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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 15 Jan 2005
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Last seen at: Couldn't tell you even if I tired
wow.Krist.It's like you put all my thoughts in to a correct order add a bit of intelligence and even made me feel for James even more.I am amazed by this.Really.I applaud you loudly.I think this could make a believer out of anyone.

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My Bestsellers Clerk
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Missing since: 20 Jan 2005
Notes left: 432
Last seen at: Alchemilla Hospital
This was an awesome read Krist.! I always hated the "James is a pervert* theory. I like yours much better. Its written very well too.. your grammar is really good.

I critique things a lot, sorry.

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My Bestsellers Clerk
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Missing since: 10 Jan 2004
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Last seen at: Ontario, Canada
Great post but..

Question: How do we know Mary ASKED James to kill her?
Like for real? Doesn't she just shout out "Why don't I just DIE?!"
And that isn't really Mary is it? After all, the notes say stuff like "If you want to see Mary again, you should just die, although DON'T THINK YOU'LL BE GOING TO THE SAME PLACE AS HER".
(Does he die in all the endings? Although, I understand this may come off as anedeotal evidence or whatever its called)
I propose that the final battle and scene with Mary is the delusion to try and end the delusion, OR the delusion to create another delusion (IE, leaving with Maria).
Mary says she asks him to do it in the leave ending, but could that possibly be a device he's using on himself in order to finally cope with the guilt?
I think the Mary he talks to in the end isn't Mary at all but just another delusion.
What do you think?

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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 24 Dec 2005
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Last seen at: Newcastle, England
A truly excellent post Krist. Someone said that this is the best thing on this site? No argument here. I could go on and on about how I agree with what you have written but I'll simply say that if you are ever in the North of England there is a pint here with your name on it.

Cheers,
Silent Ste

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Cafe5to2 Waitress
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Missing since: 11 Sep 2005
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Here's my two cents:

I think James was selfish, but no more selfish than anyone else in that situation. He admits to being selfish, but he was also in love, and he loved his wife. But the pain of their relationship made it so hard for them to be together. There was nothing he could have done to save her, and so he was subjected to helplessness...To me, helplessness is one of the cruelest feelings this world can give someone. It's one of the worst states of being, one of the worst things to feel.

That was Mary and James' story.

I think it's forgotten that Mary was also selfish because of it. Selfish in the way she lashed out at James, to the point where he didn't visit again. And that's why she wrote her letter...She comes clean as well, and asks for forgiveness.

Here is my speculation:

About the hallway conversation: Personally, I think James heard her begging him for her not to leave, and I think that he probably came back into the room. But even if he did...The rest of the conversation was enough to still ultimately drive him away, just because it was a representation of a cycle, the cycle that James and Mary went through during her illness. This conversation seemed to me, to be a representation of MANY different conversations they had had; a routine visit. And after a while, when people are hurt, sometimes they just stop responding, because there isn't anything left to say, to do, they go "INTO" themselves. I think James did just that.

And I think this is what James did, he went home, after this conversation, and one day, he just didn't come back. I'd go so far to say that he even tried to block Mary out of his mind. So he doesn't visit her anymore. It became too painful for him. And during this time, instead of coping, instead of grieving, James begins to formulate his denial.

James was a selfish person, but humans are all selfish, to a certain extent. This can be healthy, because we all have needs that we need met...James was cut off from many of these needs for three years. He endured no fulfillment, and a feeling of intense helplessness, for a good part of three years. James was human...with weakness and desires just like any one else. But he was also a very loving person. He stuck it out for a long time, and he dearly loved Mary, but there are times when people just "lose it" somewhat, and defense mechanisms take over.

I always thought that when Mary went home, James had been in denial for so long about her, had been in this strange limbo, going about his life as if she didn't exist, waiting to exhale so to speak, to hear the news of her death, so that he could finally start to grieve, to cope with it all. I don't think he expected her to come home to him. And suddenly, when she appears at their doorstep, James goes into defense mode, and kills her. To his most base instincts, it wasn't "selfishness", it was "self preserveration".

Mary = bad for James. James kill the bad. Then James = Okay.

