presses of the Ironblood state media. Knowing from intercepted and decoded messages that their enemy believed themselves crushingly defeated, the Kaiser’s Empire could not and did not allow the truth of Skagerrak to escape. The propaganda techniques that had shifted Jutland from a stalemate to a smashing victory in the public consciousness had been perfected in the years since that earlier battle, and now they were put to good use: the whole world was told of a story of complete and utter annihilation of the enemy, and were informed that the Ironblood Fleet could easily steam out and do it all over again at a moment’s notice.
That the shipgirls had no crews that could have allowed the truth to leak out made the lie all the easier. Dutiful to the last, the girls of the Hochseeflotte had done all that they could to help foster the illusion, and soon carefully doctored photographs of them were circulating throughout Ironblood, showing the German people images of decisive triumph and flawless victory. The censors did the job of hiding the girls’ injuries and disguising the fleet’s losses almost perfectly: if you looked through the newspapers of the continent, one would never have known how badly the Kaiserliche Marine had been bled.
Royal Navy (which even accounting for its losses at Skagerrak would have still have held notable advantages in numbers and firepower over Ironblood, and in all likeliness would have been able to destroy them on a whim if it came to another surface engagement) took the bait. The newly-crowned Queen Warspite, already plagued by self-doubt, grief and regret, had been in no mood to go combing through her enemy’s declarations of triumph looking for discrepancies or trying to challenge Ironblood to a rematch, and nor had her advisors.
Convinced by the loss of their Flagship that they had been dealt a crippling defeat (an illusion reinforced by a the Hochseeflotte’s continued hit-and-run raids on the British coast, which seemed to imply that the Kaiserliche Marine still had enough strength left to go picking a fight), the Grand Fleet would spend the rest of the war hemmed up in port, terrified of losing more sisters-in-arms than they already had. And by the time that Ironblood’s façade began to crack the truth started to leak out, it was too late to make a difference.
Similar stories had played out on land. The Kaiser’s government had had to convince starving people scavenging for turnips and horse-feed that the citizens in enemy lands had it worse and were on the verge of breaking, and had managed to loot enough food from its conquests to sustain the illusion. The army had fended off Azur Lane’s almost feral counterattacks to try and stop the push on Paris by making them think that they had enough reserves to launch attacks along the flanks of the main thrust, tying down entire enemy divisions guarding against attacks that would never come.
By lying long enough and loud enough, Ironblood had been able to create an entirely new truth and convince the world of it. The Kaiser’s Empire held together long enough for mutinies in the Iris Army to rip the Orthodoxy apart. The British Expeditionary Force, in perfect position to relieve their beleaguered ally by launching an assault that would have cut the German lines to pieces, had called the attack off, believing it to be a suicide mission into impregnable defenses (defenses that had been held by undermanned ‘ghost divisions’ that in practical terms existed only on paper). And so it was that in the end, Ironblood won the war: a victory built on the greatest set of lies ever told.
Because their new world order was built on the foundation of such lies, the Kaiser’s Empire could never stop lying if they wanted to maintain their oh-so-fragile hold on world hegemony. The end of the façade of unchallengeable power would have meant the end of Ironblood itself, the German people too exhausted and bled too dry to even consider withstanding a renewed enemy assault. The slightest lowering of their guard might have invited such a challenge, and so Ironblood’s great bluff had continued: They showed their enemies and allies alike nothing but strength and power, never backing down from a challenge, launching interventions the world over as displays of might and praying that no one would ever catch a glimpse behind the curtain.
By sheer luck or divine intervention, the illusion had held. The rivals of the Kaiser’s Empire had each had their own reasons for failing to see through the veil: Northern Parliament was embroiled deep in its Civil War; The Iris Orthodoxy, Sardegna Empire and Royal Navy had all been struggling to rebuild themselves, and had soon found the fires of Revolution sweeping across their lands; Eagle Union and the Sakura Empire, both isolated in their own continents far from Europa, had had little reason to challenge Ironblood’s claims of incomparable strength. But that the deception was allowed to persist only let the lies take deeper and deeper root among the German people, and even those that remembered the truth eventually began to convince themselves otherwise.
The lies that Ironblood had told the world started to become the lies that they told themselves. Public opinion, mirroring what the state press had told them in the war years and beyond, became convinced that that the British were weak and decadent, that the French were spineless cowards, the Russians were a backwards people a century out of date, that none of them were legitimate threats to the new order. The guard was relaxed. Vigilance was not maintained. The lies were taught to children in the schools, who grew up believing that state’s official explanations of how the war was won, never knowing that the ‘inevitable victory’ had had more to do with sheer luck, clever lies and the shortcomings of Azur Lane than any of Ironblood’s own military accomplishments.
And those that didn’t remember the war, didn’t remember the truth about it, had no alternative but to learn the lies by heart. Who was going to tell them otherwise? With the old enemies gathering their strength once more, who would dare admit weakness? Rather than being told of the full extent of the nation’s sacrifices and suffering, a whole generation was instead raised believing their parent’s propaganda: that the war had been a smashing and glorious victory, thinking that Ironblood’s ascendency had come at the hand of destiny, and that in both the present and the future that would be enough. That if there ever was another war, the Kaiser’s Empire was fated to win it.
Given that a shipgirl’s Wisdom Cubes (and thus their personality) was shaped by the wills and beliefs of their nation, how else could a girl like Deutschland (who had been built specifically just to one-up the other Great Powers) have turned out but entitled and arrogant to the extreme? The black-haired girl seemed totally convinced that their own strength was all that they would ever need, that fate itself would bend to meet her whims, that she had been born perfect and had no need for improvement. The Super Dreadnought was the physical incarnation of post-war Ironblood’s air of self-assured supremacy and untouchability: Brash cockiness, flashy demeanor, raw power that very few (if any) could possibly hope to match…and almost nothing of mental or spiritual substance to back any of it up.
Such things were not appreciated by those that had been through the hellfire of Jutland and Skagerrak, that knew full well that Ironblood should have by all rights lost the war and that the fruits of their victory were privileges, not rights. The unearned pride and unbacked arrogance of their intended successors (well-designed and well-built, but untested and unready) was, to put it mildly, deeply frowned upon by the veterans of the Weltkrieg.
Fortunately, the shipgirls of Ironblood were in a position to do something about it. Those that had since the war remained in the Kaiser’s service had taken up the duty of trying to beat such complacent attitudes out of the thick skulls of their trainees and to take lessons they’d learned during the war and beat them in. It was a difficult process, and the success of their attempts varied heavily from girl to girl, but it damn well wasn’t for lack of effort on the part of the instructors.
With a veteran’s skill, Scharnhorst dodged yet another of Deutschland’s attempts at a salvo. That wasn’t to say that she was entirely unscathed: given the raw firepower of her guns, even simple near misses from the Super Dreadnought’s didn’t feel all that different from, say, a direct hit from a destroyer (or maybe even a light cruiser). If the Kaiserin’s heir-apparent ever managed to get her head out of her ass, there would be few in the world that would have a hope of standing against her. Until that happened, though…
Well, it was Scharnhorst’s job to try and make it happen, and there was nothing like a solid beating to knock someone’s pride down a few notches. With that in mind, the Fast Battleship decided to it was time to become a bit more assertive in her teaching. Evading more fire from Deutschland, the Weltkrieg veteran gunned her engines and broke straight towards her opponent, taking hold her rigging’s spear as she did so.
Under Ironblood doctrine, Deutschland’s response to this charge was meant to be as follows: given the superior caliber of her guns to all but a small handful of potential opponents, the Flagship-to-be was supposed to always try and maintain distance between herself and any enemies, thereby taking advantage of her longer effective firing range to devastate any attacker, optimally long before they could even get close enough to hit back.
The heir-apparent of the Kaiserin, though, tended to ignore any advice that didn’t come out of her own head. With another hail of gunfire (this one accompanied by a storm of cursing and an assortment of age-related insults), Deutschland drew her massive zweihander sword from the scabbard on her back and began a charge of her own, her rigging groaning as the black-haired girl’s redlined her propulsion system.
With sounds like railroad cars being thrown across the sky, Deutschland’s latest barrage streaked impeccably towards Scharnhorst…and proceeded to mostly pass harmlessly over the lavender-haired woman’s head, the Flagship-to-be not having bothered with things like ‘properly leading her target.’ The Weltkrieg veteran easily used her spear to turn aside the handful of threatening shots (mainly blindly sprayed shells from the Super Dreadnought’s secondary guns), the storm of shells having barely slowing the Fast Battleship as she closed into melee range.
“Come and get it, you old hag!”
Here came Deutschland, charging in like a raging bull, not even bothering with her guns anymore. She was waving her zweihander around above her head like it was meat cleaver, her face red and a vein in her forehead throbbing. You would have had to have been blind to miss the Super Dreadnought’s body language screaming ‘overhead strike with sword’ with all of her being, and unfortunately for the black-haired girl, Scharnhorst was anything but.
Oh, I’ll show you ‘old hag.’
An instant before the two shipgirls would have collided, the Weltkrieg veteran sidestepped right, a move which, judging by the look of total surprise on Deutschland’s face, caught the Super Dreadnought completely off guard. The Flagship-to-be stumbled, overbalancing as her sword swing came up against empty air. Her opponent didn’t hesitate to press her advantage, Scharnhorst needing only the blink of an eye to slam the butt of her spear into the black-haired girl’s rigging and shoulder blades, using the younger shipgirl’s massive weight and momentum against her.
Deutschland was sent sprawling forwards, her sword toppling out of her hands as she tried to catch her balance. Before she could recover, though, the guns of her lavender-haired opponent had swiveled into firing position. In an instant, eight guns had sounded as one and the Super Dreadnought was engulfed in cloud of green dye. Another instant later, and the heir-apparent of Ironblood felt herself being slammed face-first into the water by the impact of the training shells.
Shaking her head to clear it, Deutschland tried to get back up, propping herself onto her hands and knees. Just as she did so, though, the Super Dreadnought felt a sharp kick be driven into her right side, flipping her over onto her back. Not even a second passed before the black-haired girl felt the same foot stomp down on the center of her chest, pinning her to the water’s surface. Blinking water and training dye out of her eyes, Deutschland was greeted by the sight of an angrily scowling Scharnhorst, the elder shipgirl’s spear tip hovering near the younger’s throat, her guns just waiting for the smallest movement form Deutschland’s own to fire.
“You lose.”
For a long moment, Deutschland looked like she was ready to try and defy that statement, a look of impotent fury crossing the Super Dreadnought’s face, her rigging twitching slightly. Before the black-haired girl could say anything, though, Scharnhorst reiterated her statement.
“Concede”, the Fast Battleship snarled, moving her spear incrementally closer to Deutschland’s throat, Scharnhorst’s turrets waggling a bit to drive the point home. With a snarl of her own, the Super Dreadnought slowly raised her hands, admitting defeat.
With a curt nod, the Weltkrieg veteran accepted her trainee’s concession, pulling her spear away from the younger girl’s neck and sheathing it, her guns turning away from the Super Dreadnought in the same moment. Then the lavender-haired woman growled, reaching down and grasping the Flagship-to-be by her hair, giving the younger shipgirl the assessment of her performance in the training exercise as she did so.
“Pathetic! Absolutely pathetic!” Scharnhorst declared, roughly hauling Deutschland to her feet by the scalp, ignoring the Super Dreadnoughts protests and small exclamations of pain.
“Absolutely! Pathetic!” The Weltkrieg veteran repeated, still grasping the heir-apparent by the hair to ensure that the younger girl was looking her in the eyes. “How many times do I have to teach you THE SAME DAMN LESSONS!” the Fast Battleship continued, her voice raising as she spoke.
You can’t shoot worth shit! You never dodge!” The lavender-haired woman listed, her face flushing red as she clutched the younger shipgirl by the head, daring the Super Dreadnought to respond. “You never use your head! You just throw raw power at everything!”
Deutschland was unmoved by her instructor’s tirade, her face fixed as one of angry defiance. With a frustrated cry, Scharnhorst released her trainee, shoving the Super Dreadnought away from her. The black-haired girl stumbled slightly as she was let go, but stayed on her feet, her expression still one of prideful rage. For a long moment, the Fast Battleship simply stood panting, trying to catch her breath, clear her head and bottle her rage back up. She’d been screaming at the heir-apparent for four years: the lavender-haired woman knew full well that just adding more volume wouldn’t get through to the younger girl. She tried (tried) for a calmer approach.
“All. The strength. In the world. Is useless. If you have no discipline to guide it.” the Weltkrieg veteran spoke slowly, her gaze stony, making sure that the Super Dreadnought was actually listening to her. The black-haired girl clearly wanted to launch into a tirade of her own, but the Super Dreadnought stayed quiet: even she knew better than to interrupt her instructor in the middle of a dressing down.
“Those guns mean nothing if you can’t shoot hit your target,” Scharnhorst spoke on, her voice terse, jamming her index finger into the Flagship-to-be’s chest. “Your armor is tinfoil if you don’t know its limitations. That sword,” the Fast Battleship said, pointing out Deutschland’s zweihander, “is a good as a butter knife if wielded incorrectly. And you need to pull your goddamn head out of your fucking ass and understand that.”
The look on the Super Dreadnought’s face only tightened in response, the defiance in her features as strong as ever. Scharnhorst’s own expression twisted into an even deeper scowl as she mulled over her options. Kicking the black-haired girl’s ass (again) was one of them, but the Weltkrieg veteran was well aware had been sent to train the Flagship-to-be, not to break her: push too hard or too far and she’d have the Kaiserin to answer to. And honestly, the Fast Battleship had simply put up with enough of Deutschland’s schisse for the day, if not the week (or maybe even the month). Time to let her be someone else’s problem for a little while.
“Report to Von der Tann at 0400 tomorrow morning for remedial gun training. She’ll be expecting you. And don’t even try skipping out, or I’ll make the beating I just gave you look like a playground scuffle. Understood?”
Deutschland nodded stiffly. That wasn’t the answer the Scharnhorst had been looking for. “I’m sorry, I didn’t fucking hear you. I said, is that understood, Deutschland!?
Ja, Frau Scharnhorst!” The Super Dreadnought gave the Weltkrieg veteran the most painfully overexaggerated parade ground salute that the latter had ever seen, its over-rigid nature clearly out of spite for her instructor. It was also a technically correct salute, so as much as Scharnhorst wanted to slap the black-haired girl upside the head for it, the Fast Battleship let her little act of defiance slide and returned the salute with a frustrated grimace.
“Good. Now get the fuck out of my sight.”
Deutschland didn’t have to be told twice: the Super Dreadnought turned on her heel and skated away across the harbor’s surface, trying to wipe away the green training dye off of herself and mumbling yet more curses as she did so. Scharnhorst watched her go, her face still set in a deep scowl. There went the future of Ironblood. With a resigned groan, the Weltkrieg veteran shook her head, another frustrated curse of her own slipping past her lips.
“Goddamn fool.”
“Happy to see you too, schwester.”
Scharnhorst turned to towards the voice behind her, instinctively readying her rigging. The Fast Battleship’s guard dropped immediately, though, when they laid eyes on the speaker: the shipgirl behind her shared her uniform, her rigging, her hair, her eyes and actually most of her other physical characteristics. The main things setting the two apart was the newcomer’s glasses and the splatters of pink training dye covering swaths of her uniform and rigging.
“Very nice Von Der Tann impression, by the way.” Gneisenau continued, casting her gaze out into the harbor. The youngest of the Yorck sisters jutted her chin after the recently departed Deutschland. “Don’t you think that she hates your guts enough already?”
Scharnhorst snorted. “I’m here to train her, not be her friend. Beating her down’s only way I can get anything to stick inside her skull, and when I’m screaming is the only time she listens to me. Gott im Himmel, nothing else works.” The Fast Battleship turned fully towards her sister. “If she hates me, she hates me, same way we hated the 1st Scouting Group right up until we realized that all they were trying to do was keep us alive.”
Gneisenau quirked an eyebrow at her sister. “I remember it taking Royal Navy to make us realize that. I thought we were trying to make sure that these girls didn’t have to learn on the job like we did.”
Scharnhorst let out a bitter laugh. “With the way that things are going, there might not be a choice.”
The elder sister’s eyes had turned back towards the horizon. The lavender-haired woman wasn’t watching Deutschland anymore, though: her gaze was going past the Super Dreadnought, past the harbor entrance and the protected waters of the Jade Estuary, past the cold waters of the North Sea. The sky was clear, the wind was warm and the sea was calm, but the old veteran of Skagerrak knew full well when a storm was brewing.
Fell winds were blowing in, carrying whispered warnings of the typhoon being formed. They blew in from the west, from the Trade Congress and Vichya Commune, inheritors of most of the strength of Royal Navy and the Iris Orthodoxy, all of their vengeful fury and almost none of their old moral restraints. They blew in from the east, where Northern Parliament remained an unknowable enigma. They blew in from the colonies, overstretched and exposed, where the cracks in Ironblood’s façade of invincibility were already starting to show. They blew in from the lands of weakening allies, from the realms of increasingly bold enemies, from Eagle Union, Iberia and Latin America and beyond, all so ready to burst into flames…
“Have you ever actually tried just talking to her?” Gneisenau said, breaking her sister from her musings. “Maybe she just needs to feel like she has someone who will listen to her. It worked wonders with Spee.”
The elder sister let out another short laugh at that. “Yeah, because Spee’s the good egg. Speaking of which…” Scharnhorst looked her fellow Weltkrieg veteran up and down, a look of slight bemusement coming across her features at the sight of all the training dye caking her sister’s features. “You didn’t go easy on her, did you? It looks like you were the one I sent to remedial with Tante Von.
The youngest Yorck sister smiled at that. “No. It’s just that Spee didn’t go easy on me. She’s getting the hang of things. Still has hurdles to clear, of course, but I think I’ve got her on the right track.”
“Well, at least one of them’s got their head on straight,” Scharnhorst replied. “That’s better than nothing.” The older Fast Battleship stretched, cricking her necks a few times and cracking her knuckles above her head before trying to wring the water out of her hair. “I,” she declared “need a damn drink. You coming with?”
“To Tante Seydi’s?” Gneisenau questioned. The third of the Yorck-class looked down, gesturing at her uniform and presenting the various splotches of pink training dye marking her clothing for her sister to see. “We both know she’d kill me if I stepped in looking like this. I have to go get cleaned up before I go anywhere.”
Scharnhorst grinned. “Well then, more for me. Do you want me to get anything for you?”
“Just the usuals,” her sister responded. “I’m going to head up to the Kriegerdenkmal once I’m presentable. Meet me there?”
Ja, ja. I’ll see you there, schwester,” the elder Fast Battleship responded, nodding. Her sister smiled and returned the nod before skating off across the waters. As she had with Deutschland, Scharnhorst watched her go, though this time no angry scowl was decorating her features.
And then the Weltkrieg veteran turned and headed for the docks, and for that most beloved of German pastimes: a nice drink after a day’s work.
submitted by severakj to AzureLane [link] [comments]


2020.10.26 02:15 ahmadbsaeed How to deal with "racism" or similiar occurences when dating?

