Nanci's story was written during a life writing course with Deborah at the Centre for Continuing Education.
“You’re a liar,” I screamed. “You’re mean and I hate you."
The look, that’s what stopped my ranting momentarily. My mother’s familiar face was crumbling. Pain and powerlessness seemed to be dragging the light out of her eyes. Her composure, always so steady and reliable was dissolving in front of me.
I remember my mouth opening of its own accord, an endless stream of “NO” somehow launching itself out of my guts almost with a life of its own.
Somehow my body found a way to move, as if it knew I needed to be hidden. I covered myself up deep in the bedclothes so as not to see my mother’s face, as if being invisible meant these hurtful words would disappear too.
“No, no, no,” I heard myself saying as if my words could stop what my ears were hearing.
My mother, stumbling over her words, tried to bring me out of my cocoon, to somehow bring back some equilibrium into my eleven year old soul.
I couldn’t listen. I covered my ears and yelled, “Go away I hate you,” the intensity of my voice frightening her out of my room. Left alone I struggled to comprehend.
“Lynn is dead.” This was impossible, we were both home with the stupid flu, and we had just talked on the phone. This was proof my Mom was a liar.
Best friends don’t die and they don’t leave you to be alone under the covers.
Somehow I knew that when I came out of my blanket cocoon, the world would be different. No more believing in happy ever after, no more princes on white stallions and no more giggling secrets with my best friend Lynn.
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Deborah thanks Rangimarie Kelly and Pikau Digtal for website design and artist Karen Jarvis for her image ‘Writers at the Devonport Library,’ (2023)