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My Shadow, my unwelcome friend.
Half of my head is a shadow. I sit still, trying to feel a part of the conversation. Laughter does not come, words do not flow. A smile, a half arsed, fake, hard work smile is all I can manage.
I know that I would be best placed being elsewhere, anywhere, it wouldn't matter where, but there is nowhere to go. I am it. I am mum and I am on duty. I need to listen. This is the third day now of my head in this state and this is all I know.
I have lived like this for years. I don't even know when exactly it began; when asked, I say, "12", to pull a number out of the hat.
I massage the lump of muscle at my jaw.
I do know that by 16, my father was terribly concerned about the amount of pain killers I was taking, so I know that it had built up before then.
My 10 year old talks loudly, my 8 year old drops something. I snap, "MY HEAD!"
They know. Sweet boys. They have lived with it since birth. I don't retreat too often as I would not have a life. I just let the pain come with me, my shadow, my unwelcome friend. The one I didn't ask to come along.
"Mum, don't you have book club tonight?" my 11 year old asks. My sadness that I can't shake my pain away, again. This will be the third one I have missed this year.