Disclaimer: I don't particularly like the use of "racism" in this situation coz I think it's such a strong word and when discussing racism, this seems trivial but I couldn't think of a different word. Maybe biased or judgemental people would be a better fit
Just a little bit of backstory to try to make this more sense. I'm a 20 year old Pakistani born male but I haven't spent much time in Pakistan. Most of my childhood was spent in Australia and now I live in Germany. My parents are relatively conservative and so my upbringing was such as well, with a very Islamic religion. I however deviated from that and don't believe in that at all now. The only person in my family that knows about this is my sister who has always been an amazing role model for me and taught me many things that didn't particularly gel with our culture or religion but I don't want to talk to her about this coz she's stressed with her own stuff, so that's why I'm asking here.
When I was younger I didn't really deal with girls in general, partially coz of my social awkwardness and I didn't want to have the hassle of hiding this stuff from my parents. My other encounters with racism, I've dealt with well I'd say. Generally I'm in control of the situation like if someone is being discriminitory towards me I just assume they're an idiot and move on but I felt so out of control in this situation coz I don't think I could do anything about this.
Anyways, on to the actual situation: Lately I started hanging with this girl (let's call her Kate). I really liked Kate coz I felt like I could be me around her and I just liked spending time with her. That simple. We hooked up a few times and the conversation of a relationship came up. Although I feel like I'm not exactly prepared for one, I thought that if it's going to be any one, it's her coz I do really like her. She, however mentioned, that she couldn't bring me home coz her parents, themselves are apparently pretty conservative (which was a euphemism for racist - her words). At the time I didn't think much of it as I thought it was just a joke or just a thought, but after a while it became apparent to me, that it wasn't. There were other reasons why a relationship might not be the best idea, but none were dealbreakers and I think we could work on those but that was the main reason why a relationship was out of question.
And this really put me down. I didn't know what to do coz none of my actions lead to this situation other than being born in a different continent and it's not like I consider myself Pakistani anways. I've spent most of my life here and if anyone asks, I say I'm German coz that's what I am. And I thought to myself, that out of all the places where I would have to deal with racism, dating wouldn't be one of them or that racist parents/social circles would ever factor in to it. I honestly thought a bigger dealbreaker would be that I like spicy food or something else that I had control over and tbh I don't know how to deal with this.
I don't even know if this is the right place for this topic but I didn't know where else to turn to coz none of my friends can actually understand this I think, coz if she was the one that was acting like this, I would have moved on but I just feel like I had no control over this situation and I just want to know if anyone had any similar experience, how they dealt with it and how I could deal with this
submitted by ahmadbsaeed to dating [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 22:20 3amTacobell Feeling helpless.

Hello. This is my very first post here, and i think it's going to be a long one. I'm also sorry for my bad english, or weird writing. I'm 19 years old, german, and for about 5 years or so, i've felt down, depressed, overall sad. There's a lot going on in my head. I feel completely lost in this life. I haven't archieved anything in life, and compared to my family, i'm a overall failure. I was never really good at school, my grades sucked. And without good grades, your chances for getting a good job are slim, at best. I have a small job in a factory, keeping the machine's clean, very easy. But it's just nothing, compared to others. My older brother worked at a company for a few years, and he's already some sort of manager there. He's so popular there, his company gifted him a car. Just because. My younger brother is an absolute unit at school, he's got the brains, and get's A's in every single subject. They have success. Don't get me wrong, i'm always doing my best. I always tried to learn, and i did, it's not like i'm stupid. But i don't know why it never worked out for me. I have maybe 1 friend? If i even can consider him one. We barely talk, or hang out, or anything. Yes, i even have a beautiful girlfriend, that i love above all things. But she doesn't return that. No, infact, it's been about 3 months since i've seen her. Maybe longer. She's always "busy", or "annoyed from me", but do you know what annoys her? My fucking existence. I say hello, she's pissed. I say I Love You, she's even more pissed. And when i say nothing, she's glad. She cheated about 5 times. And i forgave her. Every. Single. Time. Because i have nothing else. She's the only girl that would even consider talking to me, let alone "love" me. We're together for 4 years, and she didn't say a thing when i had birthday a few weeks ago. Everyone forgot it. There is another girl i was talking to, but she fooled me many times. Told me she wanted to go somewhere on Valentine's, she didn't show up. Had a date at the Movies, she didn't came. "Sorry i forgot LOL" is the reply, then. Even my father is pissed about me. He talked with my mother, who i love very much, behind my back. Said i'm dissapointing him. Annoying him. I'm not popular, not at all. When i go outside, if i ever do it, people just stare. And talk. And laugh. I don't think i'm ugly, got a clean face, a slim one, a bit long brown hair, i'm very very feminine. But there's just something, i don't even know. I'm uncomfortable, all the time. There's this ball of sorrow, rage, depression, growing in my stomach. There is nothing else. I hate myself. There's alot of rage when i'm seeing myself in the mirror or something. I just can't stand myself. I went to a doctor a few years ago, went trough a couple of tests. Probably depressed. I've seen a therapist, i talked, alot. "I never had a person here that hates himself as much as you do, a person that thinks in such horrible ways of himself", he said. I'm nothing, a no-one, worthless, without any fucking meaning to anyone in this god forsaken world. I hate this life. I hate this body. I hate who i am. And what i hate most, is that i cannot do anything about this. I am trying. I hate that i've become so desperate, that i cry out for help, from strangers online, from all around this globe. I feel empty. What the hell can i do? How do i get out of this? How? And how can i make my girlfriend notice me? I want her to change. She once was a wonderful person. The kindest, purest, girl i've ever met. I want it back. I want to be normal again.
Edit: I'm crying.
submitted by 3amTacobell to depression [link] [comments]


