My life is a constant measure of pain. It ebbs and flows through my nerves as though pulled along by the phases of a moon I cannot see. The entirety of my life I have searched for this moon, this cause of my suffering, but it remained obscured in clouds of secrecy.
Much of my time has been spent encased in whitewashed hospital walls, the bitter odor of antiseptic a violent assault on my senses. After so many hours of observation and testing, you would expect that the doctors and nurses would find a way to… fix me. Unfortunately, they were as blind to the cause as I was. Week after week my parents deposited me in my hard hospital bed and the doctors would watch me, suspended as though in a cage of broken glass, afraid to move me, afraid not to.
I was irreparable.
When I was a child, I had an extraordinary fondness for mirrors.
I don’t know what it is, but I always felt that I wasn’t looking at myself when I looked into a mirror. The person in the reflection looked like me, yes, but there was a disjoint. She didn’t feel like me. She felt like a friend.
To some people, this would be disconcerting. To me, it was a godsend. In my hospital room – the usual one, the one almost always reserved just for me by the time I was eight – there was a mirror across from my bed, where I could see my pale reflection, the color seeping from my skin until I became as white as the walls guarding me. The girl in the mirror – this not-quite-me – became my best friend.
It’s sad, yes, but not for the reason you might think.
Over the years, my pain proved versatile, and it manifested in almost every way imaginable.
When I was ten, I fell to the ground screaming while at the park. My mother thought I’d broken my arm with the way I was clutching it to my chest. An x-ray at the hospital revealed that it was completely intact, but I howled with pain for hours afterwards. They tried giving me morphine, which I’ve always hated because it makes me nauseous. It had no effect.
I lay there in agony while my mother tried to fight back her tears. I had to stay in the hospital for a week before the blinding pain subsided to a dull ache and I could go back about my life. One night, when my mother thought I was sleeping, I heard her speaking in a low voice to my father. She sounded urgent. I was afraid they wanted to get rid of me because I was such a troublesome child.