Beams of light sprawl across the barriers keeping the domain enclosed, touching down on the base in a particular formation, embellishing the lumps within the carpet. Captured in a moment of beauty and terror within the prison that once was my room. No longer a secure or peaceful dwelling; the ear rendering scratches of the plantation at my window, the dance of shadows enveloping every corner and crevasse; avoiding the jolts of light as though playing hide and seek with the moon. The temptation to turn my face towards the illuminated panes jerks at me, yet the stubbornness of my frame defeats me.
To wonder is all my mind permits me to do when I am bound to my bed, my eyelids try to clasp at each other, but the force of the vivid image does not consent the command. Hearing slight footsteps and whispered voices gives me comfort, the knowing of someone is there yet I am unable to seek their solace from the fear that has entrapped me. Each night I am ordered to bed promptly at eight o’clock, each night my heart palpitates with the words ‘bedtime’. Heavy feet carry me up, diverting to the bathroom. I take my time while preparing, brush my teeth five minutes, have a wash 10 minutes, brush my hair 6 minutes finally dreading the last of my routine toilet, wash hands, get dressed. My hand reaches for the handle and rests there; 20 minutes. Mom shouts “I can’t hear you walking to your room.” The final blow to my strength.
“I’m going now” The words slur from my mouth with a murmur of ‘now’. The terror has been built up; the fight has been crushed within me as the instruction for my moist palm to turn the handle is given. Slowly the door opens and I manoeuvre from within the bathroom. Curling my toes on the softness of the carpet that now bears my weight. Biting my lip, I push myself from the safety of the door frame; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, steps to the closed portal in which I will soon enter unwillingly. Mesmerized by the panels my eyes don’t blink, contemplating my next move, awaiting the darkness’ surprise. Cautiously my head peers into the room, my left hand searching for the light, found it, click, the sound that brings happiness. I enter gingerly. I scan the room, and then focus on the window, not daring to go over. Leaving the door ajar my eyes fixated on the window, my hand slithers up the wall, click, the light is out, RUN, my brain yells at me, I do as I’m told, clambering into bed, pulling the covers over me. The warmth does not give me reassurance as expected; the consciousness of what faces me terrifies me. Curling into the foetal position I stay still, till I drift off to sleep.
That is my routine, my task, my battle every night. My wish is that I never noticed, never looked or let my curiosity get the better of me.
The piercing coldness penetrates my bloodstream; the shivering awakens me from my slumber. 3am radiates from the clock, the deathly red signals the entrance for those who do not belong. I change my position, stopping at every breathe I take. My heart bangs within my chest; the drum noisily giving my quietness away. I am drawn to a certain area; my room is filled with regret and sorrow; I cannot bear the sadness. Closing my eyes I heave my body to turn, my eyes spring open. There it is, the same time, the same face. Through the looking glass she glares at me, with her tormented eyes. How long has she been there, I do not know. She does not challenge the glass; she just peers through watching me; sleep, breathe, move and dream. We watch each other, it seems like a lifetime goes by until finally my hand, without the order, grasps the cover and is pulled over my head, silently crying, wishing for the sun to rise.
This is my torment, this is my bedtime.