The Library Book Project – 18 June 2010

To read more about the library book project, click here.

I take the brown bottle out of the paper bag and place it on the kitchen counter. I stare at the label. The paper bag crackles as I scrunch it into a ball, and the noise seems to be obscenely loud. I throw it in the bin, almost angry with the bag for making such a racket. My mouth is dry as I walk back to the counter, where the bottle sits. My expectations aren’t heavy but my desperation is. The brown glass shows my face, contorted like my emotions. I’m not even strong enough to summon self-hatred, just more self-pity that rains down from the clouds of my consciousness, free flowing and plentiful.

I struggle to even open the bottle. After a couple of attempts I laugh at myself. I sound hysterical and wounded. The noise is so pathetic it spurs me on, and eventually the cap gives way and I’m looking at the little white pills. These are not my saviours, I know. But they might help. And at this point I’ll try anything, anything at all. The doctor thought they might work. But they might not. And I wonder if I can wait long enough to find out.

Because I can’t do this. It is now 5 o clock. He will come home in an hour and I will make dinner and then I’ll clean up and then we will watch TV and then we will lay in bed together without touching. I will lay there and think. And think. I will try not to shake as I cry. If I wake him, he’ll be annoyed. Silly woman. Yes, yes, I am a silly woman. Nothing more. The thought makes me want to consume every last tablet in this bottle, so I can escape.

I can’t escape.

I’m trapped behind this face. This face is not depressed. This face calls the children and chirps cheerfully down the phone at them. This face goes to work and natters with the office staff. This face is a regular at the local library.

This face swallows a pill.


The Library Book Project – 27 June 2008

To read more about this project, click here.

I sit on a bench and breathe in the damp air. The sound of rain hitting my umbrella becomes grating. It adds a drumbeat to my anger. I want to stand up again, but my energy is fading as my emotions rise, causing this pent-up feeling, a tightness in my chest, a build-up of fury in this frail body. I thought I was over this. My friends all commended me on how well I’d handled things. They said I’d risen above it all, but I felt like I’d been buried in an early grave.

What choice did I have, really? I guess I could have shouted, and screamed, cut up his clothes and given away his possessions. I knew that none of those things would hurt him in the same way that he’d hurt me. All I had was his guilt, and I knew those actions would assuage it. It’s not that I enjoy playing the victim, but I hoped he thought of me at least occasionally, and that those thoughts tainted his new life.

I have a new life too, but it’s in an old setting. What’s familiar to me is unfriendly. Until the divorce goes through, it’s difficult to sell the house. Those rooms are minefields unless I drown out all the thoughts with noise, whether from the television or the radio. When I’m not at work, I watch programme after programme. All those reality TV shows he used to hate; I turn up the volume and immerse myself in other people’s lives and problems. My unhappiness is numbed and abated until it’s time to turn off the TV and go to bed.

It’s difficult to sleep, so I read until my head feels heavy. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. Being alone hurts like toothache. I roll between the sheets, trying to shake off the pain. I must get at least some sleep, because the alarm clock always jerks me into consciousness, reminding me that life goes on as normal and that my misery is inconsequential to everyone else. I have to get ready for work.

I sold the car to make ends meet, so now I travel by bus. Observing public transport etiquette, I studiously keep my eyes on my book (borrowed from the local library, actually supporting authors comes second to being able to afford food,) to avoid catching the gaze of another passenger. Sometimes this makes me feel a little sick, so I look out of the window and watch the world go by, wondering how many people out there are hurting just like me.

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – What Goes Up, Must Come Down


Copyright – Alastair Forbes

Looking forward to reading this week’s entries. I apologize in advance for the mood of this post. I was actually feeling pretty cheerful until I wrote it. I took advantage of the slightly longer word limit. This photo prompt comes from Alastair’s Photo Fiction Blog.

What goes up, must come down.

I could go hours, dancing and laughing. My smile would be wide but effortless. Everything was not only possible, but easy. I could run for miles, clean the house or rearrange the furniture. I could do some baking and then some more baking, because everyone loves my baking. My thoughts were disjointed, but that’s because each one was so unique, an epiphany in its own right.

And then I could go for weeks where everything hurt. I’ll sit in the shower, because standing is too painful. Stay there for as long as I can, try and let the water wash away the blackness of my mind. Somehow I’ll end up back on the bed, my wet hair soaking the covers, but the decision to leave the bathroom eludes my memory. I’ll lay naked, staring inwards for hours and trying to find what’s broken, so I can maybe fix it.

What goes up, must come down. Not just Physics, but Biology too.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

There’s nothing wrong.

You’re not trapped here, you can go outside, she thought. In fact, that’s a great idea. Let’s go to Tesco and get some lemonade.

The air outside seemed just as cloying and stale as the air in the house. She pushed her thumb through her keyring and twisted the keys round and round as she walked on the damp pavement. Dirt seemed the surround her. Abandoned plastic sacks of rubbish were strewn around like urban boulders. The grey sky hung above her, a great, unwashed bed sheet.

Despite the filth, she wanted to keep walking. She wanted to go past the shop and keep going, until she felt better. But she knew that she couldn’t walk forever.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy had taught her to treat her mind like a machine. Find the faulty thoughts and replace them, like they’re a worn out part. She searched and she searched and she could find the problem. It was between her breasts, a tight sensation that reached her throat and made her feel like she was choking.

She didn’t know what was causing that.

Sometimes there is no ‘why.’


Blood often comes easier than tears. Ugly scars lay testament to the payments I made for a release of tension. My body was full, and there had to be somewhere for the emotion to settle.

 “Attention seeker.”



If I’m such a deficient human being, why does it matter if a little more damage is done?

Scars will heal with time.

I learned the hard way that words don’t heal with scars.