Things don’t happen to me. I wake up, I go to work, I come home, I go to sleep. That’s it. Life is normal and uneventful and I’m happy with it staying that way. Until I found the mouth.
It started with an itch. A tickling on the edge of my elbow and then there was the tooth. White and edged sticking out the side of my arm. I tried not to worry about it too much at first, it would go away if I ignored it, as most things do. That’s what I thought anyway. And then,
the curve of lips
I wore long sleeve shirts outside, if I left the house at all. Spit leaked down my arm through my clothes and stained my sheets. I kept pretending it wasn’t there. Friends would ask and I would lie and then they would ask again and then I wouldn’t see them anymore. I stuck to the shadows in my home, keeping my back against the wall and avoiding mirrors.
I didn’t want to know about it. It would go away I was sure of it. I don’t have health insurance and the doctor scares me. It was my only hope that it would just go away.
And then last night it spoke to me.
When it woke me up I thought it was just the wind. My window was closed but there was this whispering floating around the room. And then the whispers became words.
I tried not to listen. I covered it with blankets and pillows but the mouth just got louder. It rang around the room and bounced back into my body. Soon the voice sounded like it was coming from inside my head and then there was no ignoring it.
It spoke to me about things I had forgotten about.
Words soft played memories back for me, projecting them against the back of my eyes and making me remember. Things.
Like in school when Tim tried to lift up my skirt in the playground so I put a stick in his eye. I got a week’s detention and he had to go to hospital. He didn’t talk to me after that and had a patch over his eye for the rest of the year.
Or the last time I saw my mother cry. I had just got home from the late shift at Pizza Hut and found that one of our dogs had killed a possum and left it on the back porch. It smelt sweet, like the bottom of a vegetable crisper. I didn’t know what to do so I woke mum up and watched her stumble outside in her pyjamas and try to scrape the possum up with a shovel. It was so soft and heavy that it kept falling off the shovel as she walked it to the bin, forcing her to scrape it up off the ground over and over again. When she finally dumped it in the green bin she went straight to bed without saying a word. The stains on the pavement are still there.
And in winter when it is cold enough that you could see your own breath I used to stand outside in a t-shirt and wait until my fingers went numb. Then I’d run inside and jump into the shower, turning the water up as hot as it would go so the shock of the heat would make my skin feel like I was melting. Not in a bad or painful way, just melting like an ice block against fingers, or cream on a cake. I’d then run back in and out of the house until mum would scream at me about the drought and water restrictions and pneumonia. I used to love that.
Everything the mouth said was so far away but right next to me. I couldn’t believe how much I had forgotten. Like dreams my own life played out in front of me until the sun rose against my bedroom wall and the mouth’s words faded away.
Anyway I spoke to my GP this morning. We’re getting it removed next Tuesday. I told you things just aren’t meant to happen to me and I’m happy with it staying that way.