"How are you feeling today, Amelia?"
How am I feeling? I feel pretty much like I want out of this shitty little hell hole you egotistical bitch. Do you know when sick curls within your throat and ties its way around your windpipe, pulling until it's all you can taste? I have that all the time. Just looking at your drooping skin makes my stomach churn you vile witch. Don't pretend you suddenly care about me now.
The once incandescently beautiful bitch by the side of my bed takes my hand, spittle growing at the edge of her surgically weathered mouth and forming into a violently shaking white globule, a thin salmon tongue catching the discharge before it drips down her sullen face and I want to hurl. I can see it in her eyes- I can see the embarrassment. My eyes trip upwards from the pallid lips till I meet dark, puce eyes, empty of any human emotion. I want you dead you pathetic whore. "Fine."
The stale stench of whisky and cigarettes curls from out of her mouth, past strands of dirty grey hair, and chokes me till the acid in my stomach stains the back of my oesophagus. I face her. My mother. The one person in your life who is meant to give unconditional love and timeless protection. My mother, who dropped my teenage heart from her palms for her paedophile toy boy.
I see his body next to hers, one arm wrapped around the bony shoulders that ache for a hearty meal. His eyes still twist and turn a perverted, yet sickeningly apt, dance down the length of my body even twenty years later. Their cheeks are hollow and grey, skin leathery from years of hard drugs and I feel repulsed by the air around them. The muscles that once threaded through his arms are long gone, leaving sallow skin, tattooed and drooping around his elbows. He is missing his front tooth and the yellow coated tongue that slips into the fleshy hole wiggles in a nauseating dance.
My fingers twist in a piece of thread from the arm of the sofa, pulling until the raised lump of skin goes hard and turns bright crimson, the taught skin beneath the navy string turning pale. I let go and enjoy the feeling of the blood rushing back, normalcy returning. My palm is a healthy peach colour and the blonde tips resting on the breast of my jumper are thick and shiny. I peer back up at my remaining family and almost giggle at the delicious irony.
They look like that- yet I'm the 'sick' one.
My mother's gummy mouth opens and shuts, giving me a lovely glance of broken black teeth, encrusted with plaque and covered in a thin film that catches the unforgiving light of 'Family Room B'. I turn my face down.
"The doctor's say you're doing well. They want to move you." I want to tell her I'm doing well because there's nothing to fix. But I don't. If I say that they'll think I'm relapsing. She continues, but that rancid breath heaving from her gut is causing black clouds in my vision. I force myself to cope- to listen. "You've been offered a place at Barberton Manor. It's in the country." I nod, I know all this yet I'll sit and let her tell me as if to let her think she's fulfilling her 'motherly duties'. She feels as though she has years to catch up on. Like this illness is somehow her fault and it isn't too late to fix me.
I'm a woman now, I ache to shout, I'm not a child.
She pops her finger back into its socket as she wrings together her palms. The noise circulates the large room, bouncing off of the white tiles and dark walls and back to my ears. I resist a sneer. And the urge to tell her I despise her. I nod, standing and walking toward the vending machine. I don't even look through the glass- I listen.
"She's a fuckin' nutjob, Sarah." I hear him murmur, as though I've lost the ability to hear. He was supposed to be dead. I was told he was dead. Yet poison still spurts from his disgusting jaws. "I say we do one, get out of this place, it gives me the shits just sittin' here. She sees people, Sarah. She 'saw' that fuckin' Taylor, Sarah and he fuckin' died years ago. What the hell's wrong wit' you? Psycho bitch sees people that ain't there. It ain't right." My fingers curl around the plastic corner of the machine and I rest my forehead against the cool glass. I yearn to explain but my voice would be lost on them.
"She's my daughter, Liam. She's my daughter. She got hurt." My mother is a joke. I hear her voice cracking. I hear her facade cracking. We all know she doesn't want to be here. With me. "We'll get her in the taxi and that's it. She'll be gone." There it goes. Any paternal love dripping away with my 'sanity'.
I drench my burning throat with cold water, attempting to disguise the humiliation as I sit back down. The plastic bottle feels flimsy in my hand, I feel empowered as I really look into the faces opposite me. The doubtful, fearful faces in front of me, their cool exteriors, the dirtiness of their states... I smirk into the flat of my palm, forcing a cough from my throat. The wind scrapes the backs of my tonsils and I taste copper.
I am Amelia Spitz.
And they say I'm schizophrenic.
dance like no one's watching except... they will be watching... and judging you crazy piece-a shit.