I Will Cry If I Want To
Hunched up, knees pulled up to my chest.
The sofa, the old standard lamp, and myself.
I am hiding.
You can’t see me here, the sofa with its old gold tassels shrouds me from the window.
I wish I could draw the curtains.
The doorbell rings again. The chime they had chosen, soft and melodic.
It never has been.
Rocking, back and forth, I can build momentum. I can rock myself out of here.
It rings again.
I am on the bridge of a power plant, when evacuation is in process.
The warning system blasts like a siren.
A siren inserted into my brain.
It is in my brain.
I feel sick.
My head is heavy.
I will topple.
The lights flash like lightening bolts.
My limbic system has caught fire.
Heavy footsteps trample my neurons.
My brain shakes on its axis.
It vibrates in my skull.
It was made of glass.
The glass had just blown.
The door rattles.
Could the person outside slip through the letterbox, is that possible?
The doorbell rings, again.
Someone’s finger, stuck. They will destroy me with an innocent song.
What do they want?
Please go away.
I WANT TO SCREAM.
Don’t scream, they will know you’re here.
It still keeps going.
My chest is tight.
My arm is numb.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
This is what a heart attack feels like.
Call an ambulance.
I can’t leave the sofa.
This is the only safe place.
Don’t take it away.
Don’t soil it by death.
I think they heard me.
My back, pressed tight against the door of the cupboard behind me.
My brain is on the floor.
Shards of glass glisten in the light.
Can I turn the light off?
How do you put a brain back together again?
Humpty Dumpty never managed it.
No one teaches you how to reconstruct ones mind when it has crashed.
I creep from behind the sofa and into the kitchen.
The blinds are open.
Could the person come through the gate at the front, walk around to the back of the house?
Peer through the window.
It’s had bird shit on it for weeks.
Can’t be bothered to help clean it.
That Starling knows the world has turned to shit.
We have a symbiotic relationship, the birds, and me.
Should put on a drama in the garden, invite everyone, and create a stage out of cardboard boxes. Rig some lights up. Cook some sausage rolls.
What do I have in my cupboard?
I don’t eat beetroot.
Why do have ten jars of this stuff?
Who bought ten jars of vile pickled beetroot?
A memory floods my brain.
It still works.
I rub it, my brain, I rub it and whisper thank you.
I bought the jars.
There was a party.
I went to the supermarket for party food and bought a whole array of snacks I didn’t like.
She tried to throw it all out.
Threw it all into a black bag, walked out to the dustbin with a frown, and muttered something.
They don’t understand.
My party killed by black plastic and a woman with a perm.
Completely offensive behaviour, ruin ones fun just because your cupboard is tight for space.
‘You can’t keep buying this stuff’.
‘You bought ten copies of the same book last week’.
I needed ten copies I said.
People don’t understand the pressure.
Pressure in the brain.
Do as you’re told.
Buy. Buy. BUY.
Maybe a book in party bag would be a good idea.
Forget a yoyo and a party popper.
Forget cake and a mini box of Smarties.
A book on the First World War will go down nicely.
Where are the books?
They were stacked up here.
Now just a pile of clothes, shirts like Pat Butcher wears in Eastenders.
Where did they come from?
I look down.
I am dressed like Pat Butcher.
Do I think this a good look?
Have I been out?
Did someone fall over they were laughing so much?
I had cried.
I had cried about people not understanding fashion and innovation, not understanding creativity and colour and form.
My head had been in someone’s lap.
Whose lap though?
Gaps in my memory, days lost, weeks lost.
Space and time exploding like an asteroid in my brain.
No linear dimension to give assistance to the filing system.
Memory banks minus the glue.
Nothing to use as a hook to recollect ones life.
Bipolar Affective Disorder.
That’s what they call it.
Beetroot and parties and WW1 in your cupboard.
Odd clothes and birds taking a shit.
Windows and breath that comes in gulps.
Numb arms and tight chests.
Blown brains and shards of glass.
Sirens and lights.
I can hear it.
I can hear the doorbell.
It’s ringing again.
The person has come back.
They are persistent this one.
Oh, actually, do you want to come to a party?
Henrietta Ross is a freelance writer living in rural Scotland. When she is not metaphorically dumping her writing in impromptu places, you can either find her leaving your local charity shop with a wheelbarrow to transport the books, occasionally trying active mediation in a field as she wanders after sheep or dancing absurdly to cheesy eighties music, because like Rockwell, she thinks somebody IS watching.
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