I have my little disease I said it’s nice and free and just for me
-Oblivion Dust

My little disease told me yesterday that she was sick of being flat and glossy.

She lives in the big antique mirror over the hallway buffet table. My mum keeps tall candles in front of her, to balance the look, mum says. I don’t like it when mum lights those candles, when her rich friends from New York drop in for dinner and every candle in the house is flaming for showoff. The flames of the tall candles lick at her ribbons, and it looks like my little disease is burning. But she never screams.

Yesterday she spoke to me. I guess she got sick of the usual silence between us. It’s difficult living in two dimensions, said my little disease. I’m sick of being here.

I told her that she was where she belonged; she was mine, my other half, and there was no point in being frustrated with her natural place.

Natural, she said. This is not natural.

My little disease had always seemed natural enough to me. She’s dependable. We’ve never needed to talk to each other before. There’s a mutual agreement to disagree. We face different directions, but we get along just fine, my little disease and me.

But she kept talking. She wouldn’t be quiet, not even when I asked her to. Mum was asleep, so she had the audacity to keep asking me things.

What is it you see, asked my little disease.

I owned her, I knew that much. If not then she wouldn’t always tag along at the heels of my long dress and show up whenever I looked.

I see the other half of me, I said to her.

No, she said. I am not your half.

Things weren’t making sense and my mum had awoken, so my little disease vanished and I walked into the kitchen to do the dishes, because my mum likes it when I do them without being asked.

I wanted to know what my little disease meant. I went downstairs in my footy pajamas to find her. I think she knew I was coming, because she looked sad and ready to speak. She said that she wasn’t allowed to keep her identity, all locked up and caged the way she always was. She told me that she was tired of people staring at her.

I felt sorry for my little disease, but I didn’t know what I could do. I was my own half and was allowed to walk around.

It’s just the way things are supposed to be, I told her.

I don’t think so, she said to me then.

I asked what she meant. My little disease said that she wasn’t a pet or a part. She said she could get me to do anything for her.

I said I didn’t think so, and started to walk away, feeling a little bit guilty and slightly sad.

I am my own! she called after me.

I didn’t believe my little disease. She was like a dog. She licked at my toes and made me feel better.

But this morning I woke up and went to go visit her, and she was different. Her face was the same, her clothes were the same, and her expressions hadn’t changed. She just looked little bigger, like I had reached into the mirror and pulled at her sides to stretch her out.

She hasn’t said anything today. She just stares with her sweaty little eyeballs and gets bigger every time I go by her hiding place. So I’ve started walking past the kitchen. When my mum asks me why, I tell her it’s to balance things out between me and my little disease. I’m doing it for her.

It scares me that she might have been right. Half of me is she. I thought the other half still belonged to me. But now I’m not so sure.

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