Click here for audio: If they chop open my body

If they chop open my body, they’ll find an apple orchard with a dappled grey horse tethered to a tree. That’s the horse that startled when I was about eight years old. The rope caught me, and I was dragged through brambles. I remember it well. Who wouldn’t?

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find nightmares of Christmas, with my mother assaulting the period with an impossible mix of chaos and the single minded determination to decorate the house perfectly and have everything just-so, only for the stress of it all to guarantee misery and horrible fights.

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find a fear of French classes and mathematics. The sheer horror of sitting through class after class without understanding anything.

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find confusion and fear about how things will go for my sister. Where will she end up, and how will she get by?

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find unrealistic dreams and ambitions which really didn’t do me any good.

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find this huge sense of not belonging, of being somehow wrong for this world.

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find a huge reserve of stubborn determination enough to power 600,000 houses for a year.

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find a dozen dogs I have loved more than almost anyone else.

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll find this strange sense of self-importance based on nothing at all. It will be found next to the huge stash of lies I told myself first, before anyone else.

 

If they chop open my body, they’ll see things no one ever should about another person. Our secrets and lies are the absolute essence of us and should be left alone.

 

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