Doesn't mean "Free Stage"
You earn attention
or you pay
Get rich wagering
Take media coverage away
from the wars that religions wage
Pay money for trivial deals
like a passing craze
Speech has never been so free
If only we
can focus, if only
We can keep the streams live
so their screams don't die
Photo by Craig Melville on Unsplash
#KanyeWest #politics #Iranianprotest #Womensrights #Freedom #freedomofspeech #poetry
The weather is glum and I felt compelled to share something sad. Something terrible.
Content warning. All the stuff.
I’m falling, endlessly soaring into dark nothingness. I taste raindrops on my tongue as the world strobes slowly into focus. The road is wet below, and I hear tires spraying water onto the sidewalks– a muffled curse when one hits a puddle and showers pedestrians in a dirty gray splash. The raindrops pelt my skin like a million tiny razor blades as I gain speed. I can smell falafels wafting up from a food truck. Lights dance on the reflective glass of the buildings and even though I’m terrified, I can’t help but admire their beauty. I don’t want to hit the pavement, but I’m resigned. I’ve been here before; I have dreamt this dream a thousand times over, and it always ends the same way.
FLY! Fly, fly, fly! A voice echoes from far away. Hah. As if. I’ve never been able to take control of a dream before. My ex told me once–about ‘lucid dreaming’-- said he did it every night. I’ll never understand how. I’m helpless in here. I don’t want to be helpless in here.
I will myself to stop, to FLY. For a moment I hover… and… keep falling. Oh well– it’s just a dream. I cross my hands over my face to fend off the sharp rain and settle in to wait for the end. It won’t end– that same far away voice echoes. I hit the pavement and feel every inch of it, from the crown of my now broken skull to the tips of my shattered toes. I know I’m dead, and you’d think I’d just wake up, but no. This fun-fest isn’t over yet.
I’m dead, and I’ve forgotten that I’m dreaming.
My family is shrieking. Someone is laughing.
In a dark corner at the back of the funeral parlor, an enormous man sits in a too-small chair. His sagging flesh hangs over the arm rests and his eyes are cold. He’s laughing. And laughing. And laughing. He laughs without meaning, without purpose, without sanity. How dare he laugh? I’m floating near the ceiling, but I clamber down to confront this laughing man. I claw my way over, and it’s as if I’ve become intangible, but I will slap this man’s sullen jowls if it’s the last thing I do. I’m so close when he turns his cold eyes on me.
“You want me to stop?” he asks, and his voice is familiar. Oh God.
I lose all of my air and suck down gulping breaths. Sam. Oh God– it’s Sam.
I can’t. I can’t go there. My body begins to fight in the waking world, legs kick, and then still. No--the water voice is barely a whisper.
His breath is on my neck, and he’s saying he loves me. He has a beautiful voice. I love him into the deepest depths of my soul when he uses it to sing to me. Who am I kidding, I love him into the deepest depths of my soul when he does anything to me.
The seat belt is digging into my lower back. “You want me to stop?” Sam asks again in his lovely voice.
“Yes–Please–you’re hurting me—” fear creeps into my voice without my permission.
“No–” he says, and his voice is mean. It hurts worse than the skin rubbing into the buckle.
“Sam– please.” I’m becoming frantic, beginning to struggle a little. He just presses me down and smothers my words with a kiss. I’m trapped. “Please–NO!” I muster some strength into my voice, but he doesn’t hear it. He doesn’t care. Oh, Sam… my Sam… WHY, Sam?
I whisper no like a prayer.
And then I’m shaking, and awake in an early dawn glow. My husband has shaken me awake. There is deep sadness in his eyes. His thumb draws worried circles on my shoulder and I shrink away. “Please– don’t touch me,” I say in a sleep-scratchy whisper. He pulls back and mouths a sorry. I forgive him. He didn’t do anything wrong, afterall. I curl up in the shower and let the warm water wash away the cold rain drops, the laugh, the seatbelt buckle bruises. The nightmare fades, and I’m whole once more, but no matter how many times I wash, I still have a small scar on my lower back– in the shape of a seat belt buckle.
So What If I Were Feeling Like…
…So I go to my appointment I wrote done 68 days ago in a state and home now not even a memory thinking I was early walking in at 1:35 for the 2:00. It is the same place I went to every 6 weeks or so going back to March 1992. Julie is not there. I stand at the counter a few minutes until a squat blond women directs me to sit in front of her cubical. She is not amused.
