My name is Emma and I'm fifteen. I like to write about the things we look past hoping just maybe it will make a difference. So here is my blog and here are my stories. Make of them what you like, if it helps at all.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

My First Published Book!

I haven't posted on here for quite a while but here is finally a new post! :)

For several months now, I have been working on a collection of short stories and last Friday my first book was finally published! It's been a thrilling, tiring and exciting journey. I could never have imagined just what I was getting myself into!

My book is a collection of  short stories in aid of the children of Syria, particularly those in refugee camps. Regardless of your opinion on the political situation, thousands of children are in need of desperate help. I feel that since I have been given so many opportunities, the least I can do is help those who are not as lucky as I am.

So here it is. A lot of the stories are stories I have posted on here before. I've changed some of them, added some others and put all my heart into it. My book is called 'The Blue Box' and is available on Amazon in just about any country. It's not ready for Kindle just yet but I'm hoping to get it on there soon! If anyone is interested, here's the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Box-Emma-Abdullah/dp/0692267999/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413047303&sr=1-1

And if you live in the UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blue-Box-Emma-Abdullah/dp/0692267999/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413047303&sr=1-1

All proceeds go to charity!

As for those of you who have been asking in the comments if I will be posting more stories, I'll try to post any new ones on here or perhaps just my thoughts on things whenever I can :)

Cheers!

Emma






Thursday, 13 June 2013

Call Of The Jasmine


Call Of The Jasmine




Stories are all around us. Wherever you look, there’s a story. Stories are in each one of us; in our eyes, our smiles, our tears. You don’t need imagination to write a story, just eyes. If you open your eyes and look around you, you’ll find stories everywhere. Life is inspiration; we don’t need to make anything up. Stories are alive and have an incredible power. I know I’m only a child and don’t have the influence of a country leader or a politician but I have my pen and if that is the only weapon I have against injustice then it would be a shame to not at least try. So here is my story today; in the form of a letter by a little boy called Karim who tells a story not many people have wanted to listen to. His story is around us though, like all the others but maybe we've conveniently not been able to see. It’s that time of year where everyone is excited; we can’t wait to go on holiday, we can’t wait to leave! However there are other people out there who can’t wait to live. This one is for the children of the jasmine: in memory of all the candles that were blown out too soon and for all the children and everything they could have been.



Dear Santa,

   I hope this letter finds you well. I’m not very good with posting letters because baba used to mail them for us. I don’t know exactly where to send it either because this is the first letter I ever write to you. I didn’t know about you before; Joe told me yesterday. He says you’re a man in red who makes good children happy and who brings them presents. I never got a present though. I don’t understand because I’ve always been good.

  Maybe it’s because you couldn’t find my house? But Joe says your reindeer always know where the good children are. Maybe you forgot me then. That’s okay, I understand, people have forgotten us so many times.

If this letter reaches you, though, please try to remember me. My name is Karim and I live in the basement of the little house that used to be a bakery. It doesn’t make bread anymore so you can’t follow the smell but I know if you look really hard you’ll find us. The bakery looks destroyed because destroyed things make people go away so if you hide inside destruction, you’re safe. It’s what baba says but to me the bakery is just scary and I miss my home.

  Dear Santa, if this letter finds you please pay us a visit. I don’t have cookies to offer like Joe says I should but I promise mama will make you feel welcome; she always does with the crying children.
I know where I live is not very pretty and I know there’s not much in it for you but mama says we’re beautiful where it counts.

Santa, I don’t want any toys but could you please bring some smiles with you and some tissues for the tears? It scares me to see mama cry, could you bring nights that aren’t so cold? Santa, please, could I ask for some color and for the streets not to be so grey? Tell the men in uniform that they’ll get presents too if they put down their guns.

  At night it frightens me to sleep next to Aziz because he shuffles around all the time and I know he’s much older than I am and he’s not allowed to cry but when they told him he’d never walk again, I hid my face to let him sob. He says I’m not allowed to write to you because you’re not for us but Joe says Santa is for all the children. If so then please, could you bring a new leg for Aziz and bring Fridays without screams? Please tell the giants that jump at night to let us sleep in peace.