2020.10.25 19:56 littlepillowcase Something Might Be Wrong With Emma

I trudge down the stairs from my bedroom. Today is no ordinary day, today is my birthday, and that means the torture will be redoubled. The only bright side was the potential for gifts, like a new dog, or a laptop.
“I don’t want to throw a joint party but I’m not sure who would show up for Amelia’s if we separated them.” The tug on my heart is barely perceptible any more. Just a slight twinge really.
“Don’t mind me, just the less favored daughter, coming through,” I announce loudly.
My old slippers slap loudly as I pose in the kitchen doorway. As usual, my parents cringe at the sight of me. I clench my fist, the smile frozen on my face.
“Happy birthday, honey! We were just making you pancakes. Why don’t you go take a shower and get ready?”
“But I am ready,” I say, and I swear I can see my mom actually wince. I only thought people winced in books. Or when they pulled out a splinter.
She exchanges a look with my father. His says ‘go easy, it’s her birthday’ but my mom has always been bad at taking orders.
“I’ll see you later kiddo,” he says, planting a kiss on the top of my head and giving me a wink before bowing out.
“Now if you would only run a brush through that bird’s nest...” my mom mumbles, and I grunt, pulling down a mug for coffee. Before I’m able to lift the pot, I find myself pinned to the counter.
“Mom!” I yell, but she’s furiously yanking a brush through my hair. I’m unable to throw her off, so I endure the hard brushing. It wouldn’t be painful if she’d just stop pressing into my scalp so hard.
“Had enough?” I ask through gritted teeth. My mom’s hand slows, and I take advantage of the hesitation and duck around her, holding the mug of coffee I poured during my torture session. It was times like these I missed the family dog, Chester, who used to pounce on my mom when she grabbed any of us in a confused attempt to play.
“Morning, Lia.” My sister, Emma, is grinning at us from the door I just came through.
“Happy birthday, runt,” I say, cheerfully punching her in the arm. She cheerfully kicks for my knee but I’m too fast for her.
“Do I smell pancakes?”
“Mom’s birthday special,” I say, sitting on one of the barstools that crowd our kitchen island. Speak of the devil, mom still hadn’t greeted her favorite daughter. I look over at her.
She’s examining the brush. “Looking for something?” I ask. She pinches the two strands of hair caught in the bristles between her fingers, frowning. She looks from the brush, to me, and back again.
I raise an eyebrow, and look to my sister, Emma, who’s taken over pancake duty. I twirl a manicured finger next to my temple in the universal sign for “crazy.”
By the time breakfast ends, we’re running late for our shifts. Emma and I are usually scheduled together since we have one pair of wheels between us.
A situation my sister clearly despises at this moment. Emma is drumming her nails, her arms and legs crossed as she stares out the side window.
“we’ll make it in plenty of time,” I lie. She continues her silent treatment. I slow to a stop at a red traffic light. Emma groans and I fight the urge to roll my eyes. I can’t control the damn traffic.
“I’m sorry,” Emma says.
“You, sorry? I’m shocked.” I’m only half-joking. She sighs.
“I just... hate being late.”
“Sure, because someone had to be the boring sister.”
“Shut up. You know Jack works the shift right before us, and he’s always rushing out.”
“Awww, Em, that’s so cheesy and cute,” I tease, and her face flushes a deep red. She reminds me of her six year old self when she gets embarrassed like that. I look around. There’s no one coming, the light is still glaring a bright red.
“Oh, fuck it.” I run the light. Much to Emma’s consternation, I stop almost immediately.
“Lia, don’t.”
There, in the road ahead of us, is a beautiful, black, skinny kitten. A mangy dog, something that might have been a blonde, terrier mix of some sort, hops on three mud-covered legs nearby. I reach a gentle hand out, and the dog hops closer, nose extended, tail wagging. The kitten is mewling, and quivers when I place it in a makeshift swaddle using my hoodie.
I open the back car door, letting the dog hop into my old, tiny, grey mom-car, and deposit the kitten into my sister’s lap. She squeals, but I ignore her protests, driving on toward our destination with our new buddies.
“I’m going to call you, Butterscotch,” I tell the dog, grinning as it pants in appreciation.
“These could be carrying diseases,” my sister says, and she’s probably right.
“I’ll get them shots.”
She glares at me.
“You thought of that just now didn’t you.” I remain silent. “You never thought about the diseases wild animals might carry? Do you ever think ahead?”
“I guess that’s why I’m lucky to have you,” I croon, poking her arm.
We arrive at the pool, and surprise surprise, Em has plenty of time to flirt with Jack. Jack cringes when he sees me, so I opt to leave them alone - My birthday gift to her I suppose. Between the animals and the life-guarding, my day flies by.
“You guys don’t think I look strange, right?” I ask the Butterscotch and the kitten, both of whom have been fed and watered. Butterscotch licks my face which I take as a positive sign.
I look in the mirror, staring at my reflection, and pull up a photo of Emma. I wonder if I’m being gaslighted, not for the first time. I turn away, jamming my phone into my pocket. It’s not worth agonizing over.
Our shift ends, but Emma wants to hang out with Jack, so I lay out, enjoying the sunlight and warmth. I fall asleep and finally wake to Butterscotch licking my hand. My sister and Jack are gone.
I had a guess.
My sister had already lost her shirt when I found them in Jack’s car.
“I am so not your chauffeur - get a ride home from lover boy.”
Emma shrieks, covering herself, but my eyes are drawn to her make out buddy. Jack looks embarrassed, but also a bit pale and sickly.
Well I wouldn’t be sharing any food or drinks with Emma for a few days.
I pack up the animals into my silver mom-Jeep, and wait one minute for Emma to stumble to the car, glaring daggers.
“You couldn’t let me finish having my fun,” she snaps.
“Grouchy horn-dog,” I chide.
That night was birthday cake and celebrating with only our family. My parents put up some resistance, but I think they were secretly pleased to have Butterscotch and Diva (the name my mom gave our kitten). They’d missed having animals since Chester. He’d died young from cancer, and it was hell to watch a dog go through that.
My mom gives me longer looks than usual at the dinner table.
“Yes?” I finally ask after she’s zoned out on my forehead for the third time. She straightens and laughs.
“Nothing, love,” she chuckles, running her fingers through my hair a few times. I sigh. It’s nice to not be fighting for once, although again, the majority of the fanfare is centered around Emma. All my carefully applied makeup is just to get my parents not to wince, and it seems I’ve succeeded. Maybe they’re right when they say teenagers have vanity issues.
The next day I take Butterscotch and Diva to the vet, prepared to pay sinfully for their shots and checkups. Both animals are in surprisingly good health all things considered, so I leave in a fairly good mood.
Emma has disappeared with Jack, and I find myself wondering about love lives. I’ve had an incredible lack of romantic attention thrown my way, which is surprising because-
I pause, Butterscotch patiently sniffing the ground around my feet and Diva purring against my ribs while I pull out my phone. I open a photo of Emma and I.
I really must be going crazy. I shut the phone off and turn my face to the sky with a deep breath. My eyes open when Butterscotch yanks my arm out from its socket by trying to chase a bird stupid enough to wander within leaping range. Diva yowls and sinks her claws into my arm, leaping on top of my shoulder for better balance.
Lucky for the bird, I‘m stronger than a 40 pound mutt, but just barely.
“We need to work on our manners,” I say, wrestling the cat from my neck and taking them to the car. My phone buzzes, and I answer as I hop behind the wheel, Diva riding shotgun, and Butterscotch in the back seat.
“Okay, birthday ideas,” my dad says. “What kind of party would you want this weekend?”
“I’m okay with whatever Em wants,” I say, a studied line I’d said ever since the eighth grade.
“But you both work at the pool, I’m not sure why she wants a party there,” he says, whispering.
“It’s easy, it’s cheap, we get free snacks, I don’t know. At least she didn’t want a horse this time.”
He laughs at that. There’s a pause.
“Dad, you there?”
“I’m here, princess. I just... you know it matters what you think too. I want you to have a good time at your birthday.”
At that moment, the sunlight off the tarmac makes my eyes water.
“Thanks. I really don’t mind the pool though.”
“Really?”
“Pinky promise.” I rub the back of my hand against my eyes and my vision clears.
“Okay, princess. I’ll see you tonight.”
Butterscotch rests his head on my shoulder, licking my cheek. I chuckle and pat him. Diva primly stares at me from her seat, cleaning her paw. The pair of them are brimming with health compared to yesterday, it’s amazing what a bath and food can do.
I barely see Emma over the next couple days. I assume she’s being chauffeured around by her “new fella,” as GG always said, which gives me the car to myself, so I don’t mind.
My mom has already claimed Diva as her own, and the cat sleeps in my parents room now, while Butterscotch barely leaves my side. I see Em at work, but she’s switched her schedule to work the same shifts as Jack. Jack is looking... rough.
The very all-American, athletic look only works when the man is eating.
It’s Friday, two days before our joint birthday shin-dig. I’m feeling a little confident and jaunty, because for the first time in forever, a cute boy at the pool checked me out, when I hear shouts coming from the break room.
“Look at....faces....embarrassed!”
“Unbelievable...asshole!” Are fragmented sentences that leak through the walls. When I gather enough courage to enter, I find Emma crying, and a wan Jack storming out.
She looks at me through bleary eyes, and I feel my heart crack. I could never say no to her. I open my arms and she launches herself into them, shaking. She feels small in my arms. Even though we are the same size, with the same symmetrical face, the same glossy dark hair, and the same blushed lips and dark eyes, she feels small.
She whispers something muffled against my shirt. I ask her what she said. She shakes her head, tears wetting my shoulder.
“Let’s go home,” she says. I agree. We drive in silence for a long while, my concern for her only growing as she trembles in the passengers seat.
“He... cheated on me,” she finally whispers, shaking. “With two different girls.”
I fight the urge to slam on the breaks.
“He what!?”
“Please, don’t,” she says weakly, placing a soft hand on mine. She sounds so close to breaking, that I force myself to relax, loosening my death grip on the steering wheel, though I’m the one shaking now.
“That piece of-“ I curse myself up a good storm, ending on something with a Koala that made Emma smile weakly. “I’m so sorry, Em. You deserve better. You are better.”
“Thank you for saying that,” she says. I just want to lie down.
She looks sick.
My parents begin to fuss as soon as Emma comes in the house. She’s never been one to get sick before. She just wants to sleep is all she tells them. Diva is purring and rubbing her legs, as if her added attention is the answer to sickness.
Emma crawls into bed, Diva perched at her feet like a feline queen, and falls immediately asleep. Butterscotch whines at my feet as I fill my parents in on the breakup. Sleep and time will be the best medicine for her.
I sigh, giving Butterscotch a good belly rub before drifting off myself. My sister has always been the delicate one of us two. Her tender heart was easily lost and easily wounded, and I usually ran interference to block the terrors of high school dating. I always knew she would deal with this on her own one day, but I hate seeing her wounded.
When I wake the next day, her bedroom door is locked. Butterscotch lay at her door, whining. She must have opened the door at some point, because when I pass by again, Butterscotch’s wagging thud can be heard inside her room. She refuses to take any food, and my parents begin to debate canceling the party.
“Of course we could still have it for just you, Amelia. And maybe she’ll feel like coming down for half an hour if she knows you’re there,” my mom says hopefully.
I hum noncommittally.
“We’ll check on her tomorrow,” Dad says firmly, and I curse jack wherever he is.
In fact I have his number.
I grinned wickedly as the phone rings, eager to pounce, but I bite my tongue when a middle-aged woman answers and informs me that Jack must have caught whatever bug Emma has.
“More like HE gave it to her and the other two girls he cheated on her with,” I mumble after hanging up. The man was a disease.
Before I have the chance to think about it, I find myself driving around his neighborhood, looking for his car. It’s an old, chic Mercedes with a new paint job, and a shot motor. I pull up alongside, caressing the carton of eggs in my lap. I roll down my window and pelt the thing, satisfied to see the egg oozing all over the glossy paint. I drive away grinning. Screw that guy for breaking my sisters heart.
Her closed door is waiting for me when I get home, reminding me that egging his car did nothing to help my sister. Guilt washes over me in a wave, and I find myself knocking on her door.
“Em?” Silence. “Em, can you hear me?” I try the handle but it’s locked. “I... I just wanted to tell you I egged Jack’s car. I thought it might make you feel better....” okay, that was a lie, but hey, it would have made me feel better.
“Em?” Silence. “Okay. Goodnight.”
I pause, thinking I hear a scratching sound, but as i stand there, the sound doesn’t repeat.
That night, I miss Butterscotch on the foot of my bed. Chester always slept in Emma’s room, and while it was an adjustment to sleep with another living thing, I found I enjoyed the company.
I drift off, dreaming of eyes and of someone standing at the foot of my bed. I can’t wake up, can’t seem to convince myself that this is a dream. I feel pinned by the silvery eyes of the shadow at the foot of my bed. They draw closer, and closer, looming in the darkness.
“Liaaaa...” comes a voice from the shadow. “Liiiaaaa...”
Pressure slams into the center of my chest, and the great silver eyes are right above me, pushing me down, trapping me.
“Lia!” It is Emma’s voice. I suddenly jerk awake. Her face is inches from mine and I leap back with a shriek. She giggles. “You’re so weird. Were you having a nightmare? I could NOT wake you up.”
I breathe in shaking gasps, feeling instantly better in the daylight. It takes a few moments to process that my sister is sitting in my room, glowing with health.
“You’re alright!” I say, sitting across from her.
“I know that, but thanks for telling me,” she says in the snotty way she’s used to, and a knot in my chest loosens. I lean across the bed and throw my arms around her.
“I was worried about you,” I say, surprised that I mean it. I punch her in the arm and roll away before she can retaliate. “Did you hear me at your door yesterday?”
“No,” she says, trying and failing to look like she’s not about to go for my knee.
I dance out of her reach. “I egged Jack’s car.” Her eyes widen.
“No. Did you really?”
I laugh and find myself running down the stairs with her chasing after me. My mom looks up in the kitchen and visibly flinches when she sees me. Well, it’s nice to be back to normal, I guess. She lights up at Emma’s glowing face, and this time I completely 100% don’t resent it.
“Honey, you look lovely,” she says, enveloping Emma in her arms. Emma locks eyes with me and rolls her eyes heavenward. I snort.
“Well I’m glad.” She pulls back to give Emma a once over. “Hey, one thing, before we begin getting ready for this afternoon, I need to feed Diva, she spent a full day in your room. I didn’t hear her yowling or I would have tried to get in there to feed her earlier. Is she around?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t think I’ve seen her,” Emma says, reaching for a box of cereal. “I was pretty out of it.”
My mom blinks in surprise, but that’s all Emma remembers. My mom and I leave Emma munching on breakfast and go up to her room. There’s no sign of Diva, my mom raises her eyes to the open window above Emma’s bed and curses before going to look outside.
I remember Butterscotch slept in here, and try calling him a few times. I finally hear a tussling coming from the cracked closet. Butterscotch is lying on his side gasping. He rolls his big amber eyes up to me when I crack the door open and thumps his tail.
I pick him up gently in one of my hoodies and call my mom. “Hey, Butterscotch isn’t looking so hot so I’m going to take him to the vet. Any sign of Diva?”
“No, but I’m sure she’s nearby,” my mom says.
I pass Emma in the kitchen and calm her when she begins to panic about Butterscotch, waving her off when she offers to come. I try to ignore the building rage. She let Butterscotch into her room and clearly didn’t think to check on him even once.
I start the car. I give my mom the name and address of their vet in case... and drive off. I block two incoming calls from Emma on my way to the vet. I need to focus on not wreaking right now.
The vet noticeably cringes when she sees me; I hardly care anymore. As soon as she sees my dog, she becomes professional. Did he eat anything, had he been on medication etc. I fill her in on what I know, which is basically nothing, and they take him in letting me know I should come grab him tomorrow.
“So he’ll be okay?” I ask.
“It’s really too hard to say. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
I nod, placing a hand on Butterscotch’s big golden head. His big eyes are on me, and his tail thumps against the table.
“I’ll be back for you, buddy,” I say, kissing his nose. I remembered Chester in that moment, our old dog had looked much the same before he’d succumbed to his cancer.
I get in the car feeling heavy. I am responsible for that big ball of fluff, and this is literally all that I can do. Emma chooses that moment to call, and I remember that’s not ALL that I can do. I punch answer hard.
“Lia, I-“
“What the hell, Emma?” I snap.
“Lia, I’m so sorry,” she says, I can tell she’s holding back sobs over the phone. I don’t care.
“Not good enough. If you let Butterscotch and Diva into your room and lock the door, you are default responsible for their wellbeing. You managed to lose one of them and let the other eat something or overheat or I don’t know what!”
“I know. I shouldn’t have let them in when I was so sick. I wasn’t in the frame of mind and now whatever happens to them, it’s all m-my f-f-fault.” Here she began to cry. I couldn’t care.
“Right,” I say, and hang up. I sit in the silence of the car, at first reveling but gradually, as my emotions ebb and sadness takes the place of rage, I have to acknowledge that I couldn’t put all the blame on Emma’s shoulders. Wouldn’t I have let a dog whining at the door in? Even sick and foggy minded? Didn’t I, myself, hear scratching without investigating? If anything, wasn’t I, the clear headed one who heard distress noises, more to blame?
When I finally arrive home, and see Emma with a stoic, but tear-stained face, looking for Diva, I find I forgive her. I tell her so, and she almost breaks down again, hugging me. She doesn’t feel small in my arms this time. There is an energy to her, she really is sparkling with health.
We decide to leave a bowl of cat food on the porch for Diva, just in case.
I’m not in a “party mood” this afternoon, but Emma is persuasive and soon I am dressed to the nines and ready to sit, staring vacantly into space for at least an hour, eating a bowl of snacks Emma brings me.
“Cool party,” Timothy, one of our school friends, says in an attempt at small talk.
“Hmph,” I say.
“I like the balloons,” he says.
“Mmhm,” I say.
“You see that was a joke.”
“Hm.”
“Wow. Usually people love my blind guy comments on party balloons bit, I see I’m going to have to try harder with you.”
“I’m not going to laugh at your ‘I see’ puns either.”
“Aw, why not, party pooper?” Timothy says good-naturedly.
“My dog’s in the hospital.”
“The vet?”
“Correct me while I’m in pain why don’t you?”
“Shoot down all my hilarious jokes why don’t you?” he counters.
“Touché,” I say. I groan and put my head in my hands. “I’m sorry, I’m being such an asshole.”
“You really are,” Timothy says with a grin. “But then if my dog were in the hospital, I’d freak out too.” He reaches down to pat the German shepherd at his side.
I open my eyes to find the party spinning a bit.
“How is Gale?” I ask, and Timothy begins speaking, but I’m having trouble concentrating on his words. People are shooting me side glances. “Tim, I’m sorry I think I’m about to puke.”
Timothy’s eyebrows shoot up, and I’m already running. I avoid the crowded stalls and head for the grass outside the fenced pool area.
Before I know it, Emma’s there, her kind eyes swimming soothingly in front of me.
I wake up in bed. Emma sitting on the edge still in her swimsuit, though I’m in a pair of sweats.
“Lia, are you okay? You gave me a scare there.”
I try to smile, but my face hurts.
“I’m okay,” I playfully try and tap her arm, and without hesitation, she cracks me in the knee. Blinding colors flash across my vision, and I’m breathless with pain.
“I’m going to go back and let mom and dad know, okay? I promise I’ll bring you a slice of cake,” she says, kissing me on the cheek. She smells like lavender, is all I can think as the throbbing in my knee gradually lessens.
She must not have known how hard she hit me. Or maybe I’m more sensitive now that I’m ill. I feel wretched, and curl onto my side to try and get some sleep. I’m tormented by dreams of the same shadow at the foot of my bed, silver eyes moving closer in the blackness.
When I wake up, it’s to a cool, soothing towel placed against my temples. My mom is there, hovering over me, and I fall back into a peaceful sleep.
I wake again to find Emma sitting beside me.
“-do you think so?”
“Mhm... what?” I say. Had we been talking?
“Oof, I guess you’re still out of it.” I mumble something as I drift off to sleep.
In my dream, the shadow is on me now. It slowly methodically begins to consume me, starting with my feet. I scream in pain.
Emma is at the foot of my bed with a tray in her lap.
“We made you some sandwiches. These should help keep up your strength.” Her expression is kind and her words are sincere. I can’t help thinking that earlier her who punched my knee must have been wrapped up in one of my nightmares.
I’m feeling a bit better, and I am starving. The light and filling food is just what I need. Emma stays with me, linking her arm with mine and reclining on the bed beside me.
I drift off, the shadow is there, and I wake with my stomach seizing. I stand, but my knees give out on me and I fall to the floor and puke. Emma thoughtfully cleans up the mess and helps me back into bed.
They bring news the next day that Butterscotch is doing better, but there’s still no sign of Diva.
I spend my days looking up at the sky through the window above my bed. While looking, the strangest thoughts come to me, like “I hope Diva got away”. But what could that mean? Of course I’m devastated for my mom not being able to find her.
Emma and I are closer than ever now. It’s nice to have someone close when it feels like you’re losing your sanity. I sometimes see the shadow when I could swear that I’m awake.
—-
It’s been a few days now. I’ve been in the hospital and my recovery has been steady going, though they think I’ll need to see a physical therapist for several weeks.
They don’t know what’s wrong with me, but the cause of my sickness seems to have left.
—-
I’m in shock. I don’t know what to say. My sister is missing. We hope she’s run off with a boyfriend and will be back any day now, but I’m beginning to fear the worst.

I’m back home. Butterscotch and I came back on the same day. He wagged that mangy tail when he saw me. He hasn’t left my side.
Still no sign of Diva, or Emma.
My parents have been looking at me strangely. They never realized how alike we looked, and they don’t seem to wince any more.
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2020.10.25 08:44 littlepillowcase Something Might Be Wrong With Emma

