No one walks through life unscathed by pain. Some of the lucky ones come only into brief contact with it; maybe even poked and prodded it out of curiosity.
Then there are some of us whom pain has settled down into, taking up residence within our minds and bodies. We were never expelled, but made to serve them tea and wash all the dirty laundry.
Is that unfair? Without a doubt. I wander down the hallways, and see portraits of who I used to be, as well as abstract depictures of who I was to become. I could gaze all day at these pictures, but the truth is, I am but a servant in my own home.
I was upset when chronic illness first usurped my inheritance. I’m sure you can understand. I’ve considered vandalising and burning down the house many times before.
And then I began to realise that when I took good care of the house that now belonged to pain, I benefitted, too. The wealth may no longer be mine, but I was still its keeper.
The walls are painted in a bloody shade of red; the colour of rage and intensity. Are we talking about pain or passion? The lines blur after a while.
I grow my favourite flowers in the garden, and spend my lucid moments writing. The library is grand. It never fails to leave me in awe when I trawl through its shelves, and I’m allowed to organise and expand it.
Almost every night I’d light a scented candle in my room, filling it up with invisible sensations. Shadows dance upon my lips in flickers of hope.
I no longer strive to appease pain but instead, maintain the home that we share with a passion. If I have to live with pain, I might as well make it a pleasant place to live in.
Pain puts on a sultry pout. She’s so sexy when she comes to stay for just a short while. But if you live with her like I do, you will come to realise how sad and lonely a creature she is.
Sometimes, when the day is done, I stand outside her door to listen to her sing. The saddest songs are often the loveliest, and they bring tears to my eyes.
It’s impossible to mistake her voice, cracked by life. I press my ear against her door and I listen.
Here’s what she has to say.