  Santa let me know how Reema is because I haven’t heard from her for so long. I need to tell her I still have her doll but no matter how hard I knock at her door there’s no answer anymore. It scares me because I know Reema can’t be without her doll.

  I know I’m being a selfish boy for asking you so much but it would make me smile to see the Jasmines grow again where the children used to play.

If this letter does find you, could you please bring me a dog? When I see the rescue shows on TV, they’re always saving animals. Would they save me if I were an animal?

 I know it’s not December and it’s too early for letters to Santa Claus but I figured maybe if I wrote early enough you’d make the time for me or maybe it’s just that somewhere a
part of me is scared I won’t be here anymore by December.

 Please don’t forget me Santa. It makes me happy to think that somewhere out there, somebody cares.

Love,

Karim



" I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, "Mother,what was war?" - Eve Merriam


Emma Abdullah

Friday, 24 May 2013

For The Cat

                                                 For The Cat

                             

       It was one morning in June, perhaps, when I first saw her; during one of those long summers where each day seemed the same. She wasn’t a regular, no, but I’d seen her around for her face was not completely unknown to me. She was a small, fair lady who had undoubtedly been beautiful but whose face, now much older, looked more tired and wrinkled yet had a pleasant countenance. I remember my first thought being that I pitied her and quite honestly I did not know why for she was well-dressed and surely well-off. Still, there was something about her that stung my heart a little; maybe the fact that she was no longer as beautiful as she had once been or that she was no longer as young as she had once been. Maybe we all ought to feel sorry for ourselves because life is a tragedy and in the end we’re all just little pieces stitched together desperately searching for something to hang on to. Perhaps all life is asking from us is a bit of attention, maybe life just wants to be noticed, like a sulking toddler so it will keep throwing things our way until we finally give it the attention it deserves.


     I remember she wore a grey jacket which was peculiar for it was summer. Her hair was a variation of greys, well groomed but thinning in some places. I imagined she must have been a woman of high class with fancy clothes and expensive taste when she had been younger. Now, she clutched her hand bag tightly with a sheepish smile and walked slowly, almost as if she knew not where to put herself.


    “Good Morning!” My voice boomed with confidence. ”What can I get you Ma’am? We’ve got meat fresh from this morning!” She looked away as if embarrassed.
 “Well this is going to sound silly,” she said hesitantly “It’s just ...my cat…well I was just wondering” her voice sounded so small. “I’m sorry if this sounds rude but my cat you know... my cat likes the meat very much and I was just wondering if you had any left overs. Not anything for sale, oh no, just any left-over pieces I could take home, if that’s alright”
 “Well of course!” I chuckled. “It’s no trouble at all! In fact I’ve got leftovers every day if you like.” At that she smiled and thanked me. I wrapped up a few left over pieces of meat I had from the day. They weren’t particularly good-looking or tasty I imagined but for a cat they would do just fine. 
 “And can I get you anything with that?” I asked. “Uh well no,” she looked embarrassed again “Uh not today, thank you.” “Alright then, Ma’am. Have a nice day!” With that she had left, clutching her hand bag and little paper bag of meat and I remember feeling sorry again as I watched her frail figure walk out the door.

    Three days later she returned- with her same grey jacket, brown handbag and apologetic look. I had already prepared the meat. “Here you go Ma’am!” I smiled. “How did your cat like the meat? I hear cats enjoy those bits. Would you like anything else?” Again she thanked me and said that, no, this time she did not need anything else.