”Hi. I’m early but I’m here for my new patient intake appointment.”
”Your appointment was at 1:00.”
”No, I wrote it down…it was before we moved.”
”Your appointment was at 1:00.”
”I’m early so I still have 25 minutes left.”
”It’s 1:44. She’s with a patient.”
”How can that be? Wasn’t it for an hour?”
”You didn’t show. She’s with a patient. Do you want to reschedule?”
”No. I‘ve been waiting over two months. Why can’t I wait and then have my 25 minutes…it shouldn’t take long…it is a formality…I am not a new patient…I saw Dr. B for over 27 years.”
”Do you want to reschedule?”
”Really?” She is staring me down now. “Okay, I suppose.”
She glances at her monitor tapping, “Carla has a 10:40 February 23, 2023.”
”You must be kidding. I just moved here and need meds…I was only given 90 day worth…”
”Should I schedule you for that time then? We’ll call if we have a cancellation.”
”No. You must be kidding. You have all my records. I was Dr. B’s third patient ever. Is he here?” I glanced at the lit frosted glass door. There were four people in the waiting room. New fish in the large aquarium. Dim lighting, music playing softly.
”He’s with a patient.”
”If I could just speak with him.”
”He’s with a patient.”
”Is Julie here?’
”She has Mondays off.”
”Here is your appointment.” She pushes a card halfway through the slot under the glass between us.
”That date is unworkable. I will need meds.”
She withdrew the card, turned it over and wrote a phone number on the back in blue ink. “Call this number if you have special needs.”
”I don’t have special needs. I came here over 27 years moved out of state for less than 3 years and called before I moved and made this appointment. I am not a new patient. I don’t need a new patient intake. You have all my records. I take sleep aides and only got 90 days supply from the doctor in Florida. I’ll run out. I told my husband it would be an hour and I don’t have a car. You don’t seem to understand…I am a long-term bipolar maintenance patient.” Oops…I said the b word.
She was done with me. She saw crazies every hour of every day. She had been taught never to listen, never to empathize, never to step out of the system she was here to defend.
“You can take a seat over there while you wait for your ride.”
I wasn’t moving. “You don’t seem to grasp my situation.” She had already turned to her monitor typing.
”You don’t seem to grasp my situation.” She was done really with me. She picked up her phone and made a call. I wasn’t moving.
”So…tell me…” I was not moving. “What would someone do if they needed to see someone…if they needed medication…care? Do you offer alternatives?”
”We direct them to the ER.” She had hung up but kept typing. She spoke but did not turn her face toward me.
It was just then it occurred to me to say, “So if I were feeling like I wanted to come back here in an hour, legally buy a gun and shoot you all dead…you’d still not be able to find some better why to accommodate my needs….?” But knew better…knew if I just said the words, to just speak out loud that you’ve ever had the thought to harm yourself or others…the police would could and I’d be on the local news…locked up, drugged and all…so I took a seat, in fact made myself a mocha knowing there would be powdered hot chocolate that I always mixed with coffee adding a couple of pods of creamer and was looking through the coloring books that had been there forever admiring old pages I had colored in through the years, when the door opened and Dr. B emerged from his familiar frosted lit door.
I couldn’t help myself. Just ran over and said, “Help me. I made an appointment but was late and now they won’t see me until February and I need meds...Help me.”
And he, visibly older, looked over his reading glasses, empty coffee cup in one hand, smiled and said, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while…what’s going on?”
”Help me…I made an appointment but was late and now they won’t see me until February and I need meds.” I repeated in one breath, feeling tears come.
It was then he hugged me. He stopped hugging patients in the 1990s. Everyone knew that. The squat blond, those waiting and even Clara, the intake woman who wandered idly by. He hugged me hard with one his free hand and simply said to everyone now intent, ”She’s next.”
Brought to you by my crippling mental illness…
I published a poetry collection!
This has been in the making for well over a year, and I'm so so proud of how it turned out. If you like my poetry/my writing please do me a favor and check my book out or share this announcement!
About the book:
Phoenix Mind, Sadie N. Rhoff’s debut poetry collection, is an exploration of how to love: from first love to daydream love to upending the very idea of love itself.
This book is the culmination of lots of experiences that I've had, about trying to fall in love, about not being sure what love is, about self-love and figuring out what love means to me.
