Part 10

We get married and I start using drugs again. At first you don’t notice, I snort, no needles, you don’t notice. I only do it when you’re not around, I have my secret stash that you don’t know about. I spend my days high and you come home while I’m sleeping it off. I always sleep a lot so you don’t suspect anything.

You start working late. Very late. I start using more. Snorting is not enough, I start shooting it up, I can’t tell what I did most days, I only know you’re not there, not besides me, not fixing me up like you promised. You smell of a different cologne every day, I’m too high to suspect anything.

Then I see you. Through the car window, there you are. With a man. My heart starts beating faster than ever, I can’t believe my eyes. You come out of the car, straightening your skirt, pulling up your stockings. You check your lipstick on the side view mirror and walk to the door. I’m standing on the balcony railing.

You come in and find me. You scream. I look at you. I’m standing so close to the edge.

Part 9

The social worker looks at me as if I was trash. I try to purge myself but all that comes out is filth, I can’t open my mouth without the filth pouring out. The clean, white halls in this building mirror my image, my shattered image, my lips are chapped and I weigh 38 kilos. You’ve arranged this for me, you’ve arranged for all these sessions, you’ve arranged for my health to be looked after, but I don’t think they can help me, I don’t need help. All I need is for you to come back.

The social worker tries to calm me down but I punch her in the face, I can feel my wrist breaking, the last of my heart go dark.

You run to the police station, you yell at me, you cover me in your arms and kiss me, all I can do is punch myself, again and again, you’ve come back but your face is disappointed, I can’t stand to see you this way.

 

Finally you’re back. Last year of med school, you’re about to graduate, you’ve bought us a beautiful apartment by the lake, you’ve got flowers in your hair and mascara around your soul, you’re about to save people’s lives, you stroke my hair while we watch the sunset. I curl up into a ball, so safe, so secure, falling through your arms.

You hide the letters that come in. From the police, from the social workers, from schools and jobs you’ve tried to get me into. I don’t need to see them to know what they say, they state I’m a failure, I’m a nuisance, I shouldn’t be allowed to live if I’m only going to waste precious tax dollars. I cry, I can’t help it, I can’t help to be a disappointment to everyone. I really try, I tell you and you know I’m telling the truth, you can always tell if I’m telling the truth.

When you finally graduate we have everything. We have the apartment, we have each other, you’re making money, I’m wasting tax dollars. You organize the flowers every day, I don’t understand how you have energy after a long work day, I barely have energy to take a shower before I go to the balcony to smoke. You tell me to keep hanging on, you keep telling me one day everything’s going to be beautiful, that one day we’ll fix me, that one day I’m going to have it all.

Part 8

I’m running. My sneakers have holes and I can feel pebbles in my shoes, I can feel my feet bleeding in the shoe too small for me. I’m running to the shore, to the big rock, but you’re not there. Tears fall down my face, I’m trying to look normal, I light up a cigarette and people look at me like I’m trash. I climb to sit on the big rock, my arms so thin you can put your thumb and index finger around them.

It’s summer, the lake alive, the colours so invasive I can’t comprehend it. I’m just trying to think, feel, anything, while you’re gone. You call me every day to make sure I sleep, to make sure I eat, to make sure I breathe, you’re busy with your studies, it’s the third year of med school and that’s a tough one, you keep saying with tears in your eyes when I yell at you.

I look at the lake and think about drowning myself, I light up another cigarette and cry. My walls are alive and I can’t shut them up. My basement apartment feels like a cage, smaller than ever before without you in it. You try to remind me you’ll be back in no time, that this is only temporary, that you just need to do the internship while I fall through the floor.

Part 7

Those days are now past. It’s autumn and we’re back to school. We sit at the back of the classroom, autumn air coming through the crack in the window. It’s our last year of high school before university. You already know what you’re going to do, you’re going to be a doctor and heal people and give them hope. I have no idea what I’m going to be, I can’t focus on anything except you, you’re the only thing I want. You tell me I should look into writing classes but I think you’re just saying that to be nice.

Each day that passes I feel stronger and stronger about you. I skip classes because I can’t keep up. I go to the doctor and they give me more pills. You bring me apples and make sure I eat. I have no idea why you keep me so well, why you take care of me, and I cry at night when you’re not with me. When you see me cry for the first time you hug me and kiss me, and then it happens. You tell me you love me. And it breaks my heart.

I don’t say I love you.

 

Last day of school, you’re graduating with top scores and you’re wearing a white dress like an angel. Your hair is white and long, it sways in the wind. I stand further back, dressed in torn jeans and a hoodie. My scores were too low to pass, the principal made some stuff up, just to get me out of her face I’m sure.

You have a job for the summer, I don’t. I wait for you to come by, but sometimes you work late and I don’t see you all day. I stop eating. I panic and cry and write on my walls. I can see them caving in, and I can’t stop it. Only you can keep the monsters away.

