In response to our writing prompt – ‘Change your name and discuss your choice,’ our unsigned blogger has given us a powerful piece on a daughter’s changing relationship with a parent. Ed
I am The Enemy.
You know I’m the enemy now don’t you? I can see it in your eyes. You’re cautious when I come round each day and you greet me warily. You fear my power.
I am the one whom you must guard against.
Appeasement doesn’t work any more; you tried it once when you agreed to downsize – do you remember? Just as you suspected, it didn’t satisfy me for long; I’ll always want more. You’d better be vigilant and hold your ground or I’ll take it all; you’ll end up with nothing worth having.
I am the one you must fight against.
You understand about fighting, don’t you? You were trained by the best at Sandhurst when you were really just a boy. They taught you how to handle a gun and a hand grenade – you learnt how to watch your back. You’re good at fighting; you fought for your country on the Normandy beaches and signed up with the Paras before VJ Day- why you’re a decorated war hero!
But I fight with weapons you don’t understand.
I’ve filled your house with equipment – chair blocks, a stair lift, commodes, a bath hoist, incontinence aids. You insist you won’t have any of this awful stuff in your house but I don’t listen. You refuse to agree to these changes but I am inexorable.
I am the one who is invading your territory.
I have arranged for a carer. She comes morning and night and still I want more. You need to think fast before I win control over all of your space & drag you away. You understand about thinking– you were trained by the best at Cambridge. They taught you how to turn thoughts into words. You learnt how to report and write speeches. You’re good at using words; you wrote for a national paper – why you made your career as a professional wordsmith!
But I use words you don’t understand. I whisper about care professionals and respite breaks. You protest that everything must stay as it is but I won’t agree. You refuse to approve these changes but I no longer obey you.
I am the one who knows too much.
I am the one who knows you lie to the consultant when he asks you how often you fall. I know that one side of your body doesn’t work properly. I know you need your food cut up and drink tea from a beaker. I know you pretend to follow conversations but can’t understand. I know that you know you’re losing yourself – it’s our dirty little secret.
I am the one who is betraying you.
I am the enemy who doesn’t knock at the door because I have a key.
I am the cuckoo in the nest.
I am your daughter and you used to love me.
When I was born, you gave me a first name you’ve forgotten. Now I am … ‘The Enemy”