I don’t have to think about going back, it just happens. At least that one wasn’t so disorienting. I head back into the house. Dad’s working on something.
“When did you go out?” He says, looking up.
“Um. A minute ago, just for a little walk.”
“How did I not see you?”
“You’re so focused on that. I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“Ok. Just be careful with that watch. Don’t use it too much again. I don’t want to take it away from you.”
“I swear to you, I wasn’t even using it that time.”
“Sure. Go on, get changed. Dinner will be ready soon. I got us some potatoes. Bit of butter. We’ll call that beauty.”
I walk past him, trying not to think of the potatoes boiling in Tobi’s house. They’re trying to force its way into the front of my mind, but I won’t let it. That can stay as far back as possible. I go upstairs and change. The clothes sitting on my bed where I didn’t leave them. Maybe I did take them out. Did I? No I’m pretty sure I didn’t. Well I’m wearing them now, so that’s progress. I walk out of my room, and back into my room and take the clothes out of the wardrobe and sit them on the bed as I saw them before, without thinking and then walked back out.
That just happened out-of-order, didn’t it? I’m not sure enough to run downstairs and tell Dad, but I’m pretty damn sure.
“Nymia,” Dad calls. “Dinners ready.”
“Thanks, I’ll be down in a second.”
I take the stairs slowly and pause at the shop door at the bottom. I ignore it and double back around to the kitchen, slowly. Opening the door, I find Mum standing at the fireplace, boiling something. There’s no one at the table. She doesn’t turn to see me.
She doesn’t respond as if she didn’t hear me. I walk over to her and try to touch her arm, but she dissolves into the air. Her body, swept away into an invisible windswept vortex. In her place, Dad appears, walking towards the pot.
“Let me just dish it up,” he says.
“Thanks. I’ll be back in a second. I’m just going to wash my hands. Back in a second.”
“Go on then, hurry up. It’ll get cold.”
I turn and run back up the stairs. Creaking echoes throughout me. I run over to the toilet and kneel down. I don’t throw up, although I feel like I should. Standing up, I look in the dirty mirror. My cracked face staring back at me. I can’t do this any more. I have to try to break it.
I take the pocket watch out and place it in the sink. I make a fist and punch the glass. It cracks, like the mirror, with no resistance. Another punch and the glass shatters, flying across the room. Almost as if there was years of pressure building up and I just released it all at once. I move backwards, but not quick enough. A shard hits my eye. Dropping to the floor my already bloody hand covers my eye. I scream in pain. It hurts so much.
“What’s going on?” Dad shouts, and in a second is stood in the doorway.
“I broke it. I broke it. I broke it.”
“It hurt me.”
I move my hand, and look at him. I can’t believe I can still see through the eye. My whole face feels numb and I can’t stop shaking.
“What happened? Are you okay.”
“I broke the watch. A bit flew in my eye.”
Mum is standing next to him, also worried. I can see them both. But they can’t see each other.
“What’s happened?” She asks.
“I broke it. I broke it.”
“Come on,” Dad says. “I’ll get you to the doctor in the City. We have to leave now. Leave that.”
“Okay,” I say pulling myself up on him.
“You’ll be okay,” Mum says. “I promise.”
“How can you see me?”
“What?” Dad cries. “Can you see?”
“I can see you fine,” Mum says. “Please go and get help. I’ll still be here when you come back.”
“What’s going on?” I ask.
“Lets go. Stop talking, let me carry you.”
Dad takes two steps at a time as he carries me down the stairs. I look over his shoulder at Mum who is watching me go.
“It’s okay,” she shouts. “I can see you. I’ll always see you. You’ll always see me.”
We leave the house, with the potatoes still boiling, water flooding over the edge of the pot and down to the floor.
The world turns into a hazy nightmare. Colours twirl and dance around me. Pain comes and goes. I can hear people talking, but not see them. And then I can see them but not hear them. The entire time, colours dance and twirl around me. The sun and the moon are hanging in the sky at the same time, reunited like lost friends who have been searching for each other since the beginning of time.
The next day I’m sitting back at home. It’s night-time, morning and evening all at once. There are thousands of people walking around my bed, merging into one another. If I close my right eye, the one the glass hit then I can’t see them. Their voices become a mumble. The doctors gave me an eye patch, told me to wear it to stop infections. That I would never be able to see through it again. Dad tells me it’s turned pale blue, like my Mum’s eyes. I haven’t seen a mirror yet.
I keep wearing the eye patch, replacing it whenever it gets torn. It stops me from seeing everything. Every moment that has ever happened, and every moment that will ever happen.
The year goes on at an odd pace and I learn to focus on hearing just the present. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to see like that as well, but if not then the eye patch works.
I’m sitting at the table, playing with the eye patch in my hands. I’ve learnt to focus my sight a little. In the sense that I can ignore everything else, it becomes a blur in the background. But at least I can see well with my good eye. Dad is reading the paper while eating eggs from the farm. Mum is boiling something. I can see her, and if I want her to, she can see me. I don’t really understand it, but I’m learning. That’s why I keep the eye patch close, it blocks out everything else. There’s something I want to say, but I don’t know how. I’ve been trying to think of how to bring it up, but can’t figure it out. This is the best way though.
“I’ve got the scholarship,” I say without warning.
They both look at me, with complete shock and joy in their eyes.
“Well done. I knew you would,” they both say at the same time.