I should have known there would be a rapid deterioration from here: therapist hiding behind an opaque veneer; eyes slip-sliding – mentally absent, disinterested in me; subsequent drawing consequently traumatic, submerged beneath layers of ink: shop assistants attacking, pedestrians snapping, the tube packed… Only the ‘should’ I ought to have been aware of was in hiding and I wasn’t aware of anything until afternoon turned up.
Black and blue from too much walking, talking to myself, I wander and search, visiting every known bolt-hole for a place to write. Gradually conceding, giving up; admitting defeat…
Hours later – slipping limply into a dark interior, bedraggled and worn out – I borrow a chair and invest in two cups; one’s cold and disastrous, the other’s delightful and hot.
A failed attempt at writing, and I reach into my bag, realising there is nothing for it but to bring the ‘thing’ out. Twisted and tangled, it’s grumpy and upset, anxious to be loved and lonesome without it.
Ballpoint braced, I revisit the page: pen dancing and glancing, mind whirring and incurring, repeating the lines I earlier, under intimidation, made.
A girl appears: unhappy, young; hair streaming, eyes leaking, mouth a crooked O.
Then words appear: ‘chaos’ incorrectly spelt; ‘cry’ back-to-front; ‘help’ upended. And, finally, I laugh, the irony catching up.
by Rebecca L. Atherton
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