LXXX | Some Accusations

‘It’s medicine time,’
I yell over the dissonant music.

Moonlight Sonata
is barely audible

in front of the studio.


where Tammie
dances amidst

a circle of CD players,

it’s probably even worse.

I shake my head
and yell again

when she smiles apologetically.


We’re just sitting down

—in my chair,
she, on the arm of it—

when I notice

yet another new face.

Two male nurses stand
like bodyguards

on either side

of the armchair.

The guy in it is slouched forward,

long arms dangling
on either side.


His face deathly pale.

When he turns
to look around,

the whites of his eyes

are streaked red.

(I think of zombies.)

I count
the patients.


You killed Gavin?


I didn’t, I hiss at her.

I’ve been protecting you
the whole day.

Her smile is apologetic.

She doesn’t reply

But I feel
          mistrust radiating through the air. 

bursts out of me

like a fountain.

There’s another rule
that you haven’t told me yet.

She doesn’t respond.

One hand snaking
behind my neck,

fingers tapping at the base of my throat.

Goosebumps prick
my arm.

The eight patient rule,
the no nurse rule,

doesn’t explain

There’s something else.

I feel her grey eyes

holes in my skull.


Which we’ll never figure out
because you killed Gavin.


‘I didn’t!’

I’m standing.
My voice cuts through

the truce

that Moonlight Sonata
holds over everyone.

Suddenly, I’m the centre of attention.

The heretic.

I sit back down
without a word.

Tammie’s smile
is apologetic

but her eyes burn.

Don’t hate me, Tammie!


Her arm
is around my neck

her fingers pressing

into my skin.

          A warning.




At night,
Tammie ties knots in my hair

instead of sleeping.

in a good mood

considering everything we talked about today.

The song she hums
under her rotting breath

is vaguely familiar,

fingers moving

in a deft pattern.

I decide to ask her
because I’ve thought so much

my head spins

with all the possibilities.

I really don’t remember.

‘What did I do?’
I whisper

as if this question

is the last straw

that will break our friendship.

Her grey eyes
cloud over.

I don’t want to ask.
I don’t want her to think

I don’t regret at all.

‘How did I hurt you…’

Until…you’re like this?
Until…you’re here with me.
Until…you’re broken too?

Her lips part.

She leans down
and kisses my forehead.

I close my eyes

because the
smell of vomit becomes pungent.

Guilt washes over me.

I told her
I’d accept all of her.

(My heart skips a beat when I remember that.)


Tammie looks around my room
at all the portraits of her

I’ve painted.

She’s silent





My chest burns
as I hold my breath.

I’m hurting her.
I’m hurting her.
I’m hurting her.

I’m the worst.

Tammie smiles.


Fifi, your painting sucks.




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