(c) Brigitte Tohm

It was few days after Christmas. Facebook chat head popped out. She was surprised why he was asking how she was doing. They met once and had few chats because they belonged to the same youth organization. However, he showed up in the meetings once. It was a while ago. After few exchanged messages, he was asking her out to drink tea or coffee. It was the time when Margareth checked his account. She was certain that he had a girlfriend, but now… All the evidence about her existence were gone from his timeline. She said yes, and took it as Christmas miracle. She was going on a date. After a long time, she might fall in love. Margareth loved the idea of love.

Margareth always created scenarios in her head. She made simple moments of life look significant and exciting. Her imagination was wild, and she truly wanted a prince charming finally show up. ‘Maybe, that’s it? Maybe it’s a Christmas miracle?’ – She was wandering while thinking what to wear the next day. However, she had to attend another Christmas-themed party within an hour.

The next morning she woke up hangover. Waking up with a headache and suspicious stomach is not a good sign. If her sanity had been sober, she would probably have taken this accidental hangover as a sign that she should not go on a date. Once she received the text that he would pick her up after an hour, she just managed to freshen up, put her hair in a ponytail and dress-up with casual clothes. After the date, she promised to attend a class meeting. It was five years since she had interaction with classmates. The fact that she decided to go marks the highest and the most positive peak at her mental state.

The date went quite well. They drank coffee and talked. She tried aggressively to pay for her coffee. As a result, barista had a fancy tip because none of them retaken their money. It was a lucky day for that blond boy who made excellent lattes.

(c) Alvin Mahmudov

Margareth has always been a naïve one and hidden romantic. She wanted a fairytale and an adventure. She wanted to feel safe and have someone who would be her home.

The problem with dreams and wishes is that sometimes we get too obsessed with an idea. We just see the goal and try to achieve it without seeing warning signs and other problems. It’s like trying to jump from one cliff to another. However, evaluating the risk is a must. Before making that jump, you have to make sure that it’s possible to jump so far away. You have to think what might happen if you start falling. What is down there? A river? Forest? Snow? Road? Sand? Would you die or is it possible to survive? What is better to die or survive and have one more painful scarf and dozens of broken bones? Is it actually worth a risk? If Margareth had slowed down and asked herself all these questions, she would not have made that jump. She would have fallen and broken herself into thousands of different pieces again. She survived. She’s a survivor who never gives up on her true will.

(c) Jad Limcaco

Margareth and… let’s call him Mathew started dating. He took her to a theatre frequently and made her dinner. It seemed that cooking became their thing. They enjoyed watching the same movies that had a psychological and motivational approach. He always told her that he never met a person like her. He believed that their souls were connected or they have been related in the previous life. Indeed, Mathew had that strange philosophy of life and mindest that Margareth weirdly liked. She always liked interesting and not-so-normal guys because they were a challenge.

Everything seemed fine until he started acting oddly. He kissed her and told that it’s nothing serious. They are just friends. He did not know what he wants. He was disappointed about women because a girl cheated on him. They were in a long-term relationship, and she killed it. She broke him. She made him change his lifestyle and start hating women. It’s a red flag. It’s a huge red flag. The sirens are screaming ‘run, run away, Margareth, this lost guy will break you.’ But what she always heard was his sentences telling sweet words about how she was making him believe that there are good women out there. Not all females are horrible creatures who tear apart men lives. She thought that if she was changing his life and helped him healing she was more than a friend; more than a lover.

But he had lots of female friends. He told a little bit about them. Margareth felt that something was not right with these stories. But she was in love with the idea of love. Besides he was performing a good guy’s role so perfectly. It was so good at it that he believed in that lie and image of himself. However, words followed by the opposite actions spoke the truth.

(c) Matthew Henry

He tried to get to know her. He wanted to know all her secrets; he wanted to play with her demons and learn what she was hiding behind her big green eyes. She…

She was always looking for someone whom she could tell everything. She always wanted to share parts of her life that made her the way she was. She had problems with being open and talking about all these things. Though, she briefly told him about a shitty end of a relationship that lead to the loss of the friends who have never been true friends. But they were better than radio silence. She told him about new toxic people she met in university and plenty of horrible things she did back then. She revealed her feelings and worries about her mental health.

He let her cry. He was there by her side, holding her in his arms, and let her hold him tight. After twenty something years, for the first time in her life, she had an opportunity to cry and feel someone near her. For the first time in her life, she learnt what it feels to feel fragile and safe for the first time. For the first and last time in her life, she wasn’t feeling abandoned and absolutely alone when she was pouring her eyes out due to the loneliness and all the pain she was carrying on and hiding for many years.

It was destructive.

Margareth became a hot mess. She was re-living complicated and painful past and trying to figure out who she was for him. A sister? A friend? A lover? What does he want? What doesn’t she have? How can she fix it?

But there was nothing to fix. He packed his bags and left. One day she just found his message that he got sick of her negativity. He’s out of the picture. He removed her from Facebook, and never responded to any of her messages and calls. He was just gone. He left her wondering what she did wrong. She couldn’t understand whether he was playing or just failing in being a good person. You know, when you want to change, but bad habits die hard.

(c) Patrick B.

After several months, Margareth received a message from an unknown number. She felt it was him asking what she was doing. Indeed, few texts later she realized it was him. She deleted his phone number because she liked her contact list clean. What is more, he hasn’t responded to any of thousands of her messages. He made himself clear he was gone for good. He asked to go to a dinner. She agreed.

