I remember the first time we met. The house was dark, and everyone else was asleep. I was restless. My big toe sticking out of the hole in my favorite footy pajamas.
You sat on my chest. My small ribs could barely hold your weight. You began whispering terrifying ideas into my ear. That was the first night I ever got up to check and make sure all of my family was breathing. To make sure I wasn’t left alone.
That was the first time of many times. You have followed me around for many years now. Unexpectedly crawling up my spine and whispering thoughts into my ears.
You need to go home now. What if something has happened? What if your mother stops breathing and you’re not there to save her?
Try explaining to your friend’s mom why you must go home at midnight. Each day is a battle. Some days, I can shake you off without much thought. While other days, you have me wanting to crawl under the blankets and hide from the world, paralyzed with fear. Some days, I try to blame it on too much coffee or not enough sleep.
This is my battle, but on the outside I am smiling. This is my silent lament.
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