Monday, 30 July 2012

My hands

I have a new girl living in the room next door. She sings Shakira. All. The. Fucking. Time. The same song, I might add, with the wrong fucking words. I don't know why, but every time she's meant to sing a word that's something to do with bodies or a body part she says the word "olive oil spray". It's extremely weird. And I say that even with the degree of black pots and kettles that in inherent in that statement.

"Lucky that my OLIVE OIL SPRAY don't only mumble,
Spill kisses like a fountain.
Lucky that my OLIVE OIL SPRAY are small and humble,
So you don't confuse them with mountains.
Lucky I have strong OLIVE OIL SPRAY like my mother
To run for cover when I need it,
And these two OLIVE OIL SPRAY that for no other
The day you leave will cry a river."

I really, really want to slam her head in the door. Like, hard.

I've reached an impasse with Ketch. He's clearly still got feelings for me because he's not talking to me but he's retaliating to my finding someone else by shagging everything that moves. The only satisfaction that I get from this is the fact that it keeps him away from me. Maybe it'll distract him for long enough to stop wanting me. I bloody hope so.

That said, I'm spending less time fucking New Boy, and more time listening to him talk. He's actually hilarious. He has a pretty low opinion of himself, which never fails to amuse me. Granted, it's sad in a way, but the things he says about himself and his parents make me laugh. Sometimes he looks upset that I'm laughing, but sometimes he has that look on his face that says he's pleased to have somehow impressed me. It's kind of sweet, actually. Oh dear... thoughts like that require squashing down...

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Lola was an angel

I'm a dirty blog-neglecter, I know. I got internet privileges revoked again. There's not much point in getting into the whys, but I'm back now.

I met someone new. I'm not attracted to him. I have a feeling that his parents paid his way in. Usually this place takes "interesting cases", or the criminally insane. This guy Nate and I boned. He's pretty normal. And that's not me being subjective. I asked him what he was doing here, and he said that he'd dared to deviate from the path of concrete and asbestos paved by our elders and betters. His parents own a hotel chain, and he's been on snow and blow since he left boarding school. He should be in rehab, but apparently his parents thought better.

The sex is average. Really average. But it slaps Ketch in the face. And right now he needs a slap in the face. His mooning after me is not on. It really isn't.

I can't help but wonder if I should just give up. I think if I capitulated and started pretending to take therapy seriously I might be able to get out of here and get control of my own life again. I could go to Laney's wedding. I could start eating what the fuck I want when I want, and run in the open instead of circles in my bedroom. I can wear my "inappropriate" dresses and tall, tall shoes. I can shave my legs again. You know how much it sucks, having to wait until the hairs on your legs are long enough to be plucked out with your fingers? It's disgusting and I hate it.

Jesus... The thought of giving in feels like puking up my integrity.

Friday, 15 June 2012


This place is counter productive, sometimes.

I guess I haven't told you much about where I live. It's huge. It's predominantly white, aside from the offices which look like old-timey libraries. Maybe to lull us into a false sense of security. I don't know. Anyway, it's not really about the architecture. That's pretty irrelevant. It's all about The Mission. Yeah, that's what they call it. It annoys the hell out of me, too.

The idea behind this facility is that labels are "unhelpful". So I don't know what it is that my doctors think I have. I was admitted against my will and, as I have mentioned before, I don't remember what I did to get sent here. It might be the fact that, at the time of admission, I had a BMI of 15.3. It might be something to do with the sociopathic tendencies I've been accused of for the last 12 years. I don't know, and they won't tell me. A lot of the "process" is self awareness and discovery. Which basically means that nothing ever fucking happens.

I have gained weight since I got here. Of course I have. I didn't actually have a choice. I am still "underweight". They will never take that away from me. But I'm definitely not the thinnest I've ever been, which I try not to think about too much.

I've started reading an anthology of Love Poems that I got from the book trolley. In it was this:

On Waterloo Bridge where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I've fallen in love
On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. you're high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?
On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You're a fool. I don't care.
the head does its best but the heart is the boss-
I admit it before I am halfway across
Wendy Cope
I like this poet. She's funny but accurate. That's the way to be, if you ask me.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Memories and dreams

I miss the taste of champagne. Not because it's a taste that I like. Not because the bubbles tickle and the alcohol shoots straight into my brain. Not because I like the colour and the way it sits in a flute. I like champagne because once the bottle is open it can't be closed. It's open forever. And that taste, that sound, that sight, is of starting something sweet and intoxicating that will soon be over.

