#ThursThreads, week 306


She knelt down in the corner of the closet, pressing herself into the walls, making her body as small as she could. Corners always held onto smells and textures differently than walls and big open rooms where people walked and talked and yelled and hit. The carpet was still soft here, and she dug her knees into the rough pile, feeling the give of the padding underneath. She wiped the blood from her face, blood that was running down from her eyes like tears. ‘I’m blind now,’ she thought, ‘I can’t see anymore.’ And she was glad. No longer would she see hope draining from her life. No longer would she see her future vanishing a little bit more every day. Her mother would still yell and slap and berate and belittle. Her father would still growl and punch and cut and touch. But no longer would she see, no longer would she be a witness to her own destruction. ‘Can I lose the rest of my senses? Can I become deaf and stop hearing her hateful words? Can I stop smelling his cologne and the alcohol on his breath when he comes to me at night? Stop tasting the spoiled milk she makes me drink? Stop feeling his belt on my skin?’ She dreamed of a world like that, where her imagination was the whole of her story and she no longer had to be a witness to her own torment. And in that, she found hope.


#ThursThreads, extended, week 305

This is a slightly longer version of the piece I wrote for this week’s #ThursThreads. I had to cut everything after “Could you find them for me? Please?” but it’s incomplete there, and I wanted to put the fuller version somewhere.


“Margo.” I meant it to be a yell, but it was barely a croak. I tried again. “Margo.” Better, but still pretty pathetic. Then again, everything I did was pretty pathetic these days. I pushed myself up on my elbows and breathed in as deeply as I could, hoping the third time would be the charm, but I needn’t have bothered. Her slippered feet scuffed along the burnished wood of the hallway anyway, her voice, strong as ever, calling that she was on her way.

I laid back against the pillows, the deep breath turning into a coughing spasm. Not a big one, thank goodness, just the ordinary everyday reminder that my lungs were half soup. I heard Margo round the corner and make her way to my bedside. She put her hand, warm and soft, on my brow, and waited for the coughing to stop. I knew that being at the beck and call of my failing body couldn’t be the highlight of her life, but I never heard that in her voice. “What’s up, buttercup?”

I licked my lips – or tried to, but my tongue was dry – and she gave me a sip of water from the plastic jug with the hospital logo. “My glasses. I can’t seem to find my glasses.”

“Oh, sweetie. Do you really need them now? I mean…” she trailed off.

“I know I can’t see anymore, Margo, but my face feels weird without them. Could you find them, for me? Please?”

Margo bent down and kissed me, gently, with just a little of the pressure we used to share. I felt her guide my hand to my belly, my fingers settling on the smooth plastic of the lenses. “You must have fallen asleep with them on, and they slipped from your nose.” I put them on my face, settling them so they felt straight, and took her hand in mine. Somehow hers retained some strength after all these years, even though mine were barely anything more than spotted skin and bones. She didn’t say anything more, but just stood there, running her thumb softly over the back of my hand, humming tunelessly as I drifted off to sleep. All was right with the world, or as right as it could be.