There’s a big wooden box in my wardrobe I’ve thought about clearing out for a while now, but each time I really consider doing it I get a strange sensation in my heart and I know I cant. Not now. Not yet.
In the box is an old school bag (a green tartan design which I would have worn slung over one shoulder) I brought before going into Year 7 (the first year of high school/secondary school). My mum had been trying to get me excited as starting secondary school represented a whole new chapter, a whole new beginning. It was especially as if everything to do with the hospital and illness would finish and come to a close once I began this new phase. One phase would end, and the other would begin. She brought me a new bag, pens pencils and pencil case to seal the deal with The Powers That Be.
I guess starting high school represents a new passage in everyone’s life, about growing up and on and becoming a young adult and having fun and frinds and many things like that. This image must be fixed more fast than we’d realised because even I thought once I’d started it would also be like this for me, even while in the midst of being so incredibly ill I thought that, maybe, it would all move away as I went further into the year.
(Sudden image of the dining hall; the noise; not liking my sandwich; knowing I shouldn’t really be there and feeling that all over but denying it to myself anyway.)
Maybe we just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) comprehend this illness lasting much longer, so we focused on normal things, on pretending and acting out the parts that we “should” have had.
A part of me believed it wouldn’t carry on past six months and it was actually a relief when school started. Well, for the first two days anyway. Sometimes I still think that the past eight years since my diagnosis has just been one very long week, like my sense of time has just been incredibly distorted (I still dream that this is true a lot.)
It’s kind of funny to think that it was a new chapter in my life just like for everybody else, and like everybody else it more or less started at the same time as theirs. Unlike everybody else though, my new chapter was into such a different world and life.
Most days I’ve watched young people my age outside my bedroom window walking up the street to wherever it is that they’re going, and I feel like none of us really know what it’s like to be on the other side of the window.
Watching the people from my window, watching life from behind glass, often seems like the perfect metaphor for how I’m feeling.
In the box, still in the green tartan school bag, are my school books. I can’t take them out; I can’t look at them; I can’t think about them much. It’s really strange. There’s writing on some of the pages of the books from the few classes I attended (most of the time I was in the medical room when I was forced to go in by my mum, and that was the only way I did manage to go in: by force) or catching-up I struggled to do while I was at home but gave up on most of it.
Why do I want to keep all of it?