Read and feedback as I write a novel: Imperception – Chapter 47

Chapter 47: Dee

Whilst Isla and Milly slept, Dee planned.  She had walked into the hospital with her only friend, uncertain what she would find and uncertain too about what the future held for all three of them.  She was no surer now of the details of it, but she was sure that something had to change.  The three of them deserved more than the half-lives to which they had become so accustomed, and as an absolute minimum they deserved to be safe – Dee from herself, Milly and Isla from Simon.

Dee was fearful at first that Simon would show up at the hospital.  Isla had been in no fit state to tell Dee exactly what had happened that night when she came to the station so Dee didn’t know quite how the pair of them had ended up in the hospital or what had happened to Simon.  

The thought of Simon revulsed Dee.  In her mind, she’d painted him as a tyrant of the type that always gets away, alluding capture and punishment.  And so she feared that he was at large somewhere and was likely to have a good idea of where to find his wife and child and may come looking for them.  

The key reason for Dee’s anxiety that Simon might turn up was that she simply didn’t know how on earth she would keep her cool if he were to arrive.  The damage he had done to his beautiful, wonderful, loving wife and perfect, innocent child was just absolutely inexcusable.   Even just thinking about the man behind this pain made Dee completely livid.  She did not know what he looked like and when she tried to conjure his image in her mind’s eye, all she could muster was a ball of rage and hatred.  

If he were to arrive, she couldn’t be sure that she wouldn’t lash out and hurt him.  Badly.  More badly even than he had hurt his family.  She feared that upon seeing this demonic man that she may respond with primitive, visceral rage that knew no ends.  

Dee spent many hours thinking about Simon.  Wondering how someone as kind and bright and loving as Isla had ended up with such a monster.  Wondering what he was doing now.  Wondering how he could ever live with himself and wondering how he had fallen into this habit of harming others – presumably unthinkingly, because if he were to give it any thought at all, surely, surely he would stop?  

Unsettlingly, there was a tiny part of her that could understand.  

A tiny part of her knew what it was to cause harm and not turn away.  A part of her that repeatedly caused harm despite the pain it caused, despite the reaction it gave rise to, despite the fact that nothing changed as a result of the pain other than a very temporary relief of feelings far too big to manage otherwise.  But, of course, the pain she caused had always been to herself and so it didn’t matter, did it?  

Dee had such a very low opinion of herself and felt, with such certainty and determination that she did not deserve to grace the Earth, that the cuts and burns and bruises which she inflicted upon herself felt far from inappropriate.  They felt like just what she deserved.  They felt like a punishment to her for taking up space in a world where she didn’t belong.  

She remembered the first time she had hurt herself.  An accident which had occurred when she was in a rage.  She had been so angry at herself for doing something stupid.  She had flown into the darkest, deepest and most dangerous rage and found herself acting like an angry caged animal, screaming and throwing herself around with no regard for her own safety.  Her only thoughts had been of finding a physical form for her anger to take.  

She struck the wall several times and on the fourth time, her arm connected accidentally with a door handle and the pain was so intense, so sudden, so… big…that her thoughts were instantly removed from the cause of her initial upset.  All she could think about was the pain in her rapidly swelling hand.  

It felt good. And bad.  And so many different things all at once – but most of all it felt different and it helped her to manage the feelings that a moment ago had overwhelmed her.  

At that time she had been prone to epic and devastating mood swings, moving from terrifying displays of anger to melancholy moods which would plunge her almost instantly into deep dark pits out of which there appeared to be no escape, until suddenly she would find herself walking on cloud nine, happy to be alive.  But all of these moods were fleeting and ungrounded and each would leave Dee unsure of herself and uncertain how long the mood might last or even where it had come from.  Hurting herself had given her a physical focus for her feelings and had blocked out all thoughts beyond the pain that she felt, both physically and emotionally, at that moment.  