Mary was the source of his pain, and it was too much for him to bear. This is why he stopped visiting. It wasn't because he didn't love her, it wasn't because he was a selfish person, it was just because he couldn't cope. So when Mary comes home, it's goodbye James. (and obviously, goodbye Mary)

Mary didn't want to die, not like that, I am sure. I am also sure that she didn't ask for it. Killing Mary was James' sin, it was generally selfish, because she ultimately did not want to end it like that. But do I blame James? Not really, because I think that at the point when he put the pillow over Mary's face, he was no longer himself.

He then picked her body up, and carried her to his car, put her in the trunk...At this point, he was a zombie, it was surreal, he "wasn't really doing this". I think that next, he drove to Silent Hill, and as he was driving, his mind began to form yet ANOTHER defense mechanism, for him to cope with what he had just done. But James isn't so selfish as to let himself fully forget his acts. He has a conscience, and Silent Hill manifests his guilt for him.

I'd say a real prick would be the type of person who wouldn't punish himself for something in life that had gone so horrendously wrong, as his relationship with Mary, not James. And ultimately, James showed that he had a heart, when he owned up to the truth, no matter what ending you get.

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
Notes left: 12943
Last seen at: The Wand'ring Wood
Interesting! Basically it's a pretty wording of what I said, so thank you. ;P Joking, of course. It's always nice to read thoughtful posts...

About James' defense mechanisms and denial.. it's also noted, in the game, that James gave in to quite a bit of drinking in recent years. If you examine the liquor bottles in the hallway leading up to Heaven's Night, James will mention it. Therefore it's not too far out there to say that in the tumultuous period of Mary's hospitalization, James was nursing his pain with alcohol and in all probability it lead to his physical ability to euthanize her.. That's just an idea, though; not one that anyone has to accept.

I'm not really sure of what else to say because I agree with a lot that's in your post. Kudos! And again, thank you for sharing.

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 18 Jul 2004
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That was a great 'rant' - very well put together and thought out.

I remember several threads that harped on about James being a selfish, perverted murderer, and I never agreed with any part of it. It's good to see thread without anti-James sentiments; I whole-heartedly agree with your entire post.


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SHH Cult Subscriber
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Missing since: 08 Sep 2004
Notes left: 264
Last seen at: Belgium
You make a lot of great points, as usual. I very much appreciate seeing a more balanced view of James... I so hate it when people try so hard to see him in the worst possible light, and I don't think I ever would've had the patience to identify and outline all the reasons why I think that makes no sense.

A lot of what you wrote stands on its own very well, so I won't ramble on more excessively than I normally do. ;) I'll just pick one thing that I think I have something to add to.

Krist. wrote:
Another possible monkey-wrench: Pyramid Head is rappin teh manikins!!!!!
Silent Hill is twisted, there's no doubt about that, which I think vaguely sums up all the weird monsters and Pyramid Head's treatment of them. I read on a translation site of Silent Hill Chronicles that a phrase commonly tied into Pyramid Head was "self punishment" (to use the given Japanese terms: Jibatsuishiki/Jibachiishiki. Literally broken down into Ji = self. Batsu = punishment. Ishiki = Consciousness/"sense of". Also I think it was quoted saying that, "Pyramid Head comes from James' 'sense of self punishment' or 'self-punishment mindedness'", which goes to show that James' guilt made Pyramid Head manifest itself.) So there you go. It isn't Silent Hill that's using Pyramid Head as a means of punishing James for killing Mary; rather the manifestation of Pyramid Head is James's way of punishing himself.


When I read this part it struck me very strongly. I too always accepted the general theory that Pyramid Head was raping the mannequins, just in a kind of threesome, but recently I read a theory which contradicts that idea. I went back and played through that part again, and now I'm entirely sold. It's true.

Take a look at the two pairs of mannequins in that scene, which are facing each other. One is pinned against the counter, and the other is on top of it--raping it, or at least attempting to. Pyramid Head is grasping the TOP mannequin only. He pulls the dominating mannequin off of the subjugated one! Then he brutalizes it, drags it around, seems to almost kick it or step on it a bit...

