Sometimes—just sometimes—I think I knew you.

Do you know me enough to remember the years?

Or were you too charmed by the little boy's tears?

It's not fair.

But I don't believe in fair—I was stubborn about fairness then; do you remember? Do you remember?

Do you?

Don't lie to me, though I cannot stop you. Do you see what has happened?—I wouldn't have accepted it years ago.

I'm older now, and by law of nature, an adult. What compels you to turn on me? Is it only because of him? Do you believe him? What has he told you? I do not know...I still do not know....

Listen to me, please. I do not beg of you, I ask merely for you to listen. No, you are not listening—you can hear, but not listen. There is a difference—

Don't look at me that way! I'm not a child anymore, I can think...have you considered that it has been half a decade now?—do you want to know what I had to plow through?

My childhood has gone, burned to white ashes, dusted away with the wind; it was my mat, it always has been; and it has always hurt me. The sweetness of it, the beauty of it that hurt me, still hurts me more as I watch it disappear with the tides.

I hate you, I should—but I don't.

Listen to me, I ask of you: I was supposed to dedicate my first book to you. You were my teacher. You gave me my best friend. You lit the lamp that I so desperately held in my hands, cradling it though it was stone-cold, cold as death. My tears ran down it, and you asked me to give it to you, and I was horrified; I wanted to trust you, and trust you I did, when I finally gave it to you to light; the blaze was wild and warm.

It still burns, but—what you have done to it...

You have set it to my mat, watched the embers burst into inferno, crackling, shrieking at the sky; black smoke, it chokes me, strangles my heart and my lungs. It burns, it burns, it blisters my head and boils my brain—I cannot think, I am falling with the mat gone, falling into a pit of what can be disbelief and yet not at the same time. It's a pit, and you have shoved me in; you did not do it on purpose you...you fool!

I should hate you. I should hate you. Why did you listen to the little boy?—why did you abandon me in the cold?

I should hate you.

I do not.

But I should.

Why must you tear my heart when it has been throttled to death, why much you twist my mind and broil my brains?—why must you do this to me? What makes me less than that little boy?

I thought you knew me.

What happened to the dedication in the book...what happened to the person who would always listen so patiently, nudge me in the right direction?

I just want you to know...

That...it's over.

I hope you feel it just as I felt it those months ago, just as when you looked at me as you would look at a stranger.

I am done; I have finally had my say. Why did you not ask me as well?

I just wanted you to know that I have been cast aside. That the mat has been burned, that I have lost my last mentor.

I just wanted you to know.