I can't possibly share this book without mentioning some of the people here on Prose that made it come into reality. @TeaRise was the first person who convinced me that I should publish my writing, and that it was worth publishing. @Danceinsilence has always been an inspiration as well as a resource--one of the first things I did was seek out his publishing guide here on Prose. @Mnezz is always so encouraging, and such a ray of sunshine, and whose feedback continues to motivate me to keep writing. And @anarosewood has been so, so supportive through this whole process, as well as a huge inspiration. And a shout out to @coldfront @JesseEngel @zoe_eee @JimLamb @deathetix @Finder and @Ata who all offered support/suggestions about the book in a post so old you've probably all forgotten about it... :D
I never thought I'd call myself a poet, let alone publish a poetry collection, so I want to give the biggest ever thank you to everyone that gave me the confidence to go through with this. That includes everyone who reads my work, and especially everyone who leaves such lovely comments. It's such a pleasure to know so many brilliant and kind people.
So again, thank you all.
Sadie N. Rhoff is not my real name, but my pen name, and fun fact, it's an anagram of HandsOfFire, which I hope someone appreciates because I feel quite clever about it :)
Lastly, please if you want to support my writing, consider spreading the word about this book, if not checking it out yourself. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing (and even editing) it <3
Wake me Up!
Where are the dreamers? They have gone and left us with this terrible nightmare. I want to wake but can’t, and each moment brings more news of devastating events, horrific atrocities and crimes against nature and humanity. Sacrifices of the unborn made to unnamed evil, and voices raised by humanity to continue these atrocities!
Where is justice? Why are so many people eager to bring death to so many innocent?
Why are you so eager for War? Death? Pestilence? Famine?
My God? What god do you serve and to what end would you you go for the whole world to end?
Where are the dreamers?
Engendered Generalizations (A Case For The Re-introduction of Normality As A Necessary Evil.)
"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.
We're so damnably and wonderfully and problematically contradictory, aren't we? Living beings that is. And particularly human ones. We need problems to solve, and we need solutions to pose. It's just how we are. Part of life; reproduction; survival. Things cannot exist without opposition.
The word Gender stems from the Latin word Genus. Genus is generally defined as a class of things which have common characteristics and which can be further divided into subordinate kinds. The word Genre has the same origin; genre in film or music or literature is a helpful way of categorizing things, to group together the things which grab your attention in the same way, in order to be liked by the kind of people which like those kinds of things. It is a way to simplify our chaotic inner shambles; to communicate ourselves in a way which can be readily understood by others. For example, a woman might exclaim "I love men!" and it is automatically understood (with few misunderstandings) that the orator of that joyous sentiment holds Certain Opposite Characteristics of Kindred Spirits in high esteem. (haha c.o.c.k.s... ahem.)
What I'm trying to say, in my horridly playful and incorrigibly rude manner, is that gender is indeed already a generalization, by definition. That doesn't make the entire enterprise of generalization useless though.
In one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite comedy shows The Goodies, the lovable (if somewhat baffoonly) three protagonists are hired to make a Gender Education film, entitled "How To Make Babies By Doing Dirty Things."
I saw it when I was a little kid and I giggled my butt off. I feel that this is highly pertinent to the topic at hand. You'll see why later. Aww c'mon, crack a smile with me. I promise that no-one will murder us on the spot for being passingly amused. Where is the humor in modern society? Where is the joy? The capacity to laugh at ourselves.... sometimes feels as though it's been splattered out - dried up - crushed to dust by all the rampantly merciless empathizing. Oxymoronic perhaps? ...merciless empathizing? it should be but it's not. I'll try to explain near the end, but first a lengthy aside:
I like the phrasing of this challenge. I often say feel not think because I am a feeler: that's what I do, feel things. It's just the way I function. I feel first. It is only after I have felt things, thoroughly and rapturously and spontaneously, that I can begin to form the wherefores about them; begin the arduous task of confining them, squashing them, squeezing them, clenching, contracting, birthing them into disreputably adorable babies .. I mean err... semi-coherent articulations.
I used to think that this proclivity of mine to feel instead of think (or at least to feel first and then think) is because I'm a female. It turns out that this is only partially true - while females may benefit more from an emotional way of experiencing existence, there ARE men who are feel-firsters too. Some of whom are likely to be of the personality type who might find himself in a position to read this... The artists I mean, the delvers, the collectors, the humanists, gentlemen, writers and philosophers, the romantics...sexy beasts... God how I adore you. (treasure them ladies, treasure them.) And conversely there are women who are think-firsters, and they are usually the most technically capable beings among us, though some of them might seem cruel on the outskirts ... or the outpants, as the case may be... The thing about thinking in feelings first is that it's conceptually chaotic - it's intrinsically difficult to communicate feeling, especially when it comes to conveying important or meaningful things... Organical, mutatious, and full of imperfecting, feeling is.
