“You are special X, and fragile. I know that. You need to start believing that you have a health problem. Mum knows you do.”
X’s mum was sure that she had some particular illness since she was born. She couldn’t figure out what kind of illness it was, but she saw that X was too fragile, her skin was too pale and during the winter she was more susceptible to colds and flu, often with fever. She expressed her concerns about X’s health to everyone, including her doctor. No-one believed her. Everyone said that X was perfectly healthy: as healthy as a fish, they said. Assuming that a fish is healthy – why the hell did they say that? Why did these people think that fish are so healthy? Fish die like every other animal in nature; so what was that phrase supposed to mean?
Before X’s 12 birthday, at the end of that hot summer, her mum took her to some specialist practitioners to check her blood and general health issues. By the end of September a lady, Dr G.C, was able to address what sort of problem X had. Her biggest fears came true. Reality was damn painful. X now had the most bitter proof that humans could get sick and ill. X felt it now and she would have loved it to be a lie. But it wasn’t – and it pained her to become a teenager whilst realising by herself that humans are as fragile as pathetic porcelain dolls. Our bodies are defective and faulty machines, made only to collapse one day. Tragically, we are born to die. Ironically we are made to feel as though we belong to this life; naught but an inconsistent and vain matter.
I can’t rightly tell you what that feels like, but for now I am here to make you understand that human beings can’t help each other or share the uncertainty of life. We are little islands, satellites, temporarily occupying centimetres of space in the vast universe; facing our defects – supported morally only by a few humans at best. X was facing the precariousness of humanity at the age of 11.
It’s strange to say but her mum was almost relieved to know the name of X’s issue: Immunodeficiency. Now there was an explanation as to why X’s skin was so unusually pale and why she was so weak; often tired and often sick, particularly during winter. Before X knew the name of her problem, she endured a long series of medical tests which at least gave her some time free from school lessons.
X will certainly never forget the first blood test she had which took place in a very old and vast Hospital. The building looked like an austere Museum of some kind of antique Science. That Hospital was once known as a glorious institution in the big town nearby, but at that time it was falling into disrepair. The entire building was closed only a couple of years later. She went there with her dad, who was smiling peculiarly. X wasn’t scared of needles. She would learn to like them soon, to be honest. The pinch into the skin wasn’t that bad after all, but what she liked most was the small ruby droplet of blood afterwards. It was somehow pleasant to see. What she always did, and does even now, was try to imagine herself being outside of her body and simply observing what is happening. Even if she sometimes feels pain or she is disgusted, she tries to look at the situation and think “ok, yes, so that is the sensation of having a needle in my arm, fine, it’s somehow interesting“. That day, early in the morning, an elderly nurse shuffled into that white room, the air thick with an antiseptic and chemical smell; and X watched as she checked her arm for a vein. Before she had settled on an area of skin, she pulled her right arm back as she came towards X with the needle. The nurse didn’t use any cream or antiseptic, but she tried her best to make X smile while preparing the syringe. X wasn’t scared; she observed the needle going through the skin, pinching the vein and sucking out the blood from it into a long test tube with her name on it. The blood was fast; she didn’t feel any pain. The nurse carefully took out the test tube full of her blood and put it into a box with other tubes; meticulously aligned and then quickly removed the needle from the vein. When it was over, the nurse congratulated X for her courage and gave her a candy. She hated candies.
Meanwhile in another country, Y’s mother was a beautiful, 20 year old woman, pregnant with her first baby; and surely still too immature to go through the trials of motherhood. She was shy and gentle with long auburn hair, and a fringe which nearly covered her eyes entirely! Y came into the world on a humid day of a mediocre British summer; she choked on the air as she came out of the womb; gulping and sticking her tongue out for a good hour, avidly licking the new air around her. Y’s father was gauntly thin but still handsome; unfortunately he acted foolishly. He was often aggressive, selfish and arrogant, and he treated women with no respect at all. He thought that women were weak and so often in denial. Even when Y’s mum was pregnant, he was cheating on her. His infidelity was as devastating to her as a physical attack. Indeed that was his way to make Y’s mum, who was insanely in love with him, humiliated, hurt, and helpless. Ultimately, his infidelity was experienced by Y’s mum as a grave loss; as a death of trust, and eventually they broke up soon after Y’s birth. It was with great misfortune for the little child that this man continued to live in their same house for some time, although happily he was hardly ever home. Anytime Y saw her dad, it was a frightening surprise. In fact, she was terrified of him because she couldn’t recognise his face after seeing him so sporadically. Y was a sweet baby with an adorable little face, big green eyes, tiny feet, tiny hands and a precious smile. Strangely, she also had an eccentric shock of brown hair which stood up on end as though electrocuted. Damn! She was beautiful! Shy, and cute, and ever so petite. Her mum was very proud when her baby was chosen to be a model and went on to win a number of prizes in image-obsessed and superficial baby modelling competitions. This slowly turned the young and proud mum into a maniacal, pageant mum; fortunately this lasted only for a relatively short time. As when Y was old enough to crawl and climb, she climbed out of her cot and she fell onto a toy cot which she kept alongside her own. That was where her baby doll slept. The wooden toy cot shattered and splintered her face, scarring her nose. She still has the scar hidden beneath her black glasses today.
