XXIX | Some Excuses

Tammie stares at my baffled face
once more

and digs her fingers
into my shoulder.


You forgot. Even though
he died

because of you.


I think,
but really

nothing comes to mind.

I only remember
the silhouette of that person.
The same way

I recognised ‘Tammie’.

I swing my towel at her.
Again and again.

‘Shut up!’

Panic rises
once more
in my chest.

Again and again.

I slam the door

of the cubicle

and turn on the shower

as high as it goes.

Water gushes out
like in a thunderstorm.

I shiver beneath the droplets

stinging my skin.

my own shadow
over me,

I dig my fingers into my hair

as the nurse begins
banging on the door.




I’m in bed
a little earlier than 9pm.

Tammie’s calling
from outside the door

but I ignore her

and try to focus
on the comb running through my hair.

The pretty nurse

has a gentle touch

for someone with a
resting bitch face.

Her fingers pick at my hair
in a gentle rhythm.

Her eyes aren’t burning holes
into my scalp.

The hairs on my neck

lie flat

when she tells them to.


The door opens
and closes with a click.

It’s the plain nurse
with the bobbed hair—

not Tammie.

She has a nail clipper
in one hand.

My bath towel has vanished.

‘You have nice nails,’
she tells me.

I smile at her.

Her polite smile becomes real.

Tammie is quiet.

(Has she left?)
Was I too harsh?

She probably…

probably didn’t mean any harm.

I didn’t even ask

what she meant
before I got panicked.


You didn’t notice,
you were already sick then.


What kind of excuse is that?


All of us here

are sick

so does that mean
we all have the excuse

to do


we like?


No wonder Tammie left you behind.
And never looked back.


It’s really pretty now.


The plain nurse wipes filing dust
from my fingers.


You’re so ruthless.
Without her, you’d be an arrogant prick.

Why can’t you be grateful?


I look down
but my fingers

are blurry.


Hey Fiona…

Why are you crying?


I sniff the cries
back into my nose.

The pretty nurse

presses tissue paper

over my eyes
and keeps
her hand there.


You’re going to continue

making excuses
for hurting the people

in front of you?


‘No,’ I cry. ‘No, I’m not.’

I pull the tissues
from my face.

Who’s speaking?

The two nurses
are staring at me,

their lips moving.


Fiona, Fiona, calm down.


Did they always sound like this?


You’re a murderer
pretending to be sick.

You should go to jail.


‘No! No! I really don’t know.’

I curl up
into the covers

holding on tight
as they try to wrench it from me.


Let go, Fiona!


I scream until

they let me have the blanket.


I hear Tammie laughing again.

Her apologetic smile
looks carefree now

like she’s saying
she’s tried her best

but I’m a hopeless case after all.

I’m pulled upright
with many other hands.

They’re all

wearing white
trying to take

my blanket

from me,
pressing on my shoulder

the blood stops flowing.

The smell of leather—

unable to kick anymore,

clawing thin air,

my body

against my will.


Fiona? Can you hear me, Fiona?

You’re a murderer!

Nothing’s gone wrong.


‘Liar, liar, liar!’

A piercing pain,
liquid forced under my skin.


You can always tell me
what’s going on.

I’ll always tell you

the truth.


Fifi! Hey, Fifi!


Tammie, I try to call out
as my eyes close without my permission.

I’m sorry, Tammie.

I’ll change,

so please,

please don’t leave again!




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