Just as I was raising my hands up for rescue my sister’s doctor stepped in. She has been admitted to hospital for a week and will be forced to take her medication. She won’t be released until the doctor is sure she will continue to take her medication away from the hospital environment. I am so glad. I was becoming exhausted with all the driving back and forth, of the grappling with someone I know whose illness has transformed them into someone else, of travelling up a winding hill that never ends.
There is a sadness which can clutch at you with unerring persistence as you grow older. It begins around the time when you realise that childhood hopes and dreams are well and truly gone. My sister dreamed of living in New York, of playing with the Philharmonic. She dreamed of Steinways and symphonies and high heels made in Milan that accentuated the shapely calves she’d worked so hard to develop while playing twenty years of tennis. She dreamed of the secrets lovers make, of scuba diving off the coast of North Queensland, and of coming first in her class at University.
I know she never imagined that the past and the future would meld to reveal the present battle she is waging against herself, that all of her efforts would be focussed on finding her way home, and on breathing in and out without pins lodging in her throat.
Her doctor has said there is no reason she shouldn’t lead a normal life(whatever normal really means these days) if she takes her medication and receives regular counselling. That there is no reason her childhood hopes and dreams shouldn’t be realised. That it is never too late.
The easing of tension, when it comes, is an elixir. I am reckless with fatigue and relief. I go to bed and dream of princesses in four poster beds filled with eiderdowns so soft they must be what clouds are like to sleep on.
Rain falls, brushing the window like fingertips, comforting as kisses. It is good to be inside, safe and warm. I remember my mother giving me hot chocolate with little sugar-brushed biscuits all chewy in the middle and drinking it in bed, stretching my feet out to the very edges of the sheets and sighing.
The rain holds the history of the sky. Each drop contains an image of something it has seen on the way to the ground. It is a cavalcade of water-streaked photographs. I cannot rouse myself. I will say what I said as teenager if anyone asks :”I am crashing out.” The crash when it comes is like a break in the weather; muffled, yet radiant in the watery dawn.