XCVII | Some Answers

The woman in white
looks up

when the angmoh nurse opens the door

and closes it behind me.

She squints
behind her glasses

and smiles

like she’s really happy
to see me.

(Her eyes light up
and everything.)

I frown at her.

She asks me to take a seat

and looks

at the papers in on her desk.

Her ponytail
of brown curls


over her shoulder,

distracting me
for a moment.


What can I do for you, Fiona?


I stare at her,

until I remember

I’m the one
who asked to see her

on my own terms,

without warning.

Maybe I’m more predictable
than I realise—

the papers in her hands
have my name on them.

Her computer
shows my profile

and notes in a font too small

for me to read.

Why am I still alive?
I ask her.

Because I’ve forgotten

my original question.

(I’ve been busy
reciting the names I don’t want
to forget.)

She clasps
her two hands together.


It’s our job
to keep you alive.


She tilts her head
to one side

so more beautiful curls

tumble forward.


You don’t really want to die.


No, I don’t,

I whisper,
but I should be dead.

I don’t care

—not at this moment—

why they’ve kept me alive
right now.

Right now,
I need to keep

Tammie safe.


The doctor nods.
A businesslike smile.
A curt answer.


Yes, you should be.


And she doesn’t

I prompt her.

‘You said patients leave this asylum
‘and live a normal life.’

She nods.


Her fingers are a blur

across the keyboard.
Furiously typing.

I lean forward

so she stops
and looks at me.

That’s not true though,
is it?

She doesn’t reply

but the smile on her face
is proud, approving.


I’m right.

She turns back
and continues typing.


So, you understand now.


I grit my teeth.

A hiss
escapes my lips.

I clench my hands
into fists

so they don’t

reach for her slender neck
and cut her life short.


Think of Tammie.

Don’t do anything


‘Why do you want us
‘to forget them?’

I ask.

She thinks
for a moment,

her glossy lips pursed,
reflecting white light.

She pushes her glasses
up her nose.


It’s not good for your recovery
to think so much.


‘I won’t need to forget
‘if you stop killing them,’ I snap.

The typing pauses.

Her fingers hover
above the keyboard,


She folds her hands
one on the other,

neatly settled on the table.

She’s deliberate.
Hard to read.


Fiona, who’s Tammie to you?


For some reason,
this question

makes me freeze.

A chill shoots down
my spine.

My fingers tremble.
My eyes flicker.

She notices

these reactions.


Her businesslike smile is back.

and I know
I’ve made a huge





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