Behind The Curtain

Behind The Curtain

“Mummy, I don’t feel well” I whined.
“What’s wrong Darling?” she asked.
I didn’t know what was wrong, I just knew I didn’t feel ‘right’. I didn’t go to school that morning. Mum decided to take me to the doctor instead. Grandad wasn’t well either. He came with us. I heard them talking, but didn’t really pay much attention. The surgery was an old building, with brown carpets and grey walls. While we waited, my Mum and Grandad talked. I played with a couple of toys that had been left for the children.
“Eric” the doctor called my Grandad in. I didn’t know then what was going to happen. If I had I would have tried to stop him going in there. My name was called next. Mum picked me up and we followed the doctor. The curtains
were pulled around us. They were green. I sat down on the bed and we waited for the doctor to come and see us. It was so quiet, and then suddenly very loud. Running footsteps along the corridors, and shouting. The curtains of our cubicle pulled apart,
“Get that woman out of here” a doctor shouted. I was scared; but I don’t think I cried. Someone came and led us out. As we walked, I saw the curtains for the cubicle next door blow open. Mum saw it too. I felt her whole body tense. Laying on the floor was my granddad. Curled up like he was sleeping, but with one arm reaching out. I wanted to go to him, reach out and take his hand. As we were bundled along the corridor, I saw the curtain flutter closed, covering my granddad.I didn’t know then, that that would be the last time I ever saw him.

Identity Theft

Identity Theft

ABC Podcast Blog

Here’s the transcript I wrote for my Church blog (taken with permission, from http://www.abclife.org/listenonline):

“Has it happened to you?” this is how Pastor Phyl opened his sermon. We’ve all been there (unless we’ve been very unlucky). We’re in a shop, looking to buy something that requires us to be over a specific age, and the shop assistant has asked us that question, “Can I please see some proof of age?”

We live in a world where the concept of identification is common place. In the circumstance outlined above, most of us would simply get out our driving licence and that would be the end of the matter. We are so used to the concept of identity that we don’t really think about it, but in our society, identity theft is also something that is common place. We often hear on the news about the theft of someone’s identity, but this is nothing new. It happens in this century and it happened in the last century too. It even happened in scripture when Jacob stole his brother’s identity and as a result, the blessing due to him from his father (Genesis 27).

Identity theft doesn’t just take place in your life, but it can take place in your heart, too. Reading from John 8:21–47, we see how Jesus attempts to reveal the truth to the people, and yet, they are enmeshed in half-truths, unable to see that their true identity has been stolen from them.

The truth is a great thing. It allows us to see the current reality that we’re in. It helps us to define our reality. The enemy and the world seeks to destroy all that is in us so that we don’t become aware of the truth, but in this passage of scripture, we see Jesus coming to challenge their mindset.

It says in scripture, “Know the truth and the truth will set you free” John 8:32. This is fact. The enemy knows that and tries to distract us so that we are lost in his lies, and kept bound to the untruths that he sows in our hearts. The scripture tells us that Jesus is coming, and is trying to tell us who we are in Him.

Pastor Phyl then went on to explain the three things that the enemy does in order to try and take our identity.

1) Steal

This is shown clearly in verse 33, where the Pharisees ancestry is brought into question. They fail to understand that Jesus is the Son of God. They get stuck on the fact that they are descended from Abraham. They don’t like that Jesus is telling them that they must change their way of living, and live a life for God that is different to their view of following the law in order to honour God.

Pastor Phyl makes reference to the testimony of Christine Caine, which can be found online, where she talks of finding out that she was adopted, and the shockwaves that resulted from that, where she lost all sense of who she was. This is the ultimate identity theft. The truth is that we are children of God. We are “who you say [I] am”. We are His children, and we are precious in His sight. If we are to overcome this attack from the enemy, we must go on a journey of self discovery to find out who we are in God.