I trudge down the stairs from my bedroom. Today is no ordinary day, today is my birthday, and that means the torture will be redoubled. The only bright side was the potential for gifts, like a new dog, or a laptop.
“I don’t want to throw a joint party but I’m not sure who would show up for Amelia’s if we separated them.” The tug on my heart is barely perceptible any more. Just a slight twinge really.
“Don’t mind me, just the less favored daughter, coming through,” I announce loudly.
My old slippers slap loudly as I pose in the kitchen doorway. As usual, my parents cringe at the sight of me. I clench my fist, the smile frozen on my face.
“Happy birthday, honey! We were just making you pancakes. Why don’t you go take a shower and get ready?”
“But I am ready,” I say, and I swear I can see my mom actually wince. I only thought people winced in books. Or when they pulled out a splinter.
She exchanges a look with my father. His says ‘go easy, it’s her birthday’ but my mom has always been bad at taking orders.
“I’ll see you later kiddo,” he says, planting a kiss on the top of my head and giving me a wink before bowing out.
“Now if you would only run a brush through that bird’s nest...” my mom mumbles, and I grunt, pulling down a mug for coffee. Before I’m able to lift the pot, I find myself pinned to the counter.
“Mom!” I yell, but she’s furiously yanking a brush through my hair. I’m unable to throw her off, so I endure the hard brushing. It wouldn’t be painful if she’d just stop pressing into my scalp so hard.
“Had enough?” I ask through gritted teeth. My mom’s hand slows, and I take advantage of the hesitation and duck around her, holding the mug of coffee I poured during my torture session. It was times like these I missed the family dog, Chester, who used to pounce on my mom when she grabbed any of us in a confused attempt to play.
“Morning, Lia.” My sister, Emma, is grinning at us from the door I just came through.
“Happy birthday, runt,” I say, cheerfully punching her in the arm. She cheerfully kicks for my knee but I’m too fast for her.
“Do I smell pancakes?”
“Mom’s birthday special,” I say, sitting on one of the barstools that crowd our kitchen island. Speak of the devil, mom still hadn’t greeted her favorite daughter. I look over at her.
She’s examining the brush. “Looking for something?” I ask. She pinches the two strands of hair caught in the bristles between her fingers, frowning. She looks from the brush, to me, and back again.
I raise an eyebrow, and look to my sister, Emma, who’s taken over pancake duty. I twirl a manicured finger next to my temple in the universal sign for “crazy.”
By the time breakfast ends, we’re running late for our shifts. Emma and I are usually scheduled together since we have one pair of wheels between us.
A situation my sister clearly despises at this moment. Emma is drumming her nails, her arms and legs crossed as she stares out the side window.
“we’ll make it in plenty of time,” I lie. She continues her silent treatment. I slow to a stop at a red traffic light. Emma groans and I fight the urge to roll my eyes. I can’t control the damn traffic.
“I’m sorry,” Emma says.
“You, sorry? I’m shocked.” I’m only half-joking. She sighs.
“I just... hate being late.”
“Sure, because someone had to be the boring sister.”
“Shut up. You know Jack works the shift right before us, and he’s always rushing out.”
“Awww, Em, that’s so cheesy and cute,” I tease, and her face flushes a deep red. She reminds me of her six year old self when she gets embarrassed like that. I look around. There’s no one coming, the light is still glaring a bright red.
“Oh, fuck it.” I run the light. Much to Emma’s consternation, I stop almost immediately.
“Lia, don’t.”
There, in the road ahead of us, is a beautiful, black, skinny kitten. A mangy dog, something that might have been a blonde, terrier mix of some sort, hops on three mud-covered legs nearby. I reach a gentle hand out, and the dog hops closer, nose extended, tail wagging. The kitten is mewling, and quivers when I place it in a makeshift swaddle using my hoodie.
I open the back car door, letting the dog hop into my old, tiny, grey mom-car, and deposit the kitten into my sister’s lap. She squeals, but I ignore her protests, driving on toward our destination with our new buddies.
“I’m going to call you, Butterscotch,” I tell the dog, grinning as it pants in appreciation.
“These could be carrying diseases,” my sister says, and she’s probably right.
“I’ll get them shots.”
She glares at me.
“You thought of that just now didn’t you.” I remain silent. “You never thought about the diseases wild animals might carry? Do you ever think ahead?”
“I guess that’s why I’m lucky to have you,” I croon, poking her arm.
We arrive at the pool, and surprise surprise, Em has plenty of time to flirt with Jack. Jack cringes when he sees me, so I opt to leave them alone - My birthday gift to her I suppose. Between the animals and the life-guarding, my day flies by.
“You guys don’t think I look strange, right?” I ask the Butterscotch and the kitten, both of whom have been fed and watered. Butterscotch licks my face which I take as a positive sign.
I look in the mirror, staring at my reflection, and pull up a photo of Emma. I wonder if I’m being gaslighted, not for the first time. I turn away, jamming my phone into my pocket. It’s not worth agonizing over.
Our shift ends, but Emma wants to hang out with Jack, so I lay out, enjoying the sunlight and warmth. I fall asleep and finally wake to Butterscotch licking my hand. My sister and Jack are gone.
I had a guess.
My sister had already lost her shirt when I found them in Jack’s car.
“I am so not your chauffeur - get a ride home from lover boy.”
Emma shrieks, covering herself, but my eyes are drawn to her make out buddy. Jack looks embarrassed, but also a bit pale and sickly.
Well I wouldn’t be sharing any food or drinks with Emma for a few days.
I pack up the animals into my silver mom-Jeep, and wait one minute for Emma to stumble to the car, glaring daggers.
“You couldn’t let me finish having my fun,” she snaps.
“Grouchy horn-dog,” I chide.
That night was birthday cake and celebrating with only our family. My parents put up some resistance, but I think they were secretly pleased to have Butterscotch and Diva (the name my mom gave our kitten). They’d missed having animals since Chester. He’d died young from cancer, and it was hell to watch a dog go through that.
My mom gives me longer looks than usual at the dinner table.
“Yes?” I finally ask after she’s zoned out on my forehead for the third time. She straightens and laughs.
“Nothing, love,” she chuckles, running her fingers through my hair a few times. I sigh. It’s nice to not be fighting for once, although again, the majority of the fanfare is centered around Emma. All my carefully applied makeup is just to get my parents not to wince, and it seems I’ve succeeded. Maybe they’re right when they say teenagers have vanity issues.
The next day I take Butterscotch and Diva to the vet, prepared to pay sinfully for their shots and checkups. Both animals are in surprisingly good health all things considered, so I leave in a fairly good mood.
Emma has disappeared with Jack, and I find myself wondering about love lives. I’ve had an incredible lack of romantic attention thrown my way, which is surprising because-
I pause, Butterscotch patiently sniffing the ground around my feet and Diva purring against my ribs while I pull out my phone. I open a photo of Emma and I.
I really must be going crazy. I shut the phone off and turn my face to the sky with a deep breath. My eyes open when Butterscotch yanks my arm out from its socket by trying to chase a bird stupid enough to wander within leaping range. Diva yowls and sinks her claws into my arm, leaping on top of my shoulder for better balance.
Lucky for the bird, I‘m stronger than a 40 pound mutt, but just barely.
“We need to work on our manners,” I say, wrestling the cat from my neck and taking them to the car. My phone buzzes, and I answer as I hop behind the wheel, Diva riding shotgun, and Butterscotch in the back seat.
“Okay, birthday ideas,” my dad says. “What kind of party would you want this weekend?”
“I’m okay with whatever Em wants,” I say, a studied line I’d said ever since the eighth grade.
“But you both work at the pool, I’m not sure why she wants a party there,” he says, whispering.
“It’s easy, it’s cheap, we get free snacks, I don’t know. At least she didn’t want a horse this time.”
He laughs at that. There’s a pause.
“Dad, you there?”
“I’m here, princess. I just... you know it matters what you think too. I want you to have a good time at your birthday.”
At that moment, the sunlight off the tarmac makes my eyes water.
“Thanks. I really don’t mind the pool though.”
“Really?”
“Pinky promise.” I rub the back of my hand against my eyes and my vision clears.
“Okay, princess. I’ll see you tonight.”
Butterscotch rests his head on my shoulder, licking my cheek. I chuckle and pat him. Diva primly stares at me from her seat, cleaning her paw. The pair of them are brimming with health compared to yesterday, it’s amazing what a bath and food can do.
I barely see Emma over the next couple days. I assume she’s being chauffeured around by her “new fella,” as GG always said, which gives me the car to myself, so I don’t mind.
My mom has already claimed Diva as her own, and the cat sleeps in my parents room now, while Butterscotch barely leaves my side. I see Em at work, but she’s switched her schedule to work the same shifts as Jack. Jack is looking... rough.
The very all-American, athletic look only works when the man is eating.
It’s Friday, two days before our joint birthday shin-dig. I’m feeling a little confident and jaunty, because for the first time in forever, a cute boy at the pool checked me out, when I hear shouts coming from the break room.
“Look at....faces....embarrassed!”
“Unbelievable...asshole!” Are fragmented sentences that leak through the walls. When I gather enough courage to enter, I find Emma crying, and a wan Jack storming out.
She looks at me through bleary eyes, and I feel my heart crack. I could never say no to her. I open my arms and she launches herself into them, shaking. She feels small in my arms. Even though we are the same size, with the same symmetrical face, the same glossy dark hair, and the same blushed lips and dark eyes, she feels small.
She whispers something muffled against my shirt. I ask her what she said. She shakes her head, tears wetting my shoulder.
“Let’s go home,” she says. I agree. We drive in silence for a long while, my concern for her only growing as she trembles in the passengers seat.
“He... cheated on me,” she finally whispers, shaking. “With two different girls.”
I fight the urge to slam on the breaks.
“He what!?”
“Please, don’t,” she says weakly, placing a soft hand on mine. She sounds so close to breaking, that I force myself to relax, loosening my death grip on the steering wheel, though I’m the one shaking now.
“That piece of-“ I curse myself up a good storm, ending on something with a Koala that made Emma smile weakly. “I’m so sorry, Em. You deserve better. You are better.”
“Thank you for saying that,” she says. I just want to lie down.
She looks sick.
My parents begin to fuss as soon as Emma comes in the house. She’s never been one to get sick before. She just wants to sleep is all she tells them. Diva is purring and rubbing her legs, as if her added attention is the answer to sickness.
Emma crawls into bed, Diva perched at her feet like a feline queen, and falls immediately asleep. Butterscotch whines at my feet as I fill my parents in on the breakup. Sleep and time will be the best medicine for her.
I sigh, giving Butterscotch a good belly rub before drifting off myself. My sister has always been the delicate one of us two. Her tender heart was easily lost and easily wounded, and I usually ran interference to block the terrors of high school dating. I always knew she would deal with this on her own one day, but I hate seeing her wounded.
When I wake the next day, her bedroom door is locked. Butterscotch lay at her door, whining. She must have opened the door at some point, because when I pass by again, Butterscotch’s wagging thud can be heard inside her room. She refuses to take any food, and my parents begin to debate canceling the party.
“Of course we could still have it for just you, Amelia. And maybe she’ll feel like coming down for half an hour if she knows you’re there,” my mom says hopefully.
I hum noncommittally.
“We’ll check on her tomorrow,” Dad says firmly, and I curse jack wherever he is.
In fact I have his number.
I grinned wickedly as the phone rings, eager to pounce, but I bite my tongue when a middle-aged woman answers and informs me that Jack must have caught whatever bug Emma has.
“More like HE gave it to her and the other two girls he cheated on her with,” I mumble after hanging up. The man was a disease.
Before I have the chance to think about it, I find myself driving around his neighborhood, looking for his car. It’s an old, chic Mercedes with a new paint job, and a shot motor. I pull up alongside, caressing the carton of eggs in my lap. I roll down my window and pelt the thing, satisfied to see the egg oozing all over the glossy paint. I drive away grinning. Screw that guy for breaking my sisters heart.
Her closed door is waiting for me when I get home, reminding me that egging his car did nothing to help my sister. Guilt washes over me in a wave, and I find myself knocking on her door.
“Em?” Silence. “Em, can you hear me?” I try the handle but it’s locked. “I... I just wanted to tell you I egged Jack’s car. I thought it might make you feel better....” okay, that was a lie, but hey, it would have made me feel better.
“Em?” Silence. “Okay. Goodnight.”
I pause, thinking I hear a scratching sound, but as i stand there, the sound doesn’t repeat.
That night, I miss Butterscotch on the foot of my bed. Chester always slept in Emma’s room, and while it was an adjustment to sleep with another living thing, I found I enjoyed the company.
I drift off, dreaming of eyes and of someone standing at the foot of my bed. I can’t wake up, can’t seem to convince myself that this is a dream. I feel pinned by the silvery eyes of the shadow at the foot of my bed. They draw closer, and closer, looming in the darkness.
“Liaaaa...” comes a voice from the shadow. “Liiiaaaa...”
Pressure slams into the center of my chest, and the great silver eyes are right above me, pushing me down, trapping me.
“Lia!” It is Emma’s voice. I suddenly jerk awake. Her face is inches from mine and I leap back with a shriek. She giggles. “You’re so weird. Were you having a nightmare? I could NOT wake you up.”
I breathe in shaking gasps, feeling instantly better in the daylight. It takes a few moments to process that my sister is sitting in my room, glowing with health.
“You’re alright!” I say, sitting across from her.
“I know that, but thanks for telling me,” she says in the snotty way she’s used to, and a knot in my chest loosens. I lean across the bed and throw my arms around her.
“I was worried about you,” I say, surprised that I mean it. I punch her in the arm and roll away before she can retaliate. “Did you hear me at your door yesterday?”
“No,” she says, trying and failing to look like she’s not about to go for my knee.
I dance out of her reach. “I egged Jack’s car.” Her eyes widen.
“No. Did you really?”
I laugh and find myself running down the stairs with her chasing after me. My mom looks up in the kitchen and visibly flinches when she sees me. Well, it’s nice to be back to normal, I guess. She lights up at Emma’s glowing face, and this time I completely 100% don’t resent it.
“Honey, you look lovely,” she says, enveloping Emma in her arms. Emma locks eyes with me and rolls her eyes heavenward. I snort.
“Well I’m glad.” She pulls back to give Emma a once over. “Hey, one thing, before we begin getting ready for this afternoon, I need to feed Diva, she spent a full day in your room. I didn’t hear her yowling or I would have tried to get in there to feed her earlier. Is she around?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t think I’ve seen her,” Emma says, reaching for a box of cereal. “I was pretty out of it.”
My mom blinks in surprise, but that’s all Emma remembers. My mom and I leave Emma munching on breakfast and go up to her room. There’s no sign of Diva, my mom raises her eyes to the open window above Emma’s bed and curses before going to look outside.
I remember Butterscotch slept in here, and try calling him a few times. I finally hear a tussling coming from the cracked closet. Butterscotch is lying on his side gasping. He rolls his big amber eyes up to me when I crack the door open and thumps his tail.
I pick him up gently in one of my hoodies and call my mom. “Hey, Butterscotch isn’t looking so hot so I’m going to take him to the vet. Any sign of Diva?”
“No, but I’m sure she’s nearby,” my mom says.
I pass Emma in the kitchen and calm her when she begins to panic about Butterscotch, waving her off when she offers to come. I try to ignore the building rage. She let Butterscotch into her room and clearly didn’t think to check on him even once.
I start the car. I give my mom the name and address of their vet in case... and drive off. I block two incoming calls from Emma on my way to the vet. I need to focus on not wreaking right now.
The vet noticeably cringes when she sees me; I hardly care anymore. As soon as she sees my dog, she becomes professional. Did he eat anything, had he been on medication etc. I fill her in on what I know, which is basically nothing, and they take him in letting me know I should come grab him tomorrow.
“So he’ll be okay?” I ask.
“It’s really too hard to say. We’ll know more tomorrow.”
I nod, placing a hand on Butterscotch’s big golden head. His big eyes are on me, and his tail thumps against the table.
“I’ll be back for you, buddy,” I say, kissing his nose. I remembered Chester in that moment, our old dog had looked much the same before he’d succumbed to his cancer.
I get in the car feeling heavy. I am responsible for that big ball of fluff, and this is literally all that I can do. Emma chooses that moment to call, and I remember that’s not ALL that I can do. I punch answer hard.
“Lia, I-“
“What the hell, Emma?” I snap.
“Lia, I’m so sorry,” she says, I can tell she’s holding back sobs over the phone. I don’t care.
“Not good enough. If you let Butterscotch and Diva into your room and lock the door, you are default responsible for their wellbeing. You managed to lose one of them and let the other eat something or overheat or I don’t know what!”
“I know. I shouldn’t have let them in when I was so sick. I wasn’t in the frame of mind and now whatever happens to them, it’s all m-my f-f-fault.” Here she began to cry. I couldn’t care.
“Right,” I say, and hang up. I sit in the silence of the car, at first reveling but gradually, as my emotions ebb and sadness takes the place of rage, I have to acknowledge that I couldn’t put all the blame on Emma’s shoulders. Wouldn’t I have let a dog whining at the door in? Even sick and foggy minded? Didn’t I, myself, hear scratching without investigating? If anything, wasn’t I, the clear headed one who heard distress noises, more to blame?
When I finally arrive home, and see Emma with a stoic, but tear-stained face, looking for Diva, I find I forgive her. I tell her so, and she almost breaks down again, hugging me. She doesn’t feel small in my arms this time. There is an energy to her, she really is sparkling with health.
We decide to leave a bowl of cat food on the porch for Diva, just in case.
I’m not in a “party mood” this afternoon, but Emma is persuasive and soon I am dressed to the nines and ready to sit, staring vacantly into space for at least an hour, eating a bowl of snacks Emma brings me.
“Cool party,” Timothy, one of our school friends, says in an attempt at small talk.
“Hmph,” I say.
“I like the balloons,” he says.
“Mmhm,” I say.
“You see that was a joke.”
“Hm.”
“Wow. Usually people love my blind guy comments on party balloons bit, I see I’m going to have to try harder with you.”
“I’m not going to laugh at your ‘I see’ puns either.”
“Aw, why not, party pooper?” Timothy says good-naturedly.
“My dog’s in the hospital.”
“The vet?”
“Correct me while I’m in pain why don’t you?”
“Shoot down all my hilarious jokes why don’t you?” he counters.
“Touché,” I say. I groan and put my head in my hands. “I’m sorry, I’m being such an asshole.”
“You really are,” Timothy says with a grin. “But then if my dog were in the hospital, I’d freak out too.” He reaches down to pat the German shepherd at his side.
I open my eyes to find the party spinning a bit.
“How is Gale?” I ask, and Timothy begins speaking, but I’m having trouble concentrating on his words. People are shooting me side glances. “Tim, I’m sorry I think I’m about to puke.”
Timothy’s eyebrows shoot up, and I’m already running. I avoid the crowded stalls and head for the grass outside the fenced pool area.
Before I know it, Emma’s there, her kind eyes swimming soothingly in front of me.
I wake up in bed. Emma sitting on the edge still in her swimsuit, though I’m in a pair of sweats.
“Lia, are you okay? You gave me a scare there.”
I try to smile, but my face hurts.
“I’m okay,” I playfully try and tap her arm, and without hesitation, she cracks me in the knee. Blinding colors flash across my vision, and I’m breathless with pain.
“I’m going to go back and let mom and dad know, okay? I promise I’ll bring you a slice of cake,” she says, kissing me on the cheek. She smells like lavender, is all I can think as the throbbing in my knee gradually lessens.
She must not have known how hard she hit me. Or maybe I’m more sensitive now that I’m ill. I feel wretched, and curl onto my side to try and get some sleep. I’m tormented by dreams of the same shadow at the foot of my bed, silver eyes moving closer in the blackness.
When I wake up, it’s to a cool, soothing towel placed against my temples. My mom is there, hovering over me, and I fall back into a peaceful sleep.
I wake again to find Emma sitting beside me.
“-do you think so?”
“Mhm... what?” I say. Had we been talking?
“Oof, I guess you’re still out of it.” I mumble something as I drift off to sleep.
In my dream, the shadow is on me now. It slowly methodically begins to consume me, starting with my feet. I scream in pain.
Emma is at the foot of my bed with a tray in her lap.
“We made you some sandwiches. These should help keep up your strength.” Her expression is kind and her words are sincere. I can’t help thinking that earlier her who punched my knee must have been wrapped up in one of my nightmares.
I’m feeling a bit better, and I am starving. The light and filling food is just what I need. Emma stays with me, linking her arm with mine and reclining on the bed beside me.
I drift off, the shadow is there, and I wake with my stomach seizing. I stand, but my knees give out on me and I fall to the floor and puke. Emma thoughtfully cleans up the mess and helps me back into bed.
They bring news the next day that Butterscotch is doing better, but there’s still no sign of Diva.
I spend my days looking up at the sky through the window above my bed. While looking, the strangest thoughts come to me, like “I hope Diva got away”. But what could that mean? Of course I’m devastated for my mom not being able to find her.
Emma and I are closer than ever now. It’s nice to have someone close when it feels like you’re losing your sanity. I sometimes see the shadow when I could swear that I’m awake.
—-
It’s been a few days now. I’ve been in the hospital and my recovery has been steady going, though they think I’ll need to see a physical therapist for several weeks.
They don’t know what’s wrong with me, but the cause of my sickness seems to have left.
—-
I’m in shock. I don’t know what to say. My sister is missing. We hope she’s run off with a boyfriend and will be back any day now, but I’m beginning to fear the worst.

I’m back home. Butterscotch and I came back on the same day. He wagged that mangy tail when he saw me. He hasn’t left my side.
Still no sign of Diva, or Emma.
My parents have been looking at me strangely. They never realized how alike we looked, and they don’t seem to wince any more.
submitted by littlepillowcase to nosleep [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 19:31 shoemakept Is it appropriate to tell my date where I’m taking her?

So I [31M] am taking this lady [25F] on our first date and I’m wondering if it’s appropriate for me to send her a link to where we’re going so she can look at the menu, pick her outfits and just for her safety she can tell people where she’s going to be (every woman should feel super safe on these things). I’m hoping it doesn’t come across as being braggadocios by showing her because honestly it’s a really nice place. I’d also feel terrible if she felt out of place showing up in jeans and a tee when I show up in a suit.
UPDATE 1/2: - I cannot thank each of you enough for your responses. Y’all have helped me more than you may realize. - I reached out to some of our mutual friends to see if they would think she would like the place and if it would be too much (I took to heart the questions about it being an upscale restaurant). Come to find out this is something she would really appreciate. - After I ended up validating the appropriateness of the restaurant I sent her the link with a message “I’ve read this was a really great place, what do you think?” Within 5 minutes I got a very positive response saying she has a dress she’s been dying to wear that would be perfect for this. She then brought up the cocktails lol - I offered to get her Uber to and from. Reason being if she decided to drink I didn’t want her to risk anything, she understood and said she really appreciates the consideration. And that she really hopes that I come over afterwards because she’s making my favorite cake before we go out telling me she’s impressed because I’m “so cute and being such a gentleman” about this.
Update 2/2
The date went phenomenal!!!
I really cannot thank all of you enough for the encouragement, kindness and compassion in helping me understand how to go about this. I couldn’t have predicted this post would gain nearly this much traction or attention. It means so much to me that so many strangers invested themselves in two people going on a date. Yesterday it got me a bit emotional just reading how much people are pulling for our success. I’ll never be able to repay the amount of kindness shown to me or explain exactly how thankful I am but if I could give you all a hug I sure as fuck would. Our friends were encouraging but having so many strangers be so willing to offer their input reminds me how great people really are. We have a second real date this weekend but have a blanket fort movie night planned for later this week.
submitted by shoemakept to askwomenadvice [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 16:45 Lionoras Does anyone else feel like an outcast in their own country?

