XLIV | Something Vague

Tammie is holding

a bag of fried
carrot cake sticks

and we eat them

on the bench
by the rowan trees.

It’s a bad idea

because the carrot cake
turns cold and stale

from the cold air.

(I don’t tell her that though,
she looks so pleased with herself.)

I gesture

for her
to take one more

but she
shakes her head
and says

She’s “feeling nauseous”.

I almost ask her
if that’s how she

avoids eating.

Her reply would be


I’m really not hungry
—along with a shrug.

Then it’ll

become awkward

I won’t be able
to ask

what’s more important.


In the silence,
broken only

by the whispering

of the rowan leaves,

Tammie swings her legs

and lets out a deep


I think

I’m getting the hang of it.
You should try

dancing too.


I swallow
the oily carrot cake
in my mouth.

You kicked me out of the studio
and said I’m annoying.

She grins.

reaches out
and tugs gently

at the ends
of my hair.


It’s different if you’re doing it too.


I can’t do it.


Come on, Fifi.

Try something hard for once.
Don’t you ever get bored

of lazing around?


I pull back

the carrot cake

I was going
to eat.

I’m not lazing around.
I just don’t want to do


Tammie smiles apologetically,

like she knows something I don’t.


You’ve always been

like that.


I don’t like…
where this conversation is going.

With a shrug—like I
don’t care:

I don’t remember.

Everything from before…
is vague.

She giggles.

But it sounds


How nice.

I’m the one
left with

all the painful memories.


I watch her
from the corner of my eye.

I can’t hear.

Playing dumb.

Is she insinuating something?

What did I do
to make her so derisive of me?

She’s holding
a grudge—
something I did back then.


It’s not derision.
It’s fear.

You can become a very terrifying person,
you know?

When you’re stubborn.


I don’t


she’s talking about.

We just
stare at each other,


to look away


Tammie takes the stick of fried carrot cake

now limp

in my hand
and bites into it.


It’s pretty good.
If you don’t eat it,

it’ll go cold.


As if

whole conversation

did not



She’s smiling

as usual.


You should dance with me, Fifi.
I’ll teach you.


Like a video
on repeat,

we start the conversation

from here

Like I’m given

the chance
to rewrite the script.

I’ll…think about it.

She returns

the half-eaten stick
of carrot cake.


Now I feel really nauseous.


It’s not just

the patients
that are replaced,

even people

I loved

          so easily…

What other things
does Tammie know

about me,

what happened
between us?

I only remember

I used to insist
I’m not insane, I’m not sick,

don’t lock me up
without reason.

It’s not my fault

that reality

slips away
so easily.

To forget
and be forgotten,

It’s the medicine they give me,
it’s the monster inside of me.

Why can’t I escape from this?


Hey Tammie…
can I

paint a picture of you?




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