Project 9: Perspective
Failure… I’m a failure….
I want to scream. No, no, I worked hard. No, I tried my best, and I don’t know why I still can’t get it, why I’ll never get it, why my stupid brain won’t process the tiniest bit of information when I’m supposed to be smarter than this!
Be strong, Phoebe. Nobody cares about your tears.
It’s cold in my room. It’s dark in my room. This hard bed has received so many punches and tears, and here we are again, fighting against myself.
Stupid. No, I’m not stupid. Yes, I am, because I’m flunking even my stupidest class where I’ve always made fun of my dumb classmates. Yeah, I’ve mocked their stupidity; now watch them get a higher score than me.
You’re crying about something so temporary as a grade?
Phoebe, put the knife down.
But I don’t deserve any better than this. Look at this fragile girl, hitting herself, crying so pathetically about something so insignificant. You’re so stupid. No, I’m not! But I’m so stupid, stupid, stupid. God… Satan…
No! Go away! I’m not yours; I’ll never be yours! He’ll still take me back, He loves me still…
You were never worth it in the first place.
No, no, no, take me back, please, don’t leave me, You promised You would be here and I’m dying and I need You and I’m so, so lost and I don’t know why I still have to fight against this. I have to do this for the rest of my days? No! I have to fight like this on my knees with a bleeding heart and an unheard voice? No…
It gets easier. Winning this battle will make the rest easier.
Easy? I told myself I never wanted easy. Look at the wall by my bed, the one with all these sticky notes full of ideas and encouragement and verses. “There’s a reason that I sing.” “Young people make revolutions.” “Do hard things.” But when it comes to it, I want it easy. I don’t want this fight. I don’t want to keep spilling my own blood in this grueling war.
Shh… just be still. That’s what you told yourself you would do when trial came.
And You told me You would be with me no matter what. You said… no, but I remember. You were here, even when I didn’t see or feel. Just stop fighting me, but don’t stop fighting…
Ah… another low score.
Ha! Remember not two years ago when you could get an A without trying?
She’s biting her finger again. I can see the stress and agony in her eyes.
Ooh, yes, that’s right, try to hide away in your room, like the walls of brick and solitude will help you. You remember this battlefield. I remember it too. Look at all the bloodstains from our past skirmishes – ah, but you can’t see them, little human. Your soul is bleeding. You never were that good at this, were you?
I love hovering over your useless form, digging my nails into your heart. You failure. You idiot. You sinner. Your shields are down now; you are weak, you are stupid…
Something slams into me, and I lose my grip.
“She’s still fighting.” Leo lowers his glowing sword at me, his clothes shining, his skin shining, everything about him shining like everything else in that overrated heaven did.
“You want to fight?” I snarl. “Look how helpless your little ward is. You see something in her?”
She hears the last part. Leo slashes at me threateningly.
“What do you see?” Leo snaps. “You wouldn’t be wasting your precious time on something you knew wasn’t valuable.”
That knife is moving toward her arm by my will.
“Phoebe.” He’s by her side instantly. “Put the knife down.”
No, don’t sheath it! Scream in rage, shout at her so that she has no choice but to hear. “You don’t deserve any better! Look at yourself, hitting yourself, crying so pathetically about something so insignificant!”
“Be quiet!” Leo roars, slamming me into the wall right beside her.
“You’re mine,” I hiss at her, just before the cursed angel thrusts his sword into my arm. I shriek in pain, but I’ve been through hell; this is nothing compared to that.
Cursing at my enemy, I pull Leo’s bloody sword out with a jerk, but even as I do he’s already attacking again with that righteous rage that we hate. Blow after blow, shouting at me, wings extending ferociously until I have no choice but to retreat, looking back one more time to spit at him as the room disappears from sight while I retreat.
He’s taken care of me for now, but I will be back.
You are mine!
The voice echoes through my mind like a rush of streaming waters: powerful, stern, yet caring. The angels around me, praising in the small African church, nod to me as I step through the wall to receive Michael’s order.
“Phoebe is under attack.”
Not Phoebe. “I’m there.”
Because I am now. The physical world can only limit us when we aren’t wanting to pass through it.
I sweep into her cold little room in the apartment, briefly noticing the lights are off, then seeing Guile’s twisted form leaning over her. Before my feet hit the floor, I draw my sword, then shove the demon back with all my force.
He looks up, his familiar red eyes piercing with a dark hunger, his scarred form once beautiful.
We knew each other before. We worshipped together before. So much has changed since then.
“She’s still fighting!” I lower my sword at his throat.
Guile snarls. “You want to fight?”
He glares at Phoebe. “Look how helpless your little ward is. You see something in her?”
“What do you see?” I shoot back. “You wouldn’t be wasting your precious time on something you knew wasn’t valuable.”
Guile’s eyes glance at her again, and I look back to see her grabbing a knife, pulling it out to run it over her arm.
I’m by her side, grabbing her arm gently, pushing it down, keeping my voice calm. She resists.
“Phoebe, put the knife down,” I murmur.
Guile watches like his life depends on it. She holds on for a few more seconds, but then the strength in her wrist dies and she puts the knife back, tears streaming down her cheeks as she shakes uncontrollably, blocking her ears like she wants to block out Guile’s voice.
Because he’s screaming now. “You don’t deserve any better than this! Look at yourself, hitting yourself, crying so pathetically about something so insignificant!”
“Be quiet!” I shout. He won’t abuse my King’s daughter like this.
In rage, I slam Guile into the wall, and before he has time to recover completely, I’m attacking him, pushing him back. He won’t touch her again anytime soon; he won’t be back. He’s bleeding, snarling, cursing… then shooting one last hungry look at Phoebe, he’s gone.
Phoebe has calmed down, her tears still not unseen. He’s here, holding her, while other angels come gradually to join me in a protective ring around her, daring any other demons to attack, swords drawn in the little room that by itself seems so insignificant to the rest of the world. But the King of everything is in this room, and the King’s daughter is here. They mean more than the world.
Guile will be back. For now, though, no one will touch this child, not even Lucifer, nor any of the other creatures who were once one of us.
Yes… they were once one of us, but so much has changed since then.
That’s my daughter you’re messing with.
Ah, she’s so dependent… look at her – look at her! – with the soul I lovingly carved out into life years ago. I know ever part of her, I made her so wonderfully even when she doesn’t see it; I love her, I love every little bit of her, so much more than these little words could ever say.
I know you’re struggling. It hurts me too. But this is because I love you… you will grow, you are growing, you have grown. Child, I will be here even when you can’t feel me. I’m here. Shh.
Look at your bedroom wall, at all of my words that you’ve pasted up. Look at the beauty you’ve created with your art. Shh, let me hold you; everything will be alright. I promise. Every promise I have fulfilled.
I see so much more than you do. I see every struggle we’ve had in this room before, every one you will have, everything… everything is right here in front of me. But you cannot see yet, so you have to trust me, darling; just trust me.
Your cries are subsiding. That’s right, you don’t have to be strong. I am strong in your weakness. I will fight when you’re down. Just let me hold you in this little room, and everything will turn out just right.
Just keep fighting, Phoebe. You never fight alone. I am here all along. I am.