My impression of Alice at a young age was that she was overly-concerned with the impressions others formed of her. She said she felt like an ‘outsider’, making her try harder. She was driven to make a significant impact on the world around her, but her efforts went unrecognised. Alice was never popular, nor was she unpopular. She was a dreamer who liked to argue (still does), had creativity in abounds and a caring personality. She would often tell me her dreams, and honestly, I’ve watched less scary Horror films! Her creativity never found a sufficient outlet because her imagination sure kicked her up the pants at night!
We met in our third year in detention. Alice was a regular there, her tempestuous nature spilling out by arguing with the Teachers (authority issues if you want my opinion). In fairness, of the outbursts that I witnessed, she often had something pertinent to offer. I digress; Alice was restricted with her leisure time for another attempt at distracting the flow of education and I was In situ for an exchange with my friend, Jimmy. It was over a trivial matter, but Jimmy was acting strange; a look in his eyes as though he was drug-induced. Adrenaline caught me off guard and I tackled him to the ground. As we went down Jimmy had an encounter with the concrete step, splitting his head open. I read on Facebook that he’s still got the scar and attributes his “mental personality” to this incident. So in detention, Alice comes over, smacking me upside the head (I hate that) and screeches in my ear; “S’up nerd, let me play Animal Crossing on your phone!” How she knew I had it, I never discovered but it broke the ice and formed a bond between us. I still text her pictures of Cherry when Alice is down.
Alice repeatedly attempted to intervene in fights, wishing to rescue the victim being bullied. I assumed this personality trait would lead her to becoming a Social Justice Warrior or activist. I’d been bugging her to invite me to her house and ‘hang’ for months, I knew she had a new Xbox and I was desperate to play some games with her. She’d kept giving me excuses, but this time I was not being deterred. It was to prove successful this time and Alice relented. She warned me that her Mother would be in, though. Later that evening, Alice and I had been having a great time when her Mother burst into her room, swinging a bottle of Vodka at her side, clearly intoxicated. She spat in Alice’s face shouting; “Get me some voddy, Mumma’s feeling all the sads, you goo’ for n’ffin twix!” Alice tried to plead with her and swiftly her Mother’s fist interlocked with Alice’s jaw, making her fall backward onto the floor! I was horrified, all my illusions of Alice’s wonderful home life were shattered. I chipped in; “Let’s go, Alice, I’ve got money we will get your Mother what she wants”, offering her a reassuring smile. Her Mother slithered over to me, touching my face with the back of her hand, her foul breath inches away as she slurred, “What a good boy, why can’t you be more like him, y’a little witch? Got a girlfriend sweet-cheeks or you waiting for a real woman?” I backed away making my distaste for drunk women obvious. Her Mother sneered before leaving in search of cigarettes. As her Mother left, I whispered to Alice to quickly and calmly grab some clothes; “You’re not staying here. Come with me, you can stay with me”. Her face said it all and I realised that Alice had never been as accident-prone as she’d claimed. She’d defended the victims because she was one herself.
We headed straight to McDonalds (our usual place for deep conversations) and Alice told me everything, all the details pouring out of her like a chocolate fountain that’d been switched to max setting. Alice’s upbringing had been traumatic, her Father had been serving in the Army overseas and Alice only saw him in the holidays. He’d spoil her rotten though, bringing her cool gadgets, even at a young age she was such a nerd! One holiday he’d not arrived, Alice had waited for hours. When she heard the doorbell, reaching the door she screamed “Dingbats say hello” (I don’t understand either, some repartee between her and her Dad)straight into the Army Captain’s face as he stood there perplexed and cold. She cried almost constantly for three days when they told her and her Mum the sad news about her Dad’s patrol group not returning back from their mission. Her Dad’s team had set up vital transmission signals and were able to get sensitive information back to base due to his heroic actions but they never made it back themselves. Alice tried to be a rock for her Mum, but Kay slowly chose the bottom of a bottle over Alice’s comfort and as her alcoholism got worse, Alice stopped making excuses for her and living quietly in an abusive household.
(McDonalds community lot. Thanks to @Zita1966 for their excellent re-creation of this)
Alice flourished at my parent’s apartment and they doted on her, they’d always secretly wanted a daughter and Alice was looking for replacement parents. While her caring trait remained, Alice developed this “quiet anger” at the world. We had that in common, at least and we remained BFFs.
(Spare room which was to become Alice’s room)
Alice was now so determined to “make something of herself”, showing the world she wasn’t beaten and hadn’t backed down. Both Alice and her Father had been really capable with technology and Alice just seemed to know stuff, like it was a second language to her. She’d spend large amounts of time in the Virtual World and I often joined her. In college we didn’t see as much of one another, her electing to study Computer Science and I chose Journalism, so our paths only really crossed for the odd ‘cheeky Nandoes’ at lunch or we’d hang out with Netflix at home. Alice got into anime, her favourites being ones that anthropomorphized animals. They were reasonable, but I was more of a Death Note fan. We used to discuss anime at length and although our opinions differed, we both unanimously agreed that Grave of the Fireflies was the single most iconic film of it’s age. In those years, I really fell for Alice, but she never returned my affections. I looked on her laptop once, I wanted to watch some of the new anime and she had a Crunchy Roll sub. Instead, I found the pics of her and this other girl. I recognised her from College, one of the cosplay crowd. I think I was more bothered about her interests than the intimate pictures I was viewing. I considered I’d never get a chance like this again and so I took my pen drive and made copies. I hated the cosplay crowd, they were such elite snobs, so I decided to use the journalistic skills I was learning and put them to use to investigate. This was a stupid mistake, as I snapped the pics it dawned on me that Alice was not just interested in intimacy with this girl, there were drugs involved.