So even this scene is par for the course in terms of self-punishment. This scene is James saying to himself, "You bastard, you animal, you perverted son of a bitch, you should die for being so selfish as to keep thinking about sex when your wife was dying. What kind of monster (James-as-mannequin) would do such a thing?" He shouldn't feel such searing guilt, because he controlled those desires even at their strongest, but he no doubt occasionally wished they could make wild, energetic love again when it was clearly impossible.

Probably a few times while she was telling him about her fears and pains, he couldn't focus very well on what she was saying; his hormones were raging enough that he had to fight the urge to throw himself at her, and he of course kept silent and repressed these urges in order to be sensitive to her, which surely breeded some resentment, and that resentment caused guilt.

So, while James wouldn't have raped his ailing wife, his biological urges and guilt over murdering her combine to a scene where his castrated, clothed, soulless representative-- mannequin--is prevented from completing its crime and summarily dispatched by his chosen judge in Pyramid Head. He, in a sense, 'protects' Mary through barriers and self-neutering while simultaneously insulting his own manhood and brutalizing himself.

Interesting that all of the monsters in Silent Hill seem to be mouthless. Since James, not just Mary, is represented as a mannequin, and Pyramid Himself has no mouth and no voice, but Maria does, perhaps this isn't about James's objectification of Mary, but rather, another reminder of James's sexual repression and denial.

Monobrow wrote:
James was a selfish person, but humans are all selfish, to a certain extent. This can be healthy, because we all have needs that we need met...James was cut off from many of these needs for three years. He endured no fulfillment, and a feeling of intense helplessness, for a good part of three years. James was human...with weakness and desires just like any one else. But he was also a very loving person. He stuck it out for a long time, and he dearly loved Mary, but there are times when people just "lose it" somewhat, and defense mechanisms take over.


I agree emphatically with this. In fact, now that I think about it, I'd envision James killing Mary when he had been sitting up with her for several days or more, which fits very closely with several things--how devoted and how obsessive he was in his love for Mary, how strong the subconcious element is in Silent Hill 2, and the fact that lack of sleep can cause extremely bad decision-making as well as hallucinations and other manifestations of insanity. It doesn't actually make you insane, but there is no question that it makes you not yourself... even slight lack of sleep can make you grumpy and stressed. As an insomniac, I know I'm definitely not myself when I haven't slept enough. Imagine what months of improper sleep from worrying and caring for a sick, frightened, bitter and agonized spouse would do to a person. I don't think James was merely emotional when he killed Mary--I think he was also screwed up physically and mentally from not taking care of himself. That seems pretty standard in a case like this.

Other ideas to support the lack of sleep... when I haven't slept in a while, I become even more naturally pale--at least when we see him in the real world prodding his face in the mirror, James is SO pale, and it doesn't look natural, it looks deeply unhealthy and purplish-grey. He isn't emaciated, so he was clearly not starving; probably eating to keep himself going, which is how I get when I haven't slept enough; I eat more than usual so that I don't get too sleepy to continue what I'm doing. He was probably eating a lot and running to build muscle and relieve stress. I know a guy who always thought he would be okay if he ran a while, pushed himself a little farther, got a little stronger, etc. It was unhealthy, but it was his coping mechanism. Subtle factors, but hey, it's Konami--I wouldn't put it past 'em. I think James is this type of man... athleticism is a refuge for him, and he refuses to need sleep when Mary needs him.

I also agree with Krist's theory of alcoholism. Put those factors together, and the idea that a loving husband could do what James did seems a lot more plausible. James is still responsible for drinking, as is anyone who commits a crime under the influence, because he chose to drink, but this is another morphing factor which made it possible for a normally decent man who loved his wife to surrender to the urge to make his wife's pain stop by any means necessary. Even murder.

The only thing I disagree with somewhat is that Mary didn't want to die like that. I'm simply not sure she didn't. I think she didn't want to die if she had the choice but I think sometimes she wanted her suffering to end, and what enabled James to do it is earnestly believing that killing Mary this way might be easier on her. That rather than suffering worse and worse, longer and longer, creating pain for both of them, risking her dying while he was at the store or asleep, he would make sure she was NOT alone when she died. That she did NOT continue to suffer and feel bitterness and sadness and fear. That she didn't have to know when it was coming and dread the end in sight the closer it came. There were, of course, selfish reasons on James's part, but I think that there were these (unselfish) reasons as well.

