When she was little, she didn’t have a care in the world. She ran around laughing, jumping and singing. A free spirit.
One day she was hurt and her mother covered it with a bandage.
She felt comforted and protected and free to run around again.
And when she next was hurt, she put on another bandage to protect her.
As she grew older the number of bandages grew…
The more hurt she became, the more bandages she would apply.
One day, she saw herself in the mirror,
And it hurt.
So she put a big bandage all around herself.
And some people laughed at her.
So she put a bigger bandage around herself.
And whenever she caught sight of herself, or saw other people looking at her,
She would apply another bandage.
One day she found that she couldn’t leave the house.
And it got harder to move about,
Until she reached a point,
Where she couldn’t get out of bed.
And she lay there.
She was frightened,
But she couldn’t put any more bandages on.
She lay unable to move.
And the world passed by outside.
Then one day a child sneaked into her house, dared on by her friends, and found her there, in her cocoon.
“Who is there?” she asked.
“Me!” replied the child.
“And what do you do?” she asked.
“I run and laugh and jump and sing!” replied the child.
“I used to do that when I was young,” she said.
“Why don’t you now?” asked the child.
“Because I cannot move,” she replied.
And with all her being, she wished that she could run and laugh and jump and sing again.
“I have to go,” said the child. “If you learn to move again, then come outside and play with us.”
She said that she would, and the child left.
And she cried…
The following day she wiggled her fingers.
But it tired her out, and she slept all day.
Then she found a wee corner of a bandage and picked at it until it became loose,
And she slept for a week.
She managed to remove a bandage,
But she slept for a month.
She kept picking and removing until she found that she was able to reach other bandages.
And as time passed, she slowly removed more…
Then one day, she realised that there were no bandages left to remove.
She climbed off the bed and went to the door.
She could hear children playing outside.
Slowly she opened the door and the sunlight flooded in.
In a small mirror in the hall, an old woman looked back at her and she stared…
Then she stepped outside…
by Kim Ayres