I'll give you a wildly vulgar example of feel-firsting (something a lot of women and a few men are good at) but be warned it's a bit extremely adult-contenty so feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you're not into it. Here goes... I love sucking cock. I was recently asked why that is; why I would enjoy such a perverse activity to the extent that I do. I'm pretty sure that the owner of that question (my husband, to whom it may concern) expected a response along the lines of an innocent "I don't know." or "I don't really, I just pretend to for your sake." or perhaps more likely, he expected the simple version of the truth: "It makes me horny." But if you know me by now you know that my feel-thinking process went a whole lot further than that kind of effortless dismissal. I suddenly and involuntarily threw myself into the quandary of understanding exactly and fully why it makes me horny, and I alighted on the subliminal reason! ...but it was oh so difficult to describe it in words. This is the nearest I can elucidate: People think in different ways, right? some people think in words, others in images, still others in abstract concepts and so on and so forth. So, if you see a woman sliding her lips and tongue reverently up and down the strong, adamantine, living, throbbing surface of an erect penis, you might assume that she's thinking about what it would be like to have the said phallus penetrate deep inside her, right? obviously a concept arousing to anyone who enjoys performing fellatio, but perhaps not quite to the same extent as what I feel. I don't think about what it would feel like, I don't picture what it would feel like, I don't even imagine what it would feel like. I feel what it would feel like. So naturally, I enjoy it far too much. I almost orgasm on the spot. (I actually did once, as a matter of fact...)
... where was I? How to make babies... ha. Of course,
That is the purpose of "gender stereotypes"and "binary thinking" when push comes to shove, obviously. But more viscerally, the entire reason for sexual dimorphism in our species to begin with. Physically and mentally, we want attention from the opposite sex in order to assort ourselves into fathers and mothers in order that we may reproduce, by which I don't just mean to have sex. I mean to make babies. And I don't just mean to make babies. I mean for the babies to grow up as healthy individuals and then be able to perpetuate themselves successfully in turn.
The beauty of sexual reproduction has been stripped in recent years, quashed and perverted into a kind of hedonistic impulse. Confined to lust and lust alone. It's an obvious form of suicide, that thinking: the insistence that humans are bad, that we shouldn't exist, shouldn't plague the earth with our worthless destruction. If the ultimate focus (i'm not talking individually you understand but as a species) ceases to be making babies and raising them effectively, on a large scale, then following the logical conclusion, the human race shall surely perish... right?
Wrong. The human race will never follow anything to it's logical conclusion. So, not to worry my fellow existence-enthusiasts, this nonsense won't come to the point of extinction. I'm fairly certain of that at least. Please stop panicking. (Men eh? Always thinking it's the end of the world for some reason or another, poor darlings... all they need, all they really really require, more than wealth, more than food, more than oxygen [in order to stave off large-scale worldwide depression] is the goodly god-sent love of a devoted woman.)
All this anti-breeding nonsense is nothing new as far as I can tell; the reduction of reproduction in civilizations which place importance on individual freedom that is... it's simply a trend. When a society reaches a condition prosperous enough it begins to foster supremely extravagant instances of childishness. Reproduction comes to be seen as barbaric, archaic, unnecessary... But from my perspective, I see a fair-to-decent chance that the whole thing will self-regulate. Because, from an evolutionary standpoint, while there is a lot of leeway in playing around with mutations and variables in personality and preferences, and while that mutating can give rise to some of our best and most ingenious minds, it still all comes down to survival. If enough of a mockery is made of sex and gender and reproduction in general on a wide scale, then those who exhibit those ideologies will simply perish because they are unable (or unwilling) to reproduce themselves. Ideologies cannot be passed on genetically, they can only be passed on intellectually. And as much value as I put upon intellectual existence, any suicidal intellectualism is inevitably out-competed by something which still maintains a wee bit of vigor and common sense. You can't out-compete sex. Sex already won the evolutionary arms-race. It is part of who you are. As deep down as matter gets. Because it's the method by which you were brought into existence. (a highly pleasurable method I might add.. but I'm digressing again. Oh I do wish you'd stop me when I do this tangent-rife ramble thing I do... just stop reading, or at the very least skip ahead! do a skimmer... I don't want to take up your worthy time with my gibberish...)
