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The life and celebration of one Bella Bee

It was 13/10/2011. Icelandic temperatures in the U.K. We had zero cash and I was not afraid. Everyone around me; My Nan, my Mom and my Aunt were giving me advice and asking me questions.

“Have a bath. Have sex. Have a curry. Have a bath. Have a … inundated with many opinions and suggestions

My daughter was still not due until a week later. In one week I had had three stretch and sweeps. My Nan had to give us money for fuel to get back to the hospital. After my lovely bath, I went to lie down but I felt rather contrary and decided to check back into the hospital. The midwives said I still had at least 5 cm to go.

So we trudged back into our car for the seemingly long journey home. 10 minutes into the drive home, I felt something that I thought could be a contraction. It wasn’t painful but it was consistent. and it was a real ‘feeling’. I turned to my Nan and said I think I may be contracting. The car swerved and headed back to the hospital. At the hospital, the contractions started to pick up in intensity (not sore just an ‘alien’ feeling). The nurses led me to a room and said they would be back with all their midwifery gear. My Mom and my Aunt arrived.

By this time I was going into panic mode because I didn’t know what to expect. I demanded my drugs and started hitting the gas and air (That was all I asked for). If only I knew how ill too much would make me. I sat on this massive pink blobby ball, bobbing up and down like a confused Buddha. Mom was massaging my shoulders like I was in the wrestler’s seat ready for round one in the ring. DING! DING! DING!

Out of nowhere, I had the urge to get to the toilet. I don’t want to be vulgar though the feminist in me wants to flip the bird and give all the gory details. We need to get over the fact that birth can be ugly.

Moving on. This immense pressure hit me and it felt like I needed a shit. REALITY PEOPLE! Though, it wasn’t the same feeling like the usual order of the bathroom purge. I ran/made a move to go to the toilet and I sat down on it. My mom followed suit and said to me,

” No grandchild of mine is going to be born on the toilet” so she and my aunt took an arm each and propped me up and headed in the direction of the bed.

I got on the bed and screamed out what I needed to do. I wanted to push.

“PUSH” they cried.

Okay…. so I pushed really hard. I heard my Mom say,

” I can see her shoulders, push! “

I gave one almighty push that started from my head (with thoughts of ‘ one more push’ ‘body will obey’) One more push and it was ‘SHOWTIME’, I felt her shoot out of me. A chill stirred by my snakelike placenta laying frigid in between my legs. No cry. The midwives burst in at this moment with a Spanish inquisition manner of urgency about them. All tooled up for their big moment.

“We need to pierce the placenta.”

My little girl was born in the full sac. My body didn’t even have enough time to send a message to tell my bodywaters you may now burst’.

Still no cry. Then a tiny mew of a cry and they placed her on my chest for a nanosecond and then took her away to make sure she was in top form. They took my girl to another ward to observe her breathing and to make sure the medication I take had not affected her in any way. The midwives broke my waters!

My Mom and Aunt were clapping like a bunch of sea lions and then kissed me on the top of my head and dashed out of the hospital to catch a bus to London! I almost looked around for any discarded popcorn.

I did grab for the gas and air because my daughter had torn me and I needed to be stitched all the way around like a hem of a skirt. I needed some post-labour-pain relief. The whole drive back to the hospital and the labour lasted less than three hours. My baby girl was born on the 13/10/2011 at 03:15 a.m.

All the other Mom’s were super jealous. The easiest birth ever. The worst part was actually having to go to the toilet and not scream out in pain when my stitches had been so cruelly awoken. She has never been a hassle from her birth right up to her fourth birthday. She is such

a placid kid, she is always smiling from morning till night. She tells people they are beautiful and she comments on what people are wearing. She sings and dances. She shares. She is so courageous. There is an old wives tale that children born in the placenta sac are ‘special’. Centuries ago men travelling at sea would wear a part of the sac around their neck as a talisman – it was thought that it would give them protection and stop them from drowning at sea.

So much has happened in my daughter’s 8 years on this planet. People expected you to act like some feral child but no you are the most chilled, charismatic, hilarious, intuitive and smart child I know. I see you blossom and I blossom too. When I hug you to my chest that connection. That surge of emotion puts everything in perspective.

I LOVE YOU!

Our pinkie promise: I promise to love you forever and ever and I will never stop loving you and you will always be my baby girl, pinkie promise.

