|The girl stands upon the doorstep peering in, her elbows scuffed from countless days she has spent leaning against her desk at school, trying to concentrate on the words swirling around her temple. There’s something about sitting around and gazing at the birthing of a new day in the eyes of another family that is so intriguing to her. She does not want to join in, to leave the hopeless world of the dingy flat she occupies, she merely wishes to observe.
And I let her.
She’s always there, watching my every move as I tango around the kitchen making toast, or tea, or sometimes, when I’m feeling philosophical, making sense of It all. She nods along with the beat of the toaster kissing slices of bread till they blush, and the rhythmic splash of milk as it unites with drops of tea.
I let her watch me because she is me. In some way or another, she has become a part of who I am, and telling her to leave (like the time I chucked a pair of scissors, which painted a red mark across her cheek) physically pains me. I felt the cut glide across her dirty skin before it happened, and I was frightened. I had bullied myself into keeping her near. And my actions always have consequences.
If she leaves, I will die.
I step out into the front garden with a cloth and a small bar of soap and make my way towards her. She smiles, and I can see her soul reflected in the yellowing enamel. It screams loneliness.
I lower myself down to her level and reach out for her arm. The smile never leaves her eyes as I scrub away at the dirt clustering the scars befriending her skin. I squint slightly, and try to make my own eyes sparkle in response.
“There, there,” my pupils whisper. “There, there.”