    The days passed by; I watched them get shorter, I watched the skies with subtle variations of blue turn to night and the birds glide through them like they owned everything underneath, flying in circles and feeling infinite because united they were strong. I watched the dappled leaves dance in the wind before falling slowly onto the concrete floor; dead yet beautiful, ending their lives with pride. I watched the clouds cry and the sky groan, like a sulking toddler refusing to settle down. Then I watched the bare trees that looked less majestic and imposing maybe like us all in the end as the streets wore their coat of white and the sky was no longer blue but grey.I observed the different outfits: the shirts, the sandals, the trousers and the jackets then eventually the thick coats and woollen scarves. I saw the faces change, the expressions differ. I watched life go on; the children grow, the babies walk, the adults hurry and with my big smile I greeted them all. Still she came. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings she was there and she seemed more and more worn away and fragile; like any moment she would break under the heaviness of the world.Yet still she came with her same handbag and grey jacket. She had started to become acquainted with another lady who was also a regular customer. I had gotten into the habit of collecting the left overs of the day and putting them into a little bag for her. I had got into the habit of seeing her shy smile as her trembling hands clutched the paper bag. I had gotten into the habit of watching her eye the different meats before saying that no, she did not need any today. She had become a part of my little routine, of my life if I can say. She had become one of those little things that made up my day just like how we all feel comfortable with a routine because there is no unknown to fear when you know what to expect.

    One Tuesday morning in January she did not come. I waited for her a little longer but still, there was no sign of the little lady with the grey jacket. I told myself that perhaps she was busy that morning but couldn’t help feeling a little worried. Thursday morning brought no sign of her either.

    “Do you know where she could be?” I asked the other lady. “I’ve got the food for her cat but she doesn’t seem to be coming.” My voice came out smaller than I had anticipated. I realised I sounded ridiculous. “Her cat?” the lady looked puzzled. “Well yes,” I explained. “I usually put the leftovers aside for the cat”
 “But she doesn’t have a cat…” the lady replied softly.
 “Are you sure?”
 “Yes. She’s been living alone in her small room ever since her husband passed away. She had no children, it’s sad, she has nobody.”

    When you’re a child they tell you that you’re safe. When you cry, they wipe up your tears and tell you that it’s alright because everything always is alright in the end. The truth is that sadly, we all grow up living a lie but nobody wants to come out of it- why should we after all? We’re so much more comfortable living in our ideal little bubble - thinking that bad things happen to bad people or just others but not to us, never to us because if we’re nice the world should be nice back. Life is just like us. It wants to survive too and it wants to be noticed. Life wants all the attention. I don’t know why it hurt me so much ,maybe I felt blind. I felt like I’d been blessed with eyes but hadn’t seen. I hadn’t seen the pain in her eyes or her smile. I hadn’t realised that she had too much pride to come begging.

   When she came back three days later I saw that her face was even more tired than usual. She seemed to have lost some hair. Her blood-shot eyes looked weak and sunken. “Well Ma’am! Where you been?!” I said in my same cheerful voice. “I’ve been preparing the meat!”
 “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “I was a little unwell.”
 “Well that’s alright,” I smiled “Not need to be sorry, here you go!” I handed her the paper bag and she thanked me with her shy smile. Her lips were cracked.

“Hold on a second!” I said taking the bag back.“I forgot something!” I took the bag to the back where she couldn’t see and added two big pieces of the finest meat I had. “Have a nice day.” I said.

    She became a part of my routine again but not for long. I saw her state deteriorate every day. Sometimes, she would scare me. Her skin wrinkled and her smile disappeared. I continued to add some good meat. For the cat. The days passed until one Tuesday morning again when she did not come and I felt a nagging constriction in my chest because I was afraid I would never see her shy smile and innocent eyes again. I didn’t. They were no longer a part of my routine but perhaps now a part of my memory. I waited, though. I put the leftovers aside every day. At first in their paper bag and then just to the side until finally I threw them away. The skies turned from a light blue to a darker one. The leaves grew and fell and grew. The birds flew. The people rushed. Life threw fits. The wind blew. The clouds cried and the world kept spinning. I realised I didn’t even have a name to associate to the image I had of the little lady in the grey jacket. She remained anonymous in my memory and sometimes when I thought of her I blushed out of shame or guilt although I knew it wasn’t really my fault. Life isn’t really our fault.

