The way that I am

While I was busy pretending my cat could talk and answer the phone, and running from the Hulk, who lived in our hot press, I was losing control of a small, and once well-defined world to forces beyond my control.

I was making up stories and creating imaginary worlds and friends that I could hide inside. I would make myself remember moments because I thought they could steady my course. I thought I could cling to them, string them together and be held up by them. Standing in the kitchen chewing Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum, ‘I will remember this moment.’ And I did. I remembered all the moments: pretending to be a witch in the rain, my knee-high socks pulled down by the weight of water; burying the dead bird I found on the walk back from the swimming pool; sitting under a slide near a field that shouldn’t be crossed, picking flecks of scented orange polish from my fingernails. I remembered for a while. My eyes snapped shut, and I mouthed the words, ‘Remember this moment. Remember.’ Now, I can barely remember anything. Memories became too heavy to hold.

While I hid under the bed, eating Jammy Dodgers and rubbing the green stained patch of skin left by a beloved cheap pink flower-shaped ring I bought from the ice-cream man, everything was shifting and turning away and I would spend the rest of my life trying to catch up. The world was being pulled apart, stretching and expanding, pushing me further away from me, until now.

Now I sit in a well-worn chair in a room with half-full boxes of tissues, talking to a woman who looks like she likes pashminas about the way that I am. Or the way I think I am.

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