Suspended Animation

Rise above it, S—, you’re the older one

My mother’s voice, as my brother goaded me, when I was a child. He always knew how to wind me up – usually getting the desired reaction without too much effort.

Ironic now then that it is my mother’s voice in my head, repeating this tome, as she reminds me of the past.

Your behaviour was very difficult to manage.

You used to behave like that [citing two year-old having a meltdown].

You use depression as an excuse not to look after yourself.

Please  don’t mention [ ] or [ ] or [ ]  when we go to [our relatives].

I want to be able to take you out and be proud of you.

As subjects of conversation and my response styles are banned, I remember why I became an elective mute as a teenager, scared to speak in front of my friends, for fear of saying something wrong.

And, as the conversations around the town span pointing out the place where we [my parents]  got married, and where we [my mother and partner] would like to live, and how I *should* be feeling about their relationship, I bury myself deeper and deeper into my crochet. I’ve work up miles of the stuff, as I  block out the reality of what my mother is saying.


Why won’t you talk to me properly? [Boyfriend] spends hours on the ‘phone to his daughter. I want to be able to  talk to you.

Ignore it, was what my social worker said. So I do. I grunt, teenager-style, every so often, and crochet. After a while, as the memories continue to be re-trodden, I stop feeling altogether. I’m wound up more tightly than the wool wrapped around my crochet hook, scared of which memory might provoke an emotional reaction.

You need to work out how to relax yourself

But none does. And we do “normal” Christmassy things, and laugh, and go out for gorgeous sea-side walks – and my mother says she enjoyed my company. And now I am home again, and flat, and tired, and feeling “not-quite-there”. Like all those memories were someone else’s story. I feel up in mid-air again watching myself, living. Please let the landing back down to Earth be a soft one. 

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