    My hair turned from chestnut to light grey, the world spun and one summer morning in June as I emptied the bins I spotted a little grey kitten. The passer-by’s would have found me silly and had I been a toddler or a child, I would have been told off by my mother but I went inside and got some meat. Two fine, expensive pieces. For the cat.




" What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame." Friedrich Nietzsche



Emma Abdullah



Saturday, 6 April 2013

Do You Have A Pen?



Do you have a pen?


 
   
 There was nothing worse than being on call. It ruined the weekend, tampered with your sleeping pattern and had you surviving on high doses of caffeine for at least the next two days. On the other hand, I had missed the family gathering. There was nothing worse than family gatherings: all those conversations of trivial importance, the petty arguments and endless discrete glances at the watch. On the bright side, I had missed that but my heart had sunk a bit upon hearing the disappointment in my father’s voice when I had to excuse myself from his birthday celebration. When he had asked if there was any chance I could get replaced for this one time- that I could get the weekend off just this once, I had lied and said no. The truth was, I preferred to spend the night alone in these dim hallways.
            
      Perhaps I am a selfish man but I console myself with the thought that we are all greedy, that in the end it’s all down to us and getting through the day. I’ve learnt never to get too attached, never to hang on too tightly because that is when you fall the hardest. But honestly it is not without guilt that I sat, not without a bit of tightness in my chest that I sat on my neglected white chair, being the terrible selfish man that I was.
           
     Hospital walls rock you into a lying, deceptive calm. They lie. They have a sickly colour that sings you into oblivion that tells you you’ll be alright when you have no chance. I always wondered why they were painted as they were; such a sterile, lying, manipulative white. It was of no solace to the patients. If I were in hospital, I’d want my walls painted bright explosive colours. I patrolled the corridors, stopping sometimes to read the number on a room although really, I knew them all by heart. How does it feel to be a number in a room? Just a number amongst the numbers, a bed amongst the beds, a patient, a disease? A disease amongst the diseases.
            
      She stopped me mid-track, rushing over to me with her clipboard and countless papers, a panicked look on her face saying something about patient 102. Patient 102? I had never spent very much time with him. He was an elderly man of little words with rickety health. He was another number- a passing number, a temporary number, like all the others. Sooner or later, they would all leave and terrible as it was, terrible as it sounds, you got used to it once you’d been here a while.
            
      His heart was beating slower, his breathing more difficult and it was only a matter of hours before they thought they would lose him. With all the composure I could gather, I walked across the corridor to room 102.
            
      His skin was pale, his milky eyes devoid of light, his soul tired. He lay there, listening to the beeping and watching the little waves on the monitor go up, then down, then up, getting flatter every time. I don’t know if he noticed-maybe he didn’t really realise what they meant.
“My son”, his voice came out as a hoarse whisper, “Tell him”, he begged.
“I’m sorry sir, I don’t…”
“Tell him I’m here”. His eyes were watery. “Please, tell him I’m here.”
“Sir, your son knows you are in hospital.”
“But call him”, he pleaded. “Tell him to come, that I’ll be leaving. I know I’ll be leaving. I have to speak to him.”
            
    I wonder what it feels like when you know it’s the end of the road, when you know that fighting is futile because sometimes you have to give in to life - It’s only fair. I wonder what it feels like when you know. When you know it’s time to give in.
            
    I walked to the sterile white phone and punched in the numbers. I felt a nagging constriction in my chest, one I could not really account for. Being the bearer of bad news is a terrible thing; sometimes you don’t know if you’ll have the words, the delicacy, the strength. You think of the person on the other side; how you’re about to bring their world crashing down with a single phone call and deep inside them they’ll hate you because their sorrow will just be searching for someone to blame. Then what do you say? That you’re sorry? Sorry for what? They’ll hate you even more because they‘ll know you’re not sorry like they are. They’ll know you haven’t been destroyed like them.
           
