The light, burning through the fog and haze, my curtains, dark and threatening, silhouette
against the day. A place of refuge, a place to hide
. Outside, cars, busses, trains, people, life. The pillow is soft, the springs talk and I heed their warning. Laying back I imagine. Worlds without end, people at the door. The phone rings. Up, the hallway, the phone, cursed noise, ill have a headache by lunch. Its mum and mechanical platitudes form on lips once smiling. I hang up, the milk is off again and there is no bread. I get the juice and an apple. Dawning horror, the door knocks, it wants me out, I cant, not home, no one here. It stops and they leave? I go upstairs, the shower is cool, safe and comforting, caressing, it tells me I don’t need to go out. The TV turns on. How? The noise, can’t they turn it down. Who? What do they want. Why? I’m not rich. I’m scared and I want to be alone. I step out, the landing, its him, he stands there, tall against the door. Why is he here, I don’t want to see him. I turn, walk away. He just stands there, all he ever did. It’s his fault. The TV is off now and might ever have been, but he, he remains. Standing still, watching still. I return to my room, the covers still beckon, rumpled with remembered warmth. Resist? But he is still here. Sleep, I cant. He comes in. away, he wont. Why does he want me outside anyway?
He won, he always did. The park, I’m surrounded, memories abound, happier times, happier places. The black wasn’t here then, it is now. What made it come, I didn’t ask, I do question. It is here, I don’t want it. Children are grey, no colour, nowhere. I hate it. No cheer, bleak, stormy. Clouds are there, what are they? Cumulus, I think my dad told me that. But are they rain, will I be wet. I would like to be wet. I remember the rain. The world goes grey then. Everyone like I am now. No colour, yellow slickers? Orange lights. No, no more, its grey, for them as me. He starts talking. I didn’t know he was still here? He asks how I am. What do I reply. He can’t understand. No one can. The doctors, their fault, their diagnosis. I don’t want to die. I cry. He comforts me. He is good at that, it’s his job. My mother pays and I cry. He is the middleman, surrogate carer. I don’t need him. At home I have my bed, it cares, the sheets, the pillow. What colour were they? I still didn’t know, I think they are velvet but no one has told me, I don’t like to ask. He still cares. I stop crying and look around again. The children play, oblivious. He sits, tenderness alive. I apologise, I have treated him badly. But I am alone, a world without colour, soon without me. He tells me why he came this morning. The hospital. I have to go there in a week. I have to stay. I don’t want to die there. I want my bed. He says only my pillow can come. I hate him again. Why can’t I stay at home?
A week, I wake as then and shiver. I don’t wish to go, but today they will come. My muscles even now are pained. My eyes are grown bleary. Only a week gone, six months in the making. I can’t be cured. It is too big, has spread. My last morning at home. My last morning of sobriety. The drugs will dull the pain, but do I want it dulled. I'm alive and i'm free. Captivity, for pain and me, two friends. We should run away. I get up, I shower and it tells me, what a plan. I hold my pillow and we go down the stairs. Exertion. I feel tired, I want to go to bed. But I must flee. I keep going, the hall, i'm almost at the door. The world goes black. I see a light. It comes and goes, waxes and wanes, defines and blurs. A face, two faces, three faces, none. A return to darkness. Once again I wake. I hear them talking. He says, “she has cancer. She won’t be here for long. It will be ok”. I look around. Posters, my mum, Him, Me.…..A better place……They cry. Cancer.