Since I was little, I bashed heads with -what you can call - German culture.
With "culture" I mean pretty much the whole feeling, the little ways and generally just the way people act here. Like, don't get me wrong: I love my country. It's a great place with a (more or less) great history, great art & sports and just general a good place to live, but...
...even then I never really felt like I fit into it. Since I was a kid, I went pretty much against everything my fellow peers did & have problems what German society now wants from me.
I was never good working in lines. Germany is a very bureaucratic country and so stepping out of line is regarded as "weird" from an early age on. When I was in Kindergarten, other children would go nuts about the fact I could already read and write, because that's what you "do in school" and activly chastised me for knowing "too much". When I was running around hyperactivley, my parents would constantly need to fight other parents who were not used to my energy and asked if I had ADHD - I didn't. The problem was their children who all played silently and neat, except maybe a few boys but that was always excused as "boys will be boys" (This shouldn't sound like my country is stuck up and doesn't allow freedom, but that it's often way too afraid of what's not the norm)
This continued all my life long and as I got older, only worse. While elementary was fine, secondary school and everything afterwards was awful.
I never clicked with other girls, becauses we never had the same mentality. I never cared for German fashion, German TV (it's awful), German humor -hell even German memes! I finished school and my old class chat still sends memes around and it's ALWAYS some weird fked up German meme.
The last nail in the coffin came lately. You see, even though I'm not in the mood for it now, I started to plan the time of dating a bit. Y'know, just reading through tips and such, because dating in Germany always felt really fucking weird.
It's hard to explain, but...besides the fact that most of the guys that live here are either 1.) looking & acting like a dead fish or 2.) violent af/ some other mental problem (a bunch of them even in my own family), dating always felt like a weird mystery. In school, there would be suddenly a couple where I never knew they even liked each other. Couples in public are the most static thing you can see here (walking hand in hand like they're at gunpoint) and just appear in random places like in front of the school. They do nothing there. Just...sit...and are silent.
Yeaaah, I learned why that is now. Apparently that's another thing of our weird-ass culture.
"Dating" is non existent. Showing interest...is non existent. Apparently it's described as a "slow dance" with little silent hints between two people and "one day you just wake up and are in a relationship".
A dream for a passionated, hansy, openly loving asperger girl like me, right?
Like, I don't need an straight-forward "Hey, you are really interesting I want to have a relationship with you" at the first date...but I also can't play "seek Waldo's hints". And if you think I'm overreacting: We even have an infamous song about this phenomena. "Aurélie" by Wir sind Helden.
I don't like beer, I don't know any German recepies, I'm the only Swabian who can't speak Swabian probably and generally alway feel a culture clash whenever I accidentally whip out English.

Anyone else have a similar syndrom in their country?
submitted by Lionoras to aspergers [link] [comments]


2020.10.23 10:33 Logiman43 How PIS destroyed Poland.

EDIT: This post is in an article format with pictures and graphs here
I can't be silent anymore. In 2018, out of 1076 abortions in Poland, 1 was because of rape, 25 because it was dangerous for the woman's life and 1050 because of an unhealthy fetus. It means that PIS just totally banned abortion in Poland
Too few Europeans are aware of the depth of this crisis. The current Polish government is destroying the country from inside-out with its nepotism, religious zeal, communistic tactics, social programs and funding verge organizations (or trolls). It breaks every single law, making unconstitutional laws since 2015 and destroying the court of law. How Poland is pushing EU into crisis - rise of populism. The video is 2 years old and now it's worst
PIS staffed every single judicial court with its own people (ending the impartiality of judges). The very aggressive social 500+ program increased the job inactivity of Poles to 48% (48% of 15+ Polish citizens are NEET. Unemployment is at 5-6%). The Job vacancies in Poland are at the lowest level in EU. The corruption and nepotism is rampant, more than 1000 family members and friends are in public companies or in different Ministries. Polish PIS high ranking politicians are also making money together with pimps and mafia (see scandals down there). They are also giving millions of euros from public money to the Catholic Church. They are paying trolls to spew hate on Facebook, via Whatsapp and on the web. Some of them are hiding and not prosecuting pedophiles in the Catholic Church. Poland has almost the lowest innovation in EU. In 15 indexes tracking freedom and democracy in Europe Poland went from an average position of 12 out of 28 in 2010 to 23 out of 28 in 2019. I mean, not to diminish Trump’s “awesomeness” but imagine if the WHOLE republican party in the US was Trump-like. Shady deals, family in the govt, creating discord, staffing courts with their own judges. I’m just mortified.
For further reading I recommend: Sadurski, Wojciech. "Poland's Constitutional Breakdown", Oxford University Press, 2019.
Acronyms and main characters:

PiS changes electoral rules in an unconstitutional move. Presidential "elections" 2020 are the Biggest legal blunder of the year

Poland Is Showing the World How Not to Run a Pandemic Election. The upcoming Polish election is shaping up to be a farce. Washington should learn from Warsaw’s mistakes before November.
Why Poland’s “ghost election” sends a warning about its democracy
Wikipedia about this blunder

Destruction of the rule of law.

Some of the passages below are taken from this pdf
No member state in the history of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control as the current Polish government. The Polish case has become a test whether it is possible to create a Soviet-style justice system in an EU member state; a system where the control of courts, prosecutors and judges lies with the executive and a single party.
Across Europe, national courts recognise the judgements of courts in other member states, whether these involve commercial law, the European arrest warrant or child custody. Judges must assume that courts across the EU operate according to common values and principles set out in the European Union Treaty and in its Charter of Fundamental Rights. Once judges across the EU have reason to doubt whether courts in any member state provide effective judicial protection, the legal order on which the EU rests collapses.
Freedom house - How PIS captured Poland’s Courts

Constitutional Tribunal changes

It all began with the constitutional crisis four years ago. Constitutional crisis and the destruction of the rule of law In 2015, parliament changed the law on the Constitutional Tribunal, which rules on the constitutionality of legislation. The changes allowed them to annul the nominations of three judges made by the previous parliament and appoint their own. It shortened the terms of the tribunal's president and vice-president from nine to three years. The tribunal ruled the move unconstitutional in an open rebellion, but the dispute remains unresolved. Julia Przylebska - was illegally named the president of the Tribunal court by the president. And now Kaczynski, the PM have meetings at her house. Nice separation of power
There's too much to describe. For further info please visit the link. It is an amazing summary of the whole ordeal. timeline

Supreme Court changes

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said one of the most controversial reforms was to do with the Supreme court, which, among other duties, is responsible for confirming election results. The idea was to lower the age of retirement for Supreme Court justices from 70 to 65, but allow the Polish president to grant a five-year extension to whomever they deemed worthy. In 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) — the EU's highest court —ruled this was illegal, after an interim decision ordered 20 already-sacked judges be reinstated. Of course, PIS chose 2 new Constitutional judges, A politician Pawlowicz with communistic past and Piotrowicz, also a politician and a prosecutor that was an active communist during the 80 that prosecuted Solidarnosc. Both of them are above 65 years old.

Ordinary court judges

There were also moves to try a similar tactic in the general court system for judges and public prosecutors, lowering the age of retirement for women to 60 and for men to 65, down from the current 67. Under the reforms the justice minister, who is appointed by the ruling party, would have the power to extend a judge's term. The laws were somewhat adjusted after pressure from the European Commission, but in November 2019 the ECJ shot down these laws, too, citing gender discrimination and political influence over the judiciary.

Disciplinary measures for judges

Another PiS addition allowed judges to be investigated and sanctioned for their court rulings. The disciplinary hearings and procedures were to be carried out by judges selected via parliament. These reforms were criticized by the European Commission because "judges are not insulated from political control and thus judicial independence is violated." The commission brought legal action against Poland on this matter in October 2019.

National Council of the judiciary takeover

In 2017 PiS remodeled the National Council of the Judiciary, which selects candidates for appointment as judges by the President of the Republic. This allowed it, in the short term, to control appointments to the Supreme Court – including to a newly created Disciplinary Chamber, which hears disciplinary cases against judges, and to a new Extraordinary Appeals Chamber, which adjudicates on electoral issues. Over time PiS’ take-over of the National Judicial Council allows it to reshape the entirety of the judiciary. Fifteen of the 25 members of the National Council of the Judiciary were previously elected by judges themselves, as is common practice across Europe for such bodies. These fifteen judges are now elected by the majority in the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament. The other ten members of the National Council of the Judiciary are: four members from the Sejm itself (all four members of PiS), two members from the Senate, one representative of the President of the Republic, the Minister of Justice, the president of the Supreme Court and the president of the Supreme Administrative Court. In total 23 of the 25 positions are directly appointed by political authorities.
After the election of the new KRS, a publication of the list with the names of judges declaring their support for specific candidates was refused. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that those names must be disclosed. However, the Chancellery of the Sejm has yet to carry out the NSA’s ruling. The Constitutional Tribunal (TK) and the President of the Personal Data Protection Office have been roped into guarding the secret. KRS destruction

Muzzle bill

The muzzle bill passed Dec 2019, victimize judges questioning the legitimacy of the government’s legal appointments, saying it is unlawful to “show hostility to other authorities of the Republic of Poland and its constitutional organs or to critisize the basic principles of the Republic of Poland.”The bill also delegalise the preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The bill also allows to fire judges ( which is unconstitutional according to the Constitution). In average Ziobro dismissed a judge every day and a half from its position of president of court source

One of the worse Covid19 laws in EU.

Trampling Fundamental freedoms using a single ordnance and Critiquing the President will land you a year in jail. report.
In the latest special Covid19 law (already 4th lol) PIS smuggled an article straight from a communistic playbook about prosecuting people that critique the president. The sentence can be up to a year. They also smuggled a harsher law for abortions. Can someone tell me HOW it is related to Covid19? source
More Ruleoflaw

Political scandals

Illegal presidential pardon

Illegal presidential pardon for CBA chief Kaminski In 2013, Law and Justice (PiS) MP Mariusz Kamiński – who served as head of the anti-corruption agency from 2006 and 2009 – was found guilty of overstepping his powers. He was sentenced to three years in prison and was banned from holding public office for ten years. Polish President Andrzej Duda pardoned Kamiński even though he was still appealing his sentence at the time. The case against Kamiński was then discontinued. A supreme court judge said that the president interfered in the legal process because Kamiński was proven neither innocent nor guilty when he was pardoned, making a future ruling redundant. The judge said that the president can pardon someone after any final appeal has been heard “because then he is not interfering with the judiciary”.

Merging the General Prosecutor with the political Minister of Justice

The general prosecutor role was merged with the minister of justice Ziobro. source. This handed Ziobro and his subordinates greatly expanded power to politically interfere with rank-and-file prosecutors, their decisions, and their freedoms of speech and association. Poland Is Purging Its Prosecutors
200+ public prosecutors that are loyal to the Minister of Justice Ziobro (from PIS) All of them got promotions (or someone from their family) or pay raises. another list

Destroying the military

The creation of a territorial defense unit- a civilian army led by the ministry of defense to control “the situation inside Poland”. In addition, there was a purge of generals. and killing multibillion deals with France. About 37 generals and 47 colonels left. Why? Because they had to answer to a 27-year old assistant to the Defense Minister, former pharmacy assistant without a university degree. The Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper reported that Misiewicz was given a top communications job with PGZ ( largest defense consortiums in Central Europe) that pays $12,500 a month, huge sum in a country where the average pre-tax wage is about $1,150 a month. source
PIS decides to overhaul 40-years old t-72 instead of investing in German tanks. Not enough ammunition, uniforms NVG and other gadget went to the above unit,
In 2015, the Defence minister Macierewicz raided the Nato center in Warsaw at 1am to take control of documents and place their man at the helm

The ministry of Justice is funding trolls to destroy judges

Ziobro-Piebiak paid Troll scandal The Onet news portal published a report alleging that Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak “arranged and controlled” an online campaign against Judge Krystian Markiewicz, the head of Iustitia, a judicial organization critical of the government’s efforts to restructure the judicial system, as well as against other inconvenient judges. According to the Onet report, Piebiak operated and financed an online campaign by a woman called Emilia who allegedly sent over 2,000 letters and emails about Markiewicz to other judges as well as to pro-government right-wing media. The messages contained fabricated, semi-confirmed and gossipy details of the judge’s personal life. According to Onet, Emilia obtained Markiewicz’s personal address from Piebiak so she could send him one of the letters.

Taking over the state media

State media was taken over by PIS and is using mass propaganda and here Not only they are a propaganda tube but they also offend polish citizens ie – translation: defenders of pedophiles and alimonies-takers are the ones against judiciary reforms. They call every peaceful protest as a coup
The same can be said about the GUS – general statistical bureau. It is controlled by PIS and it is known to “change” metrics so every Inflation or unemployment metrics can’t be trusted.

LBGT-free zones and Xenophobia.

Fear against refugees and calls for xenophobia. A leaked draft of a new Polish migration policy discriminates against Muslims, ranks foreigners according to ethnicity and breaches human rights
My article Why the Polish government is against LGBT?
PIS is supporting LGBT free zones where a thrid of Poland is declared as LGBT-free. During the presidential elections in 2020 Gay “ideology” is worse than communism, says Duda - PIS president.

Destroying education and HealthCare.

PIS cancels the in vitro program Polish government program that covered most of the in vitro costs was immediately cut by the Law and Justice Party when it came to power in late 2015, even though Poland has one of the lowest birth rates in the EU. Catholic Church opposition to IVF is widely seen as one factor in the Polish government's decision.
PIS also increased the minimum wage at the beginning of 2020. It created a weird paradox where a teacher and a starting MD is earning less than the minimal wage because they get paid from public money and the minimal wage change is for the private sector. And PIS wants to ban sex ed by labeling teachers as gay activists and pedophiles. Critics say Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party is wrecking the education system for political gain — and students are suffering.

Environment?

Destruction of the oldest European forest in Poland by Minister of Environment Szyszko The Bialowieza Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site that sprawls across the border between Poland and Belarus, occupying almost 580 square miles of woodland and providing home to rare European wood bison among others. At least 10,000 trees are thought to have been felled in Białowieża, since the Polish environment minister, Jan Szyzko tripled logging limits there in 2016. The EU’s highest court has ruled that Poland’s logging in the Unesco-protected Białowieża forest is illegal, potentially opening the door to multi-million euro fines.
“Our (water) resources are comparable to those of Egypt,” it said in the report bearing the ominous title: “Poland, European Desert”

Nepotism and colleagues in state-owned companies

PIS won the elections by wanting to fight nepotism. The most famous was “24yo Misiewicz, a former pharmacy assistant without a university degree was in the defense industry under Macierewicz. The apparent favoritism has raised ethics concerns in a party that won office promising to fight corruption.” source There is even a webpage listing more than 1000 cases of nepotism under PIS Pisiewicze
Latest data show 162M PLN to 84 PIS oligarchs and Colleagues

Illegal budget for 2017

The 2017 budget "was adopted" not in the Sejm assembly hall, but in a smaller room where the so-called parliamentary session was held immediately as a follow-up to the meeting of the parliamentary causus of PIS, where no reliable counting of vates was possible, and with many allegations taht the opposition MPs were not allowed in. [Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?, Oxfoord, 2018, p.268]

Ex-communists in PIS ranks. And PIS is very anti-left and anti-PRL.

They are accusing the opposition – PO - to consist mostly of ex-communists or communistic party members or collaborators. The issue is that most members of PO fought against the communism and spent months/years in prison in the ’80. On the other hand, the PIS party members scarcely fought for polish liberty and some of its party members are former communistic party members or communistic prosecutors like Piotrowicz! Some Polish TC judge are also ex-PRL members. Here is a list in polish of all current PIS party members who served as PRL members during the communistic era. So, PIS is fighting against itself. Another list with 20 names of ex-party members now in PIS

Funding the Catholic church with public money

PIS is very Pro-Catholic, most of their voters are devout Catholics. So it is no surprise that PIS is funding religious orgs from public money. Since Law and Justice came to power in 2015, Father Rydzyk’s businesses have received at least $55 million in subsidies from at least 10 ministries and state companies. His Radio Maryja station, which reaches millions and is often the sole source of information for many older voters in rural Poland, offers a daily diet of horror stories about a world without faith, where gay people control the political agenda, universities are corrupted by “neo-Marxists,” and the Roman Catholic Church is under mortal threat. Rydzyk Embroiled in Corruption Allegations
Hiding Pedophilia. Map of 259 victims of catholic pedophilia. When a documentary was released before recent local elections revealing devastating examples of how priests sexually abused children and how church officials covered it up, many in PIS saw it not as evidence of an institution that lost its way, but one that needed to be defended. Piotrowicz, the above communist prosecutor, dismissed in 2001 a case against a priest accused of raping six girls.
Polish PIS president Duda pardons a paedophile that raped his own daughter. He makes the pardon a week before elections

Smolensk commission

The so-called assassination of Kaczynski's twin president brother in Smolensk created 90M PLN of costs. PIS created a "cult" around his death and even created a special commission that would prove it was an assassination. Kaczynski was using it on every occasion Don't wipe your treacherous mugs with .... Ofc they didn’t prove anything and they buried the topic. Every 10th of every month for 3 years, PIS party leader Kaczynski was making a "show" commemorating his dead twin brother. He was using the police to secure his demonstration even if he has no lawful power (he is neither a president, neither the prime minister). New law expanding police surveillance and the police is getting raises after raises to keep them happy. The commemorations, the commission and the damages (paid only to the politicians’ families, not to the crew) amounted to 91M PLN.