2) Kill

The enemy seeks to kill our identity, giving us labels, too numerous to count. Throughout our lives, we grab at all kinds of identities that the enemy pushes towards us, labelling ourselves, but we are not defined by what people and circumstances say we are, we are defined by who God says we are.

God’s love is so powerful. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us any more or any less. He doesn’t care about labels, seeing only us, as we truly are and loving us anyway. The enemy piles labels on us to try and kill our God given identity. In scripture, the Pharisees were defining themselves by labels, but in doing this, they were living a half-truth, which is exactly what the enemy wants.

Pastor Phyl encouraged us to think about what labels have been put on us, and challenged us to take them off and throw them away, because they mean nothing. We are more than what is written in a medical report, or a school paper, or a work review. We are who He says we are.

3) Destroy

The enemy will seek to destroy our truth, if we let him, but when we truly know who God has designed us to be, we can step out into that place of truth and the enemy will have no hold on us because God’s hand is on us.

The question is,

Do we want the truth?

Can we handle the truth?

Pastor Phyl encouraged us “You do you. You be you”, because that is exactly who we are supposed to be. That is exactly what God wants us to do because He created us, exactly as we are, and now is the time for us to truly take off all of the labels put on us by the world and the enemy, and step out in faith, trusting that we are who God says we are, and that that is enough.

In closing Pastor Phyl implored us to not become polarised, and said that we can handle the truth. We just have to trust God.

Scriptures: Genesis 27, John 8:21–47, John 8:32,John 8:33

Tribal War

Tribal War

The Beginning

Zero Hour. There’s only me and Chacey left. And Xandu. There were millions of us, but they’ve wiped us out one by one until all that’s left is this. Us three sat in a hill cave. Cold, hungry and all alone.

I keep on looking out at the destruction. The sky is red with the blood of the slain. They’re down there now. I can hear their shouts. They wiped all of our clan out, and have started on each other. It’s hard to believe that one person could cause so much disruption and mayhem.

We only escaped by luck. Chacey, and me.. Well, we were hiding. That’s what our parents told us to do. Then, when the coast was clear, we started to run. That’s when we found Xandu. He was hurt. His leg, slashed by their spears. He could hardly walk. Chasey and I carried him all the way to this cave. It wasn’t easy, and there was a lot of ducking and dodging to do. We all ended up with our clothes torn to pieces by the brambles. We finally found this cave though. We put Xandu down, and got him branches of leaves as cushioning for his head. Then we tied some of our un-needed clothes around his leg, and settled in to wait.

I don’t know what we’re waiting for. I didn’t know then, and I still don’t really. But there have been no signs that we should move on. Xandu is too sick to move anyway, and Chasey and I can’t carry him. He’s a fully-grown man — we’re only teenagers.

I know why they’re down there — who they’re after… that’s the thing. I’m not supposed to know. The elders have done all they can to make sure I don’t know, but I’m not stupid. I know I’m different. I looked it up in the ancient scrolls. It was the last one I looked in, and that’s a lot of scrolls. I have it with me now. I managed to swipe it just before our parents forced us to go and hide. If they’ve kept it from me for all these years, then it must be too important to let the other clan have.

I keep staring at it, trying to get it to give me the answer but it’s not giving it up. I know what I am, but I have no idea what to do with that knowledge. I was born different. No one knows though. There are a select group of people who are born different, but it’s kept secret. For my clan, I am like a Messiah — a saviour born to one-day, save the clan. Keep our secrets alive. It’s not easy though. I am only fifteen.

I know now, that in a few months time, on the eve of my sixteenth birthday, I would have been taken to the elders, and told of my destiny. Once told of this destiny, I would have to take lessons from each elder in turn, to learn about the role into which I would someday be placed. But now, with no one left, there was no one to turn to: no one to teach me. And yet. I still had to fulfil my destiny. It would just mean that I had to teach myself.