Y’s mum loved her from the very start; even though their life wasn’t easy. Y stole her breath, and their embrace made her whole. The joy she felt seemed too good to be true and she was amazed by her pure beauty, and overwhelmed by the love that she felt for her. Y filled an emptiness inside of her, and replaced it with pride, hope and a long forgotten faith.
Dr. G.C. put X on a strong medication.
Take this twice every day before breakfast. Never forget to take it!
In fact, X never forgot to take her medication for a long couple of years. Day after day X woke up, put the medication into her mouth, drank a glass of water 20 minutes before breakfast, then she ate, got dressed. In between breakfast and bedtime life was fast. Often days were pretty much the same: fights, shouts, violence, blood, fake friendships, doctors and so on and so forth. every-single-day: same house, same people, same school, same smells, same rage. Time went by so fast; X grew up as a very intriguing, dark and beautiful young girl. Soon it was time for her to start High School. As her love for nature had become consuming, together with a morbid curiosity for living and dead beings, she decided to go to a Science High School where her scientific interests could be cultivated. She was soon a magnet for the weirdest, darkest, geekiest and saddest people; and there she met M. He was one year older than her, good looking and extremely dark. They would spend hours in silence together : they didn’t feel the need to talk. They became friends almost instantaneously, even though their friendship was the most morbid and unconventional human relationship you could imagine between teenagers. They were both self destructive. Grieving together felt sweet and melancholic; and also acted as a real way to cope with the feeling of being “different”, whereas taking that pill everyday made no sense to X as she didn’t even understand what sort of relief this pill was supposed to provide. Therefore at the age of 15, one rainy grey September day, X decided to stop taking her medication and she started to throw away the pills. Pretending that nothing had changed. Her only true friend, M, agreed with her about this. It was probably all just another exciting way to challenge life.
Why do I need to take this medication? – she thought.
As a consequence, soon enough X started to lose weight, to feel weak again and she stopped having her periods. In the beginning she tried to hide these symptoms, faking that everything was fine; after 3 months the problems were too evident to be hidden.
At the age of 3, Y was a pretty, chubby toddler and her mum always dressed her very sweetly, even though they were poor at that time. Y’s mum would buy fancy clothes for her beloved child and then buy her own clothes only second hand. Sometimes she would even make her own clothes out of old fabric scraps or curtain material. Y often spent her time talking to inanimate objects, like all children do, but one day she began to scare her mother with her vivid “imagination” – showing emergent intuitive abilities. She began to see some kind of “pictures in her head”, symbols, visions of facts which never happened; like movies in her mind. Her mum was scared of this apparent clairvoyance. There was a spirit man who sat at the bottom of her bed and would read stories to Y at night. Curiously, X also experienced a similar presence during her first years of life, but her memories faded away and she forgot about that. Y instead remembers very well the man who read her stories and when she told her mum of the stories the man had read, her mum would sceptically ask if she had heard them at school. When Y told her mum that there was a man sitting at the end of the bed right there in that moment she was shocked. And the little Y couldn’t believe her mum was unable to see the man because he was simply right THERE as a matter of fact!
Y sometimes got worried about her mother’s inability to see these presences. She was in danger of being attacked by the china dolls she kept above her bed. Y imagined them trying to kill her mum at night. She often told her mum that they were evil creatures but they were never moved for some reason – was she mental?
At nursery, Y mostly enjoyed dressing up in bright and extravagant costumes, and sweeping. She loved to clean and she didn’t get on with the other children much.
They were so boring
Thanks to @zhasaintzha for editing and giving evil inputs to this episode