The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

A few months ago my partner and I bought a puzzle. We were in a bookstore stocking up on novels and she turned to me and said that she’d love to buy a puzzle and spend some time sitting down as a couple and putting it together. Ecstatic just to be spending time with her, I agreed, and we brought home one thousand little cardboard shapes that when aligned together in the correct sequence would show a view of the Amalfi coastline. I thought it would be easy. And that it would be fun. But while she could effortlessly match pieces together and allow the picture to take shape, I struggled horribly just to find two interconnected pieces, swore a lot, and eventually gave up.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but that puzzle wasn’t just a way for us to spend time together, it was a symbol that represented my life, who I was, who I am supposed to be, and just how much I love the girl who sat patiently with me while I steamed with frustration at my inability to perform the most simplistic of tasks.

Agh. I need to stop for a second, and just get something off of my chest… Before I go any further I just want to acknowledge that what I am about to say is going to hurt so fucking much. By the end of this post I’ll be an emotional wreck. I’m about to tell you that I screwed up. Bad. And that I’m a fake. Because despite all of the pretentious bullshit that I post on this site, I’ve only just figured out who it is that I really am, and it took losing the woman that I want to spend my life with to realise that.

For twenty-seven years I have been trying to piece together the puzzle of Chris Nicholas. During that time I have been sitting in the darkness of my bedroom staring down at thousands of little cardboard shapes spread across the floor that define who I am, struggling to make sense of how they all fit together. I have been a son, a brother, a writer, a friend, a student, work colleague, and so much else. Yet I have never really understood how one piece of my life was supposed to fit into the next.

And then I met Sofie. I met this beautiful woman who was so much smarter than I could ever be. And before I even asked for her help, she came into my bedroom, switched on the light and sat down opposite me and helped me to start sorting through the little pieces of me that were scattered across the floor. I watched in amazement as she found pieces of who I am that were connected, and slotted them together, slowly allowing a picture of my life to take shape.

It took a long time; two years in fact for her and I to work together and take the little cardboard shapes and put them together, but as each piece fell into place I began to recognize the picture that was taking shape. It wasn’t really the image that I had imagined, but who was I to question the universe and the way that my life was destined to unfold?

I saw a wolf, bearing its fangs, with what looked like the world clutched between its paws. It looked strong; fearsome even, and I saw Sofie standing beside him with a look of astonishment on her face. As I looked at the picture positioned between us on the floor, something inside of me changed and I became the beast that I saw staring up at me from the half completed puzzle. I saw a monster, and I became him. And I have never fucked up so badly in my life.

I started to call myself a wolf; and I became headstrong and stubborn. I saw the world held within the paws of the beast inside the puzzle, and I tried to follow suit. I pursued my writing with reckless abandon, amassing an audience and producing a lot of self-indulgent bullshit. And all the while, Sofie watched me with a slightly bemused look, and kept putting together pieces of my puzzle as though she didn’t understand what I had become, or why I seemed so angry.

Then, just over a month ago she left. She told me that she was tired, and that I had let her down. So she stood up, and walked out of my life, taking a single piece of the puzzle we had worked so hard to create with her. I cried a lot that day. And I’ve cried every day since. Because when she left I stood up and I shifted myself into her place, and looked down at the puzzle of my life from where she had been sitting and realized that we had created an ambigram; an image that when looked upon from different angles shows an entirely different picture.

Sofie wasn’t putting together a puzzle of a wolf, or a world eater, and we were never putting together my puzzle; it was ours. From where she had been sitting the image that stared up at her wasn’t of a vicious beast bearing its fangs; it was me: Chris Nicholas, down on one knee with a smile of pure joy spread across my face. In my hands was a box, not the world, and inside of that box was a piece of jewelry designed to be worn on her finger that said “I want to spend my life with you.” From this angle she didn’t look bemused, astonished, or afraid.  She was happy, and her lips were pursed together as though she was about to make this version of me the happiest man in the world by uttering one simple word.

From where she had been sitting, our puzzle was complete; except for the final piece that she had taken with her. I had spent two years looking at what we were creating from the wrong angle, and while she was piecing together an image of a future filled with happiness, my own stupidity made me believe that in order to provide for her I needed to embrace the devil inside of me.

For the past month I have spent my time sitting in the spot where Sofie used to sit, staring down at the image of her and I with a huge smile spread across my face, and tears streaming down my cheeks. It’s a beautiful image, and one that makes my heart flutter. When I close my eyes and imagine the future it looks just like the image in the puzzle of us, and knowing that is so bitter-sweet. Sofie is the only woman I will ever write about; the only woman whose achievements I will ever celebrate as greater than my own; and the only woman that I would ever want to love and spend my entire life with.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to see her again, but I hope and I pray every day that eventually our worlds will collide one more time and she can come and sit down on the floor beside me and place the final piece of our puzzle; the one that represents my heart, into the image of her and I. If that day never arrives… Well, at least I can say that I spent two wonderful years with the woman that I love more than anything. The memories that we created together will last a lifetime, and the love that I have for her will continue long after she has forgotten about the time we spent piecing together the puzzle of our lives.

