XXXI | Some Space

When it’s medicine time
and I refuse to go downstairs,

the nurses
pull the blanket away
and command
that I

get out of bed.

I ask for the blanket back.

‘I’ll give it to you
‘after you get up.’

It’s a lie.

I know

the doors are locked
during medicine time.

The pretty nurse

that I’ve noticed.

‘I’ll let you bring it downstairs.’

a lame


I get up

and let them
lead me




I think of ways

to avoid
eating my medicine

while I sit in my usual armchair

with Moonlight Sonata
playing in the background.

The small boy
with the plastic ear


in front of me.

‘Scram,’ I tell him.

He stares
at the nurses behind me,
at the ones behind him.

Gives me the finger.

Walks away.

I stand up
but a cold hand

grips my arm.

I’m enveloped by the stench of vomit.


Are you trying to make enemies?
You’re quite good.


I turn to Tammie,

Good people

make enemies too.

All the time, in fact.

has enemies.
I’m sure of it.

grows like cotton candy
in a generator.


You have more enemies than I do now.


I slump back down
in my seat

hoping she’ll go away.

The first movement of Moonlight Sonata
reaches its end.

Tammie sits on my armrest

even though
her chair
is nearby.

With one finger,
she pokes it into the fat of my cheek.

I glare
at her.


No wonder you hated
group projects.

You don’t care about anyone else’s feelings.


There’s amusement
in her grey eyes.

She pokes her finger

a little harder.

I grit my teeth.

‘They were all just
‘fooling around,

‘making me do all the work.’

I don’t remember

in any of my group projects

and it’s annoying
that she seems to know

what she’s talking about.

‘I would’ve had to do all the work anyway,
‘whether I told them off or not.
‘the only difference

‘is now they get told off.’


Does that make you happy?
Telling people off.


‘It worked, didn’t it?’

I narrow my eyes at her,
smiling at the same time.

‘If you were really there,
‘you’d know

‘that for that project, I scored

‘the highest in class.’

Tammie removes her finger
when my name is called.

But her apologetic look,
          that pitying expression,

follows me
into the medicine room.




On top of my usual
twelve pills,

they give me

an injection—
it’s definitely a sedative.

The frustrating feeling
of not being able to

remember if Tammie was there

like nightshade.

In my memories
(right before my latest hospitalisation),

I felt a sense of


of being looked down on,

for not knowing the world—
how it works.

If it was Tammie’s

apologetic smile

that I remembered,
then why
did I forget her?

The needle’s out
in a flash;

I’m being escorted

to the main hall.




Tammie’s not there
when I sit back down
in my armchair.

Only the pretty nurse
(on her phone)

and the plain nurse,

who’s nodding at the angmoh one

like I’m an approved
Carousell transection.

But I blink
and she’s back,

the smell of vomit worse than ever.

‘What were you doing?’
I demand.

Nightshades bloom
like someone’s fed them


She leans on me,
all the bones in her body

poking into me.

She holds out one finger,

to jab me in the cheek once more.

It’s slimy.
There’s food particles

under her nail.

Her apologetic smile
is wide,

like a cheshire cat’s.


Are you worried about me, Fifi?
Are you going to tell me off, Fifi?

For being a bad girl?


I clench my fist and lean

as far away
as I can.

She draws shapes with her finger
in the space just in front of my face,


I can almost see horns

peeking out
from the sides
of her unruly head of hair.

I reach out
to grab her finger,

give it a good twist,

make her

playing with me like this

but she pulls back

sitting upright

like something’s occurred to her.

Her grey eyes
are sparkling—

either mocking or truly sad, it’s honestly hard to tell with her—

when she speaks.


You can’t though,

when we’re kinda in the same boat huh?




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