The Flat (True Life Short Story)

Ellie was nine and didn’t want to go. She never liked going there. The dog always smelled and was continually bothering the cat. All that meowing, hissing, growling and barking made her feel anxious. Surely, keeping two animals in such a tiny flat is cruel, especially with six children there, too. No wonder the cat and dog are so discontented and fractious – hardly surprising.

Ellie’s aunt, Lily, was strict and unkind. Ellie never liked her. She was harsh and emotionless, or so it seemed. She had a wicked streak in her, always telling off her young niece for biting her nails. She would rub nasty Germolene* onto the ends of Ellie’s fingers, so every time Ellie started to nibble her nails, she got the disgusting taste of the ointment. Why didn’t Lily understand how traumatised the child was? Ellie was always crying – she was missing her mum, naturally, with her being in hospital again. Why didn’t Lily see that?

Ellie got on reasonably well with her two older cousins and one of the twins, but the other was domineering and a bully. Ellie was scared of Amy, who always made a point of saying she was twenty minutes older than her twin, Kate. She was glad to have her own sister, Jill, there with her. Although her sister was one year younger than her, she was a fair bit bigger and would often stick up for Ellie if there were arguments or a lot of bossing going on.

Ellie hated going to the twins’ school. She was in a different class from Jill, and she also didn’t understand the language in Hebrew classes, as her own family didn’t use it, not being religious. She had no friends and always stood alone in the playground corner during break times. She felt so isolated and very much wanted to go home. She wondered how many weeks she’d have to stay at the flat. However long it was going to be, it was far, far too long.


*Germolene is a strong-smelling antiseptic ointment.


Photo by Help Stay on Unsplash

Measles

I never remember my dreams, but last night, I woke up at 2.30am in a state of panic and fear. I’d had a nightmare, only this time, I remembered it vividly. I have no idea where it came from; I hadn’t been talking to anyone about my experience, and it wasn’t in my mind yesterday. I’m left wondering why I would remember this now. As I wrote this, I was shaking, recalling every detail as if it were yesterday. These are my memories of that time.

I remember when I was five.
and only very small
I got measles and constant nosebleeds
and had to go into hospital

It was called ‘The German Hospital’
It treated contagious infections
I was scared and wanted my teddy bear
At five, I needed affection

But it turned out to be a prison
and I was shut up all day in a cot
and when Mummy and Daddy left me there
I was only a little tot

Hardly anyone came to see me
I was in total isolation
Even the nurses who came every few hours
just gave me nasty medication

I couldn’t get out of the cot
though I’d stand there and call and cried
Surrounded by four solid walls
and trapped in there, inside

And I added my own tooth marks
to those that were there before
on the cot rail, in utter despair
hoping someone would walk through the door

Not another child did I see
the whole time I was in there
Mummy and Daddy didn’t visit much
and nobody seemed to care

Not even an ounce of kindness
did I get in that awful place
and I stood for  hours, rocking my cot
with tears streaming down my face.


#Me Too*

Can’t read
Can’t write
No rest
Hard fight

Can’t hear
Feel fear
All alone
No one there

Big smiles
All day
Great acting
Run away

Feeling pain
Not numb
Silent now
Staying dumb

Giving up
Too much shame
Held inside
Played the game

Being good
No escape
Dirt shows
Child rape

So soft
Weak-willed
Too tough
Justice killed

Can’t see
Don’t tell
Keep quiet
Gone to hell


* #MeToo is a social movement originating among women, advocating for survivors of sexual harassment or violence to speak out about their experiences.


(Image source – Photo by Shamia Casiano: https://www.pexels.com)

Hands Off

Today the sky is black as coal
My mind has crawled inside a hole
He took away my heart and soul
Please, lock him up with no parole

~~~

I was only eight and very shy
And was it any wonder why
I’d never scream; I’d never cry
When after, in your bed, I’d lie

~~~

I didn’t want to play his game
He told me that I was to blame
He left me with the deepest shame
I’d like to tell the world your name

~~~

What he did was so taboo
Tucked away and out of view
Thought you’d get away, did you?
Karma will tell false from true

~~~

This isn’t who I want to be
He stole my innocence; can you see
I couldn’t run; I couldn’t flee
Just get your filthy hands off me.