I know a special girl whose heart is full of sunshine
She dances her way around the world to deliver her own special punchline

She laughs so distinctly that people cannot help but become infected
It is a sight to behold when this observation is detected

She is gracious and kind and is delicately inclined
the phrase 'she is an angel' are the only words that come to mind

Her name means beautiful-that  of body, mind and soul
and to have her touch so many lives confirms her title role

She is my modern day princess -so noble and full of grace
I love her with all my being and she is a person that I cannot replace 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my sweet child. You are the true gift
I found it in your innocent eyes and that was the day my world truly began to shift

How can we help you?

How can we help you? You are loved.

My husband

I’m going to the source of my labelled diagnoses to find a way to answer this question.

Not to look for a reason to blame why I am like  I am, but so I can ask the right questions to help myself get better.

How can we help you?

Okay. The brain goes dead. How I help myself?

Set small goals for the bigger goals  I want to achieve?

What do I want to achieve?

  • A new carpet.

  • I want to clean the blinds,

  • I want to go through my drawers and  Bee’s drawers to organise our space better.

  • We need a new cupboard.

  • I want to get in the festive spirit.

  • Bring the big T.V.  downstairs.

  • I’m worried about Tatiana’s  ( my cat’s) cough.

  • I don’t want to be a FUCK UP!
  • I need to connect more with my mom and family.

 

All achievable unless its a “bad” day.

Write a list to Santa?  ( my inner Santa)

Being self-destructive is tough (sarcasm & truth).

Not as tough as being an 8-year-old child who doesn’t understand why her mother pushes her away. She is also scared to make her cry or hurt my feelings.

 Not as tough as having an endoscopy and no sedation. Having people talk about going for a pint after work while they look at your bowel.

Not as tough as being alone, having a panic attack & waking up in a hospital alone at 87.

I’m so quick to forget about the mermaids tail & a dog that can do anything ticking off Santa’s Christmas list.

I’m so quick to dismiss time.

Or is that just me looking up my own anus again?

Fluent in assholism

.

How can I save my relationships before its too late?

Am I going through the motions as my husband asked?

A firm NO  takes up all the room in my cognitive region.

Before I answer I think again about if I’m just going through the motions…

Today I am going to look up the definition of  ‘going through the motions

PHRASE

If you say that someone is going through the motions, you think they are only saying or doing something because it is expected of them without being interested, enthusiastic, or sympathetic.

Well, of course, I am going through the motions. That is part of the problem.

Get up, eat, clean, sleep, fill my day.

It’s not because I don’t care. I don’t think about the consequences or I forget the pain associated with the consequences.  Or I think about how to get away from feeling a failure in the now.

Note to self: Don’t do things that will make you feel shit about yourself

It’s not that hard to do, Is it?

Maybe I hesitated before answering my husband because I asked myself if the way I am and response makes me a narcissist.

Well, of course, I am. I have spent many years trying to look good, be the thinnest, the most pretty the cleverest etc…

I know I am not & will never be all the above-mentioned thoughts.

What did that mean for me as an adult with Chronic Anorexia?

I don’t take millions of pictures of myself and think I’m better than other people. When I have judged others I try to look at the shitty things I have done or said in my life to humble myself… I am demanding. I can be selfish. I don’t think I am the best. I want to be the best I can be.

Do I live in a fantasy world?

I have done. I do live in a world where I am the object of desire/ importance to get away from who I see in the mirror, who I feel I have become measured by what I have achieved psychically/emotionally/materially. I use sleep as a defence mechanism to not have to deal with the person I am today. My perception of me.

I know what is real and isn’t unless my thoughts about weight and shame invade my inner world.

I have to wake up from my slumber eventually.  Then I convince myself that the only thing that will make me good & empowered is by proving to people I have the money to buy shit that isn’t worth it.

I put a value on what I pay for & how I want it to be packaged.

I don’t feel I need constant praise from others to keep my ego in check. I do feel I need to give myself praise and try & love myself so that I can come across as a person with feelings, warmth & love.

I do struggle to show my emotions. Perhaps its the way my face moves, or because I don’t lie about how I feel or because I’m shit at pretending to be over the moon about something when I am feeling anything but amazing.

When I’m in a toxic phase I guess I do feel that the world should stop for me. It’s unrealistic to think that the world does. I have to check myself. I need to live more outside of my head than in it.