Surely love affairs should feel the same way? The same seductive tone, both don't last. Love never does endure the way it does in stories. Love is fickle and tricky and pretty much impossible to hold onto.

I've discovered, though, that I would rather have my heart broken a thousand times than be trusted with someone else's.

Friday, 8 June 2012


Today I've had my first visitor for a while.

I don't usually go to the visitors' room. I'm usually sensible enough to know that there is no point. But today the intercom in my room rang.

- You have a visitor.

I got out of bed and pressed the button.

- No, I don't.
- Don't be stubborn, Miss Leigh. We're sending her in.

Her? I thought that, if it were my mother, I would punch her in the face. Of course, it wasn't. A nurse let her in and she stopped just inside the door, waiting for it to close behind her.

- I'm surprised they let you alone with people...
- I'm not a violence risk. If I was violent then you wouldn't even be allowed in here in case I was hiding a shiv.

I sat back on my bed. She leaned against the door and lit up a cigarette. She offered one to me, which I declined because I hate her pretentious French cigarettes. I just watched her.

Her name is Laney. She has been my best and worst friend all of my life. It's always strange, to me, how the people you love most can hurt you the deepest. I guess, the more they know, the more they can use against you. Laney always knows my kryptonite at any given moment. She's skinny. She used to be fat. We both were. Then something clicked. I couldn't tell you in much confidence who lost weight first, we both had our reasons, but she lost weight a lot slower than me. It really pissed her off.

I hadn't seen her in all the time I've been here. It's weird to see her. She's changed a bit. Her hair used to be dark brown, and shoulder length. Now she's suicide blonde and her hair falls down her back in kinky curls. She was wearing a pair of grey fleece tracksuit bottoms and they hung off her beautifully jutting hips, like her black vest top hung from her shoulder blades and collarbones. She looked sexy. The sexiest slob in the world. She tried a lot harder when she was fat. She'd wear really pretty dresses and little cardigans, leggings and cute shoes. She'd do her make up flawlessly. She tried. And she sometimes succeeded in convincing even herself that she was pretty. But now all the make up she had on was a crayoned-on layer of eye liner around each eye.

- Why are you here, Laney?
- Always so polite... I'm here because I'm getting married.

I looked at her as if she'd just caught fire.

- You're getting married.
- Yep.
- Last time I checked you were single.
- Last time you checked was, like, three years ago.
- Well, sorry, but I've been a little busy.
- Yeah... sitting around talking about your feelings must be exhausting for you. Anyway, I want you to be at my wedding, I want you to be a bridesmaid.
- What, because you know I'd hate it?
- No, because I love you, dumbass. And it would be weird if you weren't there. I'd spend the whole time wishing you were. I've already spoken to your doctor. The fat guy with the beard. He said you could be out on day releases by next January. You might even be out of here.

She took a deep drag on her poncey cigarette.

- His name is River, by the way.

She said, as she exhaled. I snorted.

- So he's a dude? And he has a stupid hipster name. Nice.
- It's his actual name. Though, he is a little bit of a hipster. He wears douchey glasses and reads French poetry and has a tweed jacket which he only wears "ironically". But he loves me, he's dynamite in the sack and he hates getting head, so it's a win all round.
- Do you love him?
- Yeah. I actually do.
- And it wasn't your usual, "I love you because you'll have me"?
- Nope. I actually liked him on impact. First second I saw him.
- Well... then best wishes. And I'll try to be there.

Then Laney smiled. She stubbed her noxious cigarette out on my wall and jumped onto my bed, giving me a massive hug. Bony hugs are the best.

- Thank you. I appreciate the intention.
- Why are you getting married in January anyway?
- Why not?
- Well, you always wanted to get married outdoors. And have wildflowers in jam jars. And tealights everywhere. What happened?
- Reality happened, I guess. And, besides, January gives me the perfect amount of time.
- For what?
- The diet change to kick in.

I looked at her, and poked her hard in the ribs, which she didn't appreciate.

- What the fuck?

She said, unimpressed, rubbing her rib which was probably already blossoming with a bruise.

- You can't lose ANY MORE. What are you now, 100 pounds? 95? You'll end up in a place like this with a tube through your nose.
- 96, actually. I overshot slightly. But I'm not trying to get thinner, stupid. I'm actually going to start gaining.

Now I really looked at her.