For now, though, I merely had to stay alive, and to keep Xandu and Chasey alive. When the battle is done, we will return to the camp at the foot of the mountain and recover any living souls before we relocate to a secret hideaway.

Days passed, and still no sign of the battle’s end. Finally, on the seventh day, the war cries and angry screams grew quiet. Xandu, now massively healed due to a miracle herbal ointment that Chasey created, was ready to act. And so, we began our long journey back to the camp to look for survivors. Xandu, walking with a slight limp: Chasey, looking nervous, yet determined, and me. I cannot put into words, my feelings. Fear, terror, and at the same time, an intense knowing that I could in fact, do this and succeed enveloped me. We walked for many hours at a time, only stopping when our blistered and bruised feet would let us walk no more.

After about two days of walking, we made it. Ground Zero. The aftermath of zero hour so clear in front of our eyes. Bloodied bodies lay, their eyes staring up at us. Discarded spears, some broken, some merely dropped by the wounded, lay all around. We searched around for hours, finding nothing, and then suddenly, as if by grand divination itself, we found a group of youngsters — our clan men. They gasped as they saw us, and then ran to greet us. We resumed searching.

Finally, when no stone had been left unturned, and all survivors been recovered (and there were not many), we dragged the bodies of our ancestors to the centre of the camp and piled them up. Then, as the last body was laid on the wood, I lit a stick from a leftover fire, and held it to the wood. The dry timber caught light in seconds and flames danced along the bodies of the dead. They would be returned to the earth, just as prophecy ordained.

As we watched friends, family and elders return to the earth, we began the mourning chant. We sang for hours, until the last embers of the fire had burnt out.

I turned to the remaining members of the clan. “We must move on,” I said clearly and decisively. Others nodded reluctantly, some still sobbing. I couldn’t cry though. I had to be the one to lead them to safety, however long that took. I leant on a nearby tree and paused. I knew where we should head in the first instance. To the mountains. There, we would be above ground level and would be able to see more and avoid any possible encounters with our enemies.

We began to walk and before long, reached the foot of the mountain. We started to climb, us elder ones, carrying the youngsters. There was to be no stopping. We need only stop if one of us could not go on. We walked solidly for two days, and one night, coming to the cave that had been our respite during the battle on the evening of the second day.

It was crowded to say the least. There were many children sleeping on our laps that night, though few noticed as exhaustion set in.

The following morning, we elders began chipping at the back of the cave with our spears. A particularly unrewarding task, but our only hope of gaining more space in the tiny cave. The younger children were taken by Chasey to collect wood from trees to support the new cave chambers. Some were also told to collect twigs for a small fire, which some older children had made out of a pile of stones. It was quite accomplished of them as it meant that we could have fire indoors where there would be less risk of being seen.

After days of chipping, the cave was looking much bigger, although Chasey spent most of her time applying herbal ointment to the hands of those working. I had quickly worked out that we would need a door of some kind. I thought the best thing would be a boulder. The youngsters would then have to be supervised if they wished to go out and that would mean less risk of being discovered. It took ages to find a suitable boulder, and then ages for us to push it up to the cave. Finally, we had it and put it in position so that it could be rolled right over the entrance to the cave at night.

As days went by, the clan grew tired of eating leaves and fruit, and the men were forced to go out and hunt with their remaining spears. When they returned with a large wild boar on their shoulders, they were treated to a heroes welcome. We females set to work immediately, preparing this creature for a well-earned feast, while the men erected a spit over the fire. Once the feast was eaten, the men set to work, making the bones into new weaponry and we females used water from a little mountain stream that we’d found to clean the skin. I needed this to make my first scroll as clan leader. Of course, it would only be a small scroll as the remainder of the skin would be used as blankets, but in time, there would be more hide to write upon.

I took my scroll to a corner of the cave and with a boar tooth on a piece of wood, and some crushed fruit, began to write our story. The new story of how our new clan had been formed.

