I first met you when I was a little girl. I was scared, beyond scared, because I had just been abandoned. A girl I thought was my sister turned out to be my enemy. I was laying in an alley on scraped knees. My cheeks were stained wet with tears. My eyes bloodshot. I was screaming screaming screaming my lungs out. And then I saw you. You approached me. I was a bit scared when I first saw you. I had been taught people like you were monsters, those who didn’t look like me. But you had that look in your eye, like you were set on getting something you wanted. You looked confident. Not scared. So I hugged you. I was so out of my mind. You could have killed me, I guess. But you hugged me back. You told me we’d show them all.
(I’m still trying.)
You took me home and raised me. I didn’t talk much at first, especially not to any of your enforcers. Only ever to you, when I felt confident enough, in hushed whispers. I was Powder at first, but then you began to teach me things. You told me I had to turn the weaknesses others found in me into my strengths. So I killed Powder, and became Jinx. And you accepted me. You said I was perfect.
(You said I was perfect .)
Nightmares plagued me each night. They seemed to grow worse. The friends I killed screamed at me, their dead bodies clawing their way towards me. The explosion from that night pierced my ears, ringing like little bells. Ding ding ding! It still does. Especially now that you’re not here. Anyways, I would wander into your office whenever those nightmares kept me up. You were always there. I began to think you never slept. And I’d tell you what I saw and you’d let me sit on top of your desk. Later, when I was still young, on your lap, and you’d play with my hair. You’d remind me that I was stronger now than I was then. That I shouldn’t let my nightmares control me. That I had to let those memories die along with Powder. I’m still trying, I want you to know. I really am.
There was that time, my first birthday after the incident, and you remembered. I had only told you once, very quickly, and you managed to remember. You surprised me with new paints. You stood there, in front of your desk (always at that desk) and held a box of paints. You looked so soft. I stood there for a moment, staring. Then I ran up to you and wrapped my arms around your waist (I was pretty short at the time) and I mumbled, “thank you.” And you pat my head and we stayed like that for a while. Then you gave me my box and I painted over everything. Over my room and all my gadgets. On your ashtray. I thought you might get mad at me, but you just kept using it like normal. That may not have meant a lot to you, but to me that was everything.
(Why did you leave me?)
You even learned how to braid my hair. When I was starting to grow it out more and more. It was getting harder to do it myself. Harder to brush. So, a bit timidly, you asked me to teach you. And I did. Then, for a while, every morning I’d sit on your lap and you’d braid my hair. I think you saw it as helping me, as making sure I was prepared for lessons and training. Or maybe you saw it like I did, a gentle routine between a father and a daughter.
At first, even though I already knew, you tried to protect me from the people around us who didn’t like you. Didn’t like me. But word spreads in Zaun. No secrets are safe. I overheard how people wanted you dead. The names they called you and the threats they sent to you. At first, it hurt me. Then it made me angry. I wanted to hurt everyone who said those things. Well, I don’t think I actually did, but the anger inside me made me feel like I should. It made me want to make them cry. Or blow them to pieces. Either way, I wanted to draw blood. Then you told me not to worry, and I trusted you. Then, when I’d hear those things, I would laugh! Because none of those people had the guts to say it to your face or mine. They pretended to be tough, to be strong, but we were always stronger. And they hated to admit to that.
(Am I still strong?)
My gadgetry still needs perfecting, I guess. But even when I was little, right after the incident, when I was still put off by bombs, you encouraged me to keep going. You told me not to let the past hurt my future. So, I continued to make bombs. Even though sometimes I’d wake screaming, throwing the bombs off my room because I couldn’t stand to look at them. But you kept telling me I was strong, and the best bomb maker you’d ever met. So I kept going, and the bombs grew on me again. Like you said, use the weaknesses they find as your strengths.
Everyone told you how much of a jinx I truly was. That I ruined every mission. That I was hurting the cause. But you ignored them all, hurt some of them too. You denied that I was hurting your plan. It wasn’t because you needed me on your side (I was hurting it more than I was contributing at times) but because you needed me. No one in my life had needed me but you, I realize that now.
Sometimes I wondered if you loved me at all. You don’t show it like a normal father would, I guess. But then I look back at all those things you did and I know you did. I know you’d walk into my room as I pretended to sleep and make sure I wasn’t having nightmares. One time, I swear I heard you whisper that you’d never let anyone hurt me. That you loved me. I could be wrong. A small, desperate Jinx could have dreamed it up. But you didn’t have to say it. I should have known all along.
I love you too.
And I miss you.
I wish you were here. You’d know what to do.