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Liv Sokolov
#1
Olivia was born to Igor and Katerina Sokolov in the fall of 2023. Her parents worked hard to provide a safe home for her and her younger brother Andrei. 

Katerina was an AI analyst, responsible for evaluating and treating the various AIs created and used in the tech field. Being exposed to the vastness of the the internet (and its users), AIs could be (rather easily) influenced to adopt racist, bigoted, homophobic or even violent idealogies. Protections and ethical guidelines had to be programmed in and its "mental" health monitored.

Even so, being an emergent intelligence of complexity, a gestalt of massive stacks of programming, learning algorithms, and hardware layers, their evaluation and maintenance came under the care of what could essentially be seen as AI therapists using holistic probing methodologies.

Igor, by contrast, owned a florist shop, delighting in creating artistic renditions with living plants.

Together, professions night and day, they created a home of warmth and love and peace for Liv and Andrei, a place where thet could pursue their dreams and be secure in discovering who they were.

Olivia's first crush was a girl named Ling. She was 11. She was shy about telling her Mother. At the same time, she had never been afraid to share her feelings with her before before. Mother, though, noticed she wasn't herself and asked her to walk with her to the market. Along the way they stopped at a coffeeshop and sat down, away from the icy cold. The warmth was inviting and mother so kind and gentle. She confessed to her about her feelings.

And that was that. No drama. No speeches. Just content acceptance. Mother must have told father, but if so Olivia never knew when. Father never treated her any differently.

So when she'd worked up the courage to ask a girl to be her date to a dance a year or two later, no one batted an eye lash.

Liv loved working with her father in his shop. The flowers and plants were so beautiful, especially when arranged so wonderfully under his eye.

She was drawn to beauty. By the end of school, she was determined to be an artist. She painted on canvas, sketched using charcoal on paper, and scultped with clay. Each medium seemed to have its own temperment and feel. And she loved discovering what thqt uniqueness was. And she took piano and guitar lessons just because.

She was generally happy. Mostly. The one dark memory being Alana. Her best friend since childhood. She was 17 when she realized her feelings for Alana had changed. They had grown. Her heart ached when they were apart. And when together she was in a different kind of hell, as she wondered and hoped and prayed  for her feelings to be returned. Every word, every playful laugh or joke was now looked at through desperate lenses.

An attempted kiss ended it for then. Alana tried, she did. But it was just too weird after that. They could never get back to normal. And Liv couldnt just make herself stop feeling that way.

Her first year as an art major at university should have been a time for fun and exploration. But the loss of Alana- her best friend and first love- crippled her. It was so easy to get lost in school and just be an introvert.

Laila changed that. Fiery. Exciting. Free. She was everything Liv imagined. They moved fast, eventually living together. And for the first year or two it was good. Mostly. When she ignored warning signs.

Toxic relationships are not so clear when a person is in them, she realized later.

She was at the end, wanting to die. She couldnt go home. She was too ashamed. She couldn't explain to anyone. She was no longer an art major, even. And she was always hiding. She couldnt face them.

Wandering Krutitsky Monestary near the Kremlin, trying to find God somewhere among the trees and buildings, she instead found herself under a stone stairway. On her knees sobbing, she finalky opened her heart, pouring our her soul to God. Her last rites. She was done.

And God, in his infinite kindness sent his angel, her wings quiet and warm, enveloping her with comfort. As if in vision, the world lit up. Like God was showing her the true beauty of life as he saw things.

And she grasped, clinging to that.The peace and strength of God enfolded her. And it was enough.

Days later, in her childhood bed, God finally let go. But it had been enough. She had found the courage to leave. She fell ill for days, but father and mother never left her side.

And after she got better, eventually she was out again. Soon she started her classes- in Microbiology now. And after that, took a job at a coffee shop. Her family, her school, her job. That was her world.

And it was enough. Occasionally, she feels God's angel near her. Usually after she pours her heart out in prayer. She smiles when that happens. She knows she is not alone.
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