The welfare revolution

PIS is also very pro-family. The party is giving away 500zl per month for every kid. In short, it has “bought” the elections. The polish economy is unable to sustain such an endeavor roots of populism. And it costs the economy 80B PLN between 2016 and 2019. The best part? Rate of births is negative for the last couple of years and inflation is still growing. According to the PIS Stats bureau it is 3.5% and growing. However, many journalists made their own baskets of normal good and services and the inflation is closer to 10%. Additionally there is a growing debt that PIS tries to hide by shifting some debt into other Funds. One of them is the “Solidarity fund” that is not counted in the overall polish GDP, that is to support people with disabilities will pay for the 13th and 14th pension of people 65+.

Funding propaganda and trolls

Computational Propaganda in Poland: Russian troll factories
PIS bought the Pegasus spyware to spy on its citizens In September 2018, private broadcaster TVN24 reported that Poland’s state audit body, NIK, was questioning an outlay of over 33 million zloty (€7.6 million euro) by the Justice Fund, a government fund to help victims of crime. According to TVN, the money went toward the purchase of a “new system to spy on telephones and computers, the most expensive system in the history of Polish secret services.” Reports that the covertly purchased system could be Pegasus — a top-performing spyware that is impossible to track — surfaced last week.
Polish troll farms promoting Duda and Kaczynski

Funding public TV stations

Polish public TV stations should be impartial and public. Not favoring any party nor government and give the same screen time to every party equally. Unfortunately, there was a purge of journalists the moment PIS won the election and the propaganda is stalin-like. Look at this graph how it changed. Polish TVP is the mouthpiece of the govt. In 2020 PIS voted to give an additional 2B pln per year for 5 years to public tv.
Public Main TV making fun of US ambassador by reading the tweet with a derogatory accent

Scandals

PIS has hundreds of scandals that each would destroy a modern government. They defrauded billions of PLN over the years, put 1000’s of family members in different state-owned companies. Below are listed the main sexual and financial scandals.
  1. Sex hotel of the head of the Audit office Marian Banaś , a Law and Justice (PiS) politician and recently appointed chief of Poland’s Supreme Audit Office has been heavily embroiled in a corruption scandal, another to hit the ruling party just weeks before the country votes in a parliamentary election. Mr Banaś served as finance minister from June to August this year, and is a key figure in the party. Mr Banaś concealed his possession of a tenement house in Krakow from his financial disclosures. This property was then revealed to have deep running connections with a local, criminally-run escort agency. He claimed that the house was given to him by an old friend whom he met in the Home Army, which he then renovated. In his disclosures, he claimed he would sell the house, which never happened. Banaś claims that this was due to the buyer’s inability to get a loan. Investigations have further revealed that Mr Banaś agreed to rent the property for 5000 zloty a month, 10,000 zloty lower than its estimated market value, according to Gazeta Wyborcza. Just as the scandal could not apparently get any worse for Mr Banaś, further investigation by journalist Bertold Kittel revealed criminal links. When Mr Kittel entered the property he found at the reception an infamous Krakow criminal known as one of the brothers K – Wiesław or Janusz, who control escort agencies in the region. While still under investigation, there have been suggestions of contact between the two.
  2. "Alleged" Pedophila and Sex trafficking scandal of House speaker Wirtualna Polska learned the contents of the message of CBA officer Wojciech J. to the prosecutor's office about the failure of the head of the CBA, Ernest Bejda. In the background is a lost record with a recording of one of the leading PiS politicians who should have sex with a minor Ukrainian girl lost. His name falls on the document. In the message, Wojciech J. refers to several reports that he was the head of the office in connection with the "unauthorized access to his armored cabinet during his absence" submitted. From this vault, a record should be lost in escort agencies from the Podkarpacie region. One of the leading PiS politicians should have sex with a young Ukrainian in the recording. The statement signed by lawyer Beata Bosak-Kruczek mentions the name of Sejm spokesman Marek Kuchciński.
  3. Health minister Szumowski alleged to have bought £1m of PPE from ski instructor friend during pandemic. And givng away £65m grants to companies run by brother public anger has exploded after Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Szumowski bought masks with fake certificates from a skiing instructor who is friends with his businessman brother, Marcin. Poland’s Health Ministry reportedly spent five million zloty (£1m) on 120,000 FFP-2 type face masks and 20,000 surgical masks that were later found not to meet safety standards, Politico says. The company that sold the masks was registered on the 30 of March and won the govt. contract on the same day. Critics have also questioned Szumowski’s previous dealings in government. Polish news network tvn24 reports that while serving as deputy science minister in 2016-17, he gave 300 million zloty (£60m) in grants from Poland’s National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) to OncoArendi Therapeutics, a research company run by his brother. Another company in which Szumowski was a shareholder, Life Science Innovation (LSI), was reportedly given a 24 million zloty (£5m) NCBR grant just days after he took up the ministerial post.
  4. Same Health minister Szumowski bought 1.2 thousand ventilators for PLN 200 million from a company owned by an arms dealer, not a single device was delivered
contd.
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2020.10.23 09:39 stephan921 28 [M4F] German guy looking for a connection, anywhere

After a lot of just reading on here and never knowing what to reply to posts that I feel resonate with me, I have finally decided to post and hope for someone else to know what to reply to this.
Even if you don't, that's fine, I'm not opposed to a rough start, but I can't deal with someone who gives super short replies or takes forever to respond every time. I prefer a girl who talks a lot (through text at least), even if it's seemingly random or boring stuff. I love listening to someone telling me about what they are passionate about and about what they think, that is really attractive to me.
I'm a 5 out of 10 on my best days and a 1/10 on my worst days. I'm 173cm tall (~5'7" I think) and have an average body, I weigh ~70kg (~155lbs). If there is a feature about me that I like, I'd say my eyebrows. I don't like my nose, it's on the bigger side. I have mental issues, such as depression and avoidant personality disorder. I'm on meds, had a voluntary stay at a therapy clinic for 2 months earlier this year. So it's probably best if you have mental issues too, it's just more common ground.
Ideally I am looking for someone younger than me, 18+ of course. But if you're older than me and for some reason still interested in me after reading all this and we actually get along well, then who am I to try to put reigns on destiny? Just know I am immature in a lot of ways.
I very rarely drink alcohol and I don't smoke, unless it's weed. So definitely 420 friendly, but I don't mind if you drink or smoke or don't do either. I have no piercings and no tattoos, but I'd like a tattoo at some point, but idk what to get and I likely never will, so that's that. But I like seeing tattoos and piercings on other people, so that's no problem. I am not religious and I don't care for politics the least bit. If you believe in any conspiracies, I sympathetically shake my head at you. Please don't message me in that case.
I have been a vegetarian for a long time, so if this is ever supposed to go anywhere, you'll either have to be vegetarian or vegan. But not a militant veg, let people decide for themselves what they like to put in their body, no matter which orifice. Maybe you can prove to me that vegan people aren't batshit crazy most of the time. I'm open to the idea of going vegan eventually, but it's not really my priority.
I love music and will listen to anything that sounds interesting to me. I listen to a lot of weird, experimental stuff. I love discovering entirely new sounds I've not heard before. My biggest love will always be hip-hop, rap and electronic music. But what I actually listen to expands beyond that.
I am confident in my lack of self-esteem and will most likely do my best to make you realise I SUCK, but if you're okay with that and hate yourself as well, then cheers! Nothing is as good as some self-deprecating humor.
Finding common interests is nice and all, but nothing is as bonding as hating the same things, so if you actually read this far let me know what you hate in your response, or else I'll assume you didn't read it and are a bot or otherwise worthy of staying away from.
I like open minded people, I like people who respect other people, no matter which religion they belong to, who they decide to have sex with, which sex they want to be, or what their skin color is, etc. So I respectfully ask you to fuck off if you have a problem with any of the aforementioned people. But also, I will absolutely make disgusting jokes about all the aforementioned people. I hate overly PC people and people who take every word I say seriously. Or people who can't laugh about themselves.
I swear a lot and I might seem like a grumpy, cynical dude. I am. Sometimes. I like silly things and have a horrible sense of humor. I say abhorrent things if I think they are funny. But I'm also very caring and loving once I really like someone.
I like some video games, mainly RPGs. Love Final Fantasy 7. If you play any multiplayer games I'd love to play together. I'm decent at League of Legends and Overwatch, but I don't care about it competitively. It's a fun pastime for me, I don't care about winning. I used to be an avid gAmEr (fucking hate that word) throughout my childhood and teens, so I love some good old retro games, especially SNES. If you don't care for any of that, then that's fine. We don't have to talk about it and you don't have to force yourself to pretend to care about it. I am fine with you not having the exact same interests as me, I'd love for you to have different interests. We don't need to be that alike.
I like taking things slow and will not commit to anything immediately. So we can just end up as friends and that'd be perfectly fine for me. I just want someone to share love and affection and genuine interest in each other with, it's cool if that is platonic.
I really like photography, it's one of my few hobbies. I like artsy people, but I don't care much for any mental masturbation about specific art. I don't know any nameworthy living artists and I don't care to know them or talk about them. I don't care whether you're intelligent, educated or not, there is no need to try and impress me with that.
I love animals and think all life is valuable, including insects. If you expect me step on a spider for you, it's not gonna happen. If you step on spiders, you're not the kind of person I am looking for. I have 3 cats and a 70 year old male tortoise named Susy. Also a little hedgehog that I found trapped in the basement and am currently nursing back to health and helping through winter. They all mean the world to me. I happily will talk about animals, and my pets especially, for hours. Also have loads of pictures of them to bribe you with.
I don't care if you're female by choice or by birth, but I am only attracted to feminine looks. Definitely open to dating a trans girl.
If you speak understandable English or even German, then I don't care what part of the world you live in. I am open to LDR and to travelling eventually.
As you can see, I am a real catch and my inbox is likely gonna be flooded with messages, I'm looking forward to it. But seriously, if you read all of this and STILL message me, that is definitely a red flag 😘
This post seems like an incoherent mess to me, so if you made it through, thank you for your time ❤️ I forgot a lot of shit I was gonna put in here, so ask me anything else you want to know, I am an open book for you.
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2020.10.22 17:52 HagerEKU [US-KY] [H] Hundreds of pops to choose from [W] Paypal

I have a little of everything for sale here. Take your pick and shoot me any questions. Shipping is $5 for one pop and an additional $2 for each pop after. More pics can be provided. Soft protectors can be added for $1

https://imgur.com/a/RGaaUVz

POPs
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2020.10.22 14:40 lskdjss PIED but only with new partners

I’m a 19 year old German guy, so sorry for my bad english.
I’ve watched quite a lot of porn in the past. At least 45 mins per day and I also fapped a lot. Nevertheless, my ex-girlfriend and I were able to have very good and long sex. I maintained an erection every time and never suffered from ED. (Even though I watched hardcore porn)
However, we broke up a few months ago.
I’ve met three other girls in the last months but was never able to have sex with them:
I got a boner from kissing but it soon went flaccid after fingering her.
Then I met my ex girlfriend again and we had very good sex.
Two weeks later, dating another girl, the same thing happened again to me. I even tried viagra (70mg so quite a lot) on this day but it didn’t help.
Last weekend I met another girl and wasn’t able to get aroused even though she was very attractive. (This time tried Cialis but it didn’t work again)
Has anyone ever had the same issue?
So basically I’m suffering from (PI)ED but only with new partners.
Could it also be performance anxiety? If so, what could I do? Now I’m really insecure even though I have a lot of sexual experience.
As soon as I touch my ex, I get an instant erection so I think my issue is psychological.
Currently on day 8 of No PMO.
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2020.10.22 13:06 Jibril_sama0 Is she still interested in me?

Hello guys, this is my first time that i post something in this reddit. I'm (19M) currently chatting with a girl (19F) for 2 weeks and it's been going pretty well imo. We chat a lot about relationship and we told eachother that we like us. The good thing is we use pretty much in every message smileys like the blushing face that smiles -->😊☺🙈 (in no particular order)
She said in the beginning that she's pretty shy and therefore it takes her a bit of time to meet up with me and have a date. I totally understand that, so no problem with that.
But today our chat went like that:
Me: hey🙈 Her: hi🙈 Me: how are you🙈 Her: doing pretty well, how about you? Me: didn't sleep well.. Her: oh my... Me: sorry that i didn't message you in the evening anymore🙈😅 Her: everything's ok🙈 Me: really🙈? Her: yes
(sorry for the smileys but it's a accurate representation of the chat xD)
I might be overthinking but it somehow concerns me that she stopped using smileys. I can't get over the feeling that she might have lost interest in me. I think i don't message her anymore today until she messages me first after that conversation right there. Maybe she's just a bit fed up from work?
I would really like some of your suggestions guys 😅 I just have a bad feeling after that convo :(
(Ps: sorry for any misspellings, english is only my second language --> i'm german)
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2020.10.21 17:51 HagerEKU [US-KY] [H] Humpday Pops! [W] Paypal

I have a little of everything for sale here. Take your pick and shoot me any questions. Shipping is $5 for one pop and an additional $2 for each pop after. More pics can be provided. Soft protectors can be added for $1

https://imgur.com/a/RGaaUVz

POPs
submitted by HagerEKU to funkoswap [link] [comments]


2020.10.21 14:26 YogaRoham Playmates, Halloween, and beyond

Hello friendly neighbors. Me and my wife moved here from Calgary at the start of the year and are having a hard time finding playmates for our 4 year old girl and 2.5 year old boy. Halloween is coming and I thought it could be a good time to meet some new families who may be in the same position as us.
We live very central and speak a couple different languages around the house like German, Farsi and Spanish, but mostly English. We would love to meet up for a Halloween Trick or Treat walk, or maybe a play date at a local park.
Have a great day everyone.
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2020.10.21 01:10 TheModerateNihilist [RF] - A young man struggles with the passing of time

