“Okay. Dog is walked and fed. Bar was not on fire when I left, which means that any fires that happen while I’m off aren’t my fault. So all that leaves is…
There’s a low sigh, the sound of fidgeting. Ten heartbeats of silence, the device only picking up the sounds of Oshu noisily eating, punctuated with the occasional possessive growl.
“Okay let’s do this.
So, the point of keeping these is to both keep track of what’s been going on and kinda… vent the stuff that’s been going on in my brain. I can… kinda get lost in there I guess. But it gets like – weird. And I’m not the type of person who likes to talk about this shit, cuz I get all angsty and… I dunno. It’s kinda easier to just pretend I’m just a run of the mill idiot with less depth than a mount trough.
It’s hard to see the way people look at you when you talk about crap. Their eyes shift and suddenly they see you different. It used to bother me a lot, because they look like they want to help. Or save you. But there’s nothing to save. What happened happened, they can’t undo it. And what’s coming…
They can’t stop it.”
Another sigh of frustration. Creaking of joints as he shifts restlessly.
“Maybe Tao was right. Maybe I shouldn’t even talk about it, just let it happen.”
A snort. “Wow that sounded stupid out loud. Or maybe she can go burn in the nether. Cuz see, there’s something I’m starting to realize here. I’m not surviving anymore. I’m… I dunno. I’m doing better than just surviving. I actually have interests, do you know how fucking foreign that is?
I have a radio and seriously – music is the coolest thing ever. We never had music at home – not like this. And I love to sing… And this guy on the Canals showed me where to get a lute… guitar… thing. It’s got strings and sounds pretty, even if I don’t know what I’m doing.
I have more than enough to eat. I have money. I don’t even have to do anything… bad for it either. I take orders. I talk to people and try and make their days better. I clean when it’s calm. If people touch me and I don’t like it, I’m allowed to tell them to stop. If I need a hug, I’m allowed to ask for it. It’s so fucking… foreign. And amazing.
I’ve spent my entire life living in Need. At home, I needed to learn faster than I was able to. I needed to succeed or I’d be punished. And I needed to surpass my siblings, but ya know. That didn’t happen.”
There’s another long pause, the sound of movement and then a hollow sound as he collects his instrument, picking distractedly at the strings while talking. It needs tuning.
“Then on the streets, I needed food. That was… all I could think about. Where my next meal was coming from. Or when I had food, where was safe to hide it if there was too much. Where was safe to hide myself. It’s not that simple though, I guess. We elves… We’re creatures of comfort. Of touch. And it always seemed that when my body was fed, my spirit was starving. So when I didn’t need food, I needed contact.
God the price of affection is so fucking high though.”
He starts to strum out a simple rhythm, shifting with an unskilled hand between chords, collecting his thoughts. After a few iterations, he palms the strings and sighs.
“So when I got here, Need started to shift. I needed food. They gave it to me. Stayed on me to stay fed. I needed comfort. They gave me that too. And… When it started looking like the price on that might raise, they taught me I could say no. They gave me permission to defend myself. And I realized I wasn’t the only one who had gone through that. I was able to help those who were – like me – too afraid to defend themselves.
I needed to work hard and be useful. So I did. And I am. And my Need has started to calm down to just… Want. And Want is a lot more easy to handle. I need food. I want a soft pretzel. If I don’t get it, so be it, not the end of the world. But that… detail. The strokes are getting less broad.” He goes back to strumming.
“…Pryn is leaving in two days… Her party is tomorrow. I’m worried about her. I have so much to say and I can’t put it in to words that will mean anything to anyone other than me. I mean… It’s not that I need her. But saying that… It sounds like I don’t value her. And I do… So much. But… I needed Totegar and Jiang and Noah and look what that got me. I wasn’t a person to them, I was just… a tool. A stepping stone until they figured out what they -really- wanted. Until they decided if it was safe. I was something safe. I was no better, I guess. I needed them to have any sort of meaning myself. I needed them so I could have purpose. Like my existence was validated. I wasn’t a person. I wasn’t even a pet. I was just…
But I refuse to feel like that again. Now that I’ve figured out that there’s another option. It’s… different now. Like everything is different. I like hanging out with Pryn. I like making her mad – not like. Real mad. Play-mad. I like our deep talks, I like our stupid games. I like being around her. But… I don’t feel that… desperate, clawing, frantic need. She is an amazing person. I love being around her, I love thinking about what the future might hold.
I love how I feel when I’m around her… But I also love how I feel when I’m alone. Or with Izzy. Or with Ash and Jiira. Or with Aris or Vali or Shalla or – fuck I could be here all night. Maybe… I think I just kinda… love myself a little now. So I don’t… need her. But I want her. And no matter what happens, I want her in my life. Even if she finds someone better.
But how do you tell someone that? Everyone wants to be needed, but they don’t understand… I dunno… The weird sick feeling that can come from needing someone like that. How do you tell someone ‘I want to have you in my life by choice, not by necessity’?
…Shit, just like that I guess.” He picks at the E string over and over, setting the tempo of his thoughts.
“Tomorrow is the party. I’ll find a way to tell her. How much I just appreciate having her in my life. No matter what that ends up looking like.”
A loud sigh. “Why does everything have to be so complicated. It wasn’t this hard when I was starving.” There’s amusement in his voice. “I love it though… I love where I a–” Boof. “Eh?” Borf. “No you already went outside.” Bark! “Shhhh– I’m not taking you out.” BARK! “Okay, okay, shut up you’re going to wake people u-”
Soft clatter, end of recording.