That afternoon Mathew was impressed by her new work position and had the courage to ask how was she doing: ‘You do not want to commit suicide anymore, right?’ – He asked without any emotions. That moment Margareth felt disgusted. It was a middle of the summer, and they were sitting on the terrace of the restaurant full of people:

Who asks questions like that in a public place? What is your problem? You ran away as soon as you saw what’s going on with me, when you saw you hurt my feelings with your inconsistency. Of course, I am fine.

‘I am fine’ – she said and continued speaking in her mind ‘I am so fucking fine.’

She wasn’t fine. She met another guy who was the craziest and psychotic person she has ever met. We will talk about him in the future. She got her master’s degree. She got a job that sounded like a challenge. Everything looked good on paper, but it wasn’t.

(c) Jimmy Bay

After a couple of weeks, he showed up in her life again. He needed a favour. Margareth was one of those silly people who always help for free. During the dinner, he explained what he needed, and she agreed, and laughed ‘I’ll work for food.’ They started talking and texting. He visited her few times in her workplace. They went to few theater performances. But Margareth was wiser then. She did not fall for those tricks and take it as an opportunity to attend events. They were just hanging out in the public places and pretending that nothing had happened half a year ago.

However, he got everything he wanted. Margareth helped him, and he simply disappeared again. Until the Christmas Eve day. She was going to the shop when she received a message. No matter how cold it was, she took her phone and noticed that it was a text from him. She was intrigued but reading it made her feel sick and angry. It was the abstract message that people still send to their colleagues or random people they know for Christmas. It’s polite, it’s a nice gesture, and she deleted the message because she could not stand such impersonal and cold behaviour.

That day Margareth found the answers to all of her questions and ended the story. It was her personal achievement. He was no longer welcome in her life. She did not text him back. She did not tell him ‘thank you.’ She just went silent. It was quite symbolic. The story ended almost after a year when it had started.

(c) Jian Xhin

She nearly forgot about his existence. But men like him always try to find the way back. It was Valentine’s day. The sixth Valentine’s day when Margareth was sitting at home and watching movies with scrolling brakes. She liked each of the cheesy pictures where girls were sharing their love, roses, and champagne. She always wanted that. She secretly wanted that and hoped that one day she would have it. Her dreams were disturbed by the phone ring.


He was asking silly questions, what she was doing, maybe he could come to her work someday. It was a strange conversation. After few minutes when it was over he called again. It sounded that he was standing on the staircase. The echo. Her heart started beating fast. She felt the anger and all the strength she had was coming to the surface. Indeed, he was standing just behind her door. He wanted to congratulate her on Valentine’s day. He thought it would be a nice gesture of a friend. A friend… Were they friends?

Her last words were painful. ‘I do not want my family to know that we are talking, they liked you.’ The conversation was over. Margareth went to the kitchen’s window to see whether he was actually there. She secretly hoped that she wouldn’t see him, but she did. He left her building.

The Valentine’s day was ruined. Is it possible to ruin this day for a single and lonely romantic? Indeed, it’s possible. However, she felt that he might have left some flowers next to her door. She did not want anyone to see it and think that she was a bitch and did not open the door the lovely guy who brought her flowers. He was a man who broke her. He made it to the top 5 people that almost killed her. Margareth put on a coat and went to the shop. She needed to take a walk and throw away those flowers.

Indeed, once she opened the door, he found a rose. An orange-yellow rose was laying back there. Without being afraid of rose thorns, she broke the flower into three parts. She went to the container that was further from her home because she did not want that flower to be close. She threw it away and took a picture of it laying at the top of the trash. She sent a picture to her best friend with a confession that he wanted to send the same picture to him. Mathew would expect such crazy behaviour, and she decided to make a surprise. She said nothing. She did not text him. He did the same. It seemed that everything went well. There were not accidental bumps into each other; he has never driven by her standing at the bus stop.

Until she decided to defriend him on Facebook. After a month or two, they ran into each other. He was with a girl…

(c) Priscilla Westra

Margareth without any doubts said hello and laughed devilish inside her ‘probably, you’ve seen I de-friended you.’ Fortunately, Margareth’s friend was a little bit blind and chosen seats just behind the lovely couple. She could have stopped her, but why should she? He did not do anything wrong. He shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about being with another girl. Two years have passed.

Of course, that bitchy attitude Margareth always had hoped that she was ruining his date. If it was a date. She loved this subtle idea of revenge. Karma. Once he saw her standing just behind him when he was leaving to a bathroom, he anxiously and nervously asked her ‘How are you?’ Margareth gave him a polished smiled and said ‘fine, and you?’. He was super. He said he was super and almost run away. Why so nervous?

During the movie, Margareth was staring at both of them. He was sitting straight. He did not hug the girl. He did not hold her hand. However, the girls’ body was a little bit turned to his side. It seemed she wanted a physical contact, but she did not get it. Margareth was thinking, who is she? Another friend? Lover? Colleague? Does he make her feel the same things? Does he tell the same things about being special? It such a cliché. It’s easy to get women when you tell her things she wants to hear.

(c) Brooke Cagle

That meeting was nothing else but an exam to Margareth. She did not feel anything to him. She felt strong. His desperate behaviour reminded her what it’s like to see someone being afraid of you. To feel that this person is afraid of all the storms and earthquakes that hurt women can cause. She was a crazy one, and she knew it. He saw her at her lowest point, and now she was standing with confidence and looking straight into his eyes. She was not afraid of him. She clearly sent the message ‘you did not kill me, I am standing here.’

We could say that Margareth got back to that state of mind where she was before he met Mathew during Christmas time. He stole from her two years. They both believed in karma stuff. Thus, she knew that he would get what he deserves. Him… That evening he probably realised that too. She felt it in her bones. That evening she was his karma.

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