We buy too many books.
At least, that’s what dad says, but mum and I laugh and open packages
and they bring a smile to my face.
And I’m never too tired to look at a good book.
Some might say we’re obsessed.
But the books hold up the 200-year-old ceilings and cakes the walls with stories from lands that
can only exist in our imaginations.
I go to the library once a week
and borrow 6 books which I’ve finished by Tuesday
and mum hides them so I can study.
I write stories and poems and read them to everyone, and make up words and worlds and people
and it’s like they are my best friends.
Sometimes what I write is scary and dark. But that’s okay because at least I’m coping and creating.
I write a book by hand and it has pages of messy scribbles,
and I wonder if maybe I do have repetitive strain disorder
but the steroids didn’t work, so the doctor must be right.
Even though I don’t want
him to be.
I take a break from studying. I hoover the hallway
and lie on the sofa reading War and Peace before appointments.
And try not to fall asleep.
My sister goes to work and studies biology and learns sign language
and takes me shopping when she gets paid.
They pay for her to get first aid training
and put her with kids with learning difficulties
who love her
and she comes home with stories every day.
I sit on the sofa and listen and try to be happy for her while my mum understands how I’m feeling.
We celebrate GCSEs and Level Threes and take photos
and eat ice cream and pizza on a Saturday
We try to be quiet while watching films
and I train my illness to stop taking up so much space.
I try to stop taking up so much space.
I pretend to be myself for my sisters who do their best to understand but aren’t quite there
We redecorate my room with soft creams
and move me from the smaller room to the bigger one for my back.
I listen to the radio at midnight when I can’t sleep and stare at the Bible verses
we put on the wall.
I dream of who I used to be and who I thought I would be.
And come back to who I am when my head hurts too much.
A social justice warrior.
Sometimes I cry my eyes out in my mum’s bedroom.
I know her duvet as well as I know my own
and I snuggle down and sob myself until my eyes are swollen,
and I know that if I don’t stop, I won’t be
We watch Narnia and Merlin and Legally Blonde
and have dance parties in the kitchen when I am able.
We go to the pond.
To the woods.
We revel in nature
and how simple yet intrinsically beautiful
and complicated creation is.
My brother goes to college once a week
I go to my friend’s house,
and we eat noodles while watching Supernatural.
I come home before dark and eat dinner and
pull myself into bed where I lie and stare at the ceiling
and remember how life used to be
and wonder if I would go back there if I could.