     Beeep. Beeep. Maybe he wouldn’t pick up then I wouldn’t have to speak to him. But what would I tell his father? The father with the crying eyes who knows it’s time to give in to life. The one who just wanted a few last words, who wanted to say goodbye, who-
“Hello?”
“Good morning Sir, Dr. Brown from Lancashire hospital speaking. I am calling regarding your father.”
There was silence at the other end. I wondered what he had been doing. Had I called at the wrong moment? Was he already beginning to hate me? I thought he would never reply but he did - his voice appearing quite confident; I suspected he was holding back the tears.
“What about my father?” he said calmly.
“Your father is seriously ill,” I took a deep breath. “He has asked to see you. He only has a few more hours.”
Again, there was silence and this time I knew it had completely destroyed him. I emphathized with his hatred towards me, despised myself  and wished myself all the worst things in life because I knew he was thinking it too. After a long pause , the same calm voice surprised me. He was stronger than I was.
“Do you have a pen?” he said. Well, of course, I had a pen but why? I wasn’t sure he understood.
“Yes Sir but I don’t think you quite get me,” I answered.
“Write down this number,” he said softly, dictating me a number that sounded quite familiar. I knew I had heard it somewhere before.
“I’ve taken care of everything,” he continued. “It’s all been paid for; everything’s been dealt with - took a while but I’ve done it. You won’t have to worry about anything.”
He didn’t understand. I didn’t understand. Who did he want me to call? A relative?
“It’s the funeral service,” he said before I could ask. “They’ll take care of things. The coffin is ready – not just any coffin, mind you, it’s a mahogany .That’s the most expensive one.”
I didn’t know what to say.
“But your father… he asked to see you…he’s not well. Your father is dying Sir”
“I’m a busy man,” he replied. “I have to catch a plane to Tokyo in an hour. I’d like to come but I can’t afford to miss that flight. Get him some flowers. Take the big bouquet.”

    I put the phone down with a trembling hand. Flowers? Would flowers be a good enough compensation? Flowers in a mahogany coffin. Perhaps we all die poor in the end. Maybe that’s what we’re worth - a coffin. I opened the door slowly hoping he was asleep and would never know. He heard the door creak and turned his head, giving the biggest smile I had ever seen, extending from ear to ear. There was light in his eyes, the kind of admiration in a father’s eyes when he sees his son. What was I to tell him? That I was sorry? That his son had refused to come but sent him flowers and his regards? He didn’t speak. I went up to his bed and kneeled down next to him, his smile still not fading. I tried to think of the right words. I tried to find the strength.

   Do you have a pen? Do you have a pen? He would have the best coffin, the mahogany coffin, the one that had already been paid for. Who would come to the funeral? He would be alone with his flowers and his mahogany.Luxury without love.
Do you have a pen? The waves seemed to tire. They moved slower, becoming flatter and flatter but still he smiled.

  Beeep. He had been younger before, he had watched people leave, he had been there but there was nobody there for him. Beeeep.
“My son,” his voice came out as a hoarse whisper. “Are you here?” He held out a trembling hand to me. Nobody to take his hand.
“Son,” he whispered again.
I grabbed the shaking hand and squeezed it tightly. Words no longer had any importance.
“Yes Dad,” I said softly. “I’m here.”







“Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven't done”  Chad Michael Murray





Emma Abdullah

Behind The Door



Behind the door





   I press my ear against the wall and hold my breath. I can no longer hear them. I try to listen harder. I hear footsteps-I think they’re his. I count the number of steps he takes, I suppose he has reached the door. Then I hear it swinging open and I know almost for sure that he is leaving. I rush to the window to make sure. I get a good look of him-he is wearing a black suit with a black tie and holding a briefcase in his left hand. He casually glances at his watch and walks a little faster before reaching his BMW that matches his suit perfectly and takes off without looking behind him.
   
