When she woke up there were strands of hair everywhere. There was a moment of wild panic as she straightened things out in her mind, and then collapsed back into bed. Her eyes stared up listlessly, coated with a dull film.
There were times when I read books about adventure, when I explored forests on my bike.
Her room was a jumble of things that frightened her. She would count the number of boxes it would take to sort everything out, to pack everything in and it would number in thousands. Small boxes for the rocks and shells and a giant one for her bed. Sometimes before she fell into a restless sleep she would see the lid come down neatly over her in her bed. A rubber hot water bottle lay next to her bed within arm’s reach. It was a wobbly and fleshy pink, like the inside of some innocent young animal. There were no pictures of people in her room, only lonely and bleak landscapes. Hope to her was forever a forbidden drug, and hope to her was a deep and encompassing sorrow. It wasn’t truly sorrow, it was sorrow and anger and a cruel pleasure all mixed up together.
I shaved my head when I was seventeen and my mother said what if it never grows back?
A stuffed pig lay next to her. She called it Maurice. She had stopped answering texts, emails, calls, letters. Everything had been stopped months ago. The front door was battered but silent as she lay in a nest of glossy hair. The wardrobe was shut but there were sounds coming from inside it – like slow, deep breathing.
Father is in the wardrobe, curled and powerless. He speaks in Morse and he cannot understand anything. He gets violent and bangs on the walls around him sometimes, but they are too strong. He screams, less and less frequently. He mostly runs on the spot inside the wardrobe now. There is a yellow lamp in the corner which he gazes at and croons to.
She watched him with regret sometimes, connected to him by some primal thread. They looked into each other’s eyes and saw other lives reflected back.
A girl I knew told me once that if you tore a little bit off a butterfly’s wings it would fly faster.
She had never known pain, she just thought she had. The things she created shone dully, peering through black cobwebs.