I remember how I felt when my grandmother was dying. A part of me, too, wished she would just get it over with, in a sense... just die. Some of it was so that my pain would end and I could start grieving, but I felt horribly guilty for feeling that way, and it didn't influence the decisions I made. I acknowledged my feelings, but knew what I felt had no place in the choice that had to be made. My dad legally made the choice, but all of us would've made the same decision if it had fallen on us--do not resuscitate. Do not crack that frail little old lady's chest open. We knew she'd awhile ago said she didn't want life support or extreme means to be kept alive, but honestly, we couldn't completely know whether she felt that way deep down or still felt that way. So we didn't base it on our feelings, or entirely on her feelings, but rather, on what would be most likely to cause her pain and whether it would be worth anything. As the doctors told us, if they drained her organs, if they cracked her chest open, she would only live a little while longer before the fluid returned and she would die in horrible, horrible pain. The least painful death, for her, would be to slowly lose her ability to breathe while remaining on the pain medication she was taking.

It's not an easy decision for anyone, to have the life of someone you love in your hands. I can only imagine how much worse it would be to hear that your young loved one is going to die, it's inevitable, and it WILL be both slow and painful. The end of their life is going to just get more and more and more excruciating. That's how they're going to leave this world, not in peace, but in constant agony.

Hearing Mary cry, hearing her cough, hearing her beg him for help he couldn't give... it could easily drive a person into a frenzy of desperation to DO something. And the only thing that a person can do in that futile situation is end the suffering. I do not believe in suicide, actually... I am firmly against suicide and especially assisted suicide due to the potential for mistakes and dangerous abuse of the idea. But this isn't about platforms or ethics. It's about a personal story in which a man made a choice he deeply, deeply regrets. Mary herself was too afraid and confused to decide whether she should live in pain or face the inevitable sooner than she had to, he felt the burden was on him to decide for her. She pleaded with him to do something, and he did. Something he unquestionably feels was unforgivable.


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 26 Dec 2004
Notes left: 2571
Last seen at: Insomnia land, where I am Queen!
Wow, very well said everyone. These were all so nicely worded and I agree. Grief, helplessness, despair....all of these things can make you do things you normally would not. Nicely done, Krist. You brought up a very intelligent point, and it was supported by several other well worded responses. I love it here!

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Subway Guard
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Missing since: 28 Jan 2005
Notes left: 1696
Last seen at: Калинингра́д, Россия
Thanks, Krist., I enjoyed reading this.
Mostly because I get tired of the bitching about James, also. I guess people just can't see that there's more to the story than "He killed her, that bastardOMGZ0rZ!!11"

Excellent job, five gold stars. :wink:


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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
Notes left: 12943
Last seen at: The Wand'ring Wood
Awww, Peachy, Robbie, you guys are sweet. :> I really didn't expect two pages' worth of pats on the back and kind words. Thanks, everyone. I kind of wish I took the time to rewrite it and make it more eloquent/better phrased, though... it's a little embarrassing to keep it up as I'd written it years ago..

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 26 Dec 2004
Notes left: 2571
Last seen at: Insomnia land, where I am Queen!
It is very well written, Krist. You did a wonderful job explaining James' character. I wouldn't be embarrassed at all. :)

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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 12 Feb 2006
Notes left: 143
Last seen at: Devon
just one thing, some of the quotes arent the same as on my game, is this due to different versions of the game? sorry to change the subject, you obviously put a lot of effort into this, and i am very impressed.
well done!

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
Notes left: 12943
Last seen at: The Wand'ring Wood
There were no different versions released. The only thing different, as far as I know, were the languages (Japanese subtitles or English subtitles). And I used the game script for the quotes, so I'm more than certain, if not totally positive, that they're directly from the game.

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Subway Guard
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Missing since: 20 Jul 2004
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"If REALLY he got rid of her because he didn't want to deal with her anymore and because she was too much of a burden on him, I highly doubt he'd be so miserable and forlorn. When he asks about Mary to Angela, Maria, Eddie and Laura he seems so desperate, so pain-stricken the conclusion many/all come to is that he truly misses this woman. As he said, "I'd do anything to be with her again." If he killed her because he got tired of her, why would those words come out of his mouth? Why would he even bother to conjure a delusion of hope?"