I pace the room, my mind feels numb from all the thinking. Then I hear it - a loud cry. I retreat to my place against the wall. I can hear them sobbing and saying things but I cannot make out the words. There is the sound of a baby crying too, I assume it is Mona only because I recognise the sound. I have become used to the distinctive noise of each of their cries. This one is the baby.
  
  He returns at about half past eight.  Nine o’clock on Tuesdays. I hear the familiar sound of the BMW tyres  on the gravel followed by the headlights as the car pulls in. I take my place and wait. It will begin at about half past nine. Half past ten on Tuesdays. At around 9 o’clock, the screaming begins. He is early today, I imagine he has had a bad day at work. He bellows at them at the top of his voice, then I hear the sound of bottles crashing onto the floor and the shriek of six year-old Taylor. There are some cries and some swearing; words that I have never heard before but that the little ones are probably used to. Then there is silence.
               
    Silence can mean a lot of things; silence can mean pain, it can mean sorrow, it can mean acceptance or fear. You can let it define you and scream for you, you can let it be your voice and hide behind it. You can surrender to silence and let it guide you, let it build its walls around you. It is very often in what we cannot hear that there are the most words. Silence is the most powerful weapon.
                
     Her backpack is streaked with different shades of blue. It is one of those expensive brand bags that everyone wants; they are an easy way of showing you have money. Her clothes are neat; she wears a long sleeved shirt and a red skirt that reaches below her ankles. I know they are expensive clothes because I have seen them in a shop before. She looks small and frail in them, like she’s been forced to wear them. Taylor is also wearing long sleeves today; a dark blue hoodie that makes him look much older. Their faces seem to lack emotion and there isn’t any light in their eyes. Slowly, they get into the BMW. She holds Taylor’s hand as if to protect him. Their father sits himself in front of the steering wheel and sympathetically waves at me before closing the door. I don’t wave back. I watch them pull out of the driveway, on their way to school. She even tries to force a smile because smiling twelve year olds are normal, because going to school is normal, because it’s better to be normal.
                
    What does it feel like to live a lie? To wake up in the morning and put on your fake smile of convenience? To keep quiet when people talk because you’re afraid you might say something, let the truth slip out just a little bit and then have to lose yourself in an even bigger lie? What does it feel like to be afraid to come home, to live amongst the screams, to watch the people you look up to crumble? What does it feel like to fear the people you love? To love yet hate them? To want them to die yet be beside you. What does it feel like when you’re hurting everywhere; mentally and physically, when you have nowhere to escape to and everyone thinks you’re fine and happy because they don’t know - nobody knows. They don’t know what happens when the door closes. Nobody knows the story behind the door.
                
    I don’t know where they go after school. They come home in their black BMW with their expensive clothes and backpacks. Today, he is wearing a red shirt that matches her skirt. Happy families do that sometimes, they wear the same colours because they are united and content. A father with a decent job, a lovely wife who cooks a nice meal for his return and their three children- a boy and two girls. The perfect family in their prefect house. They could fool us all if they wanted to.
               
   She gets out of the car, still clutching Taylor’s hand. For a moment, our eyes lock and it’s like I can feel every single emotion in her-like she’s using her eyes to call for me, to beg for my help. I look away.
                
    Half past nine. He isn’t home and it isn’t Tuesday. I wonder if he’s decided not to come home after all, to go away before he does them any more harm. They would be better off without him. Suddenly, I hear the sound of the tyres on the gravel and my heart sinks a little bit at the thought of the deceptive calm that had come over me. He was back. I rush to the window, hoping to understand the reason for his bizarre late return. I see him get out of the BMW and open his trunk, only to pull out a colourful looking kids’ bicycle and a huge doll. He then pulls out a bouquet of roses and makes his way to the house, closing the wooden door behind him.
                
    I  find it difficult to comprehend. Is he sorry? Does he think he can buy their silence? Are they going to be alright after all? Was everything solved and were they going to celebrate? I comfort myself with that last thought, simply because it’s always comforting to tell yourself things are going to be alright because even if a part of you senses that you’re lying, it’s comforting to shut it out, shut out reality and pretend, because pretending is nice.
               
