The Thin Veneer (Not Completely There)

There’s telling signs, if truth be told. Scratch the surface and they’ll emerge. Signs and symptoms that reveal, on inspection, that, well, I’m not completely there.

There’s the mark of eczema on my right angle – hard to spot, I admit. It’s been there since Izzy and Beth died. Ignored at first, then red raw and soar, my GP gave me some cream. The cream keeps it at bay, but it’s there. Not going away. A stress sign of a mind and a being who’s well, not completely there.

There’s the momentary awkward pause when I meet new people or get to know people I don’t know so well. ‘You have kids?’ A stumble of past and present tenses, stuttered diction. A sign of confusion, a reaction of who to tell and who to not tell. Because it’s awkward to confront someone who’s well, not completely there.

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There’s then the moment when someone spots it. The stumble over a phrase or a mention of who I am in a presentation. I don’t see it, I don’t clock the fumble, the momentary pause, but, later, someone tells me that they did. They saw it. An open wound, not healed or even scarred, or tattooed. Still, a year and a half After, an open wound that reveals, in a split second that I’m, not completely there.

Then there’s the tears and the weeping, the stinging eyes and streaming nose in public. Full frontal, no holes bared. On the tube, in a car, walking along a street, at an event, sat at the back. And it goes unnoticed. No one looks up, no one notices there’s a person there, over there, that’s not completely there.

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