Behold Added£1.29
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(A short story of 2592 words)



by Megan Palmer

A mother narrates the sad and peculiar tale of how her young daughter's body gradually disappears from her own eyes - everyone can see her daughter, except the daughter herself.

Her toes were the first to go. I could see them perfectly well – everyone could, except her. But the fact that we could see them was little comfort to her, with her peculiar blindness. We thought that she needed glasses – what a shame it is for such a young girl to need them already. Pretty, too. The optician denied us that comfort: nothing wrong with the eyes. Perfect vision. The teachers supposed it was a coquettish ploy for attention, that my reserved little girl privately craved gawping spectators. I tried to explain that she was frightened by the attention it caused. Deluded mother, they thought. I lavished her with attention, hoping that it would help: I circled around her, my eyes always on her, developing a sixth sense for her every movement. I came to believe her, in a way. The tears and terror were real enough to me.

She cried when she bathed. We had to make sure that we filled the bath with foaming bubbles so that she wouldn’t be afraid of her missing feet. The frothy lightness veiled her truth from her, at least for a brief evening respite. ‘I can see them in my socks, Mummy!’ she would exclaim joyfully as I dressed her, wriggling her toes wildly. She was thrilled by the sight of their movement, proof that she was not disappearing altogether. She became increasingly uncertain on her feet when she walked, feeling herself to be hovering precariously even when she could see her shoes. I held her hand as often as she would let me, but even frightened children will fight for sovereignty. Doesn’t every child want to be a grown up?...

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