Today, as I roll up the scroll, which I have just read out loud to the clan, I look around. How far we have come! One year on, Zero Hour, Ground Zero. The clan has grown immensely and the tiny cave that was our only shelter is now a warren of caves, all interlinked inside the mountain by tunnels. Us elders have young, and as I read the scroll, remembering my own parents, I look at my beautiful baby girl and smile, knowing that she is special. That the prophecy continues…

A Mirror

A Mirror

A poem without rhyme

A Mirror,
A window to the soul,
A Mirror never lies.
But does it?
Does it always tell the truth?
Does it tell people they are fat or thin?
Does it tell them if they’re ugly?
Does it tell them the whole truth,
Part of the truth,
Or a complete lie?
Does it tell the anorexic that she’s fat?
Or the pretty that she’s ugly?
Does it tell the truth?
Or merely show a picture that we might not want to see?
The mirror.
A window to the soul?
It shows a picture,
But does it show the real person.
Does it look into someone’s eyes,
And strip away the layers,
Can it ever truly tell the truth when it never looks deeper,
Than a person’s outside features?
A mirror.
A window to the soul?
A mirror never lies.
But it does.
It never looks deeper,
Into a person’s thoughts, heart and soul.
A mirror tells a lie,
Every time that someone sees it….

Escape

Escape

A Snippet

Kia returned to her room and shut the noise of the corridor out. She could hear the calls of her friends as she locked the door behind her. She knew they were only worried, but she knew that she couldn’t hold onto the flames within much longer. She knew that she had to shut them out of this. She propped a chair against the locked door, and surveyed the small, neat, yet cluttered room.

This was her home. Her only space, and would be for a good part of the next three years. She had her desk by the window, and shelves full of ornaments. Her pinboard was full to bursting with posters, photos and pictures. On her bed was a simple pink bedspread with silver swirls on it.

The room came with a wall of fitted cupboards. She kept her clothes and toiletries in there. It wasn’t all she stored there though.

The table beside her bed had several empty bottles of Archers Aqua littered across it. She could hear the noise from outside getting louder as they all geared up for a party. Her friends had stopped calling out to her from the corridor now.

She threw her bag on the bed and opened it. She pulled out her mobile and put it on the table beside her bed. She wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t disturb her.

Wouldn’t stop her from being able to finish what she wanted to do. She picked up her keys and fiddled with them until she found the smallest one. She went to her cupboard and pulled out a red cash box. She slid the key in the lock and turned it a quarter turn. It clicked, and she lifted the lid. Inside was a tobacco tin, a tea towel, a few bandages, some dressings and sterile swabs. She carried the open box to her bed, and sat down, depositing it beside her as she went.

She picked up the tobacco tin and ran her fingers along the edge of the lid. The metal felt cool. She looked at the picture on the lid; a multicoloured rainbow with two unicorns nuzzling at each other underneath it. She closed her fingers around it and slowly pulled it off. She could hear the metal scraping against metal. She laid the lid on the bed beside the cash box, and looked inside the tin. She was always wary that the contents of it would have been taken. It was a stupid thought, she knew, but it was always there: the paranoia that someone would find out her secret and take away the one thing that could help her and make her feel slightly human.

She picked the contents of the tin up. As she gazed through the clear packaging, a calm flooded through her. It had been a long time since she’d last used these. She opened the air tight bag and picked out the tiny piece of metal. She held it tentatively, as if one wrong move would lead to deadly consequences. She had to be in control.

Her breathing quickened as she held the shiny object in her hand. She fought to control it and get it to slow down. She laid the object on the plastic, which she’d put on her bed. Being careful not to dislodge her special tool, she pulled her left sleeve up to her elbow. She looked at her arm; at the bare skin that showed. She traced her fingers along it gently.

Looking at it, she could see the many thin, silvery lines. Scars: echoes of the past. She hesitated, listening to the music, which was blaring down the corridor.

