The reflected hate of her father was never the easiest of things to try to escape from, even though he had died seventeen years ago and was stone-cold rotten in the ground at Deansfield cemetery.
Eliza found that, even though he was dead, the single-minded, OCD enhanced part of her brain that could not get free of his control coloured every action, be it washing or cleaning or shopping, and was tinnitus intense in her head so damned constantly she often felt it would explode with the sheer pressure of his thoughts whirling around inside her. It became so vicious, so ever-present that there was no clarity anymore; no focus. The inside and outside of her brain was indistinguishable from the white-noise cacophony of HIS thoughts inside HER head. Simple tasks became effort, mountain-high and intense, forestalling any chance of success before it could blossom.
She made tea one morning. It didn’t matter which morning, because every morning was the same: A simple task of hot water, cup and tea bag was how the routine started, then her thoughts crept slowly from filling the kettle to the darkness scuttling at the back of her skull and the next thing she knew he was there beside her, in the room, chiding every move she made, every step she took. His smell was behind her, body close and cancer filled, the movement of his spindly frame, spiderlike and widow-maker cruel. The emptiness of the kitchen seemed vast, her own breathing so shallow, the echo of the spoon in the cup deafening.
It was the wrong cup, it wasn’t his: there was not a big enough handle to grasp it properly, but her fingers were quite small, so it should be alright, though if it. was a bigger cup there would be more room and easier to hold.
Might be too heavy. I could drop it, or the thing might slip out of my grip and them it would spill.
Oh God! It mustn’t spill!! Not on the floor, no liquid on that floor. Never a mess on the floor. Never a mess on the floor. NEVER A MESS ON THE FLOOR!!
Her heart kickstarted the panic in her stomach and the cup – her cup – was swiftly changed for his larger mug. Her hand dithered back and forth in childlike confusion, not wishing to put away her own choice, but finding the inexorable pull of her past dragging free will out of her fingers and limbs until, before she knew it, there was no more of her and he stood inside her head, like he always had / did / will, goading her into indecision and error.
The cup was put away and replaced by the mug, and the mug was replaced by tears…