- You? Gain? You've been losing weight since we were 19, why would you start gaining now?
- It's one of River's conditions. He won't marry me like this. He wants me healthy. So, I'm gaining 30lbs.
- Holy fuck...
- Yeah, I know. I'm not happy about it. But I love him. And I want to be with him. And, holy hell, I can't believe I'm saying this, but we want babies.
- You want to adopt.
- I know, but he doesn't. Not exclusively. And you know... I don't mind.

I pushed her off my bed.

- Get out.
- What is your problem?
- Leave.
- Dylan!

I grabbed the red emergency cord by my bed and yanked it.

- They'll come and make you leave within the next three minutes. You can leave, or you can be made to leave. Your call.

Laney picked herself up off the floor and looked at me. She didn't seem to know what to say. So she just walked out. I think she was crying. I know I was.

You expect your friends to change over time. But my God...

When we were growing up I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be thin. I wanted to be beautiful and complicated and have people fall for me that I didn't need. I eventually wanted a handsome man or stunning woman to fall for me so completely, and I for them, that we would choose to commit forever. And it would be forever. And we would adopt babies who needed homes and I would always be thin. That was what Laney wanted too.

But now she had it. Everything. She was even thin, for now. She had everything she ever wanted. Everything WE ever wanted. So why did it make me so angry?

I've been thinking back to what happened with me and Ketch. I don't want to "get better". Not if that means getting fat. I would rather stay here forever if it meant I could always feel my ribcage. But I want him to get better. And maybe that's more than love.

I guess I'd have to ask River about that.


Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Betrayal makes every day bitter. Knowing that you've been betrayed makes the end of every day sour. Even the most incredible waking hours can be completely destroyed when you lie down to sleep and remember, "Oh, yeah... I should take that knife out of my back first..."

Betrayal is almost a filthy word. It conjures images of cloaks and Hamlet and men in floppy hats. Even saying the word out loud makes me feel quite like I should have an audience in the cheap seats hushed by it's very utterance.

The truth of the matter is that despite its theatrical, melodramatic connotations betrayal can be enormously domestic. It is fairly simple to betray someone. It's only a hop, skip and a jump from "letting someone down". I've been let down more times than a hot air balloon. I guess that must be the difference, ultimately. being slowly deflated or literally stabbed in the back.

Well, sorry for my absence. I've been in solitary - without computer privileges - for what feels like months.

I might as well tell you why.

Much as I predicted, Ketch is back already.

- Welcome back, Ratbag.

I saw him approach me in the corridor, but I didn't stop. I wasn't even going anywhere.

- See you later, Kid.
- No, you won't.

Of course, he would.

I used to love music, you know. Before I was ever in love I would listen to album after album. I inhaled music like an addict. I didn't care what is was, folk, indie, rock, metal, classical, soundtracks. If I liked it, I'd listen. And listen. And listen again.

Love fucked it all up. When I was in love and happy I'd listen to a song and hear my relationship. I'd hear a love song and think, "Yes, yes, this song understands. This songwriter clearly knows every brush stroke on the artwork in the walls of my joy-swelled heart." When my heart was shattered I listened and was reminded. Every note was like cutting off a scab with a razor. There was once a time when I said I'd rather be blind and paralysed than lose my hearing. I don't listen to music any more.

In the dining hall Ketch came and sat with me.

- Would you fuck off, please?

I said, putting my cutlery down on my tray and spitting my mouthful into my hand.

- Recovery is going swimmingly, then.
- Go fuck yourself.
- I have you for that. Didn't you miss me?
- Not especially. Now, for the third time, fuck off.
- You only told me to fuck off twice.
- I swear to God...
- Alright, fine, fine, I'm going.

He did. It was a bloody relief. I didn't finish my dinner though.

Despite this, that night I found myself gravitating towards his room. Well... I say gravitate, but there is always a moment, isn't there. Even among the obsessives, addicted, compulsive, mentally disjointed or simply lacking in willpower, there is always a moment, though the desire might be choking you with an iron grip, a moment where a decision is made. You make a choice. And my choice was to be with him in that white, dark room. I made him bleed with my fingernails, he asked me to moan his name. I hated that. It made me nauseous. It was too close to the shit you see in films for my liking. When it was over I lay in his arms.

- Did you really not miss me?

He asked into my hair.

- You were gone for almost no time at all.
- Yeah, but it's not like you have anything else to do.
- Ketch, do you think that I spend the time you're gone sitting at my window wishing you were here?
- Well... that would be nice.

He kissed the top of my head, which I did not appreciate.

- Besides, Dyl, I came back for you.
- No, you came back because you went shopping in B&Q, which is against the conditions of your release.
- I went there so they'd take me back.