She could hear the happy voices of thirty-odd students all laughing and singing. Part of her wanted to be out there partying with them, but she knew that couldn’t happen. She had to quell the flames.

She picked up her shiny implement and held it carefully, sharp side down. She brought it to her arm and slowly and purposefully pressed down. She gasped as the blade pierced the skin, and she saw a warm rush of crimson slowly fill the gap the tool had made.

As the blood flowed out of her; crying the tears that she couldn’t cry herself, her breathing slowed. She became calmer. She let the blade fall to her lap, and lay back, resting her arm on a navy blue towel. She felt the room swimming. It felt like she wasn’t really there. Like nothing mattered. She felt lighter somehow. She leant over and put on her CD player. The music started up. It was the song ‘High’ by ‘The Lighthouse Family’. She stared at the ceiling as she let the music flow over her.

The CD finished, and she was jolted out of her thoughts by the sudden close of the music. She sat up, suddenly coming back to reality. She heard the party outside the room, in full swing. She shivered, and looked down at her arm guiltily. She had always hated the comedown from it. She imagined the faces of her friends if they saw what she’d just done. She could see their shocked expressions in her mind’s eye. She pictured her mother’s face. The person she’d convinced that she’d stopped. She couldn’t help but feel the pangs of guilt pinging inside her as she thought about it.

She thought back to the first time. She remembered exactly what had happened. They’d come after her again. Called her all the names under the sun, and then tried to hurt her. She’d fought them off and ran home.

When she got home, she ran straight up to her room, not even stopping to check whether anyone was in the house. She closed the door of her bedroom and put a chair against it. Then she’d collapsed onto the floor in a river of sobs. Her eyes had flitted around the room, their voices echoing through her head.

Her eyes stopped as they rested on her dressing table. There, she saw the packet of disposable razors her mum had bought her. She got up and walked over to them and picked a new one out of the packet. She slipped the protective cover from the blade, and gazed at it as the silver glinted in the rays the sun was casting across her room.

She remembered her heartbeat slowing, and her breathing becoming less jagged as she gazed at the tiny piece of metal. She picked at the piece of plastic that was fixing the blade in place. She knew what she was doing now. Knew what she wanted.

Slowly, but surely, the plastic became looser, as it cracked away from the blade. Finally, it came away. She put it to one side and gazed at the blade, which she could now see all of. Slowly, she picked at the metal, listening to it grind its way loose from the plastic. Then, it flicked loose.

She held it gently on the palm of her hand. Almost scared to move. Then she picked it up and held it to her arm. With a slight wince, she had dragged it along, and felt it tear the threads of life. She felt it bite and sting as it slowly made cut after cut. She felt suddenly alive. Every fibre of her being reverberated with the knowledge that they couldn’t hurt her now. No one could hurt her any more than she could hurt herself.

It became a regular thing. Whenever they came after her, she would hurt. She hurt so badly inside that it became the only way to get the pain out of her.

Slash after slash she sliced away. Every nerve on edge, every muscle tensed. She pulled the blade over her thin arms again and again. And watched the blood fall, metallic raindrops came falling down her arm, splattering the towel it was rested on.

She felt the pain flood through her, relieving the tension. She laid on the bed and let the agony run free. She didn’t know what else to do. This was the only way. She watched the blood dripping down, and saw the stain on the towel get bigger.

As she stared at the pool, she could picture herself diving into it, drowning in this pool of blood. She didn’t want an end. Just a chance to get it out of herself. To escape.

