by Anthea Bell
Love Like Magic
by Dana Dykiel
We are not children anymore. We are the monsters that scare them.
Voices raising to a fever pitch, slamming the table with our open fists. Our backs against the wall, voices sliding like knives, hissing with false sympathy. Our faces green with rot and jealousy, slimy with veiled intentions and selfishness.
It would be easy to confuse me with a cynic. There’s comfort in the definition, in the false wisdom it brings; pseudo-philosophy is laughable to the outside world, but to those who follow it as a doctrine, it means more than life itself.
After all, our parents never lied to us when we were children. About goodness, about faith, about the purity of the human soul. Those things are all true. Love is magic, and we are loved.
And yet I can’t see it. I know it exists. It has to. Yet I am not innocent enough; I am not good enough; I am not ignorant enough. I can only see the smokescreens and mirrors and cards up sleeves.
“I love you”, he says, and his smile is sharp as spades. Pricked through with the pin of love; small marks that allow him to cheat, to win the game.
He wants me because I complete him. Because we complete each other. He is loud, I am quiet; he is brash, I am delicate; he is good, and I am Satan.
Together, we create perfect symmetry.
I am too weak to resist. Powerless. I know how these things work.
The bent edges, the broken matches, the threads so translucent they seep into light.
I say I love him too.