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Truth Is...
By Adi

I can feel their eyes on me. I can hear their whispers that they, in fear or respect, will never say.

She had her in her quarters, how could she not have known?

The truth is I didn't know, she distracted me. Anytime I came close to thinking that maybe, just maybe she was the one - the spy - she would distract me. I can see it now, but you know what they say about hindsight.

I want a drink, and I'm afraid of my own company, so I came here. I thought maybe here I could escape myself. Escape the thoughts running through my head. The voices that call me weak, that call me blind.

And yes I admit I was blind. Lyta said that the implanted personality couldn't be reached even by a deep scan. She said that there was no way of knowing who it was . . . But that's not true. One could see it plainly if one bothered to look, if one knew what to look for.

The Program is complete. The Talia you knew no longer exists.

How did she know? How did she know the exact words that would drive daggers into my heart? One dagger for every syllable, sixteen in all. Sixteen daggers straight through my heart. How did she know? Duh. Stupid question. She knew me as well as Talia did. Only she didn't have the kindness Talia did, not to make the connections. There was nothing to stop her from seeing all my strings, and absolutely no reason not to pull them.

They slept together I hear the unspoken whispers. How could she not have known?

Truth is we didn't sleep together. Not in the way they imagine it anyway.

Truth is I think I would probably be better off right now if that was all that we had done. No that's not how she distracted me.

She did it in a far more efficient and affective way.

She held me.

I know what you're thinking. Doesn't take much, does it? But you're wrong.

She held me. I haven't been held since Mamma was put on sleepers. I remember so clearly the last time she held me.

It was the night before her thirty-fifth birthday. She sat on my bed and held me as she read me a bedtime story.

The next day . . .

After she was put on sleepers she never held me. I think it was because she knew it wouldn't be the same. I sometimes wonder how she justified taking away that comfort from me, if she ever tried.

Ganya too suffered from this withdrawal, but it only hit him years later. When he learned about sex.

We were both away at school, Mamma had convinced Papa to send us away, and, while she still could, she kept finding reasons to keep moving me.

By the time I was twelve I had been in four different schools. That was when Ganya was expelled from his school and sent back home. Papa decided to take us both back, Mamma was too far gone to argue.

When I got home I asked Ganya what had happened. He looked at me very seriously and then burst out laughing.

"I fucked up." Was all he would say. Later I learned that he had snuck out of his dorm at night and had been visiting the prostitutes in a nearby town. He had blown all of his pocket money, and had sold some of his things to pay for his excursions. He got hell from papa who made him pay back all the money he had spent. But at least he had found his comfort, cold and impersonal as it was.

I tried it then. No not paid, just found someone who didn't care how old I was. It was how I lost my virginity. On a soggy mattress behind some dumpsters.

I hated it. Later I would learn to enjoy sex for what it was and not for the empty hollow comfort that Ganya found so satisfying.

In a way I think it was good that he died a hero. His promiscuity would have gotten him in trouble, and I knew he would never have stopped.

So all it took was an embrace. Just two arms wrapped around me. That was all it had taken for me to forget my suspicions.

It filled me! It started a chain reaction in my stomach that blazed through my whole body and filled every hollow part. Every nook and cranny was filled and nothing, nothing, was overlooked.

The Talia you knew no longer exists.

And now I feel hollow again. I almost envy Ganya and his comfort in meaningless casual sex.

The bartender asks if I want another drink. I do.

If I can't fill up the void in my chest, I might as well try to forget it was ever full.

They slept together. I imagine them think. How could she not have known?

Truth is even if I had known, I don't think I would have cared.

Truth is, I still don't.

Not if she would hold me again.

The End

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