THE FEAST
It was the early morning hours for Mister M., which means it was ten in the morning, and his groggy, unshaven head was unevenly shaking on his unwashed pillow. A half-migraine was keeping him up at night, all nights, for at least six months. He developed a strong case of tinnitus, buzzing in the ears - it would drive him mad at the beginning, and he swore he would see a doctor. And so he went. They gave him a cream of some kind, the kind of useless thing that bored, middle aged doctors prescribe when they can't deal with an overload of complaining, nagging, insane from pain and hurt patients. So he took it and all was fine. For a time. A week, at most.
The next time our dear Mister M., developed a splitting tinnitus, the stress lead him to shout at his supervisor, Team Leader S, on the factory floor, swearing and spitting like a mad man. Perhaps, noticing this, Mister S simply walked away and left Mister M to his own devices. Mister M, feeling euphoric over this victory - i showed him! i showed them all! - finished his shift, and like always, spent the next few hours attempting to fall asleep.
It was after two months of intense and annoying pain, which lead his mind to push him to the brink of mental exhaustion. He decided to go again. However - a new disease happened. Covid-19 they called it - Coronavirus. People were either dropping like flies, or not dropping like flies. It was a conspiracy. The Chinese built a lab. The Americans are up to something. NATO is preparing for land invasion of Manchuria. Illuminati. Jews. Bill Gates. At work, at the counter, everyone was chatting - without masks of course, shouting and gesticulating with their arms, how it is all a scheme, a damn ruse. Too many people, they said. So someone decided it was time for humanity to go.
This was amusing to Mister M., until he had to go to the Otorhinolaryngology department, to check his damn ear. As the people in lines were discussing this damn covid thing - "Oh please, it's just a flu!" "You know, a good shot of votka makes it go away!", "We'll see how funny it is when you are in an ICU" - the nurse, a fat, bored old lady, told him - NO VISITORS. All nurses are currently occupied. Go to an emergency clinic with this paper. So he went. NO VISITORS. All hands on deck for Covid. Sanitized, scrubbed, and uninterested in your damn ear!
So, Mister M., went home, mumbling about the damn healthcare and work, life, and so on. His mother, Lady M., called him that same day, and told him news, with a contagious amount of happiness - he is going to be an uncle.
All this happened nine months ago. By this time, Mister M., like always, got used to the pain. It will go away. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. But today, he took a free day from work, got up, lit up a cigarette, and waited for his mother to come and pick him up. The buzzing is less annoying when there is sound, so beep, the PC got turned on, and music was playing, a silent, smooth mix of melancholy and past joys.
Mister M., is a strange fellow. He still remembers the shock when he was told he is going to become an uncle. He was not happy. Not happy at all. Was it right to say he felt suddenly old, and frightened? These types of thoughts would sometimes attack him at night, not letting him rest. For the past few months, the fear, anxiety of it all - life, work, struggle - deepened. He discovered it is no longer the buzzing that keeps him awake at night but terror, a deep, profound terror of closing one's eyes and feeling nothing.
The ceiling was too high, eyes darting here and there, silence so chilly it felt mesmerizing, like an avalanche, or a tsunami, leaving only the sound of his buzzing ears in a desolate, flimsy apartment. Oh, those nights! The night! The terror of lying in wait for a new day, a new work shift knowing you are half dead from the pain of... loneliness.
It was a constant struggle not to retreat into one's shell. Oh, how hard it is! To just say - to hell with it all! Sit at home, and do nothing! Nothing! Procrastrinate! Stare at a wall! Play games, read novels, finish reading that damn Asimov book you keep putting off! Yes, it annoys you that the characters feels more like a wandering will than anything else, a perfect rationalist, so logical it makes you feel deflated, but finish it and...
Mister M., is 28 this year.
His father died in prison four years ago. Back then, Mister M., was, i would say a wonderful human. He was young, fresh, full of hopes. He woke up, without a splitting headache, without the leg pain his metal strengthened work boots gave him, without back pain, and off he went to his university. A sociology major, Mister M., was fascinated by humans as social animals - his own father, a strange, broody fellow, went in and out of jail due to forgery - forgery! in the 21st century! - was a walking encyclopedia of psychological, and social anxieties and issues. Always alone, with no one at his side, he would sit at his abandoned village home with only an occasional petty crook to visit him for his services. However, a father is a father.
The phone rang. Mister M., at this point in front of the building, looked up at the unfamiliar number. "Hello" he said. "Good day, am i speaking to Mister M.? "Yes, i am him" "We regret to inform you your father has passed away on an operating table"
"Would you like us to cremate the remains?"
II
Bastard. He never told him he had a blood clot before he went to jail. This is a painful memory for Mister M., a reminiscence of pure pain. He broke down in tears in front of the building, his future, called his mother, wailing and sobbing how his father died. Operating table? What operating table. He was there for petty forgery!
...It was a cold, scummy day. Frost-cold, heart-cold, windless day of endless snow. The man was a bum. A damn bum. He was a village kid waiting to go back home to burry his father on a bus stop. No drivers licence, no nothing. You don't really need a driver's licence in his country, not with the highly developed bus system of Europe. But still... his father died and there he was, freezing, his heart like his hands numb and cold, waiting, for a damn bus. What a pathethic man, what a miserable, worthless man he felt at this point. Sure, he was 24, 25, but still, he felt, my father died a dog's death, and here i am, waiting for someone else to take me home. Oh, sweet home! How do we meet again!
The cigarette burned out. For the past four years, since the death, the smell of burning nicotine is his haze to keep away the thoughts or make them tolerable. Without the smoke, the thoughts are despair. With them, they are mere philosophy - a young man thinking something while dragging smoke. Dragging smoke, choking. Coughing.
...Life was better back then. When is she going to arrive anyway? Such a long day.
...The death was a strange thing. Youth, meet death. Mister M., met his mother, back in the old city, and back to the village they went. To his old home.
...The house, lonely and desolate, had a single old man, Mister M.'s grandfather, sobbing and wailing, holding a piece of paper in his hands - an official telegram of Notice Of Death. Motherfuckers! How are they so fast in this, but this country is such a dump!
Mister M., had to go and buy a coffin. But he had no money for one. Where does one find a money for a coffin? What is the difference between mahogany and that other, what was it called - cedar? How does a young college student buy a coffin?
Lady M., in the end paid for everything. She looked at her broken son, as he walked across the old rooms. The walls were moldy. A poster of Che Guevara was hiding a hole on the wall. Dead dog in the old apple garden. Endless mounds of bottles in an old silo, plastic bottles of soda, detergent... The bathtub turned yellow-brown from filth. The roof caved in and was leaking. The old man lived a dog's life. The old home from Mister M.'s memories, a happy place, clean and wonderful, was now a decayed, withered old husk of past. Time stood still in this house - in his room, everything was exactly as he left it, a coat of dust freezing the frame.
Two funerals. Father and son, lying together. Mister M's father, and grandfather, who died four days later, in old age, with nothing to live for anymore. They hated each other's guts while alive, with the old man shouting at his son for being a petty criminal. They lived off his pension, a measly sum the old man earned through forty years of truck driving. Look at them now...
It was a cosmic funeral. The ice cold body. The priest droning strange syllables. An ice death. A frost death. The candles, swaying in the wind of an old village church. So damn cold. Mister M., was at the front, carrying the coffin. How poetic.
Then came the struggle. The debtors. The crooks, the "friends of the deceased".
The state.
Unpaid bills for six years. How the hell is the electrical bill half a million? Oh, right. The deceased had a friend who worked in electrical maintenance...
And so, the house was sold, inheritance split between Mister M., and Miss M., his sister. The debts paid off, the leftover money split, so the days passed. Mister M., could never go back to studying - to pointless he felt. Betrayal. He never knew. That his father had a blood clot. He was a failure of a son, and he had nothing to prove. A son of a criminal, is worthless.
It was nice, for a time. Waking up, and doing nothing. Such is the joy of youth - you could do nothing and still smile. Stare at a wall, and giggle. Mister M., was a happy young man. I have money! Now... Now i just rest! Take it easy! Life is long! Enjoy those games you always wanted to play! Read, educate yourself, breathe, live! Seize the day!
Another two years passed. The money ran out. So, off to the first factory he went. A cable factory, for german cars. Two more years, or was it less? Time has become muddled to him these days as he finds not much happening that was important.
And, here he is now, lighting his third cigarette, thinking about it all. Man, does it all fly away... My sis has a second son! The first one was born when i was 22 or 23... what is he now, eight, nine? Whatever. She has her own life, not my damn business... Good for her.
...I remember when V was a little baby, it was so fascinating watching him grow. Well, the divorce was hard. Still, alimony. God, i wish i was a hot chick! Just spread my legs and - gold. Set for life.
...The day is unusually pleasant for the time of the year. Sometimes, it is a good day, a perfect day. Still, a nervousness he did not know haunts him, a silent, creeping fear. Death. The cigarette keeps it away, the thought-death, the death-feel, oh, the cigarette went out.
A knocking at the apartment door. His mother came.
Time to leave.
II
"Did you just wake up?"
"Nope!"
"Give your mother a hug, uncle! I am so happy!"
"Yeah, me too."
"Alright, let's go! Now, when we arrive, i have a boquet of flowers, two actually, give one to your sister, and one to her mother-in-law. Wait, dont' go in that! Come on, dress something nice. I'm waiting at the car."
He could not hear his mother's incessant droning, her cheerful chatting, since his sister came home from the hospital she was giddy as a girl in love, yet, Mister M., had an ill sense of foreboding. It happened before, right? Everything will be the same. He even packed his cigarettes.
They parked in front of a huge, messy workshop. His sister's husband sells ice cream machines, buys them, resells them. Travels often - to Poland, England, Germany, etc. It is all very confusing and intimidating. A small place man. A humble man, our Mister M. Maybe a little cowardly.
...They went through the gates. A huge, inner garden. Connected houses. Three cars. Upper class. They went in. His first nephew greeted him joyfully - "Uncle"! He has not seen him for half a year. No longer a baby, no longer small. A young boy. His sister greeted him. And there, on the couch, a small baby laid sleeping.
Is this real? Is all this a dream? This, this... perfect life. Greetings and kisses. Oh, look, the mother-in-law, and father-in-law came. The first son is sitting on the couch, playing games on a tablet. The baby is sleeping. Oh look! It smiled! How cute! Mister M., went outside for a smoke. A sudden feeling was waiting to burst out. A feeling of inescapable sadness.
The rest of the hours passed in torment, torture, however, Mister M., smiled all the way through. Occasionally, he would try to start a conversation, however, the other person would look to someone else in the room, and he would stop talking, and just smile and nod his head.
The nurse came, to check up on the baby. The entire family was crying tears of joy, the husband filming the crying baby that was getting washed in a baby tub, then came the breastfeeding, and another cigarette. The new family. There were dogs in the yard, small and furry. Sparrows were chirping. The entire house felt full of life. The feeling of weariness, sadness, confusion, misery was threatening to crush him, so he breathed slowly, fuuuu, faaaa, keep it together. Don't ruin it with your breakdown. What a happy family.
He chatted with the husband. He took pictures with the baby, the mother-in-law, his mother and the baby, the first nephew and the baby and him, this person, that person... it was a perfect day. He saw his sister gently looking at the sleeping little one. And, above all, he felt... alone.
It was a moving picture, and his mind, his brain, was observing, copying the gestures of socially acceptable behaviour. He sat in his chair, looking at the people around him, with a feeling of such profound isolation, that he thought this is all an insane dream. The chatting women, the drinking men - he too drank, as is custom - the cartoon on the over-the-damn-wall-with-surround-TV making happy, upbeat noises.
"Well, it was a great day, but we have to leave now, i am sure you all need some rest too."
"Come over anytime, please. Let's take a photo together, and i want one with your son too. I finally met you young man! I kept hearing about you!"
Smile. Smile, you damn bastard. Okay. Release those muscles, ease the grin slowly. Let's get the hell out of here.
IV
Mister M., went to the passenger seat, pale and gloomy. His throat was bobbing up and down, eyes half-closed, staring at the passing streets, at anything. Hands half-shaking, silent, slow breathing.
"Son, are you okay? You don't look so well"
"Mm."
Anything more, and he would burst into tears. Short sentences. Yes and no. Keep it cool. Don't make her worry.
"Where do you want to go? Want to go for a drive?"
"Home"
Lady M., opened and closed her mouth in a thin line. An uneasiness crept into the moving vehicle, the son, her own son, who she knew for so long, has been acting... strange for the past few months. Oh, whatever. He's a young man, he'll work it out. The job is probably stressfull.
"Drop me off here."
"Why? I can take you home if you want."
"Want to take a walk"
And so, off our Mister M., went. Sniffling, he walked slowly, keeping it in. Breathe. Look at the people. He went into his backyard - a communal one, with a few, one floor houses, old houses. His shaky legs brought him to his apartment, and he just opened the door which he left unlocked.
It did not take him a minute to start sobbing. At first, he tried to control it, but the more he tried, the more he suffered. They say comparison is the mother of misery.
Soon, the silent sobbing started in a slow, prolonged, and silent wailing. Not to alert the neighbours. Play some music. So, Mister M., played some music, and wailed. He grabbed his aching chest, and wailed, like a wounded beast, a struggling, primal echo of nothingness bursting out. The empty apartment offering no solace, no comfort, no happiness. Not anymore.
He went to the bathroom, and in the mirror, he saw him, an overgrown, and sad child. Bloodshot eyes and snuffy nose, quivering lips and washed out face, unshaven and scraggly beard, and... nothing else.
He went to his room, and sat to calm his nerves. On the desk was a bank notice - a piece of paper notifying him of his savings - 900 euros. He used to be proud of this. It made him feel like an adult. Like a man. Now, it mocked him, two years of brutal factory work, and 900 euros is all of his life. His brand new PC, which he bought to play games, once a source of joy, now hummed lazily, uselessly. Hasn't played a game in months. Can't get into them. Feels, strange, out of place, the voice in the back of his head telling him, whispering, you are out of your debt and time, there is nothing here for you. The house which he sold, why did he agree to it? His sister is now a rich young lady, a center of the family, a young mother. At least, in his village home, he could disappear. No paying rent. No forced waking up. No night terror. But, off it went, and now, no work means no roof over the head.
...The wailing went on and on. The self-pity.
...It used to be so simple. You would wake up and play some games and read some manga and the world was frozen in time. You were young, and full of possibilities. There was a perfect girl out there, she will find him. She will find him. Friends too. Marriage was something adult, foreign, was he an overgrown fool? Or just... a coward. A romantic? Just like those girls, from those comic books... the perfect girl. She would say hi. Love him.
Mister M., has...
The phone rings. It's his mother.
"Hello."
"Hi, son. Are you okay? You looked terrible, but you did great at the gathering. Now, i know you might feel bad now, but everyone has their own time, so don't sit there and wallow in self-pity, don't worry and just enjoy life, okay?"
"No, i'm fine, mom. Thanks.
"Love you son."
"Love you too."
Tu-tu, ended the call.
Sigh. My good mother. Do you not know your son? There are always those left behind, those refusing or too scared to grow up. Guess i am one of them. Guess i am...
The tinnitus eased after the crying for Mister M., a happy occasion. Now, he stared blankly at the screen, occasionally sniffing, lighting one cigarette after another. He paid the damn thing a lot of money but, the games changed. The times changed. He could no longer play long hours, no longer was time waiting for him. He felt at that moment old and weary, dry, brittle. Not a single friend since high-school and university. Always alone. It used to be enjoyable. So good. The anime shows, the new games, when did it all become so hard to track? New games, he found he did not know when they came out? What is this? When did they make this... And no one to play with. Suddenly, finishing that game... occasionally, he would look sideways, no one there. Close the game. Escape. Escape.
And the girl never came. Look at that. There were attempts, but Mister M., is far too dull of a person for the modern age. Humble, useless, analog in a digital age. Outdated. Nobody needs a humble man. Nobody marries a damn factory worker with no house, no car, and 900 euros of savings. Nobody drinks beer with him as he is too awkward to talk about cars, girls, sports, to make jokes, to keep up, be spontaneous. Natural. Always the one looking through the window.
Actually, that is a damn lie. Mister M., is immature, but, is the price for it really such deep loneliness? No women, but not even a single friend? Not even one. Oh, he talks occasionaly with foreigners online. But, that is all. His new hobby is to go to the farthest ATM in his small, sleepy town, put in his credit card, type in the PIN, check his balance... and go home. So, at nine in the evening, he did the same. Let's take a walk with him.
...The city is eerily empty. Covid has made the city lonely and depressed, it makes his tinnitus sound like a damn joke. The only ones are the youth - oh, look, he thinks, now they, not me, are the youth - going somewhere, smiling, laughing. How wonderful it is to laugh with someone. Look at them, all those young girls - why did i not date in highchool? I was such a fool. Such a coward. I thought she will simply show up, some perfect girl for me. Someone warm and gentle. She would laugh a tooty grin, be cheeky for me, we would be broke and share all we have to buy something nice. We would laugh and walk home together. Go out, go wild. I must grow up, he thinks. I must accept my flaws. My suffering. He goes, types in the PIN - oh, look, same amount. Oh, well. Let's go home.
...How does one who has no friends, find a friend in this day and age? Hmmm...
A cigarette. Mister M., used to be a handsome lad... He still is. Somewhat. And now, his moment of crisis, makes him feel good. This is growing up, he thinks. In ten years time i will be the strange one at family gathering. I will get asked - when are you getting married - and smile awkwardly. Until they forget i was there. I wish i could disappear slowly from everyone's sight and be happy. Be content. Have nothing and no one, and therefore, no suffering. It is the taste of normal life that made me understand the value of money. It is the loneliness of an empty home after a long shift that made me feel alone. Should i just not show up to work tomorrow? They all mock me anyway, ask me when am i gonna lose my virginity? Is this joking, then why does it produce pain? Well - never, i guess? Hmmm...
Should i just kill myself?
Mister M., are you lonely?
A girl, a pretty little blonde thing, occasionaly casts a glance at Mister M., who is currently buying a candy bar in the only store open since Covid after ten - he walked all over the town for an hour, looking at all the warmth of homes, and the silent streetwalkers. He notices, and avoids her gaze. Probably too young. She looks barely twenty. Too young now...
Mister M., will turn 29 soon. He talked with his mother, about buying a house. Something cheap. It terrifies him now. Knowing no one will knock on the door, and show up. Today, everyone forgot. It was a special day for him. His mother forgot too. Something special. An old custom. A religious feast, that goes from father to son. A patron saint. That is why he is free today,from work.Everyone forgot. Not like anyone would show up anyway...
Mister M., is googling "male loneliness". "Suicide", "2020 rpg games for pc", "2020 anime". He forgot his facebook password and can't log in. Too scared to give a phone number and retreive the account. Everyone, moved on... His old highschool best friend became a construction worker in Europe. Became cynical and bitter. Fucks whores. He fucked them in Antwerp, and in Netherlands too. How does a woman feel anyway?
He needs to wake up at 4 am, to go to work, but he knows he wont sleep. From loneliness, terror, thought, tinnitus, sadness, acceptance...
I am sorry, Mister M., i hope it was a good feast.
submitted by TheModerateNihilist to writers [link] [comments]


2020.10.20 14:37 HagerEKU [US-KY] [H] Hundreds of Pops [W] Paypal

I have a little of everything for sale here. Take your pick and shoot me any questions. Shipping is $5 for one pop and an additional $2 for each pop after. More pics can be provided. Soft protectors can be added for $1

https://imgur.com/a/RGaaUVz

POPs
submitted by HagerEKU to funkoswap [link] [comments]


2020.10.19 15:04 Realistic-Craft2926 AITA if I (26 F) contact with my GF's best friend (25 F) against my GF's (25 F) wishes? F

Throwaway because she uses Reddit.
Last year while studying for my master's in Lyon, I met my girlfriend and she has been such an amazing addition to my life. On October, she moved to Brussels for a year long exchange program and we managed to make long distance work. Due to certain world events, we couldn't see each other from March to June. I was very worried for her and how she would cope with lockdown in a city where she had just started making friends, but she ended up bonding with a bunch of people from her student building.
Amongst these people was Martina. She had started dating a German girl, and was from Colombia, just like my gf. She was the first LGBT friend my gf had made and they developed an amazing friendship. I was happy and didn't get jealous until I met Martina.
Martina came to Lyon for a week helping my gf move back. Upon meeting her, I had a really confusing rush of emotions. I could relate a lot to her and her experiences, but also, she seemed to excel at a lot of the things I felt insecure about. I spent that week working way too hard to gain her approval and we did bond a lot and have kept in touch.
After she left, my gf pointed out how weird my behaviour had been and it dawned on me that I had developed an unhealthy crush in Martina. The thing is, I'm completely against it, I absolutely love my gf and want our relationship to work and I know any "feelings" towards Martina are not real.
I told my gf I would cut contact with Martina but she was against it, saying she would feel awful about letting her feelings get in the way of me making friends. And for two weeks me and Martina kept texting and I told myself I had it under control, but it kept upsetting my gf so I told her again I would stop initiating contact with Martina, and she again told me not to.
WIBTA if I just cut Martina off without telling my gf? I really want our relationship to work.
submitted by Realistic-Craft2926 to AmItheAsshole [link] [comments]


2020.10.19 14:19 HagerEKU [US-KY] [H] The Great Wall of Pops [W] Paypal

I have a little of everything for sale here. Take your pick and shoot me any questions. Shipping is $5 for one pop and an additional $2 for each pop after. More pics can be provided. Soft protectors can be added for $1

https://imgur.com/a/RGaaUVz

POPs
submitted by HagerEKU to funkoswap [link] [comments]


2020.10.19 14:15 mtp6921 I am Christine Smith.

