They sat there in the darkness, nestled up against her heart. She
couldn't feel them, or if she could they felt normal. It was like
feeling your toes; they'd always been there so of course they
felt normal. They were quiet, they wouldn't ruin her life yet,
they'd wait until the world had hopes for her and then they'd
crush her. For now they pressed closer against her heart, causing
it to stutter and scream out for help. No one could hear, and no
one would until things were much too late.
Sophie leaned over the toilet, her chest heaving as she lost more
food than she'd eaten that day. Hell she thought, staring down
into the bowl, more than she'd eaten that week. Panting, she
tried to breath through it. To cope the way they'd tried to teach
her; a deep breath in and out, picture yourself somewhere else.
They were idiots.
How did it help to try and take yourself out of the picture? She
was the only thing that stayed constant throughout all of this.
She was the only thing she could truly trust. She took a deep
breath anyway and lied. "I got bitten by a rare spider. The
venom will work its way through my body, and it will hurt but
when it goes away I'll be powerful. I'll be Cat woman and nothing
will be able to hurt me."
She said it out loud. She always spoke the lies; it was just a
thought if you kept it inside. Just a wild imagination on yet
another trip into a fantasy world that didn't involve the
sickness. If she said it, it was more real, even if her current
fantasy was one she could never believe. It didn't matter. It was
a chant she could chorus in the back of her mind, a secret
provision of strength she could keep with her. Heaving she
leaned back over the bowl.
"One day" she choked, "It will be just like this, but I'll throw
up swirling blackness and it will be all of the pain and all of
the sickness. I'll reach out," she moved her hand with her
story," right into the bowl and touch it. It'll flow up my arm
and into my skin and then I'll have magic in the hand that
touched it." She opened her eyes, snapping back to reality as
her finger traced the vomit in the bowl. Making a face she wiped
it off onto some toilet paper.
Falling back against the wall she curled up into a ball. She
hated this new medicine, It made everything hurt. The last one
had just made her tired but this? It was like having a war inside
her body, the armies hitting her as much as the hit each other;
tearing her up where no one could see it. This hurt in way that
her parents couldn't understand. The doctor was less than
useless. He watched this pain, he didn't experience it and his
condescending tone only went so far in helping her cope with it.
She was frozen in a reality she didn't belong to, a reality that
gripped her and punished her daily for daring to be born. She'd
be willing to be always be normal; to be normal she'd suffer this
much pain each and every day. But feeling this constant
oppressing agony daily and being unable to run or dance or even
move that well most days. She could handle being sick if she had
beautiful legs, if she didn't have to consider her clothes three
times as carefully as most girls her age.
She could handle dealing with the physical things if she didn't
have to suffer this level of excruciating pain. She had to deal
with all of this and it wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that her
friends always ended up feeling as though she were holding them
back. It wasn't fair that she got bullied for being different
while she suffered a pain none of them could possibly understand.
Did they seriously think she'd choose this if she had the choice?
That if she had the choice she' want these legs, and this heart
and this pain.
Were they honestly stupid enough to think that she wanted to sit
at her desk swaying, with blurry vision, refusing to let the
teacher see. Demanding the exact same treatment as everyone else,
even when she needed more. Did they think she enjoyed sneaking
through the house at three in the morning to throw up, hoping she
didn't wake her parents? Knowing they had enough to worry about.
She clenched her eyes even more tightly closed to stop the tears
falling; trying to control her breath and calm down her rising
hysteria. She was just so tired. She protected everyone from
this, and by the end of the day she had nothing left to help
herself. No way to shield herself from the hurt, and it was
Tomorrow was Sunday she thought sleepily, tomorrow Dad would cook
pancakes and Mum and Tyson would get out a board game and they'd
act as if nothing was wrong. Ty would joke and make her laugh and
for a few hours everything would be ok.
Smiling she closed her eyes and drifted off, her body slumping
against the cold tiles as she breathed out.
They sat there in the darkness, nestled against her heart. It's
screaming finally quiet. They weren't all there, some lost to the
fight with doctors and their blades, but there were enough. They
crushed themselves against her heart even more desperately,
needing to get as much of its warmth as they could before it
faded fully. They were finally home.