(College community lot. Thanks to @Jordan_Aslett for their lovely build)
Alice convinced me to watch one her animes with her, Polar Bear Cafe, she’d had it recommended within the depths of that human depravity that is, the Reddit forums. I though it was lame, but she was transfixed.
The next day she comes home as if she’d won the lottery; “If you laugh, i’ll fite you, nerd, but check this out”, Alice grinned as she rummaged around in her bag, pulling out a mask that looked like a Polar Bear. I laughed so hard I nearly cracked a rib. I teased her relentlessly for weeks but she seemed unphased. She came into my room once, smacking me upside the head as her usual greeting (why did she have to do that!) “Come on, nerd, if you sit there any longer you’re gonna turn into a Weeaboo, you’re coming with me”, her cheerful voice being hard to ignore. I rarely argued with Alice when she had a plan, I enjoyed her devious imagination. I asked many questions but she wouldn’t tell me anything, just kept smirking as she casually draped her legs over her suitcase. “A furry convention, Alice, seriously, are you out of your mind, you can take all of my no”, I was annoyed, but she refused to take any obstruction to her plan.
(Convention community lot. Thanks to @Notsoswiftly for such a brilliantly detailed build)
We entered the building and she dashed off to the loos while I contented myself with Gaslighting people on Reddit on my new Samsung. Suddenly I was being molested from behind but it was so warm and fuzzy, being held in a bear-like grip. The “mewing” sounds did nothing to disguise the fact it was Alice and I simply offered her my normal moral support, “What a nerd!”. We met loads of people she’d been in contact with, over the internet and we hung out. This was like a Mecca for the Furry community and I was transfixed by their warm acceptance and friendliness. I didn’t think anything of it when Alice slipped people packages, thinking she’d brought them some sort of Tribal offering, assuming that was a thing.
(Same creator as above. Thanks also to @Cuddlytish for their amazing Furries)
Over the weeks, Alice tried to get me to attend again but although I enjoyed it, it really wasn’t my scene. The more I declined, the more pushy she got. I confronted her after she’d asked way too many times, demanding to know why this was so important to her. She got really angry with me; “You have no idea, Vance, you’re so naive, you think life is just a bed of roses because you’ve been protected by your parents with this fake bubble they allow you to exist in. You don’t even know the truth!” Truth? What truth? I pressed her for more information whilst trying to comfort her in her tears. She said she needed my help, she had to get out, get her own place and the convention were her way out. She showed me the money that she’d stashed away, explaining that it was nearly enough for the first two months deposit on a nice apartment but I wasn’t following at all. I was absolutely confused and trying to process what she was saying. “Look, your family aren’t who you think they are, ok! I’m grateful for what they’ve done but this is my way out, my chance to get out and I’m taking it”, Alice stated emphatically. My brain was working overtime, trying to assemble a picture from a hundred pieces, Alice had been dealing! She wanted me to go as a lookout, but why? What was so terrible about my parents that she needed to “get out”?
I pleaded with Alice to tell me what she was talking about but she wouldn’t say, she only said: “Look, your Dad isn’t who you think he is, I know you worship the ground he walks upon but..” Alice trailed-off, refusing to fill in any more gaps. Alice never did explain more. I tried all sorts of tactics but she wouldn’t divulge more. I didn’t find out what this truth about my Dad until many years later.
More recently in my walk with Jesus, I’ve been searching for purpose. I knew that God had plans for me and wanted to use me (Jeremiah 29:11) but once I thought I knew what some of them were, I began to doubt. Doubt can rob you of joy and I started praying “What is wrong? I was so convinced”. I felt like I needed more from God; more obedience, more inspiration and more conviction. While I was praying I just got the sense of God saying I wasn’t ready for the next step. How can we be trusted with more when we don’t appreciate what we have already? It will only harm us, which isn’t love. I think we’re all a little guilty of sometimes using God as a wish-granter but God wants so much more from us than that. He wants us to trust him with all that we have. As I typed this, I flicked over to my Daily Devotional (1 Corinthians 1:27) it couldn’t be more relevant for the situation! God wants to use the people that are weak, those that are insignificant and frail, those that have vices and those that have no hope.
Often we only want to dip our toes into God’s love, we come against feelings of being so unworthy/unlovable and we often can’t process or cope with God’s immense love for us, but God is inviting us everyday to go deeper in relationship with him. His love is like a vast sea, sure you can dip your toes in and have a paddle, but you can also swim out so far that you’re utterly dependent on Him. If you don’t yet know Jesus as your personal Savior I would encourage you to simply “consider Jesus” today. Perhaps you just have questions you want answering, you’d be welcome to join our discord and ask away. Here’s a link to follow: Walk in Obedience Community Discord We’d love to welcome you and get to know you, no matter what your questions are or what beliefs you have.