On with my initial point: In sinking my teeth into the perilously contentious meat of "gender" identification, I'm not only talking about sex. Most people are aware of their urge to have sex, but they remain woefully unaware of their urge to parent; to care, to coddle, to nurture; To persevere through the inherent hardships of life and raise their offspring into adulthood. Reproduction goes far beyond sex. Far far beyond...
A good friend of mine here on the Prose recently reminded me of that. (I'll wager he's one of those feel-firsters, if he'll forgive me my affectionate presumpting) He said "It’s easy to hide under the guise of sexual drive, but that place deep inside is lonely. To not be loved. To not be understood. Especially when you’ve opened up yourself for it, with all its joys and horrors, and only knew disappointment."
I believe that this is the main benefit of concrete definitions and/or separations between the two genders (yes I said TWO, sue me.): dimorphism is imperative when it comes to making babies, yes, but the full advantage of it is even more apparent after having had babies. Children need fathers and they need mothers.
The beauty of motherhood is that you get to experience unconditional, overwhelming, all encompassing, empathetic, compassionate love for another human being. The beauty of life is that this creates problems for fathers to deal with: a child needs love, yes, but the world is a cruel place. His offspring needs to develop survival-skills, not be coddled and swaddled and eventually smothered tragically into non-existence by the inevitable bond a mother has to her baby. It is a primal terror for a mother to let her offspring grow up in the way he or she needs to grow up. It is her natural response as a mother to coo, to lullaby, to comfort, to let her child know that everything is going to be alright no matter what. The problem is that sometimes things are not alright. Sometimes that natural sympathetic impulse - that merciless empathy - takes a group of beautiful, perfect babies who genuinely need that love, and molds them into a bunch of completely spoiled brats!!... clueless yet tyrannical narcissists who cannot even fend for themselves; a conglomeration of horridly reliant, perpetually dependent and otherwise entirely useless jackanapes!
The beauty of fatherhood is that a man gets to solve that problem. And in the solving of it, ideally, he ought to earn the love, respect and understanding of generations upon generations to come.
People are male or female. However, that is not what we are talking about in this challenge. We are talking about Gender identity which is defined as follows:
Gender identity refers to a person’s deeply felt, internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond to the person’s physiology or designated sex at birth.
I think this is an important distinction to make. Regardless of how you feel about it, there is only Male and Female. Just because this is a fact, it doesn't negate your feelings about it, and I think that's also an important distinction to make.
Our feelings are highly subjective to our hormonal state, whatever that is. We each have testosterone and estrogen flowing in our bodies and the levels of each have a tremendous effect on how we feel about ourselves and those around us.
If you ask someone who is attracted to the same sex, they will tell you that it feels normal to them. They will also tell you that they didn't choose to be attracted to the same sex, they just are. There is some physiological reason for it. If you feel like you are a boy trapped in a girl's body, there is some physiological reason for it. If you feel like you are a girl trapped in a boy's body, there is some physiological reason for it. The right approach should be to identify the physiological reason for it and correct it, not to change physical genders. Changing physical genders would be like treating a symptom, it doesn't correct the problem.
I know what you are going to say, but it FEELS normal to me. I know it does but if we correct the physiological issue, it will change what feels normal to you. I know what you are going to say next, but I don't want to change who I am and to that I say, YES YOU DO! Your feelings don't match your body and you want that corrected. So, correct it the right way, not the way that is just going treat the symptom and not really fix the problem.
My own experience with gender is pretty unremarkable. I have always been a boy. However, I did not feel the desire to act like a stereotypical boy. The reason is because I have low testosterone levels which indicate there may be a medical issue I need to correct. That doesn't mean I acted like a stereotypical girl though, I still acted like a boy, just less stereotypical. It also means that women were not attracted to me all that much which is a biology thing. Studies show that women are attracted to men who have more testosterone. But I guess that's a different topic.
Everything is Energy
To me, gender is spiritual.
I connect with the idea of masculine and feminine energy in the same way I connect with the idea of the elements—earth, air, fire, water. They are energies that I can feel, ideas I can consider and explore.