The thing is, he didn't know what he had done until after he saw the videotape, which comes at the end of the game. it's not like he was walking around SH, interacting with everyone and KNEW what he had done to Mary. So the whole "guilt" thing doesn't even come into play. What's he got to feel guitly about? he doesn't even know he did anything wrong.

When he's around Maria, the reason why he's not all over her is because he's in SH searching for his dead wife that he thinks could possibly be alive. He thinks Mary died of some disease 3 years ago and is all confused as to why he JUST got a letter from her. So he's now confused and questioning himself about if she really died or not.

I dont see how the pyramid head raping the mannequins is James' mind purging itself of him killing Mary. if anything, his mind purged or erased that fact long before we see that PH scene.

As far as the speech Mary gave him (when he brought flowers), like you said, there's no concrete fact to prove either or. He could've heard the whole speech or maybe he didn't. I believe he did and like many other things, James forgot about the speech and recollected it after he found out that he had killed Mary.

Im not doubting that James felt guilt for what he had done, i just don't agree with you as to when he felt it and as to how it affected his decisions. As far as him being selfish?? I think he was in a sense. I think he killed Mary partly because he wanted his life back and partly because he didn't want to see her suffer anymore.

The whole wedding vows argument seems like a "cop-out" In fact, that argument sort of validates him as being a selfish person. making it seem like he doesnt take his vows seriously and just said "fuck it" and did what he had to do cos he got sick and tired of Mary and her illness.


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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 18 Apr 2006
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Wow, that's a really good theory Krist, it's exactily what I took away from the game about James. I think we are supposed to empathise with James, because he is not a bad man, just a really good man who made a very bad mistake. James knew what he did from the beginning, but he had cast it into the deep recesses of his sub-concious. Everything that was manifested in Silent Hill is the projection of this sub-concious guilt. He looks for Mary at Rosewater Park, but knows she cannot be there, so he "creates" Maria.

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 27 Aug 2003
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Quote:
The thing is, he didn't know what he had done until after he saw the videotape, which comes at the end of the game. it's not like he was walking around SH, interacting with everyone and KNEW what he had done to Mary. So the whole "guilt" thing doesn't even come into play. What's he got to feel guitly about? he doesn't even know he did anything wrong.


Actually he did knew what he'd done. Take into consideration the line James says once he leaves the hospital: "Mary, are you really waiting for me? Or is this your way of taking..." Revenge would be the word James was going to say at the end of that sentence. Why would Mary take revenge on him if he didn't know he'd done anything wrong? James certainly knew what he did, he knew it deep down and it was inside his head all along. To suggest he was completely ignorant of what he did is.. well, silly.

Quote:
I dont see how the pyramid head raping the mannequins is James' mind purging itself of him killing Mary. if anything, his mind purged or erased that fact long before we see that PH scene.


You don't see, I do see it. *shrug*

Quote:
The whole wedding vows argument seems like a "cop-out" In fact, that argument sort of validates him as being a selfish person. making it seem like he doesnt take his vows seriously and just said "fuck it" and did what he had to do cos he got sick and tired of Mary and her illness.


I agree, that wedding vows nonsense is a cop-out and I reacted pretty much the same as you when I heard someone bring it up.

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Just Passing Through
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Missing since: 07 May 2006
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Last seen at: England
Wow i really enjoyed reading through these few pages, i was getting a bit sick of the James bashing, and you pretty much summed up what i think about the guy. Well done :D

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Cafe5to2 Waitress
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Missing since: 19 Feb 2006
Notes left: 246
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Wow, that was an awesome theory. I always love reading well thought out, meaty, fleshed out theories - wow I sound like a cannibal!

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Historical Society Historian
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Missing since: 26 Dec 2004
Notes left: 2571
Last seen at: Insomnia land, where I am Queen!
I really loved this topic as well. Not nearly as much as I love that Sailor Moon avatar Krist has going on though. I want it for an LJ icon.
But back on topic a bit, at what point did James say "Mary, are you really waiting for me? Or is this your way of taking..." ? I don't remember him saying that at all.

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