Before My Time

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Flowered Too Early

I gasped, trying to clutch reality, trying to stop the world from completely slipping from my fingers.  I can do this, I tell myself.  I cannot believe otherwise.  If I do then where will it end?  The world, my world, my life, everything will fall away, it will be the crash of a tower of bricks, a slight wobble here and there, the slow bend of the tower  but then the inevitable crash.  It will fall.  And all will be lost.

I tell myself to hold tight, I grip my hands tightly,  cramped-ridden knuckles that rarely seem able to straighten anymore, as if life, health, self, world could be something tangible, something that could be grasped, something that could be kept held of.  I can’t keep hold of them; they’re more slippery than fine sand grains.  And the tighter I grasp, the faster they are squeezed from my grip.  I cannot win.

I gasp, every breath is a struggle.  The physical world around me swims.  The ridged concrete path swirls in a blur of motion.  The metal fence posts alongside do tricks that no fence post should ever be able to master.  The world will not stay put.  It will not allow me to get a handle on it.  I cannot keep it still.  I grasp out at it but it moves, slippery and fast, and unreachable.  Everything is beyond me.

You’re not meant to get motion sickness walking.  But I do.  It’s not like I have mastered some locomotive state.  Or maybe I did once.  Once upon a time, I was able to keep up.  Keep up with what?  Life, self, health, world.  No more.  I am slower than the World’s Slowest Walkers.  I know.  They keep overtaking me.

I struggle to breathe, like an asthmatic at the end of a sprint.  But I have gone nowhere fast.

My body ridicules me.  Me, that self I dream of being.  I cannot be.  I am crippled and handicapped and fighting a body whose war I barely even understand.  I am conspired against daily.  I lose daily.

I no longer feel safe walking by myself.  I don’t have the breath to think let alone scream in defence.  I feel shaky, vulnerable, weak, frail.  I am not myself anymore.  I can’t walk out into the world with the bravado that I used to.  I can’t take the time to enjoy a moment of solitude or the world around me.  I am too busy fighting.  There are days when I walk so slowly past front gardens that I get to know each and every blade of grass by name.  I don’t admire flowers, they get boring when you’ve spent five minutes walking passed the same one.  They taunt me, moving free in a breeze.  They have more speed than me.  They move whilst I am motionless.  One day snails will overtake me.

I muddle words and can’t remember whether I had conversations out loud, in my head or in my sleep.  I can’t remember what needs doing or even what I have done.  I forget where I am halfway through a recipe.  I forget ideas halfway through sentences.  I forget.  I forget.  Me, who has always been a memory keeper.  Me, this is my role, this my usefulness in the world, because I can remember.  And I can’t.  What have I left?  I console myself with sarcastic humour, reminding myself that at least at some point I will forget that I ever even had a memory.  But at the moment?  Oh no, I remember.  I remember the glory days.

The glory days that never were.

A golden age only exists in nostalgia, a better time compared to current woes.

And I do remember that there have never been glory days for me, I have never succeeded, not even at being myself.  And now I feel perhaps I would have a chance but it is all being dashed away from, like that tower of bricks.  I cannot stop them falling, I cannot stop the present and I dread the future.

My hand shakes.  I am weak and vulnerable and pathetic.

This is not me.

This is not who I want to be.

This is not who I should be.

I forget names, faces become foggy.

I mix up all my nouns.  If I can even remember any.

I get my sentences backwards.

More vicar, tea?

I don’t know if the world notices but I do.  I notice.  I see every single mistake, every single failure.  I, who have tried so hard my entire life to hide my weaknesses, my problems, now have them writ embarrassingly large across each and every conversation and each and every day.

This is not me.

The slow, painful steps that I am taking through life and the world.

This is not me.

I sit motionless, lost, unable to find the strength to do anything.

This is not me.

I cannot form sentences.

This not me.

I cannot remember.

This is not me.

But it is.

It is who I have become.

I didn’t get a choice.

I would have liked a choice.

Because I would really like to have life back.

I want another chance.

But something tells me it’s too late.

The sand has tumbled from my hands, I never had much anyway, and it cannot be found again.

I have lost.

Everything.

I have lost me.

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