I lead you to my room-come and see the rulers. Come see the lines. I have so many different kinds. I’ve collected them all my life. Look at the coloured pens and pencils I have to draw the lines. Thanks for the paper. Mum says it’s better for the environment to use already used paper. Lots of duff prints, all for me! I love to draw lines. Lots of different colours. I mostly use my ruler but sometimes I like to use freehand- squiggly, wiggly, zigzaggily ones. It calms me. I fill an A4 sheet every day. An hour a day is all I need. It is like medication.
You have an idea. You indicate today’s lines. “Why don’t you make a collage? With all these lovely pictures? That would make a pretty art piece.”
NO! NO! NO! The lines cannot be cut up! I have dated them and arranged them perfectly! NO! That’s not what the lines are for! NO! DON’T TOUCH THEM! I smack away your hand.
“Alright, alright calm down, Ettie.” You back away with a sad glint in your eye. “I was only suggesting, there’s no need to scream like that.”
I look up at you. I want to cry. What else was I supposed to do? You looked like you were going to hurt my lines. It’s part of your job to understand me, but we don’t understand each other. You don’t think I understand things, and you don’t understand me.
Yes, I do not speak to anyone.
At least not out loud.