She missed her old friend. As a child she was told he was imaginary, but she knew better. He dwelt above her bed head, in the corner crevice of the ceiling, and would emerge when it was only her there to see him.
He was shy. She told her parents that. They didn’t listen.
He taught her many things. Things you can’t learn in books, or in the vacant, drawn out deathly days of school. Things the other children didn’t know.
She tried to tell them once. They didn’t listen.
He made lovely promises. Promises that came from just being his friend, just letting him have some purchase in her life. ‘Purchase’, that was his precise word, because he told her everything came with a price.
She told her first lover that. She said that he would need to prove his worth for nothing came for free. He didn’t listen.
Her old friend was good at hiding. He taught her many, many ways to go disguised. But eventually they failed her, and the trail of others missing in her wake – all those that didn’t listen – led to her sorry door.
She hasn’t seen her old friend for so long, locked up in this white, cold room. There are no dark shadows at the ceiling for him to hide in, or to come through. There is nothing but the white.
She pleaded with the nurses to let her have a darker room. She said she couldn’t sleep. She wept and cried, hoping that eventually they’d accede, and he could visit her again.
But they didn’t listen.
So one day they will have to pay. There is, after all, a price to everything.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2016