     Eleven o’clock. The screaming begins and this time I don’t need to take my place at the wall so that I can hear them. It has never been this loud. I feel like barging into their house and screaming at him to stop. I hear the baby, I hear Taylor, I hear their mother. Should I call the police? I am indirectly responsible. No, it has nothing to do with me, I should mind my own business. I force myself not to listen, to pretend I can’t hear because pretending is comforting and pretending is nice. The cries are louder. I turn up the television volume and drown out their pleas. Then there is silence.
       
     Seven o’clock in the morning. I am awoken by a somewhat familiar sound but am to sleepy to properly identify it. It takes me a few minutes to realise that it is coming closer and that now, it seems to be right under my house. Curiosity overcomes my desire to go back to sleep and I walk to the window. I see an ambulance followed by two police cars and before I have time to make any assumptions as to what it could be, two men rush out of my neighbour’s house with a stretcher, carrying someone whose face I cannot see. I stick my face to the glass, trying to identify the body but in vain. Is one of the children hurt? I only see a black sleeve. The men put the stretcher into the ambulance and drive away, their siren tearing open the warm silk of calmness in the neighbourhood. My heart beats fast - I can try to lie to myself and say it had nothing to do with me but somewhere I know I’ll always have ignored that cry for help.
              
       I try to compose myself and rethink the situation. Suddenly I notice something outside in the garden. She is sitting on the grass, staring up at me, wearing shorts that reveal her swollen legs. I have to squint a bit but I am shocked to see the blisters, they are all over her arms too. Calmly, she looks at me as if to ask me to take a look. To look at what I had done to her by ignoring her persevering cries. My heart is pounding inside my ears, surely it couldn’t fully be my fault but the look in her eyes is so accusing, it burns.  She continues to sit there, alone in the grass, still looking up at me as if to ask me why and the worst part is, I know I’ll never be able to answer. Can you be blamed for something you did not do? Can you be blamed for letting silence speak for you? If I were to be judged, would I be guilty for surrendering to it? Did my silence mean acceptance or fear? All of a sudden, she stands up and she smiles- as if to say it was okay, that sometimes it’s better to act like things are alright; pretending is safe- then walks up and caresses the BMW with her hand before entering her home, entering the truth, behind the door.





“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself." George Orwell



Emma Abdullah

Friday, 5 April 2013

Mind Your Mind



Mind Your Mind



   He advances towards me and I know from the look in his eyes that this time I’m in for it. I can feel the fury burning inside me. This time, I will not let him hurt me. He moves swiftly, jumping from bed to bed and even hanging in mid-air at times. I try to imitate his movements but end up on the floor. My head is throbbing and every part of my body aches; it feels like I’ve been shot.

I scream.

I should have known it was a trap.

 Two men enter the room and I am certain they want to take me away but I can’t fight back. Pain shoots through my veins as a needle is poked somewhere into my shoulder. Slowly, the aching subsides and I have this eccentric feeling; somewhat like floating on a cloud. It feels unusually good. Everything subsequently goes dark but I close my eyes anyway. The darkness will protect me.

My eyes open again, only to realise that I am still in the same room. There is a bothersome feeling in my left arm and when I try to rub it with my hand, I realise that I cannot: I am strapped down on my bed. The walls are the same memorable pale white colour and only very faint light is entering through the window. I now realise that they have caught me; that I will be spending the next few days here, in this same position. I already know from experience what it will be like. However I also know that it is inevitably pointless to try to free myself: they are many, and I am one. There are millions of them whereas I am defying the world by myself.

Sometimes I forget.

I forget that I am never by myself. They are always watching over me. I believe I'm alone but I never really am. My name is Dmitri and I live in a dark closet invisible to the rest of the world; nobody knows, nobody understands. It’s all in my head, it’s my reality. My name is Olga too, and Steven and Vladimir and Faye; we are so many characters embodied in just one human. It is tiresome, confusing- but it is a necessity. We face the world together. I have schizophrenia.

