by Ele-Beth Little
The book. First it was Jane Eyre.
Being still is only something for glasses of white wine and ice at night. For tired eyes. For sleeping on the couch, glasses lopsided.
Hurricanes happen and heat. The gardening and the dog-walking, driving. I inherited her movement, to a lesser degree.
The funeral director said it sounds like she enjoyed setting things up. Her friends said she always runs away. Planted seeds. Refurbished pubs. Hitch-hiked home from Syria.
Things I could never be, like brave. Though everyone says I am. She never taught me the self-care considerations others have. I make choices and they simply look like risks. Her friend said a mother needs to give its cub a thick skin.
Hesitation, anxiety, need are struck off the list. Teacherly not motherly. So we both became teachers.
Her storm had some still moments to catch. Morning dressing gowns with chocolate wrappers in the pockets. Times before makeup. Muddy boots, dragging back holly branches. Long drives to mix cds. I like our adventures together.
But to see her still and see her read? She took a path in to my world,
When she had to keep still. When she couldn’t move. When the earth gripped her by the womb. She needed something. Another book?
I gave her a Margaret Atwood one. But it was long. Nothing’s happening. Nothing’s happening. When will something happen?!
There was maybe a week left, and she had begun to cry. Silently. Still rejecting vulnerability. There’s nothing after death, just blankness.
Her strength isn’t working anymore. I was suddenly aware.
Rolled backwards to the hospital room. Swollen tummy and a wheelchair.
Not the stomping accelerator pedal, the curses and daredevil laughter, the joint smoked on the steps of a police station. All the messages tugged down with the ship. Treasures in my own sea.
A phone call from my dad. When she comes home, she wants to spend her last few days being read to.
Ele-Beth Little is a shy queer writer and zinester from England. She teaches psychology and philosophy (When she isn’t suffering from anxiety) and is working towards a Creative Writing MA. She has appeared in ‘The Chapess’, and ‘I knew a motherfucker like you and she said…' amongst other collaborative zines, and her poetry and prose have been published frequently by Paraphilia Press. Follow her on twitter here: @wintermuse
Image by norika21, found on Flickr.