I was a product of a self righteous father who ingrained in me that less is better. When the popularity of the internet was in full force in the early 2000’s I took a back seat to it. In fact I didn’t have any social media accounts.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated from high school in the early 2000’s so I joined the peace corps where I traveled to Africa and South America. I had mixed emotions regarding my experiences especially in Africa, where I wasn’t viewed very highly as being a woman.
I finally gave up all my traveling and even my religion in 2019. I was a different person now I started to find more answers on the internet versus looking through the Bible. The priests and ministers that I at one time thought as the know all be alls some how had lost their luster with me.
I essentially had to start all over in my 30’s. I enrolled in nursing school and I wanted to reconnect with everyone from my past.
My parents had me in their 40’s and unfortunately both of them have died. I was an only child, but I did have cousins, though I haven’t seen or heard from them in about 20 years.
I decided to start a Facebook account. I’ve learned that being named Christine Smith and having a common looking face aren’t always the best combinations. Growing up I had a ton of doppelgängers. My parents were German and Irish which somehow gave he very common facial features on top of the millions of Chris Smith’s out there.
My hometown was in Bristol Pennsylvania, which has more people commuting to New York City than people actually working in Philadelphia, which is only less than an hour away.
I created my Facebook page and I started to find and attempted to add people from my past. The people I met in the Peace Corps were easy and accepted my friend request right away. My relatives and high school friends were a different story.
I sent a message to my first cousin Lauren. We were both the same age and we would see each other on a regular basis growing up. I didn’t get a response. I thought she would have been like “wow I missed you,” but I received nothing back. In fact, I had received no responses other than people who were living in South America and Africa. I was really starting to feel alone being back in Pennsylvania. All the people who I knew growing up with either I lost their phone numbers or they had moved. I had a good amount of close friends in high school from all of the sports activities I was involved in.
The loneliness really caught up to me one Friday night on top of being ghosted by everyone that I had grown up with. I was “stalking” people on Facebook and I noticed that my cousin Lauren had a friend whose Facebook page wasn’t set to private. I learned from this friend that Lauren was actually getting married next week. I was looking through photos and noticed that Lauren had a bachelorette party last Saturday. I felt extremely hurt that I wasn’t even invited to the upcoming wedding. I thought to myself what did I do or what did my family do to make everyone ghost me. As I continued to look through Lauren’s bachelorette photos I came across something very odd. Lauren had five bridesmaids and one of them was tagged as Chris Smith.
I clicked on Chris Smith and her page was set to private, but She had Bensalem Pa on her main page for the public to see. I thought to myself that’s odd that this Chris Smith lived in the next town over to Bristol which was practically walking distance. Another odd thing was Chris Smith could almost pass for me. Almost the same way that Alec Baldwin’s character looks like Donald Trump during the SNL skit though it doesn’t take long to realize the differences in their facial features.
I was a little bit taken back. I said out loud to myself “no this can’t be. Is there someone impersonating me?”
All of my high school friends had their Facebook pages set to private, but one girl, Becky who I knew from field hockey. She had her friends as viewable to the public. Becky had this Chris Smith as a friend. Now I’m fairly convinced that something shady is going on. I grew up in Bristol and I don’t remember a Chris Smith from the neighboring town who knows two people that I know.
Since no one was responding to me on Facebook, I decided to show up to my cousins wedding this weekend. I saw a wedding announcement online but I didn’t see the location. I must have contacted 20 different wedding venues before I found the venue that confirmed that Lauren was getting married there this weekend.
The venue was in Phoenixville PA which was about an hour away. I didn’t want to ruin Lauren’s wedding. At this point I just wanted to try to get more information on this Chris Smith. I got to the venue early and parked in the parking lot. One by one I observed all my relatives show up, which was a little heartbreaking because I have been alone for some time now.
Then I saw this Chris Smith pull into the parking lot with an unknown guy and I saw her hug one of my other cousins Jenny. I am now further convinced that this Chris Smith is impersonating me. I knew if I stormed into the wedding I would be the center of attention so I didn’t want that, so I decided to wait until the wedding was over and follow this Chris Smith hopefully home.
At about midnight the wedding party had finally finished and most of the people started to funnel into the parking lot. Chris Smith left with her date and I followed them. I never seen this guy before. Eventually they stopped at an apartment in Bensalem. I noted that this Chris Smith was completely wasted and the guy who she was with probably shouldn’t have been driving either. They both went into the apartment and I sat in my car contemplating what to do next. I finally decided to make the outlandish decision to see if I could break into the apartment. I waited a couple of hours to make sure they were both sleeping. I looked through the windows and based on the female decor I could tell it was this Chris Smith’s apartment versus the unknown guy’s.
I noticed that the kitchen window was cracked open, so I attempted to open the window and learned that I could get into the apartment. I crawled through the window and tiptoed around the apartment. I used my phone as a light source.
Suddenly, A sense of panic came over me when I heard someone come out of the bedroom. It was the guy and I had no place to hide. Luckily, he was too wasted to figure out that I wasn’t the Chris Smith in the bedroom. He kind of muttered something about being thirsty and got water and headed back to the bedroom. I pretty much had a heart attack, but I pulled myself together.
I continued to look around the apartment and I eventually felt like I was a ghost. Picture after picture strewn across the apartment were people I knew growing up, but instead of being pictured with me they were pictured with this impersonator.
I finally found the clue that I was looking for. Before I left for the peace corps someone had stolen some of my personal items that I had in storage and one of those items was my senior year’s high school yearbook. The person also stole some personal photographs. So I gather that this impersonator saw all the people who signed my yearbook and reached out to them on Facebook. She used my personal photos with other people as well to gain rapport. The other scary part is that I figured this person was probably using my social security number and everything else. I saw old Christmas cards that were sent by my family members and addressed to “Christine”. One of the cards even referenced the passing of my parents.
I left the apartment through the front door. It’s now 5:00 am and I’m completely exhausted. I’m trying to jog my memory to figure out who this person impersonating me actually is.
Finally it dawned on me. I remembered that I went on a church related camping trip with my family in the sixth grade. There was this really shy homeschooled girl who my Dad joked that she looked like my twin sister. I completely forgot about her until I saw pictures of her in that apartment. I figured that I must have left a really big impression with her. My mother made me correspond with her via letters. I refused to call her so I compromised by replying to her letter.
I realized that it was going to be pretty easy to regain my identity with the people from my past. I took some of the envelopes from the impersonators apartment that had family and friends addresses on them.
I waited a week to contact Lauren and I sent her a letter detailing how I was the real Christine Smith. I asked her to to call or text me. I received a text about two weeks later where she asked me “when our families went to Disney World in 1996 where did we stay?” I responded “we both decided that we were both to old for Disney so we went to Universal instead.”
She then texted “What the fuck is going on?”
I responded to please meet me at the McDonald’s in Bristol.
We met the following day and we greeted each other with a hug and we both cried. She eventually realized that most of her wedding pictures were ruined because they contained an impersonator. I guess that was something that I didn’t think of when I didn’t want to ruin her wedding.
We both came up with a plan. Rather than drag this out we were both going to knock on her door and and just tell the impersonator that the ruse was up and just to go away. We weren’t going to drag this out and tell anyone else that for nearly 15 years someone had been impersonating me.
So the same day we went to the apartment and knocked on the door. I remembered her name was Kim. She opened the door and I said “Sorry Kim we you have been outed stop impersonating me”.
She quivered for a few moments and said “Lauren what are you talking about”.
I said “you have two choices. One you move away and never come back and I won’t call the police or two I call the police and you go to jail.”
This Kim girl started crying hysterically and said “please Lauren don’t do this.”
Both Lauren and I looked at her in a very stern manner. I told her that before I was leaving I was taken everything from her apartment that was associated with me and I made her disable her Facebook page.
The impersonator started sobbing and saying “Lauren you know I was arrested a decade ago you can’t go to the police.”
Apparently this impersonator had committed manslaughter and any further arrest would imprison her potentially for life.
The impersonator had disappeared as we instructed and I finally felt like part of something again.
Christmas time was great. I went over to my Aunts house and everyone was so happy to see me.
Then that almost changed when my uncle said something to me. He said “Christine I could have sworn that birthmark on your face was on the left side and not the right when you were a baby.”
I felt a sense of panic come over me. I had visions of My parents punishing me for weeks at a time when I couldn’t recite the Bible. I remembered spending countless hours by myself as I watched other kids going to school through my bedroom window. Then it dawned on me, when I remembered the letter that I got from Christine in 1996 telling me that she went to Universal Studios.
My whole head started to feel like it was starting to spin. I finally regained my composure and laughed it off to my Uncle saying “oh stop it”. I scrambled to find a black marker and used makeup to conceal my existing birth mark. Then I went back out to the party as “Christine Smith” again.
submitted by mtp6921 to stories [link] [comments]


2020.10.19 14:13 mtp6921 I am Christine Smith.

I was a product of a self righteous father who ingrained in me that less is better. When the popularity of the internet was in full force in the early 2000’s I took a back seat to it. In fact I didn’t have any social media accounts.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated from high school in the early 2000’s so I joined the peace corps where I traveled to Africa and South America. I had mixed emotions regarding my experiences especially in Africa, where I wasn’t viewed very highly as being a woman.
I finally gave up all my traveling and even my religion in 2019. I was a different person now I started to find more answers on the internet versus looking through the Bible. The priests and ministers that I at one time thought as the know all be alls some how had lost their luster with me.
I essentially had to start all over in my 30’s. I enrolled in nursing school and I wanted to reconnect with everyone from my past.
My parents had me in their 40’s and unfortunately both of them have died. I was an only child, but I did have cousins, though I haven’t seen or heard from them in about 20 years.
I decided to start a Facebook account. I’ve learned that being named Christine Smith and having a common looking face aren’t always the best combinations. Growing up I had a ton of doppelgängers. My parents were German and Irish which somehow gave he very common facial features on top of the millions of Chris Smith’s out there.
My hometown was in Bristol Pennsylvania, which has more people commuting to New York City than people actually working in Philadelphia, which is only less than an hour away.
I created my Facebook page and I started to find and attempted to add people from my past. The people I met in the Peace Corps were easy and accepted my friend request right away. My relatives and high school friends were a different story.
I sent a message to my first cousin Lauren. We were both the same age and we would see each other on a regular basis growing up. I didn’t get a response. I thought she would have been like “wow I missed you,” but I received nothing back. In fact, I had received no responses other than people who were living in South America and Africa. I was really starting to feel alone being back in Pennsylvania. All the people who I knew growing up with either I lost their phone numbers or they had moved. I had a good amount of close friends in high school from all of the sports activities I was involved in.
The loneliness really caught up to me one Friday night on top of being ghosted by everyone that I had grown up with. I was “stalking” people on Facebook and I noticed that my cousin Lauren had a friend whose Facebook page wasn’t set to private. I learned from this friend that Lauren was actually getting married next week. I was looking through photos and noticed that Lauren had a bachelorette party last Saturday. I felt extremely hurt that I wasn’t even invited to the upcoming wedding. I thought to myself what did I do or what did my family do to make everyone ghost me. As I continued to look through Lauren’s bachelorette photos I came across something very odd. Lauren had five bridesmaids and one of them was tagged as Chris Smith.
I clicked on Chris Smith and her page was set to private, but She had Bensalem Pa on her main page for the public to see. I thought to myself that’s odd that this Chris Smith lived in the next town over to Bristol which was practically walking distance. Another odd thing was Chris Smith could almost pass for me. Almost the same way that Alec Baldwin’s character looks like Donald Trump during the SNL skit though it doesn’t take long to realize the differences in their facial features.
I was a little bit taken back. I said out loud to myself “no this can’t be. Is there someone impersonating me?”
All of my high school friends had their Facebook pages set to private, but one girl, Becky who I knew from field hockey. She had her friends as viewable to the public. Becky had this Chris Smith as a friend. Now I’m fairly convinced that something shady is going on. I grew up in Bristol and I don’t remember a Chris Smith from the neighboring town who knows two people that I know.
Since no one was responding to me on Facebook, I decided to show up to my cousins wedding this weekend. I saw a wedding announcement online but I didn’t see the location. I must have contacted 20 different wedding venues before I found the venue that confirmed that Lauren was getting married there this weekend.
The venue was in Phoenixville PA which was about an hour away. I didn’t want to ruin Lauren’s wedding. At this point I just wanted to try to get more information on this Chris Smith. I got to the venue early and parked in the parking lot. One by one I observed all my relatives show up, which was a little heartbreaking because I have been alone for some time now.
Then I saw this Chris Smith pull into the parking lot with an unknown guy and I saw her hug one of my other cousins Jenny. I am now further convinced that this Chris Smith is impersonating me. I knew if I stormed into the wedding I would be the center of attention so I didn’t want that, so I decided to wait until the wedding was over and follow this Chris Smith hopefully home.
At about midnight the wedding party had finally finished and most of the people started to funnel into the parking lot. Chris Smith left with her date and I followed them. I never seen this guy before. Eventually they stopped at an apartment in Bensalem. I noted that this Chris Smith was completely wasted and the guy who she was with probably shouldn’t have been driving either. They both went into the apartment and I sat in my car contemplating what to do next. I finally decided to make the outlandish decision to see if I could break into the apartment. I waited a couple of hours to make sure they were both sleeping. I looked through the windows and based on the female decor I could tell it was this Chris Smith’s apartment versus the unknown guy’s.
I noticed that the kitchen window was cracked open, so I attempted to open the window and learned that I could get into the apartment. I crawled through the window and tiptoed around the apartment. I used my phone as a light source.
Suddenly, A sense of panic came over me when I heard someone come out of the bedroom. It was the guy and I had no place to hide. Luckily, he was too wasted to figure out that I wasn’t the Chris Smith in the bedroom. He kind of muttered something about being thirsty and got water and headed back to the bedroom. I pretty much had a heart attack, but I pulled myself together.
I continued to look around the apartment and I eventually felt like I was a ghost. Picture after picture strewn across the apartment were people I knew growing up, but instead of being pictured with me they were pictured with this impersonator.
I finally found the clue that I was looking for. Before I left for the peace corps someone had stolen some of my personal items that I had in storage and one of those items was my senior year’s high school yearbook. The person also stole some personal photographs. So I gather that this impersonator saw all the people who signed my yearbook and reached out to them on Facebook. She used my personal photos with other people as well to gain rapport. The other scary part is that I figured this person was probably using my social security number and everything else. I saw old Christmas cards that were sent by my family members and addressed to “Christine”. One of the cards even referenced the passing of my parents.
I left the apartment through the front door. It’s now 5:00 am and I’m completely exhausted. I’m trying to jog my memory to figure out who this person impersonating me actually is.
Finally it dawned on me. I remembered that I went on a church related camping trip with my family in the sixth grade. There was this really shy homeschooled girl who my Dad joked that she looked like my twin sister. I completely forgot about her until I saw pictures of her in that apartment. I figured that I must have left a really big impression with her. My mother made me correspond with her via letters. I refused to call her so I compromised by replying to her letter.
I realized that it was going to be pretty easy to regain my identity with the people from my past. I took some of the envelopes from the impersonators apartment that had family and friends addresses on them.
I waited a week to contact Lauren and I sent her a letter detailing how I was the real Christine Smith. I asked her to to call or text me. I received a text about two weeks later where she asked me “when our families went to Disney World in 1996 where did we stay?” I responded “we both decided that we were both to old for Disney so we went to Universal instead.”
She then texted “What the fuck is going on?”
I responded to please meet me at the McDonald’s in Bristol.
We met the following day and we greeted each other with a hug and we both cried. She eventually realized that most of her wedding pictures were ruined because they contained an impersonator. I guess that was something that I didn’t think of when I didn’t want to ruin her wedding.
We both came up with a plan. Rather than drag this out we were both going to knock on her door and and just tell the impersonator that the ruse was up and just to go away. We weren’t going to drag this out and tell anyone else that for nearly 15 years someone had been impersonating me.
So the same day we went to the apartment and knocked on the door. I remembered her name was Kim. She opened the door and I said “Sorry Kim we you have been outed stop impersonating me”.
She quivered for a few moments and said “Lauren what are you talking about”.
I said “you have two choices. One you move away and never come back and I won’t call the police or two I call the police and you go to jail.”
This Kim girl started crying hysterically and said “please Lauren don’t do this.”
Both Lauren and I looked at her in a very stern manner. I told her that before I was leaving I was taken everything from her apartment that was associated with me and I made her disable her Facebook page.
The impersonator started sobbing and saying “Lauren you know I was arrested a decade ago you can’t go to the police.”
Apparently this impersonator had committed manslaughter and any further arrest would imprison her potentially for life.
The impersonator had disappeared as we instructed and I finally felt like part of something again.
Christmas time was great. I went over to my Aunts house and everyone was so happy to see me.
Then that almost changed when my uncle said something to me. He said “Christine I could have sworn that birthmark on your face was on the left side and not the right when you were a baby.”
I felt a sense of panic come over me. I had visions of My parents punishing me for weeks at a time when I couldn’t recite the Bible. I remembered spending countless hours by myself as I watched other kids going to school through my bedroom window. Then it dawned on me, when I remembered the letter that I got from Christine in 1996 telling me that she went to Universal Studios.
My whole head started to feel like it was starting to spin. I finally regained my composure and laughed it off to my Uncle saying “oh stop it”. I scrambled to find a black marker and used makeup to conceal my existing birth mark. Then I went back out to the party as “Christine Smith” again.
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