- Vol. 04
- Chapter 10
Image by Kassiël Gerrits
Something SweetYou sank your teeth into the tarmac like you were trying to swallow it whole. The road bit your lip. Bloodied your gums. Ripped the skin clean off your chin. It looked like jam was falling down your face.
Sisters weren't supposed to fight like we did. We just let it all out on the street. Other kids would be standing around in their front gardens or looking through the windows, dark faces slashed in two by their curtains. They didn't want to be seen, not by us.
I don't remember the first time I realised I hated you so bad. It was civil war with us. No one told us off. Mam and Pa had their own battles waging. With the tax man. With each other. With the ‘goddamn government’.
I slung my fist into your cheek when you said it would happen to me. That I would get tits. And strong ugly hairs down there. A red soaked rag between my legs each month. I didn't want that to happen. I didn't want nobody looking at me the way that men had started looking at you.
I didn't mean it to hurt so much. I didn't mean to push you so hard. But, you were laughing at me. You always were. I hated you but I needed your taunts. I needed your brittle nails to carve crescents out of my skin. Your booted foot to kick my shins and your bony white hands to slap the page of my cheek.
People said we liked the attention.
People couldn’t see that fighting was a comfort.
Hate was love.
Something SweetYour face was tacked up at the hospital. They used staples. Your skin puckered, in a wobbly line, like a kid drew it or something. The edge of it was angry-looking. They said it would scar.
You sat up in your throne of pillows, your purple-faced head was as quiet as a queen. Your eyes were just slits, swollen and black. They still saw everything though. You always did.
I touched your hand cautiously. You moved and I flinched. I said we wouldn’t fight no more. Even though we both knew it was a lie.