I look beyond the balcony to the storm clouds floating harmlessly over the horizon and think about cutting myself. ‘It doesn’t matter,’ Sarah says, ‘we choose our leaders and we should pay them accordingly — in money and respect.’ The group moves its head discordantly, nods and shakes and partly gaping mouths full with words there’s no room to utter, opinions stuck between their teeth. I think, someone says, but Sarah shushes sharply so the statement sits stillborn on the floor. ‘You don’t know, though,’ she says, ‘because you don’t listen.’ I look to the storm, longing for a change.
I have to say it while she’s calm so I might get heard. You make me feel disentitled to my opinion. She doesn’t look at me, ‘Is disentitled a word?’ I think so. ‘And that’s your opinion?’ That’s condescending. ‘No sweetie, that was patronising. This conversation is me condescending.’ You fucking strip me of my humanity and then blame me for being a zombie, like a proper voodoo puppet for you to play with. I feel like I’ve been shot and asked to pay for the medical expenses. ‘Oh, sweetie,’ she says, ‘we both know you couldn’t afford that.’