In My Thoughts
He kissed her softly on her forehead and wordlessly swept away a strand of stray hair from her face. Then Patrick picked up his keys from the coffee table and inched the apartment door closed. This
left Sophie and I alone, with only each other for company, though neither of us were pleased with the arrangement. As long as Sophie was here, so was I and as long as I was here, neither of us were
happy; which was all of the time.
Sophie grabbed her box from underneath the old, worn-out bed that was much too big for the room it occupied. While Sophie put on her running shoes and began her usual morning stretch, I tried to
make myself as inconspicuous and discreet as possible. I pressed myself up against the walls of my prison cell and tried to remain there flat and unnoticed, and as a way of occupying myself I
flipped back through the years of memories that had built up like they were photo albums.
Sophie stretched in front Of the three fold mirror and I could tell that she was getting annoyed that I wasn't allowing her to focus. Yet, all these precautions that seemed so unnecessary, they
bored me and what else was there for me to do? She despised it when I ever tried to start a conversation with her! Ignoring her, I continued to glide through my favourite memories, pausing at the
ones with the pretty colours that reminded me of heaven. I was momentarily distracted by the pinks and oranges of a sunset that I felt I had reached back through the centuries for. The same sunset
when Patrick first kissed us - well Sophie, considering that at that stage, no-one but Sophie herself knew about the voice in her head.
"Would you ever shut up?" Sophie growled at the mirror and in retaliation, I imagined the swallows that were tattooed on her wrist come alive and attack her. I imagined blood trickling down her
fingers and the drops of coppery, red liquid hitting the floor softly. In the mirror, all of this became real. However, I instantly regretted it and so stopped the torture before it inflicted any
"I'm sorry" I whispered and Sophie just nodded back while her eyes filled with tears.
"I really am sorry Sophie" I begged her to understand the sincerity of my words, but Sophie only clutched her left wrist, refusing to look back up at the mirror. She rose from the floor and began
the eleven step trek to the bathroom. With trembling hands, she swung open the medicine cabinet and reached for her tablets - the antipsychotic pills which she should have been taking, but wasn't,
and her anti-anxiety pills which she shouldn't have been taking, but was.
With just three pills, a gulp of water and several minutes, I was paralysed. Unable to speak or even think. I was left stationary there in the back of her mind. The tablets did exactly what it said
on the tin - silence me momentarily, but also made Sophie nauseous and dizzy, though the doctors never really tell you the side effects of their chalky white prescription pills.
It made me feel guilty, that she had to take those pills and feel that way. It made me feel guilty, that she had to take those pills in the first place. It wasn't her fault she was schizophrenic or
whatever other term the doctors had decided to label her with this week. She didn't deserve the constant conversation in her head or the numbness she felt whenever she was able to get rid of me
It took three moments of complete fatigue, a short break for air and several flights of stairs to get Sophie from her apartment to the New York streets below, the place where she was most at home.
The pounding of feet on pavement was comforting and had a rhythm to it. Left and right, then left and right again like the military marches, Sophie's father had been part of when she was young. Had
I been able to, I would have pulled up a photo of him from the vault in Sophie's head and described to you the greens and browns of his khaki uniform.
Running through the streets of New York, Sophie wound her way through the wide avenues and worn thoroughfare of a tired but sleepless city. Eventually the greyness and dreariness of the city turned
into a healthy and fresh green that was splattered in the centre of Manhattan and called Central Park. The tarmac turned to gravel which in turn turned to a cinder path that ran around the
I was beginning to wake up from my sleepy coma and start to take notice of my surroundings. "How come we're going this way?" I recognised that running by the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
wasn't our normal routine. "I wanted a change of scenery" She whispered back as she passed a couple of women sitting on a bench gossiping. "Were they talking abut us?" I growled in suspicious
complaint. Sophie tensed but ignored my somewhat paranoid concerns and so I let her get back to her run and just kept in the background.
The sound of birds chirping and rude cab drivers abusing their horns were the backdrop to city life here. So different from where Sophie and I had grown up together, in the unpolluted air and
rustic fields of Suffolk. The blue sky there had yet to be scraped and the street corners yet to be conquered by Starbucks. It was a completely different world to the one we now lived in, but the
problem was that I couldn't have chosen between them. I loved the thick smog of the city but also the autumnal colours of an English September.
With just another three laps, an over-sized pretzel bought off the corner of West 48th Street and several minutes fumbling with the key to our apartment, we were home again. In the cold silence,
Sophie dumped her things on the floor and walked aimlessly in circles around the cheap and broken furniture.
"What are you thinking about?" I asked more out of curiousness than anything but Sophie didn't answer. I was used to it now at this stage, asking these questions that never got answered. As Sophie
and I got older, our conversations got less frequent and the silences just got longer. I didn't realise it, but until I had openly asked Sophie to tell me what she was thinking, it hadn't occurred
to me that I couldn't hear it myself anymore.
Finally we ended up in the bathroom, with Sophie staring intently at the mirror above the sink. We stood there motionless for what seemed like hours, until finally the hinges creaked and the
dreaded medicine revealed itself. She picked the brown plastic bottle off the shelf and the lid came off with a pop. One tablet was followed by another and yet another, until I counted fifteen in
the palm of her left hand. they were an assortment of small diamond blues and bi-concave pinks.
Suddenly the mirror swung shut again and I was faced with a girl I could barely recognise. She was fearful of the world and suspicious of the people in it. She was tired and fed-up of the life she
led and how she was trapped by me. I found it ironic how we both felt imprisoned by each other, for the same reasons. The weight of the tablets in her hand was immense and solid.
Sophie grabbed a post-it note and a pen that had the end chewed off it. "I'm sorry" She wrote and stuck it to the edge of the mirror in the sitting room. She looked at the note for a while and I
could tell that she was contemplating whether she should write more; whether this would be enough of an explanation for Patrick, the man we were both in love with. The silence between us was sharp
and cutting - unnatural.
Within a moment, Sophie had swallowed all the pills. "Why are you doing this?" I pleaded with Sophie, pressing every disgusting image I could at her, in the hope that she would throw up.
"Don't you understand?" She shook her head. I took a gulp of air and it had a calming effect. "This way we can both be free. I'm saving us"
"What are you saving us from Sophie?" I whispered, afraid of what I thought the answer might be. She yawned as she sat down on the couch and watched the room come in and out of focus. She closed
her eyes and smiled.
"I'm saving us from ourselves."
© Copyright 2016 Lizzie Redwood. All rights reserved.
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