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Conversations with the muse, 1

"I never stopped loving you."

I speak in truths, the most bitter medicine, and as I do she curls in a ball, trembling in the rags I gave her.

An old t-shirt faded beyond recognition and a skirt in tatters, marked by claws of dogs and unnamed beasts. Even now she begs me for help. Even now; knowing after months of thirst that I can only give droplets of waters, sent by grasping hunger to gather the scraps under my table.

"How can you love me, and leave me like this? This is not love."

In this world the darkness is everywhere, but it snuggles around you, warm.

There is no moon in the sky, but at least it isn't raining anymore. I look at my hands in the light of my own eyes, I flex my fingers; wondering if they should be covered with blood. "Everyday you choose someone else over me. And your soul is owned by new gods; shiny and merciless and above all vain. You have become great in their service, while in here, I languish."

I crouch on the floor. My sunken heart feels a remnant of something, a shadow of pity; but it's a copy of a copy of a copy. Even my emotions are second-hand.

"And what would you have me do?" I pat her gently, brush the leaves off her hair. "You know how I need this. How I need to keep myself in check." She sobs. "And I hate being a slave to those others, and I hate them," I keep going, "but they are something you are not: predictable."

"You'd trade predictability over greatness," she whines. "You'd trade happiness and my love."

I shake my head.

"Happiness is fog in the eyes. Every time I follow you, I am miserable. I've seen you try to define worth, try to define success; I will have none of it." She slowly crawls up to me, pushes against my chest, as to find something still beating. "This is the new order. I'll play in the thraldom of neon and shine until I can turn it to my will.

And I know I can't get rid of you, and I can't stop loving you, but I won't be ensnared.

You will serve, and you will be useful.

You will follow, or you will be left to rot."

In this moment, I finally hit her.

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