 

I don’t try to exploit people maliciously for my own gain without feeling shame nor the ability to empathise.  I know how manipulative I can be & I have to check myself a lot to try & not be too manipulative. I do sometimes forget how it must feel like to another person to be taken advantage of.

I don’t think I am a person who enjoys belittling others to prop up my own ego. I hate gossip, I can use patronising language & behaviour if I feel threatened. I don’t enjoy making others feel less than I feel.

I want people to be happy & I want people to know that I can be a source of happiness too.

Maybe I am going through the motions but we all do!

If I said: yes, I’m going through the motions

then that would mean that I am a narcissist!

And according to Google: Narcissists can’t love their own children!

What?

I already feel I lack traits that a normal mother gives her child.

Or because of my eating disorder, I have traits of a “vulnerable” narcissist.

If I look indifferent I am also afraid of being abandoned so I try to prepare myself for that moment.

Most of my relationships are unstable -with my mom. daughter partners etc… I can go from having a high opinion of myself to having zero worth in myself in a matter of hours.

I do need to work on my self-image & habits to self-harm.

I have many diagnoses -I need to use what I know about myself to make a positive change.

I want my daughter to love me in 20 years time.

I’m not a child any longer. I want to be better than I am now.

 

Confessions about the illusion of class

Class is an illusion or an in trusion

 

Don’t mix your dish clothes with your serviettes

Ever heard of that one?

My Gran drummed that into all of us as much as she could.

She was born with money but lived the life of Cinderella because she was pretty and Grand  Mamam remarried and acquired two not so pretty daughters.

She fell pregnant at 16 and was made homeless and went to work as a femme de menage and then trained to be a beautician.

She fell in love again and had my Aunt.  Her Love left her like a  stolen kiss and she then had two children to look after.

 

She had to put my aunt and uncle in a children’s home so she could work and survive and send money to them.

It’s not a train smash.

Ever heard of that one before?

My grandpa drummed that into all of us as much as he could.

His parents left Russia in 1918, took on a Polish sounding name and ended up leaving a good life for the slums of Paris.

Grandpa was born in the slums of Paris.

Grandpa took to cruising Paris with the other street kids, always hungry on the lookout for food.

One day Grandpa got a chance to change everything. He got a contract with L’oreal to bring the brand and introduce it to the dark continent that is Africa.

Always an opportunist he took the contract, found my Gran along the way, got married to her (much to the disapproval of my Grans family) and left for Madagascar, then Zimbabwe and finally South Africa.

 

My Gran couldn’t leave her children. She had to tell grandpa that she couldn’t leave France. He asked why and she only managed to tell him about her daughter – my aunt.

My grandpa took my aunt out of the children’s home and gave her his name that very day. My gran couldn’t bring herself to tell Grandpa about her other son. He would remain a secret until he wrote a salacious book about our family many years later.

Grandpa would have taken on my estranged uncle too if he had known.

They went on to have four more children.

Grandpa made a lot of money and finally got live the life of O Riley in South Africa.

The fridge was never empty again.

I got to live a pretty good life too.

Did having money and class make me a better person?

It got me into a lot of trouble.

I had far too much money from my Dad and my Mom’s side of the family.

I got into plenty of trouble.

 

I ended up living in squats and places of poverty. I was always more accepted there for wanting to get high than with other wealthy friends.

The reason: I didn’t hide who I was.

I don’t regret becoming a drug addict.

It taught me that just because I was white and privileged that didn’t mean I was exempt from getting hooked on the same drugs that only the poor and coloured ( is a race in South Africa and not a slur), Indian and black community did.

Class doesn’t buy you happiness.

Drug dealers hated me.

They didn’t get why a white girl with seemingly everything would be wanted to live a ghetto life – have black boyfriends and live in squalor.

One thing having  class did help me with is get me out of a lot of trouble

Before you say money doesn’t buy class.

I already agree it doesn’t.

But have you ever noticed that some people carry themselves a certain way and others have an inbred look?

This is subjective and

Harsh, yes!

Don’t tell me you haven’t ever had that thought!

That person looks like …. (insert your thoughts here)

What I love about the Word Press community is I don’t have a clue who has money and who doesn’t unless of course, a person tells me.

It still doesn’t make a difference. All Good  Writing is classy in my book.

 

 

What irritates me is even though I am living on the poverty line not because of choice but because of choices I  have made – people who don’t know my financial situation assume that the reason I got my daughter back and managed to manage my mental health issues is because of how I present myself and because I look like I have money.

I communicate well.

