Strip #1000. The one-thousandth entry. The big One-Oh-Oh-Oh.
Also, a solid week’s worth of panels, packed into a single post. Took a while just to come up with a topic that would be worth the space.
On to the next thousand! (And, given my ten-year goal, the at-least-one-more-thousand after that.)
Leif: Thorn . . .
Leif: What’s your experience with real dating like? When we met, you thought you didn’t want to do any for as long as you were a knight . . . How much did you get to do before that?
Because if you meet another person that you want to . . . Well, I hope you won’t think you have to hold back on my account.
Thorn: . . . If that happens, I’ll talk to you about it. But I don’t want you to worry. I can give you my whole story of dating in two minutes.
There was a boy when I was 13 . . . it was very cute.
Leif: Aww, I bet!
Thorn: Then his family moved out of town, and that ended that.
A few years later, another classmate. He told amazing stories about his life — it felt like he could do anything. Most of it was totally made up. But I was madly in love, and so I fell for all of it.
When the problems in his stories started to get too big to miss, it was very hard for me. He was just a dumb teenager, he probably grew out of it, but it felt very serious at the time.
Then my mom died, and I went from “loving audience” to “person who needs support” . . . so he ended it.
Leif: Did he say that to you?!
Thorn: Gosh, no.
He said he “already stopped loving me a long time ago.”
The death meant I wasn’t ready to love anyone for a long time after anyway. Then I went into the military training . . . and I believed that meant I couldn’t have a serious romance. I tried to date a few guys in a not-serious way. It didn’t make me happy.
So from then on I turned down anyone who asked, and I didn’t ask anyone, either.
. . . How about you, Leif? What’s your story of dating?
Leif: Well, I never dated anyone at school! If you’re a kid, they don’t kick you out and throw you straight into servitude. They’re not monsters. But people knew what happened.
Nobody even wanted to play with me, much less eventually go out with me.
Thorn: Aww, that’s —
Leif: It’s fine! Once I got to the job, I could start dating other servants.
There’s been, ah . . . a lot of those. Mostly people whose debts were paid off within a few months, and they wanted a quick fling to help pass the time. People with short-term contracts don’t get sent out here, though. It’s not worth the travel expense.
Maybe “dating” isn’t the right word.
Thorn: Why? Is that reserved for “citizens”?
Leif: No, but — Do you know if Ceanska has a translation of “friends with benefits”?
Thorn: Ohhhh. . . . I don’t want you to feel like you have to stop doing that on my account, either.
I haven’t had one since you transferred to the Embassy. Just so you know.
I wish . . .
I wish I had been there when you were a kid.
Thorn: Yeah . . . me too.