XXXVIII | Someone I Liked

There is,
in my memory,

whose breath also smells like

peanut butter.

It’s my favourite,
she told me.

You’ve finished a whole bottle
in two days!

The person’s laugh
is familiar,

a sound I’ve grown

accustomed to hearing.


Peanut butter


the air.


A knife
with peanut butter

straight into

the person’s mouth.

You’ll hurt yourself,
I heard my voice say.

You’re not my mother.

She giggled
and it sent a chill down my spine.

I will be,
if you won’t take care of yourself.

Licking sounds.

A door opened.

A wince.

Chairs scraping apart.

Hi auntie,
my voice again.

The sound of the knife
scraping over toasted bread.

She gave it to me.

The sound of a phone
and footsteps fading.

Then dark eyes

just an inch from mine,







I avoid Krishna’s eyes
and turn back

to watching Tammie,

my heart
beating fast.

Who is she?

Tammie’s hand slips,
her feet dislodge

from the pole.

She’s falling.

Her other hand
catches the pole.

She swings into her lover,
it collides

with her torso
with a loud crack.

The yell that fills the studio is mine.

I glare at Krishna.

She’s smiling

like she knew
this would happen.

Anger rises

in my chest—
and fear.

She’s confusing me.
She’s making fun of me.


Did you remember someone you’ve forgotten?


she asks.

I raise my hand

to slap her
across the face.

But Tammie
calls my name.

Krishna’s smile curls up—like a cheshire cat’s.

She calls it again.

I’m on my feet,
fists clenched.

‘Leave me alone,’ I tell her.

smiles—she looks like a child

who’s just got her way.

Crazy woman.




‘Let’s tell the nurses,’
I suggest.

Tammie grabs my wrist,

shakes her head.

I’m confused
why they haven’t come
to check on Tammie

since they’re always watching us.

Tammie stops
rubbing her chest

and pulls up her shirt.

A blotchy patch
that looks like mouldy cheese

spread out
from the middle
of her undeveloped chest.

I stand again.

‘I’m getting the nurse.’

Tammie’s fingers dig into my skin so hard,
I yelp.


You’re not my mother.


She pulls her shirt down,
          pulls me into her.

I fall
awkwardly—trying to avoid hurting her.

She’s smiling

as if she hasn’t just crashed
into a metal pole.

Her breath
is foul.

Rotten cheese.

It’s not her,
I think, as her grey eyes
fill my vision.


Fifi, I think it’s better
for you

to find something to do

instead of watching me
practice all the time.


I pull away from her.

She crosses her legs,
rumpled hair

over her eyes.

‘Am I annoying?’

She nods
without hesitation.

I feel
a spark of frustration—

she’s the one
who pestered me to watch
and now

I’m in the way—



You’re such a worrier.


I begin to protest.

everything I have to say
will just prove her right.

‘I’m not good at anything.’

I know
Tammie knows

that’s a lame excuse.


Go paint something.

I liked that
picture of me

you painted last time.


But I don’t


like that.

Tammie’s climbed back
onto the pole,

stretching her legs

as wide as
they’ll go,

eyes fixed on her lover.

I’ve been dismissed

without realising it.


Why am I
getting led around
by her

like an idiot?




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