Saturday, 10 January 2015


Yelled mother with infallible logic.
"Only unhappy children are nail-biters!"
So I stopped biting my nails.

I didn't stop being unhappy.
I just got better at hiding it.

Mother was also good at hiding it.
That she was unhappy.
Even from herself, she hid it.
She hid it with control.
Over herself.
Over others.

Others? Others were us.
The rest of the family.
Sister, father and me.

Disagreement was a war mother needed to win.
It was always a question of who was right
and who was wrong,
and she was always right.

Viewpoints did not exist in her universe.
Right was right and wrong was wrong
and only she knew what was what.

In my universe I was a foundling.
Had no place in the world.
Daydreamed about living in an orphanage.
With rules that could be followed.

In father's universe, peace was the only goal.
"Don't upset her, she is so ill."
"It's been like this for 30 years," he said.
"It's been like this all my life," I said.

In sister's universe, a soldier guarded her mother
who was a captive, imprisoned in a tall tower.

And in mother's universe?
There she was also a captive.
Of control and right and psychosis and medication.
And control and right and psychosis and medication.
The wheel turned.

Again and again.
Again and again and again, the wheel turned. 

Control and right and psychosis and medication.

Rarely, very rarely, like glimpses of sky
in a rip in black storm clouds
the control slipped a little and I saw
a spark, a joy,
a glimpse of life.

Mother ...
I never got to ask you ...
When did you learn to hide that you were unhappy?
Why did you have to?
Who made you hide?

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