Stranger in the attic
I don’t know how long it has been since I last got a full night’s sleep.
How can I sleep when I know all the while that he is just there, right above me. Looking at me through the cracks in the floorboards when he thinks that I’m not looking. I see it sometimes, his eyeball pressed against the small chink in the ceiling. It peers at me accusingly, I look up sometimes and catch him. A wild pupil set in a sea of tepid blue, an iris that somehow changes from this to calm grey when the light reflects through the tiny window. When the early morning breeze drifts into the dingy room and he allows the peace to take over his anger.
I feel him watching me as I curl up on the mattress with a book, attempting to follow the words, be taken away by a story. Anything to get my mind away from him.
Sometimes I hear him scratching around up there, I try not to think about what he is doing, what he is plotting. I just want to think about the good things he does for me, and how in those instances he makes me happy, oh so happy.
Yet when I hear him banging on the floorboards and shouting in his mother tongue, he sounds so much more violent then. When he curses me with his words that make no sense to my ear, I still understand the tone implied, I know these are threats he is issuing. And on those days I keep my distance.
On those days I lift up my violin and raise its voice to block out any bad noise. I don’t need this kind of negativity in my life, I don’t want to have to revisit the centre again. The medication never really helped, it only blocked my senses.
Only made me numb
Of course the tantrums don’t last forever, on some level he knows that I need him and even when he takes out his annoyance with me he knows that I will still care for him. I will still carry up that tray of lovingly prepared food and his favourite hot chocolate to help calm him. At some point he will have to sleep and then I can relax. Placing the tray quietly in the doorway to his room, I have to make a run for the stairs in case he catches me again. The bruises get harder to explain away.
So I wait a while until all falls silent and I creep back up to the attic to find a half empty mug scraped clean of any floating marshmallows.
And only then do I know that it is safe.
Stepping over his limp sleeping body, I open the stiff window a crack, just enough to let the breeze trickle through. I study his face whilst he sleeps, so adorable with his velvet plump lips and chiselled jaw. Cautiously I reach out to stroke his short hair that feels soft under my fingertips, I like that fuzzy feeling that it gives me. Then I prod him firmly, and again to make sure he is really at peace before I curl up against him, feeling his slow heavy heartbeat against my cheek.
I so enjoy these moments, just two people alone in the world, thrown together by fate.
I smile at that and think about how glad I am to have opened the door for the delivery that fateful morning.
And as I tighten the bolt on his ankle chain I wonder if the neighbours have started to question the truck parked on the driveway yet.
A little late being pinned up, but better late than never eh 😀
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