LXXVIII | Someone's Guilty

‘Tammie!’ I hiss.

She blinks at me,


up her face

as she pauses,
upside down

on the pole.

The dissonant music stops.

She executes
a difficult move

that reveals

too much.

I wince.

She lands on her toes,


Lucky you. I’m done.
What’s up?


I would tell her to close the door
but the studio

has no door.

I pull her into the storage room.

We squat
behind a screen of easels.

I keep one eye

on the corridor

for anyone
passing by.

I tell her
that my painting stuff
is gone.

She smiles,


Says they must have
cleaned up after me.

I don’t think so.

Her grey eyes


Let it go, Fifi.

There’s no conspiracy.


‘There is,’ I insist.

Maybe there wasn’t before.
But something’s definitely

wrong now.


What’s wrong
is your need to be dramatic.


Her ignorance
grates my nerves.

How dense

is she going to be?

She’s been here
longer than me.

She’s the one

who told me
          the rules.

‘Patients are disappearing
‘more quickly now.’

Her pale grey eyes

are blank.


It’s good.

That they’re


We might get to leave too,
if you stop behaving like this.


‘I’m serious!’

Gavin walks past.
In a direction I don’t expect.

Studio to the main hall.

Anger rises
in my throat.

I concentrate on Tammie.

She smells of
unwashed socks
right now.

‘What if you’re next?’

An apologetic smile.


I won’t be.

There’s no conspiracy.

The only one
who will kill me

has always been you.


I stare at her.

She burst out laughing.

It’s not funny,
I tell her.

Her apologetic smile

but she doesn’t

take it back.

I’m hurt.

I know I’ve done something
in the past

that hurt her
but using that

forgotten memory

           is increasingly painful

each time

she brings it up.

I won’t make the same mistake

I’ll protect you this time.

Without hesitation,
she says,


You were sure last time too.


Her distrust

makes me speechless.

For a while
there’s only my heartbeat
pounding in my ears.

‘Tammie, I…

Her apologetic smile
is fake—

glued onto her face
by the nurses.


You’re sick, Fifi.


Tears well up in my eyes.

I don’t

I          wipe my face

with the back
of my hand.

You said you accepted my apology.

She nods.

apologetic smile
still stuck on her face.

I even let you do that…

She looks away.

I try to collect my thoughts,
line them up

in an order

that makes sense.

A distant scream in my head

to spill out.

I’ll prove it to you.
I’ll show you I’m not

making it up this time.

‘At least listen
‘to what I think.’

She shakes her head.

Grey eyes


Fifi, you’re always so

You’re the one

who isn’t trusting


It’s so hot
hiding in a corner

like this.

We’re breathing
on one another.

Sweat drips

down my back.

Frustration pokes me all over
like needles.

I do trust you.

She tilts her head.


You still don’t remember
what you did to me?


I blink. Confused.

That doesn’t change the fact
that you’re the most important person

in my life.

She laughs.

Really loud.

I shush her
but it’s too late.

If there’s anyone eavesdropping,
they can hear her clearly now.

She doesn’t



Her voice is loud, angry.


The most important person in your life?
Ha! When you first came here,

you didn’t recognise me.




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