I’ve always been imaginative. I’ve conjured whole worlds and filled them with little denizens, each with their own thoughts and sense of meaning and purpose. Behind my eyes, a society could rise, crumble, and fall to the whims of I, the creator. Wielding power and happiness as weapons in my creative pathos, I was, at best, grandiose and, at worst, simultaneously spurious.

Happiness as a weapon. That’s how she had used it. She desired obedience and rewarded compliance with her brand of your assumed joy. Your unsolicited satisfaction was never okay, it sparked fights and fueled debate. She brought you down, down like your societies. She, not you, controlled the worlds behind your eyes. You, like a wounded animal, lashed out in childish rage and succumbed quickly to her agile intelligence.

I remember childhood. Roaming like a nomad, I explored every inch of my hometown from the rotted and rusting steel mill to the darkest corners of the ancient cemetery. Fearlessly irresponsible, I waded through the worlds of my mind and devoured ideas, source material, and the occasional inhalation of toxic waste fumes. Childhood wasn’t a safe place. At the end of the day’s journey, there were never going to be feasts of chicken nuggets and desserts of fruit roll-ups. There would, however, be a reckoning. There always was, and so it went.

She waited there — hovering at the end of your exploration. She knew what you desired, what you longed for, what you’d hoped to achieve. She knew that she could train you. Eagerly, you allowed this. It started out so simple. She aggressively and, yet so, subtly edged you towards submission. She made it easier to comply than to disagree. It started as innocuous as a coaster on a wooden surface. A way to protect and honor her wishes. She guided and coaxed you. She formed your opinions for you. Learning quickly, you adapted, you conformed, and you died a little more each day.

Dying. That’s what the denizens of my worlds always do. They have ever suffered the wrath of my whims. My desire to regain some semblance of control. So, I created you, in this world, and I set the tides against you. She would never have allowed me to keep you. I wouldn’t have fought her. This is for your own good as it has been 192 times before.

Once more, I can be happy – if she says so.