 

Being privileged does not make me make better choices.

It doesn’t make me better in any way.

There are many people who live in poverty who just like me want to learn. crave to learn.

I truly believe ‘knowledge is power’.

I communicate well because I have educated myself.

Everyone should have this chance

 I’m in debt because I wanted to study in higher education. I am willing to get into more debt to get my Masters.

The problem with the class is the privileged have a better chance at learning to communicate and getting their point across in a “rational” manner from an early age.

We are all born with emotions. It is as natural as breathing

 

For many reasons when we display our emotions in society, we are seen as bad and showing ourselves and our family and friends up.

People with mental health issues -Rich or Poor get outcast as soon as they start leading their life in emotion without knowing the rules of how to be “civilised” to try to get what you want.

 I didn’t get lucky because of my background.

I got clever and I studied and I learnt. I watched people and how they interact. I went on self-discovery courses to find out what my priorities and beliefs and values were and what makes me tick.

I have had at least one chance to marry for money. A pity the person was double my age, got a great pension and couldn’t communicate unless in anger or affection and drunk.

I have never had a rich boyfriend.

 

I think the closest I had to a boyfriend with “Money” was a brief love affair with someone in the army who had so many issues that he accused me of only wanting him for his money.

Funny story. I actually crushed on him because he had travelled like me. He had opinions and ideas. He was creative and he made me feel special.

I am married for love.

My mom is not rich any more but she has a lot of class and really great taste in fashion.

She has been my wedding planner and if our day looks privileged: it is because she got clever

We got clever. We got our priorities right.

I am rich in love.

 

My husband to be was born in a place where everyone who hears the name thinks ghetto, drugs, inbred families and rough around the edges.

Granted Gaz looks like he may smoke a bit of the green stuff.

He has never smoked or taken drugs.

He doesn’t drink. Hasn’t done for nearly 5 years.

He does know how to communicate and get his point across better than a lot of the Rich people I have had the opportunity of conversing with.

His mind is open. He is not ignorant. I love him for that.

We get on so well because we try to put the world to rights, we are inquisitive, always ready to learn and find out about our world and even beyond it.

We laugh. A huge turn on.

Make me laugh or buy me diamonds?

Oooh, what will I go for?

 

 

 

 

 

Sheep on suicide

Where is my mind?

The weed who has every right to declaim — life’s not fair.

I’m back , I’m here . And a round of applause for me.

I’m reclaiming my life!

Life is like tax credits. We have to keep on reclaiming it to make sure we get it.

For one reason only:

This is my life and I care.

separated from the one I thought I loved needed.

 woke up

  saw my life for what it really is

If that makes  me a hard bitch, emotionless or selfish.

I’ll take every adjective and I’ll mix it in with my next meal.

Add an extra portion of muscles and plenty of shellfish.

One life to choose.

Mine or another?

I choose me and my daughter.

Every. Single. Time.

I’m a cheater, I’m a druggie.  I’m crazy. I’m a …what? 

I ain’t got time for your nonsense,

Pack your shit up and get out;

so I can raise my family

to understand

people are human.

Some people keep on building the same rickety, useless fence over and over and over.

And then die.

If my vices-when activated

render me a misfit of society?

Bah j’en fiche!

Translation –

Whatever!  I don’t value your opinion.

I’m not suicidal.

I’m not a sheep.

I’ve been swimming since I was living in an amniotic sac.

Water baby.

Born and bred.

The water life chose me.

Life is not fair — don’t be patronizing. 

Boy ( you’ll be a man soon)

 Listen. I don’t need you or you  type.

I sure as hell, don’t want you.

What about all I’ve done for you.

I  literally picked you off the street.

Must I go into detail ….

Nah! Bro.

My issues.

My mind.

I’m dealing with it.

I can’t hit a button and go on the rewind.

My daughter.

My daughter. 

Her bond to me- is first and foremost.

She’s already living a lie.

I have to explain to her  who her biological father is.

Parents walk away every day from their children.

Others do step  up

and do good by them.

Until… abuse and disrespect start again.

Back off deal with your emotions.

Cut the strings. Grow a ..ahem

Pair of wings.

Fly – be ambitious — live your life.

You want to be role model?

Live your life.

Make something.

Anything.

That is the greatest show of love you can bestow on a child.

Show them –

yes, life is unfair.

No one ever said it was easy.

Nobody wins a prize for it.

Depending on your religion.

