No Sweet Sorrow

I had to say goodbye to this whole world today. I wasn't going to even pretend to be sad.


1. They want us to go.

If I was a different person, if I was any less than they made me to be, I would have said that the feelings flooding through my veins were anger, fear, resentment. Anything, anything other than the perky answer that I give through gritted teeth.

“Just excitement.”

At least that answer will stop him from suspecting. At least that answer will stop him from calling in them.

Still, it’s not enough to get me out of another round of the constant drugs. Here’s a pill for your hysteria. Here’s a pill to squash your brain. Here’s a pill to make you sleep. Here’s a pill to make sure you are confident and loud and make a good impression and don’t even think about your friends and your family and your bed or your dresser or your wardrobe because, guess what, those won’t exist from tomorrow and you’ll be rubbed squeaky clean. Exciting, right?

I do the same as I have done for the past few months, ever since I came here. Avoid the snakes, avoid the snakes. The water feels cold above my throat and I can barely just catch the sleeping pill before it slides down my throat. I don’t choke through. Choking would make them suspect. Choking might make them realize.

That’s something I can’t afford right now. That’s something none of us can afford right now.

Still, the day marches on, the familiar routine conflicting with the worried faces. Are you sure they’re ready? They have to be, there’s no other option. Still, couldn’t we send them out later. Moira, you know how this works as well as I do. It’s now or never.

Crooning voices trying to calm the hysterical down, trying to get them to place their feelings into artwork. Ha. They do not try it on with me. They know that this feeling of excitement is only temporary and that it is the only feeling that I have let myself be polluted by. The calmness drugs will sort that out while I draw pretty little flowers curling round and around and around the house. Strangling everything they touch and sucking the life out.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

We all troop into the room that night, them dropping their heads, marionettes with cut strings. Still, they will dance before me one more time. We will take our places tomorrow, will be allowed out of this dratted place and we will still have these steps imprinted in our head, burnt onto our heart. We will continue as soloists, reviewing the steps every night. Cleanse your face from the makeup. Remove the tired ballet slippers. Undress. Clean. View every part of your body as a weakness, as something to be changed, as something to be compared, measured, perfected.

You are never good enough.

I have to be.

I can see the other girl’s stares leeching my confidence from my body. No. They cannot take this from me. I dress in too much of a hurry, my frantic arms attracting attention. My deep breaths do nothing. My flurry may be one of many but I am the one that cannot falter, that cannot allow them to get to me at such a time as this. If they did, I could be branded as weak, as a coward.

So I continue as normal, shaving like I really need to shave again (ignoring the amount of people slipping the normally closely guarded blades into their luggage), pulling on my clothes and looping the dressing gown belt around my waist as if it could go 5 inches further. As if it is not already pinching the skin and making me feel uncomfortable, everything that pyjamas shouldn’t. I don’t really have the time but I make sure that everything is neat and ordered and tidy in my suitcase. The bleak looking clothes they gave us when we got here have given way to the bright clothing for tomorrow and I take notice of way that everything is positioned. I am almost free. Nothing can trip this up now.  


Even the fitful sleep that most of us faced does nothing to remove the gleam from our eyes. We know better than to express it any more than that. More calming pills will do nothing for us now but make us swallow harder, make our speech more slurred. We want to make our best impressions. Want to get out with the best possible positions in life.

“You ready?”

No-one bothers with the general introductions anymore. The straight to the point, brief speech was branded into us within the stone cold walls and no amount of shifting could fix that. Sure, today we may laugh and play with those pretty little ladies and the brightly coloured parasols but that flowing conversation is not needed here, thank goodness.

I inline my head. “Suppose.”

They will be here soon, here to give us our tasks, to plant our roots back into normal society. They will scrape away anything that keeps us here. Nothing will stop us from rising through the ranks as well-to-do young ladies, our cream frocks showing up any dust or dirt that we might have picked up from the floor. They will inspect us all of course. Inspect us for any sign of weakness. Still, I reach out my hand to squeeze hers.

She needs it.

The rough feeling of the sheets beneath our hands as we fold them up in perfect synchronisation. This is the day that this family is taken from me.

I needed it too.


Later I mill around with the ladies, their brightly coloured frocks making mine pale in comparison, their parasols twirled in the air as if it is an art form. It may as well be, from the hours of classes that I had to take to fit in but I no longer have the parasol. That pale ghost stole it off me, claiming that she needed two.

My target does not require that much delicacy.

The knife feels cold against my leg. 

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