I didn't know what to say to that. I just lay there in silence, and so did he. After what felt like several hours he fell asleep. Sometimes when I'm lying in his bed I wonder. I look at the ceiling and I just think about things. Sometimes, as I lie there wide eyed and awake, I see things crawl out of the darkness. I see flickers, tiny they are, blue and gold, littering my vision. I hear things, too. Sometimes it's like listening to a cassette tape in reverse. Sometimes I hear screaming. The thing is, though, with where I am? The screaming isn't entirely likely to be in my head. I can't blame my brain. Not for this. Here the screams are down the corridor. They're upstairs. They're lying next to me, bony and defended.

I roll the words around the sharpest points in my mouth before trying them out.

- I love you.

It felt wrong. His sleeping body didn't move, save for the steady huff of his breath.

- I love you.

I tried again, my breath carrying the words that I was now sure weren't true.

- I want you.


- I need you.

Hmmm... no.

- I want you to get better.

Those words left a metallic taste in my mouth, like biting my tongue to the point of bleeding. Like drinking orange juice just after you've brushed your teeth. The more the words echoed silently around the room the more I felt them and the more I knew... the more I knew.

I untangled myself from him and I left him. I had told myself what I needed to know. I needed to stay away. He told me that he'd come back for me. Well he sure as fuck wouldn't stay for me. I would not allow it.

So... well... I stole a hot-glue gun from the craft room and glued my bedroom door shut. Including the keyhole. And the hinges. I was in there for 17 hours before they could get me out. They were not best pleased with me once they were in, I can tell you. Ironically, their response to my attempt to be alone was to put me in solitary confinement. I got out this morning. I didn't see Ketch on my way back to my room, but there was a note stuffed under my - brand new - door.

"That was funny. Stupid, though."

I haven't seen him yet. He'll be around somewhere.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

"Love yourself"

I had a session today.

I went into Paul's office and looked across the desk at him. His beard was a few days too short and his hair was a day too late in need of washing. He wiped his nose with the heel of his hand before sorting out his paperwork. I crossed my legs in the chair bowed from years of fat arses.

- So, Dylan, I see that you've tried hypnotherapy in the past.
- To help me quit smoking.
- I see... and was it successful?
- Paul, I smoke six packs a week. What do you think?
- Ok, so no progress there. Have you tried some positive affirmation?
- No, and I'll be honest, it already sounds like absolute bullshit.

To his credit, he laughed at that. That was something.

- Just give it a try, Dylan. It can't hurt. It might help.

I rolled my eyes. I took a piece of paper off his desk and started to rip off little squares.

- I'd rather you didn't do that.

I didn't look up at him. I know the rules. Therapists aren't allowed to touch us. He can ask me nicely, but as he's told me SO many times, this is a Safe Space. He can't make me do anything that I don't want to. So I didn't stop. He huffed a little and straightened up the paperwork that was still in front of him. It was a very small victory but I was still glad of it. I rolled the squares into pellets and began trying to flick them at the edge of the desk.

- Ok, Dylan, I think we've made as much progress as we're going to, I can see that you're not paying attention.
- What was your first clue, doctor?
- Dylan... I want you to go back to your room, look at me Dylan,

I obliged.

- I want you to go back to your room, and every morning and every evening look at yourself in the mirror and I want you to say this:

You are loved. You are wanted. You are needed. I want you to get better.

Can you do that for me, Dylan?

- Surely, doctor, I'm doing it for ME.
- Whatever your reasons. Do you remember...
- Yeah, yeah, lovey, wanting, needy, getting better, blah, blah, blah. I'm going.

Suddenly his "open door" policy made sense. There are just some days where I can't be bothered to humour him. I got out of the cavernous seat and made my way towards the door, placing my fingertips in the handle.

- What about our next session, Miss Leigh?

I drew my hand away and walked back to his desk. I picked up a pile of papers and threw them into the air.

- Next time, I'll inhale the planet.

I told him. And then I left. I don't know why I did it, and I don't know why I said it. But, for what it's worth, I was blisteringly happy that I did.

When I got back to my room someone had made my bed for me. That always felt so bloody ironic. They hammered that metaphor home far too heavily. A tiny piece of order in a place where every mind was falling to pieces. I went into the bathroom and looked into the mirror.

- You are loved. You are wanted. You are needed. I want you to get better.

The words felt like ash on my tongue. Soft. Dry. Disgusting. Out of nowhere, bile rose in my throat and I bend over the sink to vomit. Well, I won't be eating the chicken kiev again in a hurry.