 If you want a prize

go pick one and go with it.

We just  gotta keep going on,

Don’t lose sight of that lighthouse.

It will bring us back to shore.

I can’t carry another dead weight.

I need to save myself and my child.

I was drowning in all of your shit.

BLAH!

BLAH!

BLAH!

The ones I chose to sleep with, and play a game of common whores.

We can all do  chores

We can all be whores.

We can all be bores.

Genderize it. Put it into context.

I look around me and everyone with ‘a stick to throw’ has disappeared.

I’m on my knees.

 

A new dawn, a new day.

New gossip to come —  Lodi Dodi  -there’s some tussle or gossip to come from some other party.

(Slick Rick reference)

Fodder for the foraging masses.

Self brainwashing

I don’t owe you an explanation

time,

money,

me!

If  being busy is a sign of vindictiveness

If saying no- is a sign of vindictiveness-

Throw  that hoop on me.

And I’ll hula hoop my way into ‘the vindictive dance award’s category.

What else can you/people  throw at me?

It hurts more when I’m unstable, high – not using my resources.

When I’m me. I can take it.

It doesn’t hurt.

big heart

Increasingly

Selective.

my journey,

my life —its where I’m at

Live for yourself.

miserable human lives for someone else’s approval.

Trust me, I’ve tried, never lied, nothing to hide.

Everything to gain

 lose my sanity, possibly my child?

My Biggest gamble.

 willing to take my own life.

You’re stood there  crying like you are’ the shook one.’

I’ve stepped into reality.

Scraping dog shit off my shoes every day.

 willingly believe dog shit is a sign I’m going to receive good news.

willingly believe that  I have what it takes to make it — Again.

 gasped my first breath in years.

lookup,

see beauty,

the stars,

see promise.

Not willing to let you cripple me

see another way-

see another route never said I cared about you or him or that.

probably did.

probably did

probably do. This is where I am at.

I do not answer to you.

Or you –

maybe you.

I know who I have to answer to.

Pass me more tissues

aware of my issues.

My life or yours?

I’d be certifiable insane if I  allow me to take more attempts on my life.

On a final note

‘I am an artist and I’m sensitive  about my shit ‘

TECH N9NE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKs5OsT4dIY

 

 

 

  • Photo credit Francesca  Woodman

The order of the black Dog

My family.

Here we all are, sitting around the circular dining room table- flecked with bits of gold.

Ma sits under a hanging portrait of this Christmas just gone. Three weeks ago. We are all smiling in it including Poppy. Poppy sits playing with her Annabelle doll, on my husband’s lap. Sat opposite from Ma, closest to the electric fire hearth is Gran.

I find myself sitting across from Gran. An iciness breathes mist over us. It separates me from them, cloaks me in a fog.

I try to swallow. The air is so thick it chokes me, I’m forced to put my hands to my throat. Nobody notices me. Nobody notices me the way they used to. I tune into the conversation-taking place.

‘Of course I’m not suggesting this is your fault. I should have known. Done more…’ Nan bursts into tears.

A cry out for:

I need attention I’m suffering the most.

My skin bristles. Nan pulls her scarf tighter around her neck, and then throws out a familiar comment about it being draughty.

‘You know I could catch pneumonia with my Asthma.’ She coughs. Ma gets up to put on the electric fire.

‘I didn’t take her seriously. You know what Angie was like?’

Ma’s eyes are red as the rosary beads she is thumbing; she looks over to an unusually quiet Poppy.

‘Did she just do it to spite me?’ How could she just leave her own…?’

My husband throws a warning look at Ma,

‘Marie, for Poppies sake. Our Angie suffered more than she let on.’ Ma sits back down. ‘Let’s put on a cartoon, luv?’

Poppy shakes her head.

She doesn’t look at us.

I look straight at her, willing her to leave this table. Leave this conversation. She lifts her head and looks me dead on in the eyes. I instinctively smile. Eddie and me always stood together when it came to Poppy.

Her face is pale, her eyes sunken, her skin is drawn in so tight I can see cheek bones protrude. Beneath her eyes veiled shadows betray her youthful face.

She clings onto Annabelle, still looking me dead on in the eyes.

‘When’s Mummy coming home?’

Silence. Her words enmesh with the silence. Her question disarms me. Marks me. The arrow leaves its bow splintering my heart.

I open my mouth to scream out as many words as I can. Condensation steams the air distilling me into silence. I reach my hand across the table to grab hers.

