Perfect Bound Softcover
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Jaded embodies the voices of people whose souls have been exhausted by cynical individuals in their lives. Love, like hate, is often irrational and can lead individuals to heroic and evil deeds. The characters all experience feelings of satiety, which manifest into an unconscious state of disillusionment. They all begin to accept the warped world that surrounds them, expressing a surfeit of apathy. These characters have become uncomfortably full with self-hate and are all in search of a release from this overindulgence. The voices echo those of people you may have encountered closely or from a distance in your own life. Through an analytical eye, the characters have become human and struggle to find self-love in the midst of all their chaos. Do not judge them. Simply listen to their stories, hear their cries, and walk with them down the path of healing and self-discovery. Separate stories that are all connected. Each individual voice filters into the other, creating one loud cacophonous roar.
The Man in the Mirror

“When love shuts its doors you become vulnerable, exposed, alone; with nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. In a maze of deception, deceit, and hurt, you fall victim to your own demise. When love shuts its doors, the feelings of hate can veil the misty fog. When love shuts its doors, time will reveal the man in the mirror.”
When was the last time you looked into the mirror and felt totally content with what you saw? Not an inkling of guilt, dissatisfaction, shame, or disgust. No man is flawless, although we often wear the cloak of perfection. I was her hero. Everything she wanted and needed, I supplied. I was invincible. There was nothing I could not do or do well enough in her eyes. Her love for me was pure. With her, I never worried about saying the wrong thing or upsetting her. She lived to please me without question. She worshipped me; and my words echoed like lines from the scriptures. When others saw a monster, she saw a God. Our love was perfect, I thought to myself as we walked up the stairs. I loved the innocence of it all and the control that she relinquished to me. She often jumped into my arms as soon as she could possibly reach me, making me feel wanted and needed. So many women have proven to me that I was not worthy of their love, but today I feel loved by her…and I wanted to express it back.
As I slowly opened the door to my tiny one room apartment, her facial expression revealed a slight uneasiness as the stench permeating from the quarter-sized hole in the wall made contact with her nose. She walked awkwardly to my room as if it were a foreign land. Her unstable gait and fidgety steps exposed her fear and discomfort of being there with me, alone. I beckoned her to sit on my king-sized waterbed and looked into her "innocent brown eyes.” I gently removed my cloak and released it to the ground. Her jaw dropped as I gradually laid her back on the bed and mounted her. She began to cry. Before she could utter a word, my lips muffled her “NO!”
Lost in the abyss, we swam…
Minutes had only gone by when lust personified
My shivers turned to overwhelming
Desires of acting out realistic fantasies that
Forced me to lose control
I truly, wholeheartedly wanted and
Had to have you
This need metamorphosed to orgasmic explosions
Leaving their mark inscribed
Can I contain this unrestrained
Sexual craving
That slowly seems to guide me down a delirious path
A part of me wants to exert this intensity onto your soul and body
Letting it surge through you.
Another part of me wants to suppress these overflowing desires
Afraid of the
It may create.

Awakened by her cries, I returned to my reality. I unhurriedly got up and walked out to the bathroom and shut the door. My back remained glued to the door as if I thought that someone would come running to pry it open. I took two steps to the sink, deliberately turned on the faucet and allowed the cold water to run into the palms of my hands. I steadily brought my face down into the meeting of my palms. The cold water sent chills running down my spine. I raised my head strategically so as to only reveal the parts of my face that I was ready to see.
Similar to a dark sunrise, I saw my hairline, my forehead, my eyebrows, followed by the erratic flutter of my eye lids -- then the eyes. The eyes, was what caught me. As they stared back at me all at once I saw the devil in the flesh. Suddenly I felt guilty, ashamed, and disgusted. What kind of man am I? She’s only twelve.
Save me from myself.

The Co-Authors of Jaded,
Karen Achille and Philia Anekwe
are currently New York City teachers at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island. They both reside in Brooklyn, New York with their respective families. Their first encounter was in February 2005 in a collaborative team teaching class. Through their teaching, love for writing, and compassion for humanity, they were inspired to co-author Jaded. This is their first published book.

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