Oak

Oak

The wise old oak, the crooked tree,
The moon that shines, through branches of thee.
The cold hard earth upon the ground, the rocky soil upon the mound.
And gently swaying in the breeze,those pretty, soft and feathered leaves.
On his stump, a stranger sits, and watches memories come in bits
For those have come and so will go, and life goes on but no one knows
The pain I feel, and so I sit and so.
The cold hard moon will brightly glow,
Through chilling stony winds that blow,
And in the cool blue sky of night, tis when the barn owl makes his flight.
Under cover of darkness, shadows grow,
On the floor, In the mind,
And no one knows.
But me, the shadows now engulf,
And pain floods in, the howling wolf..
I wish that I could know more now,
But as I take the final bow,
My strength is gone, and I must bend,
I’ve nothing left with which to defend.
And as I fall into the cold black void,
That which I have been desperately trying to avoid,
Comes rising up, the waves of pain,
Are overwhelming, drowning me.
And there’s nothing left for me to do,
No choices left, nothing to lose.

Build A Wall

Build A Wall

Cracks start to show in the thick painted mask

The little girl with gavel chips away

Never will she quit her unending task

No matter how the outside seeks to sway

Her resolution: it just stays strong.

Though they try to make believe she’s wrong.

On the outside, the external view

Wallpapering, pasting over cracks.

Paints the wall anew.

Autonomous personage smacks

Out at the little chipping girl

Makes to avoid being caught out in emotional whirl

Pulled this way and that

Torn in all directions

Prays for theat-

-rical conclusions

A deafening crescendo,

She can throw herself into.

The little girl tires

Puts down gavel

Sits and cries.

Starts to unravel.

Pain chips the mask

She’s been put to task.

Bending the wires,

Watches funeral pyres.

That strong wall is falling,

Bricks as tears.

As the little girl sits wailing,

Out come all the fears.

Wishing for the abyss,

Numbness amiss.

The pain overwhelms,

She has no qualms,

As she rebuilds that solid wall,

Knows that she yet cannot fall

Again. The mask’s restored,

The girl’s cries abhorred.

She’s locked inside,

Pushed aside.

Failed escape attempts,

She adds to the lists.

As she takes up gavel,

Chips at the gravel.

Beating at the wall,

Prays it will fall.

This whining pup,

Will not give up.

Fights to be free,

Show who she must be.

Doesn’t want to flee,

“I just want to be me”…

Sharpie’s Girl

Sharpie’s Girl

You don’t love me any more. Why don’t you love me anymore? You used to come to me all the time, and I used to make it better for you. I knew exactly how you liked it. I still do, but you don’t come to me any more. It’s not my fault my body’s old and worn. You’ve used it enough! I still know what you need, but now you’re turning to HIM more and more- young Sharpie- he doesn’t know like I do. He has to go much slower, and that means when you do turn to me, I am angry, and you’re angry and between us, well… you can see exactly what happens….

Well, come on then, it’s do or die. You want more? Think about it. You’re just a selfish bitch! You know it’s what they all think. A loser; A freak! You don’t deserve happiness, so why stop now. Just one more, go on, you can do it! I believe in you — old Steel believes in you. Together we can do it. Together we can make art. You know we can, we’ve done it so many times before. Go on, just one more…

There, feel better, don’t you. I told you you would. Steel knows how to make it better. Always knows what’s right. Knows much more than you do. Now come on, get yourself clean before SHE gets home. You don’t want HER knowing our secret, do you?

Sometimes I wish I hadn’t been born. It would have been so much easier. No hiding. No secrets. No pain. I wouldn’t be a disappointment then. If only I could cry. If only I could tell her. But I can’t, she’d never understand. She’d blame me. Then she’d wish I’d never been born too. I can hear him still. Whispering, taunting. I get so angry sometimes. I wish he’d leave me alone, but when he does, I go back to him. My friend. My Steel. Sharpie’s ok when things aren’t too bad, but he can never have what me and Steel have. That’s special. Sometimes, late at night, I go to him, just to hold him, and he comforts me. We don’t always have to do something, sometimes just holding him is enough. We sit in the window seat and watch the moon. Once, we sat there for four hours, until three o clock. He talked to me the whole time. He wasn’t angry then. He was calm and caring. He’s changed now he knows about Sharpie. Sharpie’s always calm. He makes me calm too. He keeps me in control. Gentle caresses and soft words are his thing. Steel’s a lot more harsh, but I know I deserve it.