I'm a woman, and I suppose that is for a few reasons. I have a female body and feel connected to it, and I definitely wouldn't want a male body. People see me as a woman and I feel comfortable with that. I like she/her pronouns. Although I sort of like he/him pronouns too, and I would be happy to go by those as well. People just don't use them for me, because they assume I'm a woman. And they're not wrong. I am a woman.
But I think I'm also more than that.
I believe that everyone has access to both masculine and feminine energy. So gender isn't just about which energies you can connect to, because anyone could connect to any (that doesn't mean they always do, but they could). Gender is so personal. It's internal. And we can make it external too, with our expressions of it, but where it truly resides is inside us.
And no one really knows what it is. Is it inherent? Is it learned? How much do our experiences affect it? Is it all made-up? No one really knows.
I do like the idea of being pangender (all genders), but I feel like a bit of an imposter saying so because I'm also a cis woman. I wouldn't call myself nonbinary. But pangender feels right. I'm a pangender woman. And why not? It feels right, and that's really the only way we have to determine gender anyway.
Not that I need to label it. But if I don't label it, I'm stuck in the "assumed woman" space.
Ultimately, the mainstream view of gender is still so limited. Gender is expansive. It doesn't need to be any one thing. It doesn't need to make sense. Because people are complicated and don't make a lot of sense, and I think we need to embrace that more.
So to me, gender is spiritual. It's a way for me to connect with myself, and with something greater than myself.
To someone else, it could be nothing more than what their physical body happens to be. Or it could be vitally important to them in a completely different way than mine is to me.
Why should it have to be the same for everyone? I say it doesn't. It can be anything.
I need them to stop the train. I might have use the rope to fix the portal. Time is running out to find out what is happening in the C cell tunnel. They stabbed him right in front of the staff, and it was a bloody mess. I get asked quite often if it bothers me to see the things I’ve seen and I have to say, yes. I’m human after all. One of the few left.
People are talking excitedly about some great discovery before they exit the train. I’m excited to get some whiskey in my blood to stop the shake. The C cell tunnel is close by. I can walk from here, I stop by the liquor store and grab a bottle,start chugging and throw the bottle in the gutter. Crisis diverted. I open my nav to cut the security analog, and I am in.
I've got to move quickly. I don't know how long this pass com will last, but if it continues for more than a half hour, the signal will be fried. It's already weak as hell. My fingers dance over the keys until I arrive at the location of the first train car that went through. There are only eight cars so far. I check the time. Exactly twenty-four minutes since the last one came through. I am not going to be able to avoid the bots without detection and I still need to make it to the other end of the line where the second set of rails were cut. The place where his torso was found. I buy another bottle and down it like an animal. This is my life now. I'm an alcoholic and an adrenaline junkie. I think about the portal closing. What do I want? I want to go home. I want to see my family again. I want to live with dignity like everyone else. I want to see what lies beyond. I want to know what happened to my wife.
The next train is coming in ten minutes. I pack up and head off.
(this entire story was written by artificial intelligence)
brought to you by, Mamba.
Chapter Eight: Revelations: Part One
Aldric was sitting under a tree when Randolf found him.
Aldric was picking up dead leaves, fiddling around with them, then letting them fall back to the earth. He didn't break them, didn't crush them in his fist, he just looked that them then let the fall.
Randolf approached him. "Hey, Aldric," He said.
Aldric didn't respond.
Randolf sat down next to him. "Aldric," he said, nudging his friend's shoulder. "What are you up to?"
"Leif thinks you are gathering berries."
Aldric continued looking at the ground. "No. Can't do that."
"What do you mean?"
Aldric turned to him, "You can't actually think I am capable of gathering anything," He said. "If I try to get some mint leaves I would come back with hemlock. If I try to find blueberries I would come back with nightshade."
"That is not true."
"Yes it is. I grew up inside castle walls, I never needed to know what a blueberry bush looks like. I f I was in charge of keeping anyone alive I would fail."
Randolf grabbed Aldric. "No," He said firmly. "You kept Leif alive. You kept me alive."
"That is not the same thing."
"You right it is not. What you did was harder."
Aldric stood up. "No. That was simple. Out here I am as useless as a fly. I should go back to the castle where I at least have a chance of being able to do something."
Randolf shot up. "You can't do that."
Aldric started to walked away.
"You can't go."
Aldric turned and shoved Randolf to the ground with more force that Randolf know he had.
"You can't stop me," Aldric said, eyes hard. "There is no point in trying."
Then as Aldric stalked off Randolf whispered. "Don't leave me."