Now that I have seen life from the other side of the ambigram, I know that I don’t want to be the devil anymore. I want to be the man in the picture that Sofie has always been able to see. The hopelessly devoted romantic, down on his knee, allowing himself to be totally vulnerable in front of the woman that he loves more than he has ever loved writing, or anything else. I screwed up because my perspectives were all wrong; I was never meant to be a wolf, I was only ever meant to be a man, and a lover to the most incredible woman that I have ever met.

I’m writing this to say that I’m letting go of the love of my life for a little while. Because as cliche as it sounds, sometimes when you love something (or someone) you have to set it free. But there will not be a day that passes where I don’t look at the almost completed puzzle of us and whisper a silent prayer that she comes back and we finish what we started together. I have never wanted anything like I want a life with her; and I have never been so willing to be vulnerable and unafraid to embrace who I am. In the past month I have realised how wonderful my life is, and how hopelessly in love I am. For the first time in my life I know exactly who I am, and exactly who I want to devote my life to. And while letting go hurts like hell, I have never been more proud the man that I have become, or more determined to be the person that I should have always been. 

113 thoughts on “Devil

  1. kristineheim says:

    Chris – Thank you for stopping by my blog. This was a powerful piece for me to read as an intro to yours! It was raw and real and, I’m sure, scary to write. I doubt you are a devil. Human nature gets sidetracked and caught up in the mirror. But not everyone wakes up. You did. Your self-wisdom comes through, so keep listening to it. By giving Sofie space, you are also giving yourself space, an important element for growth. Hugs.

  2. Aika. S says:

    Very real piece, love does have a way of finding itself back be it with the same person or realising another love. Thank you for sharing. We do have faults but we all don’t acknowledge them or desire to work on them.
    xx

  3. Irm Brown says:

    Thanks for writing from within. You will never regret it. And from there, the puzzle will morph, you’ll see.

  4. soulanceblog says:

    Thank you for opening your heart to us! Trust me…. in the 20s we are all lost.

  5. Wint says:

    Hi Chris,

    As a fellow writer, I give kudos for a very well written piece. It read easily and communicated your message clearly.

    Even from my remote vantage, I’ll take a shot for love’s sake. As a fellow man, … you are 29, I’m 63 … if you have not burned the bridge, call the girl. There is nothing of this world which love may not conquer. Even ourselves. Do not get in the way of your own happiness, or hers. It took ’til I was 40, but I ran into a girl to whom I have humbled myself to love for the last 23 years. It is life sustaining. Before then, I was a bit of a rogue. Sorry to go on so …

    Thanks for stopping by my place too!

    Wint

  6. Nancilynn says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog today, Chris.
    I read your piece, The Devil, and was moved…life lessons really stink sometimes. It is clear this was one of those times. I hope the “holder of the puzzle piece returns your heart soon. If not, I hope you find a workaround for the hollow space left.

  7. Nancilynn says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog today. I enjoyed reading “Devil”…hope you make it through this dark space and the holder of the puzzle returns your heart.

  8. erikajey says:

    This is literally amazing, I really enjoyed reading this piece. Stay strong with an open heart. You never know what could happen with love, it has so many surprises in store for you. ❤

  9. feetcandy says:

    Can I just say this is one of the most emotionally raw and moving articles ive come across any blog. I love your imagery and the symbolism with the wolf. It really does seem like you have these qualities that both you creatures share. Im glad to have read this, and come across you man. Great stuff. Hope your puzzle find you. Cheers!

    Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  10. nyteflowr says:

    Incredibly, beautifully written! Vulnerability is an amazing gift; may you be blessed through this.

    Peace and Love,
    Nyteflowr

  11. becmom45 says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I enjoyed reading several of your entries. I hope the holder of your missing puzzle piece comes back to you. We all make mistakes, and it is certainly easier to see something from only one vantage point. Kudos to you for seeing it from hers. Somehow that will be used in your life…they say nothing is wasted.

  12. Argus says:

    Wow~! Offerings from an old dog—first, I have authority (been there, done that).
    Loved and lost—and most wonderfully, love again.

    So it can be done.

    My advice? Stop analysing your life. Get out there and live it.

    Remember that for every one of us, there are many many many entirely compatible wonderful ‘partners’ out there just waiting to be found. But here’s your paradox—
    —to find them you must stop looking.

