Hellllllo, darling readers! I have a favor to ask. I’ve been told by lots of people who love me that I should try to write about the last year of my life. However, they like me a lot and are probably super biased. I am terrified of doing this, because to sift through what happened, to really look at what those experiences were like, is torture. I was effectively an empty shell for most of the time, so I barely lived them as they were happening, and even then, as numb as I was, I was crazy every second. To think about it all again in any critical way is almost too much.
But it’s been months now and I’m hoping that beginning to write about it, really write about it, will help me rip off the blinders and the bandages and start to heal.
This is where you come in. I haven’t written in any real sense for ages and I think I may be terrible at it. If you don’t mind, I’d love feedback. (But be nice, because I am such a delicate flower.)
Behold, the first attempt:
It’s late Sunday morning, and it’s pouring rain. The clouds are heavy and low, but I can still see the island out in the harbour. I feel, for the first time in my life, like I am outside my body. I’m not really here. This is not actually happening.
I know my brother is watching from a measured distance, and I am ashamed of myself. We’re in public, making a scene in front of countless strangers, but I am humiliated only because he is here. My brother, smart, carefree, blameless, is here, and I am hysterical with grief. I am dying.
“What happened to you?” she asks, frantic, tears and rain running down her face. “You were always so responsible. Jesus, Sarah, what is wrong with you?” My mother, with the gift shop bag full of Irish wool hats and scarves still dangling from her arm, is panicking.
“Nothing happened to me,” I say, trying to keep my voice down and my face low. I am aware now of all the people around us in the park – sitting on benches, riding the carousel.
I am lying through my teeth. Everything happened to me, but they won’t believe me. In an instant, I have lost nearly twenty years. I am not a grown up now. I am a ten-year-old girl, begging her parents to have faith in her. Believe me. Hold me. Save me.
My dad takes a step toward me, moving in front of my mother, blocking her from view. He looks right into my face and says, kindly he thinks, “You were always such a good person, Sarah. Be a good person.”
I am more myself in this moment than I have ever been in my life. I am free. I am alive.
And no one can see it. No one understands.
I was a good person, my dad said. But not anymore.