Do you remember when we first found out he was sick?
I stayed with you on the phone, talking it through, because you said you had nobody else you could talk to about it.
We were both in shock:
summer months by the cricket pitch,
sipping coke in the sun,
dreaming of what he would look like, never imagining he would end up like this.
When he ended up in hospital, I left work to be by your side; I left my deadlines, left behind the seizures I’d had the night before and earlier that day, to be with you in the hospital room.
I caught up on sleep on the underground, so that I could be your pillar by your side, and not one tear flowed in your presence, even while you cried as you held his tiny hand, plus mine.
I cracked the jokes you needed, to make you laugh, while my own heart was breaking inside;
I cracked the jokes you needed to keep you going, while my own fuel tank was empty.
And then when I left you, I cried all the way home. I cried in the arms of my lover for your broken baby; and for my broken brain, my fragmented and foggy mind, and my leaden limbs.
Do you remember when we first met up, after not talking for so long?
You asked me to recount the story of how I’d ended up wanting to end it all after finding out my sister not only didn’t believe that I was sick, but also didn’t believe that I had been abused? You forced the story out of me like blood from a stone,
but it came anyway, drip… after drip…. after drip.
I looked up at you, awaiting your response:
“What do you think of this book for the baby shower?” was your reply.
You hadn’t been listening at all.
And I let it go, because fighting for your attention was more trouble than it was worth.
Do you remember the summer months by the cricket pitch?
My train journeys to the county of white stilettos and orange tans; the only way was up for us because I heeded your every beck and call, regardless of my electric interruptions, and foggy traffic jams during conversations – you would overtake me without offering me a tow.
Soon life for me changed: I had more seizures, pressures bore down upon me from all corners of my ever-swelling prison. You said I was always busy, like being sick is suddenly a new hobby.
So, you found your own new hobby: you replaced me with somebody sunnier, healthier, more willing to fulfil your needs.
In the Disney store, the last time we ever saw each other, I mentioned my apprehension about the new Beauty and the Beast movie, but you promised that we would go and see it together, because you were my sister now and you were all I needed now, you promised.
But then you checked in with your new sunny BFF: you were at the cinema together watching it.
Like a rag doll I fell to the floor, because you’d promised that we would go and see it together. But we didn’t.
Like the last rag doll on the shelf, I was left alone, to go and see it alone.
You said it was because I had been sick that week.
Being sick was my punishment for not getting to see you fulfil your promise to me.
Being sick was my punishment for not being there enough for you.
You compared epilepsy to having a bad back. Because your new BFF has back pain from a car accident, and now we’re playing who’s sicker than who, just like you did with your baby. I didn’t sign up for this game. I’m not here to play games, I’m not strong enough, and neither am I weak enough.
You said I was lying about being sick, and using my seizures as an excuse not to see you, just because I was up and about one day and bedridden the next; because I don’t look sick but I am in fact sick all the time:
“Do I have to be on a drip for you to believe that I’m ill? Is that what kind of friend you are?
Or do you need a doctor’s note?
Will you believe me then?
I then told you that: “I think you should stop talking, because you are making yourself look pretty bad”
You told me that nobody was going to tell you when to stop talking. Least of all me I guess, now that our friendship was a wreck on the rocks.
Then you replied:
“I KNOW YOURE [sic] ILL, THE WORLD KNOWS YOUR [sic] ILL you tel [sic] everyone all day on Facebook!”
So, I can’t tell people I’m sick? I can’t raise awareness for this condition I’ve been inflicted with, because you’re sick of hearing about it? I can’t use the strength that I still have, to fight ignorant dicks like you who look at me and tell me that because I don’t look sick, then I must not be? That because I’m on medication then that means everything is ok? That I’ve been sick for long enough now, so my time in the limelight is up?
Mama always told me that you were bad for me, but because she was also bad for me, I didn’t pay any heed to her advice.
Bad plus bad equals good, right?
Well, it’s taken me three weeks to rinse your venom from my system;
I’m still coughing up the phlegm from my lungs.
You said good luck to me, however your wishes of luck were laced with the words:
“in your epilepsy bubble”,
like I’ve chosen this life for myself, like I’ve chosen this cocoon to hibernate inside, except it doesn’t insulate me, it only breaks me.
Can you hear my cries as they echo within this hollow shell of a body?
Could you hear them when I called out for help, when I told you that I wanted out of this shell, into death instead?
This hollow shell weighs a tonne, and yet all this time you chose not to see.
And now you’ve chosen never to see.
Our ship has sunk.