Shadows on a shingle & amber sky – part 5



Almost a year passes and I am learning control.

I see Dr Gray another twenty-eight times. My ideas seem to work. There are cuts on my arms, not deep, but enough to show as red welts. Mother almost cried when she saw the marks. And the doctor had something he understood. He diagnosed a version of ‘growing pains’ in a mental way. I was ‘attention-seeking whilst developing an adult personality’ and it was all my parents fault! They had tried to control me too much. I sniggered, my parents spent a fortune for that: they paid to mould us, they messed up and paid to undo us.

Mother had expectations about behaviour and self-drive, she insisted that we acted appropriately whilst Dad pushed us to learn. It was exhausting. I was learning golf by then – playing well in junior competitions and studying law. Naomi played piano, knew Latin – they wanted a lawyer and a doctor.

Aged twelve and my parents paid tutors to teach me the basics of law. Really! Dr Gray stopped that. I gave him my best ‘sad weepy face’ and the tutoring was over.

Naomi avoided me. I didn’t care then, she was older, a girl, my sister. I knew I could scare her, I enjoyed it. I would listen for her footsteps – she was so quiet! Then she’d lock my door (another key-maker). And I’d soar away then watch them, her and her boyfriend, doing things by the lake. Her face froze when I walked back into the house. If I had been less selfish maybe I would have seen that she was trapped too. But she had her own escape plans.

The condition comes faster, it hurts.

It makes me almost cry with the pain. I vomit. It happens so quickly that my clothes tear and I have to hide them. I have to sleep naked, have the window open. I feel anxious that the changes will come earlier, during daylight. They were always during the night but I feel those twinges in my palms and shooting pains around my neck constantly. I daren’t go far from home. I have faked an illness for a week, a bad cold, sore throat, a cough – I cannot keep pretending.


continues tomorrow and concludes on Wednesday 1st April.


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