She doesn’t see me. I glare at my family sitting at the round table. They say nothing. Smothering themselves in sorrow, they witheringly curl inwards. I urge to shake them, uproot them from winters glaze.

-Answer her. Answer my daughter!

Instead, Gran succumbs to a puddle of wrinkled tears, mechanically Ma gets off her chair, attempts to console Gran and naturally it’s up to Eddie to mediate.

My calm, rational Eddie. His eyes read as vacant –his beard is wild and unkempt. It’s impossible to read his face.

He clears his throat,

‘We’re gonna see Mummy when we give her… say a proper goodbye.’

Gran flounders in her anglers net of remorse. Great splotchy splashes of grief escape. She wails,

‘She’s with the angels –looking down at you, darling!’

I roll my eyes. Of course I love her! Lately, she grates my skin more frequently with her, melodramatics.

– Confess how you truly feel. Relieved!

I’m so fixated on evoking a response from Gran; unnoticed, a light flickers with an intensity to match my own. Eddie carries Poppy over to the sofa, sits her down to watch a cartoon. He covers her with a blanket then kisses her forehead.

‘We’ll see mummy soon? To say goodbye?’

Eddie nods his head, his voice cracks.

‘Aye, love.’

‘When will mummy come back from saying goodbye? In spring? My teacher says it’s winter – everything goes to sleep like her?’ Poppy points to ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on the television.

Eddie focuses on the image. The Prince is just about to kiss Aurora on the lips. He turns his head away from the television before he can see Aurora wake up to her true loves kiss. He grinds down on his teeth. Poppy’s eyes remain transfixed on the television. Eddie gets up, crosses the dining room table; I’m compelled to follow him, I have to stop him. Tell him I’m still here. I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve so much to tell him.

-There is no God! We were right all along. Religion is for people who can’t think for themselves. We were right to take the piss.

Eddie flinches, puts his hands in his jean pockets. I follow him down Ma’s hallway and into the bathroom. He closes the door on me. It doesn’t ever close fully. I slip through the crack of the door that is always ajar.

Head down. Still. He sits on the toilet seat. I kneel down before him; go to lay my head on his knee. He flinches again. Hits himself in the head. Bangs his fist on the wall screams out:

‘Why? We could’ve figured it out, you fucking stubborn mare’ I bring out the best and worst in Eddie. Till death do us part. What are the chances?

He still refuses to let me go. Stubborn.

My symptoms intensify in the days leading up to the funeral. Everything‘s heightened especially emotions that seemingly walk precariously on stilts. I can’t walk through walls or levitate. Nothing like any of the horrors Eddie and me used to watch together, on the sofa.

Unheard, I bellow continuously,

-Just let me go!

Every time I hear my name called reflections of nostalgia flash and beam over and around me. Prompted, I gravitate towards the source. Someone needs me. These past three weeks, I’ve been teleported from one conversation to another. I find myself in a room; familiar or not familiar, with people I know and people I don’t know.

Today I’m summoned to the usual bickering between Ma and Gran. The familiar sound of Gran’s kettle boils in the background.

‘I want that picture of her on her graduation day and flowers- blown up .With azaleas. And roses – she loved roses- pink.’

‘She hates that picture! And she loves- loved yellow roses…’ Ma’s wobbly voice mirrors her jelly struck legs propping her up in her work shoes. She staggers backwards. Like the black dog with a bone, Gran won’t give in,

‘No, she’s my eldest grand daughter and I know her – it is… was pink!’

Ma sits down, doesn’t speak. I go over to her to put my arms around her then she dissolves into tears. Gran bulldozes her way over to us. Intimidated, I move out of her way. Gran holds Ma and Ma lets Gran hug her. Ma calms down, mentions something about pink and yellow roses

Vexed, I shriek

– don’t back down Ma, I love yellow. Yellow roses. The kettle whistles for attention. My voice is lost to an object.

‘I’ll go make that cup of tea’ Nan retreats to her kitchen.

Another opportunity to get close to Ma again. I need to hug her, give her some of my energy. As if on cue, Mum’s tear-stained face crumples just like my heart. A poking hot iron burns a hole right through it. Gran re-enters the room I scarper.

‘Here you go, love. Lost three of my own …, as you know, mind, they never got to Angie’s age. Yellow’s more of a quirky colour like our Angie… was.’ They smile at each other. I move back, the distance seems to illuminate their smiles.