Pretence

Being honest here and speaking my truth as I always do, I’m not okay today. I don’t feel much like the success I referred to in my last poem. I saw my counsellor this afternoon. She was going to let me know if I could continue to see her as my funding has nearly run out. I’d spoken with the organisation’s manager on Friday, and she assured me she would discuss my case with C. (my counsellor) and that I’d have a decision by this week’s session. As it turned out, the manager hadn’t spoken to C. I expect there’s a good reason for this; however, it doesn’t help my distress and worry at not knowing where I stand. C. told me she wouldn’t be there next week either, so I now have to wait another two weeks before knowing what will happen. I feel lost and alone.

PRETENCE

It’s tough pretending to be okay
when I’m absolutely not
I find myself smiling and chatting away
to stop others sensing the rot

~~~

I’m trying to write my song differently
I’m trying to appear upbeat
There’s far too much for others to hear
if it’s only the pain I excrete  

~~~

If only they knew what the truth was
that I’m shrivelling up inside
so I stay quiet and keep my thoughts to myself
while my innocent inner child died

~~~

I currently stand on a precipice
I’m looking for a safe way to go
I join in the fun with a crowd of friends
not letting all my pain show

~~~

I’m angry inside with that b******
He’s the one who caused all this sh*t
So, why am I carrying the blame in my heart
when I don’t belong in this pit

~~~

He should have been tried in a court
They asked me if I wanted to tell
but I was far too scared of speaking the truth
I’d already been through hell

~~~

If he were alive, I would prosecute
I’d make him stand facing the beak**
I’d tell all of his vile wicked deeds
as now it is my turn to speak.


(** The word ‘beak’ is an English slang word for judge or magistrate)












Rage

Image source – http://www.peakpx.com

I thought very seriously about sharing this poem. I originally wrote it several years ago, but I’ve updated it since then. It’s about the internal anger, which I feel now that it’s no longer possible to be angry with the appropriate person. Not knowing how to deal with my rage, despite my therapist’s suggestions of punching cushions, screaming into pillows, yelling to loud music etc., the only outlet I have for my feelings is my writing. I hope you will understand my reason for sharing this somewhat uncomfortable and sombre poem, and please know that I don’t wish to offend anyone who may read this.


How do I shield my mind, my darling

from the wrath, I have towards myself

or the tongue, as sharp as a blade

that spits bitter words with every breath?

~~~

My soul shrouded by secrets untold,

whipped by the wind in a hot desert storm

beaten against fresh, fair skin;

sour, narrow eyes, blinking.

~~~

My spirit dances with hollow sighs

and its shadow falls and tumbles

into the darkest of clouds;

tears flow freely into the midnight sky.

~~~

But now, my scarlet demons

run screeching from the hills

and the steep mountains rage;

 and then forever hushed.

AFTERTHOUGHT …

Brittle

Image taken from my Pinterest posts

I wish I could tell you I was different then
That I was happy, content, just a child
But even in those early growing years
I knew something was brittle
~~~

I wish I could tell you it’s because of a divorce
Or a car crash, a scene, a fight in between
But even when the day dawns, and light filters through
There was too much on my mind
~~~

I wish I could tell you it was society
Put it down to one event, let it be
But there is reason behind me
I am just this way; I was made brittle
~~~

I was brittle before I reached the age of one
Before my first dark, grim nightmares
Before the death of my fragile spirit
I was already brittle in my mother’s belly
~~~

I try to soothe my mind with my music box fairy
Broken promises, dusty, stained wishes
But I am brittle
So take my hand, gently, as I am liable to fracture.

Image source Google Free Images


Dissociative Healing

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

The past came back to haunt me yesterday
I thought I was over all that
It suddenly came flooding back
When opposite my counsellor, I sat

I cried a river of tears
As I remembered the sickening pain
I didn’t want to go back to that place
To experience everything again

The adult within me departed
Although I was sat in my seat
I could feel myself drifting away
As my heart skipped its regular beat

My thoughts were transported elsewhere
To a time so long ago
The world seemed unreal as time transposed
My agony completely on show

I had gone somewhere else in my mind
Somewhere distant and safe
I couldn’t be touched from where I was hidden
As I became the child, the waif

Gradually soft words broke through
It’s okay, you’re secure, you’re here
The voice, far away, waited patiently
Till the muffled speech became clear

Her voice brought me back to the room
My head cleared as she reached out her hand
The fear left and the pain abated
As I began to understand

My adult returned; it was time to go
Slowly, I walked to the door
I thanked her and smiled as the sun shone in
For I knew I was healing for sure.