Sometimes you find me in the middle of the night, you have your own key, I’m sleeping on the floor, wrapped in your favourite sweater, I’ve started drinking again. The ashtrays are full of cigarette dumps, my life in shatters. All I live for is you.

Part 6

Every day you meet me by the big rock at the shore. Every day after you’re done with work. I don’t work, I weight 42 kilos and have to take 7 different medications daily. You don’t care, you smile at me, a smile so bright it even beats the midsummer sun. Every day you grab my hand, hold me tight and press your soft lips against mine. You bring me food, strawberries, and make sure I eat. You make sure I take my pills at the right time. You make sure I breathe.

Every day we go to my apartment, my small basement apartment with a window with bars. At first I’m ashamed to take you there, I haven’t cleaned up in weeks, the flat smells of mildew and my walls are plastered in post its and pieces of paper that contain random scribbles and drawings and mostly nothing makes sense. The first time I take you there I’m so nervous I feel like vomiting, I can’t hold it together and I think you can tell. I open the door and the stink comes out so strong. You don’t mind, you step in and your presence warms up the place. Without asking you start cleaning up, my dirty clothes go into the bin, the beer cans and pill bottles into the recycling. But what makes it all better is your radiance, the beautiful light shining right through you, illuminating everything around you.

I lie down on my bed and you join me on my freshly washed sheets. You hug me and kiss me and tell me everything’s going to be okay. And I trust you. I trust you. We fall asleep and you cradle me on your branches.

Part 5

From that day onwards, you visit every day. You bring me food and sweets. Your hands are soft when they touch mine, and they take me to places I’ve never been in. We talk about the world and how things are. You don’t ask me questions about what happened, I think you know at least something. Maybe the nurse told you. I don’t care either way, I’m happy you’re by my side.

 

July 17th is a warm day. We run out together. I have decided I’m ok and we escape. We run, smiling and laughing. I keep imagining the fat nurse’s face when she finds my empty bed. By the time she does, we’ll have escaped and our plan has worked perfectly.

The escape car waits outside. It’s yours, you’re already 18, it’s more expensive than I can ever afford. I sit on the passenger’s seat, and you drive us to the beach. The sun is setting. It’s the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen.

This is the important moment. This is the moment that changes everything from that point onwards. You look into my eyes, I can feel myself blushing. I say I have to tell you something. You say what is it. I tell you I think I’m in love with you. You look into my eyes, seriously. You unfasten your seat belt and sit back, staring into the sunset. I’m scared, I can’t move, what’s going to happen? Did I ruin it? I start touching my hair like I do when I’m nervous and your high heels make a sound when you turn towards me. I’m wearing my shorts and a tank top.

Then it happens. You take my head between your soft hands, and you lean in. I can’t believe my luck has changed. My heart is pounding and I can barely breathe from anxiety and happiness at the same time. You grab me by my hips and pull me towards you. We kiss, your lips taste of watermelon and I’m thinking how I haven’t showered in days. But my hair’s grown back, and I’m not as skinny anymore, and you pull me to the backseat. I simply can’t believe what’s going on when you take off my shirt and start taking off my bra. I’m crying, we keep making out, and your hands are everywhere.

This is where I belong, I think and take of your shirt and bra, you’re skinny but in a different way than I am, you look healthy and your collar bones are beautifully sticking out of your flesh.

You whisper in my ear and from that moment onwards, we’re one.

Part 4

This is the day everything changes. I’m lying on the hospital bed, small and weak, nurses coming and going, checking on me, my blood, my fluid levels. I hear them murmuring they’re surprised I’m not dead. One of them keeps hiding the needles and I don’t understand why. I see them talking in the hallway, the fat one looks at me through the door that’s ajar, and looks at someone I can’t see.

The door opens and in walks the sunshine. It’s you. Your radiance enlightens me, and I almost cry out of happiness.

You ask me how I am and I’m not sure how to answer. How am I? I nod and you smile. I ask why you’re here, with all the courage I have in the world, I get it uttered out. You tell me you were worried about me after seeing what happened.

I don’t know what happened, I say and you look surprised. You called me, I continue, your eyebrows move down a notch. You tell me you didn’t call me, but I insist. You ask to show my phone but I don’t have it anymore. I lost it somewhere, possibly in the lake. You show me yours and there’s no record of the call. I think you deleted it.

We talk for a long time. I am suddenly feeling filled with joy, such immense joy, I’ve never felt like such in my life. Sun’s starting to set, the last rays of light filtering through the murky window, you glance outside and it’s summer, the most beautiful time of the year, you start to get up and I ask you to stay. You look at me again, with tenderness in your eyes, and explain you’ll visit again. Your shadow leaves the room but your spirit stays. I breathe in the warm summer air that flows in through the open window and smile. The fat nurse looks at me through the crack in the door again.