Wednesday, 5 August 2015


[A kinda-sequel to Patterns In Behavior.
Minor Trigger Warning.

Thank you so much for reading.

Stay safe xo]


I enter the room slowly.
I try not to breathe at all.

The receptionist smiles at me. Speaks to me. Invades my personal bubble of space with her kind eyes. They're on me, those eyes. I smile back and pretend I can't feel them tracking me as I cross the room towards the chairs.

I stop in front of the second chair. The one between the mustard coloured chair and the black couch.
My chair.
My place.
I release my breath, and sit.

For the last time.

I don't know how I know it will be the last time, but it will be. I know it will be. I knew it from the moment I opened my eyes from the sleep I did not get. I knew it as I pulled back the covers and planted my frozen toes onto the frozen tiles. I wavered for a moment, unable to connect my thoughts to my actions. Unable to collect my thoughts at all. I waited. Barely breathing. Barely moving.

My brain spluttered and turned the ignition.

I became unstuck.

But still, I knew.

I've spent too long tip-toeing along the edge to not know what it feels like to fall.

I think while I wait.
I do not count.
I do not vibrate.
I do not extrapolate and calculate and vindicate.

I sit still.
I think.

I go through the morning in my head, searching for the glitch.
I know there's a glitch, somewhere.
It's like a tiny worry bead, rolling around inside my head.
A pebble in my proverbial shoe.
Worry, worry, worry.

I cycle through the events three times over.
The glitch does not appear.

I cycle through again. Again. Again.
Worry, worry, worry.

Get up. Pee. Weigh in.

Worry, worry, worry.

Gulp water. Gulp meds. Brush teeth.

Worry, worry, worry.

Shower. Get dressed. Do hair.

Worry, worry, worry.

Hug dogs. Make bed. Leave.

Worry, worry, worry.

The bead bores a hole in my skull.
It makes it harder to think.

I hear my name. When I look up, he's standing in the doorway. His lips move, but only static fills the air. I blink and rise, surreptitiously shaking my head. Trying to shake the bead free.

It stays lodged firmly in place.

Worry, worry, worry.

I clutch my bag as I follow him down the corridor. His shape blurs before my eyes, slowing me down. I blink again and reach for the banister beside me. I need to stop, I think. Just for a moment.

Worry, worry, worry.

My hand slips along the chipped white paint. I stumble, unable to grasp it as I want to. As I need to. I steady myself before I hit the floor.

The bead rolls free.

Worry, worry, worry.

He turns around. My boots stomp loudly on the floorboards as I struggle to stay steady. The walls shudder. Shhhh, they whisper. Don't you know there are sick people here?

He says my name again.
The static grows louder.
The bead rolls down the back of my throat and onto my tongue.

The glitch wavers and shifts.

All at once, I know what it is.

I release my slick hold on the banister and stand there for moment, wavering. The paint chips cling to the salt on my palm. He says my name a third time. I look up to answer him and tumble forward.

Tumble, tumble, tumble.

The floorboards are not are hard as I expect them to be.

I'm still falling.

Falling, falling, falling.

I command my eyes to open.
They grant me a compromise.
I see him through a curtain of eyelashes.
He is gripping me.
Helping me lie down.

My eyes close.

Tumble, falling, worry.

My heart huffs and puffs up a very steep hill. It stutters and takes a moment to sit down.

Rest, I say gently. You've worked hard. Have a rest. It's okay. Have a rest.
My heart smiles gratefully.

The remaining strings connecting my thoughts to my actions are neatly snipped by an unseen pair of scissors.

I feel myself go limp.

Resting, worry, tumble.

Frantic fingers dance along my neck. Hands knock on the cage around my chest. An ear hovers above my lips, listening. Checking.

Checking, checking, checking.

My heart raises an eyebrow.
I shake my head.
No, old boy, I whisper. It's okay. I've got this one.
He smiles and settles down to his nap.

My ears register that the static is louder now. They lazily sift through the noise until it starts to clear. They pick up words. Phrases. Panic.

The glitch buzzes in my head.
Tell them, it hums. They deserve to know. Tell them.

When I open my mouth, the bead rolls free.

They pick it up and read it. A list winds around its fragile surface. The letters glisten in the morning light.




The glitch continues to hum.

The memory plays in sepia, slowly and soundlessly. The edges crackle and waver. I see myself in the bathroom, standing in front of the mirror. There's a number staring up at me from the tiles. I try not to see it, but I know it's there. Taunting me. Haunting me. Flaunting my weaknesses for all the world to see.




I ignore it and take my morning meds.
And my evening meds.
And all my meds.
I do not stop until all my meds are gone.

The glitch crackles again and disappears.

His face swims into focus. It's buried behind the two blank faces of the ones poking me and trying to coax my heart out of his slumber.

He looks scared.
I feel terrible.
I didn't mean it, I want to say. I don't even remember it. I didn't want to. I didn't.

I did.

I'm sorry.
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

I repeat it over and over again until one finally makes it across the broken strings and onto my lips.

"I'm sorry."

His face changes.
I wonder if he looks angry.
I wonder what he'll tell my mother.
I hope she'll be okay.
I hope she will forgive me.
I hope she'll understand.
I think, fleetingly, of my dogs.
I wish they were with me. I know they'd understand.

The room begins to darken.

I'm standing on the edge between awake and asleep. My heart checks with me one last time. I use my remaining strength to nod.

We both close our eyes.

I waver.

I fall.