Locked Away.


Dear T,

I’m full of cold and doped up on sudafed and meds to stop the spinning panic so sorry if this doesn’t make any sense.

Drove back from [friend]’s today, spent the afternoon in bed, feeling sorry for myself, reading the entirety of ‘The Girl in 6E’ by AR Torre. Weird, disturbing book about a girl who locks herself away in her apartment because of her urges to kill people. She does cybersex to earn money and a guy she talks with tells her about a girl he is going to kill, he’s a paedophile and wants her to act it out with him (cheery book…). She eventually leaves her apartment to save the girl and put her murderous desires to good by killing him to protect other girls. All the way through she says that she killed before, but it is only at the very end that you find out that she killed her mother after her mother went beserk and killed her other siblings. It was sort of self defence. 

I’ve spent most of the time since Thursday, trying to convince myself that I should stop seeing you. I need you too much, I love you too much, you connect with a part of me that terrifies me. I feel like we’ve come home when I’m with you, like I’ve finally found the right puzzle piece to fit the gaping hole. But I could really identify with the girl in the book, the way she tries to manage her needs and predilections. My wanting you is dangerous – it drags you into a world of dead cats and legs bound into stirrups and so, so much danger and fear. It is dangerous for you to be near me, I want for you to be safe and I’m never 100% convinced that you aren’t at risk just by association with me. But it’s dangerous for me, too. This attachment ache, that need to hear your heartbeat and feel safe within you and know that I am held, all of that felt a whole lot more manageable when it was locked away, shut down, never fed. It grumbled and occasionally reared up, but locked away – like being locked in apartment 6E – I could control it. She talks in the book a lot about how she can manage her needs in the daytime, but at nighttime she gets a neighbour to lock her in and this makes sense to me – sometimes it might have slipped out, in a weak moment when the school nurse was wiping my bloodied knee or a lecturer said I looked tired – but mostly, in the daytime, it was controllable. 

Now it is released, and I cannot control it. Whereas before it could be silenced, so long as I didn’t feed it, now it gets louder with every time I see you and every time you prove to me that you are staying. I crave all your proofs and promises, but they terrify me too because they fuel the fire of those awful, painful, heartwrenching feelings of love and loss and need and grief and fear and safety. I have spent the last few days trying to persuade myself into cancelling you, because you are away this week and I feel like I might die with the grief of that. Isn’t that ridiculous? We’re even speaking, FFS. Hate isn’t a strong enough word for the way I feel about myself – I despise these feelings, they disgust me, horrify me, terrify me. I want you, Little desperately needs you, but I wish I had never opened the cage door. 

The whole way through the book, it is hard to get a sense of whether she is genuinely evil, or lying, or psychotic, or what. When it’s finally revealed, that her murderous urges were born the day she watched her mother kill her family and she killed her in response, it makes a sick sort of sense, and I went from being slightly wary of her to understanding completely. Maybe that says more about me, maybe the average reader wouldn’t respond that way, but it stung. Because she’s locked herself away in this world and restricted her life and tried to save everyone from her, and she is desperately lonely and selling her body… and it’s not even her fault. Somebody else planted the seed. Somebody else broke her, turned her from a normal child to a broken, dangerous one. I clearly don’t have any desire to murder anyone, but it struck a chord – how dangerous my overwhelming need is, how the people around me suffer, the people I hurt… and it wasn’t my fault. I have this really clear sense of a perfect collection of cells, growing and multiplying and having all the right ingredients to be a good person, only for it to all go wrong because of what happened. And now I suffer, the people around me suffer, I worry that you suffer, because of what other people did. Because of what I was not able to withstand. 

Please. Please don’t let me fall out your head, or heart. Please come back for us. No matter what. I’m scared without you. xx


11 responses »

  1. That sounds like a really disturbing book! I think I’ll give that one a miss.

    You’re kind of expressing things that I also feel, though not at that strength. I’m sorry you’re sick and scared. She will come back to you.

  2. You are brave. T does handle it, yes? Might the weight you gauge of your internal life register differently on the scale used by T?

  3. As a scientific question, it is impossible to prove the “null” hypothesis: in this case, that she will never collapse under your psychological weight or leave you because of it. Scientists, as a result, only craft experiments to demonstrate an experimental effect that can be supported by the results. In this case, that hypothesis would be that she has demonstrated her persistent interest in you and the ability to take on your psychological weight. Indeed, one could offer the argument that those times you might have “tested” her have been an example of just such an informal experiment. I gather she has passed the tests thus far. I realize this perspective isn’t likely to alter your feelings, but, that simply means it is your feelings that are perhaps the most challenging element of your concern.

    • I do see all the times she has stuck with me as a sort of ‘proof’ – but as you say, it is impossible to guarantee she would stay through everything and anything. My adult part is okay, it’s just Little who struggles.

  4. Completely “get” this. The feeling of being too much, of protecting others from the weight of your internal psyche. I hope you feel better today x

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