Copyright 2001 to <mijita@thetreehouse.net>. Please respect this copyright. Don't distribute or archive this story in any way except for personal use without explicit permission. No, it's not in the public domain. Ask first, okay? Thanks.

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[Image of Little Miss Naughty] Reason to Believe
by Mija

". . . Still at the end of every hard earned day, people find some reason to believe . . ."

Sure I believed him. And not just because I wanted to, though clearly I did want. It's easy for you to judge the story now, see the facts as obvious. But once upon a time, they weren't.

He was good, so good, at saying the right thing, creating images and stories. His words went from the screen into the most private part of my head, burning me where no one else had ever even been.

And I sent him back my words, my thoughts, my soul.

Foolish? Of course I was foolish! Who wouldn't be? I believed him, trusted him with my innermost thoughts. Compared to that, my phone number and address were nothing. How could I not believe him?

And my picture. I sent my picture.

You don't seem to understand he had my heart. Keeping anything from someone I'd already given so much never occurred to me.

He never told me my looks were a problem. In fact, the opposite.

But he did start making excuses to avoid meeting me in real life. Not that I noticed at first. I believed him you see. He was my lover, my friend, my Daddy all in one.

Love? Yes, I guess it was love. But not just love. I've been in love before. This was different - the way you can only feel the first time, whether at 14 or 41.

We moved from mail and chat to the phone. It made sense, after all, I believed we'd someday be together forever. His voice smoothed over my mind like black velvet. There was nothing but him. My friends and family became as inconsequential as dust when I waited for his calls.

The calls seemed important to him too. He was on time, even early. Sure, now you say it was because he was trying to discover how well he had me. But at the time I believed it was devotion.

The phone made it easy to try things. I got used to taking his calls with a hairbrush next to me. Learned how to place the receiver so he could hear the sharp sound as it landed. I believed him when he said there was nothing that made him feel closer to me than hearing me hurt myself at his direction. Nothing more lovely than my gasps of pain.

Who wouldn't want to believe that? It's what I'd been wishing for my whole life with a longing too shameful to even think it. Of course I never asked him not to record me. How could I have suspected what he was doing?

You can look at me like I should have known no one would really feel that way about my overweight middle-aged self. Tell me I should have expected that the requests for money would turn into demands. And I should have foreseen the tapes, the horrible tapes . . .

But I believed him. I believed my heart.

Don't worry about me. Yes I believed; yes, I was innocent. But I'm not anymore. It's over.

The story about when once upon a time I was foolish enough to believe.

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