When the girl with caramel curls opens her mouth my ears become alert to life’s possibilities.
‘We have nothing until we embrace honesty, it must become our loving guide.’
I desire her words. I wish to place them in my hands and gently caress before putting into a shiny box. Her precious words, safe from harm.
The next time I bump into the girl with caramel curls she’s sat in the quiet room staring out of a window. Her open toe sandals are too small and make her toes look like meerkats peering out of their burrow.
‘You can live forever, this is the hardest part then it gets easier.’
Her face contains no hatred or pain. I wonder how she ended up in here?
As a person in recovery, writing often helps me make sense of my self and the world around. At times I’ve no idea how I feel or what I am? One minute I’ve convinced myself I’m a remorseful psychopath wandering around comfortably numb. A moment later I’ve transformed into a hopeless romantic with love in his heart.
I can read a page of words and feel as if I’ve reached a point of understanding, then after re-reading my head feels like a box of scrabble pieces scattered all over the floor, reluctantly coming together for an awkward dinner date.
I often feel confused, guilty and frustrated and wish that I could edit emotions like I can words.
Last night I dreamt I was in the middle of the Yankee stadium. Guilt, frustration and shame came flying at me in the form of killer baseballs. They were impossible to hit. A stranger in the crowd shouted out,
‘Let them flow through you, like water.’
But I couldn’t and felt the pain of each one, like a thousand orphan children crying for their fathers.
Sat next to Double-O-Benton was a guy named Paul who looked fidgety and agitated, as if his skin were too tight. Next to Paul was Neil.
What the fuck?
Lee watched as Neil put a hand underneath his armpit before giving it a good rub. He then put it underneath his nose and sniffed intently like a sommelier studying the bouquet of a fine wine. After satisfying his nasal urge, Neil placed his hand underneath his mouth, snorted hard and spat. With an impressive amount of spit on his palm, he returned to his armpit and scrubbed with furious intent.
It’s 5am and I’m trapped in no man’s land. It’s spikey, uninviting and painful. My very essence has been torn to shreds like a Siamese twin sliced apart from its soulmate. Comfort has left me for someone who cares. I’d like to cut off my arms, morph into the statue of Aphrodite and never embrace another soul.
An African nurse with a soothing voice asks if I would like her to pray for me. The concerned frown upon her round face reminds me of a Parisian clown. She gently places a hand upon my shoulder then kneels beside me and recites the lord’s prayer. My mind struggles to accept her words. They sound distorted, like they’re coming from the mouth of Charlie Brown’s teacher.
My world churns eternal regret. I inhale every rancid odour in the room like a bloodhound trailing deer. My tears are sincere but too late. I’m about to be exposed for what I am. A vulnerable, scared, little boy who knows nothing.
My bones creak like an old man playing his last game of backgammon. I don’t know if I can do this. I look up, on the wall and spot the serenity prayer,
‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to accept the difference’.