You bet I’m harsh. It’s what happens when I get abandoned in favour of a newer model. You know exactly how mad that makes me. I’ve proven it to you often enough. All I want to do is make it better for you, but you don’t want me. Oh, No! Old Steel’s not good enough! You’d rather turn to young Sharpie. He’s got so much to learn, and he’ll never know you like I do. He’ll never replace me, and will never take away your pain. It’s only me that can do that. I’m the only one who’s really on your side. Let’s face it, when things get really bad, I’m really all you’ve got!

Shadow

Shadow

We’ve always been close, Dad and I. But not any more. Looking at him sat in an armchair in the corner of the nursing home, it’s hard to believe that this was once a lucid and intelligent young man. He’ll always be my dad, but it’ll never be the same. It’s like that young man left, and in his place, a shadow. The fog of memories sifting around constantly, flickering. Some brighter than others. It’s up to me to remember for us both now.

It wasn’t like this at first. He remembered most things, but now he barely even
remembers his own name. I miss him so much.He was successful too. An artist — he used to paint the most beautiful pictures. Now he doesn’t even remember how to hold the brush right. He taught me to paint. I’m not bad at it, but I’ll never be as good as he was. He used to travel the world, teaching poor people how to paint for free. He always believed that it was important that everyone learned to be cultured. He didn’t just see it as painting. He saw it as a whole process, from tiny pieces of the picture in someone’s head, to putting it down on paper, the whole image as a painting.

He used to be so wise. Not any more though. They even have to feed him, it’s gotten that far. This stupid, horrible disease. I don’t understand why it had to happen to him. You hear stories, and feel sorry for the people, but you never think that it’s going to happen to anyone in your family. I suppose that’s why it shocks people so, when someone in their family develops illnesses like this.

He’s asleep right now. He doesn’t know I’m here. Sometimes, when he sees me, I’ll see a flicker of recognition in his eyes — a small spark of love, but that’s all it is. He doesn’t really talk to me, just sort of sits there while I talk at him in this falsely cheery voice. Sometimes I just get so cross with him — like he isn’t even trying, but deep down, I know that’s not true. I know he can’t remember me; that sometimes he loses the words.

I used to find it funny when he lost the words, or mixed them up. We all did, and used to laugh about it, but that laughter stopped. It was like the illness slowly tore him up bit by bit. Slowly took away fragment after fragment of his make up until all we had left was a shell. I often nickname him ‘Shadow’. It’s become like a term of endearment.

Visiting him gets so hard. Sometimes he won’t even let me cuddle him. He pushes me away. Sometimes, when that happens, it makes me feel like the illness is tearing me apart too, but I still come back. I can’t leave him alone in here. No-one else visits him. Most of his friends are no longer with us, and the others can’t bear to see what he’s become — my ‘Shadow’.

All That Glitters

All That Glitters

She always has liked things that sparkle.

That’s why they call her Magpie.

To her, everything that glitters may not be gold, but it certainly is beautiful.

She used to be a social butterfly, flitting here and there to parties in glamorous, sparkling frocks.

But things change.

She’s old now.

Lives in a run down old cottage with not even any modern plumbing. It’s cozy, and full of shining things.

The children think she’s magical, with her funny shimmering house.

The adults joke about her, calling her house a flare.

They’ll always go and see her though.

Always ready to ask advice or accept tea from the glittering cottage.

That’s why, when my brother found the kettle, I took it to her.

It was black and bruised and faded when I gave it to her, but I knew that she’d love it like it had never been loved before. She would rub it back to the bright, shiny copper kettle it had been once, long ago.

It’s shining on the windowsill of her house now.

Sparkling like a lovely bright beacon of hope.

A sign that there’s a space for all that glitters.. Somewhere.