I fall asleep while reading and my sister takes my books and gives me coffee when I wake up.
They create cards
and come to show me and I muster enthusiasm because they are trying to help.
I stick their pictures on my bedroom wall and read the messy writing at night and,
in some ways it helps.
I text my twin from doctor’s surgeries where the trainee nurse looks like Black Panther
and the doctor asks me to count the dots on the ceiling while he injects me with something to help the pain.
I still fall asleep on the sofa.
In front of the TV.
Before and after dinner.
We pray and pray but God has other ideas
and doesn’t take my pain away yet.
We change my diet and mum
and tries everything she can.
I eat more vegetables
and sardines on toast
and slowly I don’t need as much medication.
My little sister sits with me
and makes Christmas presents in June
and we listen to Christmas music
and we ignore our older brother being a grinch.
We play the same CD every time we are in the car,
we pretend to complain but actually love it because we all sing along together as a family.
I turn 16 and celebrate with cake and books and our best friends.
I feel sick by the end and my head is kind of spinning,
but mum brings out doughnuts and sweets and we stay up late watching
horror films and hiding under duvets until they have gone home.
And I have to drag myself to bed.
We carve pumpkins and take pictures of leaves and go swimming
and walk the same route on Box Hill every time but it never grows old.
We curl up with hot chocolate and biscuits every Sunday
and watch the Good Life and White Collar
and films we forgot existed.
We go to church and sit together until it is time for youth.
We discuss the sermon on the way home
and ooh and aah over what happened at Sunday school.
We open our doors to friends who need a bed, and we make enough food for the thousands.
And sometimes it feels like there are.
We make tortillas and throw them across the room and pretend that it’s the poshest thing we could do.
We chat and shout and laugh and stick our tongues out at older brothers who want us to be quiet.
And I’m tired afterwards but it’s okay because it makes me feel more alive.