    Simply stop searching.

    Ships pass in the night. It happens, it’s life.
    When people talk about that “one true love out there” it’s utter rubbish. Mind-sop spouted by empty minds burbling what they think are warm fuzzies: there are thousands of absolutely ideal “one True Loves” out there. Trust me.

    All you have to do is meet one of them. Just one is all it takes, and when you do, remember that she too has feelings …

    Good luck

  13. I had so many emotions when I read this. I went through a similar situation a number of years ago, but it was me that left. The man I left is now my husband of five years so don’t give up hope! Separating for a while was the best thing that could have happened to us. Sending positive vibes your way!

  14. Love love love. Beautifully written and heartfully expressed. Your puzzle is a work in progress. That last piece will certainly arrive, perhaps in a totally unexpected way.

  15. David Swan says:

    Sophie? Sofia, maybe you are more cunning than you seem, or maybe I am still caught chasing shadows.

  16. crislud says:

    What’s meant to be will always find a way. That’s the quote that is keeping me ‘alive’, that gives me hope and strength as I go through the pains of losing the love of my life due the monster I became

  17. Sharayu says:

    I can feel your hurt. Sometimes, yes, we must set the ones we love free. I am sorry about what happened but glad that you realise your Sofie would never want you to embrace that devil again. Don’t lose faith in love, not yet. Stay strong and hopeful.

  18. I felt this one. I truly did. Thanks for liking our blog. Man, whew…

  19. A beautiful, passionate, raw and human piece. Thank you for sharing that part of yourself, of your pain, with us. Embracing our humanity with an unflinching eye is sometimes the hardest challenge we face. I feel honored to have read this.

  20. CreativeMisfit says:

    Wow.. This is a powerful piece of writing. To lay yourself so bare and open to everyone takes a lot.. I know what you mean though and I feel your pain

  21. Min says:

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for the Like on my recent post (at aloneglassofwine.wordpress.com) – it means very much to me. 🙂

    I am so sorry about Sofie, but am also glad that you got to experience such a wonderful love from and with such an amazing woman. One of my favourite quotes about love and relationships is from John Steinbeck (featured here – http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/01/john-steinbeck-on-falling-in-love-a-1958-letter/251375/). Perhaps you might already know it, but I’m just going to reiterate it here:-

    “And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”

    Hang in there – you’re not alone.

    With love,
    Charmaine

  22. na3rion says:

    Hi Chris Thanks For stopping by at my blog, and thanks for sharing that story (devil) life really is a puzzle you where complete before but eventually you give some of your pieces to others and let other fill it up as time goes by. Hope that you will find that missing piece

  23. “Sofie is the only woman I will ever write about; the only woman whose achievements I will ever celebrate as greater than my own; and the only woman that I would ever want to love and spend my entire life with.”
    That is how you feel NOW but you’re young and have a life to live and you will meet people along the way. Some will stay in your life, some will disappear, and some will re-appear. Love all around ❤

  24. CreativeMisfit says:

    I have nominated you for the mystery blogger award.. :)(rules are on my page) i think your blog is really interesting and i enjoyreading your posts.

    happy blogging x

  25. Thanks for visiting my blog! This s a beautiful piece of writing!

  26. Rachel Alderson says:

    There I was just scrolling through people’s blogs who liked my latest blog post to just give them a thank you, then I came across your blog and this post. A post that has a massive connection with my own life and the way I feel right now, although the messing up part I did a few years ago and luckily I am still with the love of my life, but I can’t tell you how much this post hit’s home for me. It just shows how important writing is, and that sharing something that you might not necessarily want to can have a big effect on someone else.

    I have a massive respect for you for writing this post in the first place, nevermind actually hitting the ‘post’ button. I think Sofie would also appreciate if you told her your realisation. I hope everything works out for you, time is a great healer and will hopefully heal the wounds for both of you.

    All the best.

  27. kissesbyt says:

    Hi Chris! Thank you for checking out my blog! I have enjoyed reading what you have here and look forward to reading more! Heartache is especially hard when it all seems so perfect. Hence my blog post also. I hope things look up for you! I’m sure they will head that way soon! Good luck and thanks again!

  28. nancee says:

    Hi Chris, thanks for liking my post “Old Teapot.” Things will get better with time. I love your writing

  29. meversgerd says:

    Reblogged this on Mel Evers wonders about it all and commented:
    I’ve gone back to the past to review younger pieces with older eyes, newer perceptions and a mind ready for progress.

  30. meversgerd says:

    Compelling piece. Your struggle to find yourself piece by piece defines the very essence of my journey. The difference. I’ve had to return to the past to review pieces with older eyes and ever changing perceptions to progress my jouney on earth.