And so she did it again.  Only the next time wasn’t an accident.  She had not planned it but it was a purposeful action.  Again, she had found herself in a dangerous rage and her mood was refusing to abate.  She had returned to the state of a wild animal and did not know what the next minutes would bring and whether she was safe.  She felt like a kettle boiling furiously but failing to turn off.  She needed to find a way to take her mood off the boil before the kettle ran dry or boiled over.  It was when reflecting on moments like these that she retrospectively most feared for her life.  These were the moments when she was sure beyond doubt that given the means, she would have killed herself.  Handed a gun she would blast out her brains, presented with a bridge she would jump, handed a bottle of pills she would devour them unthinkingly and unhesitatingly. 

And so she raged and raged and a tiny part of her broke through and reminded her that there was another way.  That there was a way to focus her feelings, to break through this mood and move on, to keep herself safe from herself and so, once more, she hurt herself.  Punching her hand through a small pane of glass and finding that as the blood ran down her arm and down the window pane that her mood ever so slightly lifted.  

But it had proven such a vicious, ugly and addictive cycle.  The pain helped, seeing herself damaged helped because she felt it was what she deserved. But the relief was only temporary.  And then she would be left with blood and wounds to manage.  And the blood and wounds which brought such relief and perhaps even a perverse sense of pleasure during her most intensely distressed moments brought no such thing in the cold, reflective light of day.  Instead they would stir up feelings of shame and guilt and fear.  She could not identify with this raging part of her when she was calm, and she could not understand at all how she could bring herself to inflict this pain, to self-sabotage so spectacularly.  

She failed to see how dong herself such damage could possibly help, nor why she found herself driven to these behaviours, and yet she found herself going there again and again when the cloud of rage descended.  It was never planned.  It was always when her mood was most extreme and most dangerous.  It always helped temporarily then caused her great distress afterwards.  And it always happened again when she found herself faced with the same problems and no new solutions. 

So in a way, she could understand how Simon might find himself inflicting pain and fear that made no sense outside of the moment that he caused it because, in a very different way, she was doing the exact same thing.  

But, she reasoned, hurting yourself is a very, very different thing from inflicting pain on others and no matter how she might, in some small way, be able to identify with how things might have escalated, with the relief that causing pain might bring, with the terrible, out of control, animal-like feelings that might underlie the moments that gave rise to these ultimate violences from Simon.  She simply could not, would not, would never understand what might drive him to lay a finger on Isla or on Milly.  Dee felt a deep love for both mother and daughter despite having known them only a few weeks.  Surely after many years Simon must love them too? 

But could you hurt the ones you love, Dee wondered.  Despite many hours spent thinking about Simon, his motivations remained a mystery to her.  Whilst it frustrated her, in many ways she was glad, because if she were able to truly empathise with him, surely that would make her a monster too?

[View all chapters shared so far here]

Thank you for feeding back each day. I’m building in your edits and suggestions to the version held on my local machine so the initial raw version will remain here. When I’ve got questions, I’m going to ask them each day – don’t feel obliged to answer them, but if you’re happy to they’ll help me as I try to craft the story. If you have questions or observations I’d be keen to hear them too.

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6 Responses to Read and feedback as I write a novel: Imperception – Chapter 47

  1. Terry says:

    Oh. Pooky! This just makes me so sad and so glad that you are in a better place now. Please stay in it as much as you can. I also wonder if it’s no accident that you’ve chosen today to post it- World Suicide Awareness Day.
    So well written, so informative, so poignant! It speaks of real pain and serves to educate at the same time and for that, thank you. I’m still in the same mind as Isla about Simon especially in relation to his hurting his daughter but you need to do more work to get me agreeing with her about Simons actions being similar to self harm. However.
    Still loving this so much and quite desperate for Milly’s happiness and joy to pop back soon please. A couple of early typo/wrong words, I think alludes should be eludes and I’m sure others will tell you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terry says:

    Repulsed instead of revulsed and eluding not alluding.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Boo Spurgeon says:

    I love reading these chapters I await with keen anticipation each new bit…. X

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 3 people

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