She was our very own English Rose, but the thorns could do you some nasty damage. I think it was the Scorpions who sang that Every Rose had its Thorn.
Well, that suited too, because she certainly had a sting in her tail.
She called herself Barb. I’d assume it was short for Barbara, but I’m not so sure. Barbara is more the name for an older woman. It’s not often you find someone sub-50 so called and ‘Barb’ was, I’d say, more mid-30s.
Though, saying that, I’ve always been poo at guessing ages. People either seem to look a lot older or years younger than they actually are, to me. I can’t help taking in to account their eyes. Windows to the soul and all that. If there’s a sparkle and a smile in their eyes, it can knock years off their apparent age, so smoothing out the wrinkles in my mind. Similarly, if their eyes have a shadow – the weight of woe or the lull of lethargy – it seems to wrap a cloak around them, one that has been screwed up and shoved down the back of the sofa for the past six months, forgotten about. Its creases have been so set in place they’ll neither drop out nor benefit from an industrial steam iron whacked down on them. Even though possibly new, it appears aged and sorrowful and tired.
And so the years are piled on.
So, Barb could have been sitting comfortably in the dead centre of her third decade, or she could have been twice that, carry the one, but have a spark that could burn away the years before they could even attempt to scrunch her up and drop her behind the sofa.
She had a spark that could burn, that was for sure. The wit slid down her tongue like a wrist off a razorblade, cutting deeply into those that were careless enough to venture too close. And it was the sort of wound that no bandage or suture could heal.
Barb. A bit like naming me Sin. It does what it says on the tin, except I couldn’t help it. I do believe she enjoyed herself.
Perhaps that was why she appeared younger than her name would suggest. She liked being spiteful. Her needles and nudges, digs and derisions were her version of fun and she splashed about in her pool of putdowns as if it were a summer’s day and she was paddling in the breakwaters of a beach.
I suffered her cruelties once. I was walking past her going nowhere other than somewhere different to where I was. She put her foot out and I had no choice but to trip over it. I wasn’t the first, or the last to do so and many have learned to just ignore her and carry on walking. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned that valuable lesson yet and so made the mistake of pointing out her deliberate trip, asking for an apology.
I don’t think I had the chance to utter another word until her tirade of insults and accusations had finished. Around an hour had passed and she hadn’t seemed to pause to draw breath. Once she was done, she didn’t speak to me again, not then nor since, and I was left reeling and picking the pieces of my Self up off the floor where she’d flung them.
I mentioned that she was an English Rose. She was. High, rosy cheeks, back so straight it seemed to be formed from one single piece and was unbendable. An air of haughtiness that sat on the shoulders of superiority and spat on all below. And her thorns, they were as sharp as a scorpion’s sting.
I’ve never been a gardener, but I do wish someone would come along and be brave enough to prune her.Learn More
You know those headaches that get you… get you right at the back of the eyes so you feel grossly sick? The ones where the back of your throat is pulled up to help the vomit find its way out? The kind that holds a red hot poker to your cornea and slides it slowly in so you can feel each burning millimetre?
I have one.
People say that, on eBay, you can sell anything. Toast with the supposed face of Jesus. Broken mobile phones. Mouldy cheese, probably. I wonder how much I’d get for this headache.
It’s not your ordinary, everyday, walk in the park and skip through the fallen leaves headache. It’s not, either, the kind you have from too little or too much sleep. It’s not like toothache behind your eyes or the sort you have from being at the cinema and sitting just too close to the screen, so your senses are going WOAH!
This, my potential customers, is a HEADACHE.
Somewhere, someone is sitting with a two by four and is whacking me over the back of my bonce every time my heart decides to pulse the blood through my temples. Now that’s worth more than a little two-paracetomol pain isn’t it? Buy it now, no reserve!
Hmmm… No takers?
Why am I not surprised.
So. My brain feels like my head got wet in the rain and is shrinking, squeezing down until it pops like a balloon. If I looked in a mirror, I’d probably see my eyes bulging like those kids jelly toys that bulge out boogley eyed when squeezed, my nose and ears bleeding from the build up of pressure, the blood frantically trying to escape the rapidly closing confines of my head.
I used to get headaches, bad ones, as a child. If that were then, I’d feel like Neo in the Matrix as I had to take two pills. A red one and a yellow one. I remember them well. They were meant to help with the headaches, but I don’t recall if they actually did. I assume they didn’t as the investigations and treatments continued. I had X-Rays to see if I had polyps in my sinuses, which I didn’t. In the end, the tablets were all they had. If they can’t find a cause, chuck a pill at it and they might just hit home.
The headaches, I think, faded. They certainly weren’t cured, nor was the cause ever found. They just disappeared with my youth, forgotten along with the name of my old head teacher. Occasionally, like anyone, I still suffered, but not like back then, when they were almost constant.
Today, though, it feels like they’ve all been saving up their pain, passing it along to the headache in front, and so on in front and in front again, until the lead one could barely hold the teetering tower of torment and it fell, crashing right through my head, practically blinding me and making me feel like I could quite happily decapitate myself..
Maybe it’s because I slept in, somehow. We’re never, ever allowed to stay in bed later than 8 am. Ever. The lights in our rooms are slowly turned up to a luminosity that would make the Sun wish it had a pair of shades tucked away in a back pocket. it means that it’s as bright with your eyes open as it is with them closed. Sleep is banished back into the night, though you quickly forget that there ever was such a thing as darkness.
It’s a rumour, right? Night-time? Just something they tease us with?
Anywho. This morning. I awoke in my bed, and it certainly wasn’t 8 am. Breakfast had been and gone and my stomach was grumbling for its serving of slop. By the time I had made my way to the recreation room, the rest of the residents were already there and my brain was beating to the bounce of my blood.
I looked out of the window, immediately regretting it, and figured it must have been early afternoon.
That was roughly an hour ago. My head hasn’t stopped playing bongos with the inside of my skull. My throat is still pulling itself up as if giving itself a wedgie. My eyes are still blurring with a sickly red around the edges of my vision.
And I can’t understand why I was allowed to sleep in. In fact, I can’t understand why I did, allowed to or not. I’ve always, whether in here or out, woken up just before my alarm was due to go off. As such, I’m always awake just before the lights are spiralled up to blazing.
But not today. Today, I’m missing hours. Today, the morning took the morning off.
Today I have a headache. Is there a doctor in the house?Learn More