I stare at the hard, calloused skin on her feet

And I hate them –

they repel me.

I screw my nose up

as I tuck them back under the cover,

and move to her chest.

She’s breathing

and so deep in sleep,

almost comatosed.

She does not know I am there

or that I searched the cupboards and under the bed

for the bottles.

She thinks I don’t know.

The glass sits on the bedside table

with left over aspirin

crawling up the sides.

Has she tried again?

Or was it to prevent the inevitable headache that’s coming.

It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon

and it may be another night of fend for ourselves.

I’ll make the boys tea.

My heart keeps racing.

I check she’s breathing.

What would I do if she wasn’t?

I’d be terrifyingly calm like last time,

and the times before.

I’d make the call,

make the coffee

and try to keep her conscious.

I lean forward and whisper her name,

“Mum, mum are you alright?”

No reply.


A groan,

she turns over

and goes where no one knows.

But I know where she isn’t.

Not with me,


I’m useful I know

and I can take care of myself

and her.

I don’t remember much else.

Can you worship someone then

hate them sometimes at the same time?

Have a desperate need for their approval

yet want to be nothing like them?

She moves and her foot falls out

from the covers again.

Her hard, calloused ‘sole’ looks at me.

By Maxine with an N (not an m)

Image by @dannyg on Unsplash

***Recommended watch – Anne with an E on Netflix – good for emotions about childhood suppression/trauma of real self and the risk vs power of being yourself.


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