He enters the room with his white overcoat and stern look. Apart from the nurses who feed me, he is the only visit I have had in a week. He looks at my ridiculous face and notes things down. If I was not stuck in this straitjacket with my hands tied behind my back, I think I would punch him - maybe even kill him before he kills me, and kill all the other staff while I’m at it.

What am I thinking?

Stop it Olga!

I know it’s you, don’t tell me things like that….. I really would want to kill him, though. I know that when he smiles at me it’s because he’s secretly plotting to do it first and me being stuck here defenselessly is the hinge of his plan.

Olga! Stop! I don’t want to kill anyone, please!

Yes, I do, I want to kill all of them.

I can’t bring myself to decide which is worse; my delusions or these moments of sanity where I actually realise who I am and what I’m doing. It troubles me because I try: I truly do, but they’re trapped within me now and I just can’t fight them. I know I need them.

No I don’t.

Vladimir you know I don’t need you.

I know they’re my only friends because nobody else is there for me. I hate them. But I need them.

Life hasn’t always been this way. I was something before this chaos; I was someone. You have to be prepared for the sorrow if you’re going to be happy- I guess I just wasn’t. I was successful; I was bright, my family was well-off. They all believed that I had a future ahead of me. My mother was a bit uneasy with the idea of me going abroad to pursue my studies but I assured her that I would take care, and that I would be alright.

 I really thought I would, I thought I had all the chances on my side to be great. Then life stroke me; like a strong punch in the stomach knocking you down- and I never got back up. It was like everything around me had shattered, like a glass bottle shattering into millions of pieces as it touches the floor. Everything that had once comforted me and made me feel safe was gone. My secure warm home, away from all the dangers of the world was no longer there for me and I felt exposed and vulnerable. I realised I had always been protected - by my parents, by our situation and that there were so many things out there I had never experienced. So I seeked refuge in the unreal, in the delirious. I tried to hide behind the walls of insanity and I went mad, all by myself, in a world I had not known before with only my mind as my best friend, yet greatest foe.

“Dmitri, we’ve talked about this before,” he says in a grave voice. “You can live an almost normal life; you can limit the delirious episodes. You must continue your medication”

The medication helps me see things clearly. It helps limit the hallucinations and increase the periods when I am lucid; the periods when I am well. I am not going to take it because it will hurt me which is exactly what he wants. I take the white pill from his hand and place it under my tongue.

Don’t swallow it!

I won’t, Steven.

I sip the water and put the glass back down. It’s what I have been doing for fifteen days. When he turns around, I carefully spit it out. He’ll never hurt me.

“We’re going to let you see your mother,” he says. The door opens and I see a frail lady come in, accompanied by the men in white. I can see that her hair is becoming white at the root – everything is becoming strangely white - and that she has lost a lot of weight. I imagine the misery I have put my family through, how I have torn them apart.

She comes closer to my bed and brings a shaking hand close to mine. Her tired milky blue eyes fill up with tears.

"Dmitri,” she whispers, “I love you.”

Suddenly, I know from the look in her eyes what she wants. I can feel the fury burning inside me.

“Olga!” I scream “Olga, get away!” I begin to kick and agitate my fists.
“I hate you!” I holler “I swear I’ll kill you!”
I try to grab her so that I can strangle her but the men in white reach to her first and usher her out of the room.

Pain shoots through my veins as a needle is poked somewhere into my shoulder. Slowly, the aching subsides and I have this eccentric feeling; somewhat like floating on a cloud. It feels unusually good. Everything subsequently goes dark but I close my eyes anyway. The darkness will protect me.

My fierce Olga will remind me of the sweet, so sweet desire to kill.
My witty Steven will warn me against the notorious white coated man and his poisonous pills.
My always devoted Vladimir will need me, as I will need him.
They will all protect Dmitri.
I will protect Dmitri. I will protect Dmitri.
Schizophrenia will protect Dmitri.



“If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.” Philip K Dick






Emma Abdullah