Tonight, I beg for there to be a heaven. This has to be hell. The familiar, incongruous, gravitational pull lures me out of my cavernous abyss. I blink my eyes several times to focus: orientate myself. Hung up around the wall are vintage Disney posters. My eyes settle on Poppies bed. Eddie bends over Poppy and kisses her goodnight,

‘Mummy loves you just as much as I do.’ He tucks her in.

He switches off the light before walking out. I stand and watch my worn out daughter in her bed. She sings herself to sleep just as she does every night. She sings our song: twinkle twinkle little star. With each inflection of her sweet singing voice, the words serve as a needle. Each word stipulates smelting hot ink into my flesh. My neck is ablaze. Before closing her eyes, she whispers,

‘I love you mummy.’

When I reply, scorching chains wrap and lasso me around my neck. My skin swells up in blisters. The familiar sound of her breathing evaporates the pain. I need to be close to her, I need to smell her, kiss her. Carelessly, I run over to her bed to touch her sleeping head. Startled I lunge backward as Poppy instantly wakes up screaming.

– I’m powerless

. Eddie barges into the room, throws on the light and takes Poppy into his arms. I watch her body stiffen; then relax. I watch him settle my daughter back to sleep. My hands ball into tight fists.

-She must know I’m here.

Before I can touch her face, she wakes up screaming like – like she has seen a- ghost.

-I’m that Ghost! I put my hands to my mouth in horror.

Envy bubbles inside me as I witness Eddie consoling Poppy again. I’m half hoping he won’t succeed.

What kind of a mother am I?

I’ve been telling everyone to let me go.

Where will I go?

I can’t drive, no one can see me. There are no other lost souls wondering about telling me to join the dead community!

I won’t give up on my daughter. She needs me. I have to be here.

The stroke of our clock announces its time; a primitive realisation slithers down my very core. Nausea spirals up into my throat. I run into our bathroom, heave over the toilet, nothing comes out. I catch sight of my reflection in the mirror; I see vicious V-shaped welts where the noose of the rope has cut into my neck. This is what Eddie came home to.

The cloying black dog of depression haunted me. Its delivered dose of pain was exquisite- nothing took it away. Not drinking, overdosing, drugging myself, talking-nothing. Eventually, I told it to sit down. I told Eddie repeatedly,

– I just want to disappear.

– How can I help you? His eyes pleaded for an answer. I would always lash out,

-Unless you help me disappear, you can’t!

I remained imprisoned in our bed and he would go back to work and look after Poppy and the house. He could walk away from me. I couldn’t. I resent him for that. I can see myself now, googling the various ways people commit suicide. One article struck my eye ‘Men are more successful at committing suicide’.

-They don’t mess about with poisoning themselves –they resort to more violent means.

That is the moment I reached out to the wrong Alpha.

The black dog and I began sleeping together. It became my obsession. Up-close, I could analyse it, experiment with it. As a couple, it didn’t take much to find that Alpha rage. One phone call from Ma,

-Just snap out of it. If you’re going to do it, get on with it.

-Fine, I will! I hung up on her before she could hang up on me.

My impulsiveness finds me trapped within this mirror. It’s cold. Everything I read is back to front. Everything I do is back to front. It doesn’t reflect my true intentions. When I reach out, in fact, the more I reach out the more pain I inflict. I back away from the mirror until I’m pressed up, with my back against the bathroom wall.

What have I done?

What right do I have trying to tell my family how to deal with their loss?

Eddie will never know that I was messing about; I didn’t know if I could actually go through with it. From a great height in a corner of the bathroom my body feels cut loose from itself. I can see it happen in front of my eyes. Like a rerun episode, I can’t pause. The noose around my neck, in the shower. Steam shrouds the mirror, with slippery feet, I accidently knock myself off that chair and in that moment I realise,

– I don’t want to die.

I can’t scream and tell anyone. I made the decision when I decided to sleep with my enemy. I’ve interrupted the natural course of life. A lost soul in life: a lost soul in death. There are no bright lights to come with this epiphany. I exit the bathroom, stumble down the staircase, out the front door, and walk aimlessly down the street. I sense a familiar pair of eyes examining me; I look up and see the black dog in its true form. It waits for me to catch up. We walk side by side. I don’t look back. I am the one preventing people from moving on. I have to let go.

*TMA Submition for Open University- Year one MA -Creative writing- fiction genre