  31. Hey Chris; this was indeed an emotional one tho self realizing… it was indeed an expose and an expression of undying love; tho things may not seem right now, reaching out to her wont be a bad idea, i guess?… I hope you find peace and keep believing while we pray for you… Thanks for visiting my blog… kachianitche.wordpress.com

  32. Chris!
    Wolves are not a loners. That is folklore. They are pack (family) predators.
    So, either you left “Sofie” before she walked into your life = a renegade does this,
    or,
    your are an incredibly socially confused creature and
    should want to learn the value of love before you grow old and lonely.

    If you left her because you were unwilling to recognize and “own” your rough masculinity,
    don’t cry about the past because it was her job to compromise,
    unlike you were wiling to. Right?

    But, if all was as you said,
    then you might want to stop blogging and start hand writing letters to your Sofie.
    Tell her what you wrote here.
    Silent prayers and memories are utterly worthless – said the serial monogamist.

    Otherwise,
    it read like a compelling voice over to a chick flick
    that I would very much want to see with my wife of 27 years.

    — Four Stars from the Hagia Sofia Society of the Lovelorn * * * *
    Larry

  33. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh. The emotions. What I just read was so powerful and honest you rocked my world. To be able to write like this and to be able to shift perspectives leaves me shaken. For I know what it is like to have your world collapse in order to recreate another. I pray your love returns. ❤

  34. Chris,

    Thank you for your support on my most recent article. I cherish each and every reaction displayed on the page.

    Man. This is the first article on your page that I read, and You really captivated me with your words. I will definitely be following you attentively.

    Thank you for sharing this very personal story. You helped me to realize I need to start looking at my own puzzle from another angle.

  35. Thanks for stopping by my blog. This is a very emotional story. It’s very difficult for us as humans to be so vulnerable but you were in this post and it has encouraged me even more. Thank you. I hope you find love against all odds.

  36. Please do not stop writing! I saw in another post, albeit it was over a year ago, I think you mentioned you may need to look at different goals. I truly hope that is not the case anymore. You have an amazing gift and a raw talent to write. As I read this post I felt as if not only was I reading about someone’s life, but I was reading an excerpt from his book. I’m sincerely sorry about the split between you and your love. Sometimes it is necessary for one to go through something so devastating for them to see with true clarity. Remember most messes turn into great stories and have the best endings.

    Best to you Chris!

    Jordan.

  37. Somehow you seem not like a devil at all…hoping things work out for you both. You sound so wise it would be a shame if you two didn’t reconnect. Hope for the best!

  38. Women's voice club says:

    Dear Chris, this is probably the best article I’ve ever read and I hope Sofie reads it. Stay strong you beautiful soul.

  39. It took great courage and honesty to write this piece: congratulations. I read it slowly and felt the emotion coursing through it. My last dog looked exactly like the image in your opening photo. Tigger, my dog, looked like a wolf, but he was very gentle, very big, very powerful, and when he passed away, I lost a piece of my soul. Sometimes, when I drive home, I just sit in the car and wait for him to appear in his usual spot. Those are the days when I know he is near, that he is still a part of me, and that his presence — even in absence — helps keep me whole.Thank you for writing this.

  40. You nearly made me cry… What is important is to evaluate who we are after loss or separation, see our flaws and correct them. You should be proud to have met her and to have seen the man you are… Thank you for sharing, you have touched my heart as I have been on the receiving end of your situation and having read this and written by a man, gives me hope that men still have feelings…

  41. biancarowena says:

    Hello 😀 I’ve been following your blog for a while. I was nominated for a Q&A Blog Hop and I thought of you when I was making a list for those I’m nominating. The Blog Hop Q&A is on my blog. Please join in if you’d like! Thanks 🙂

  42. tigre23 says:

    People come and go into your life for different reasons – maybe this was Sophie’s. Sorry to hear you realised too late but if it is meant to be, it will be. Enjoy the journey – peace and blessings 🙂

  43. caticasblog says:

    This left me with no words, but a beautiful feeling inside. I wish you the best of luck to find contentment and happiness.

  44. May we all be blessed with love like you have for your Sofie.

  45. Beautifully written! I found this interesting. I am glad I took the time in reading

  46. mutwoki says:

    Oh So WOW!
    I am deeply touched!!!

  47. The Twentysomething Social Recluse says:

    Very beautiful – thank you for sharing these experiences with us. I felt like I could really relate to this. I’m so sorry that you lost your love. X

  48. Mike says:

    I know this is an older post. But this just happend to me. 3 years. I had the ring and was ready. But I too had my own demons. I had demons I wish I had recognized and fixed before she walked out. This truly hit home for me. Knowing I’m not the only one in the world who has to go through the realization of what it is I truly lost. Thank you

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