Estelle Jackson

April 13th, 1977, England

The Visitor - 1

At first, you entered unnoticed
And curled up quietly beside me.
As a tiny child, I asked no questions;
Assumed you lived there too.
Sometimes, you would follow me around
So I would pick you up and take you where I went.
An inconvenience for a season,
You would suddenly slink off without a word.
I'd look around, and you'd be gone.
Yet nobody seemed to notice.

As I grew older,
I'd sometimes hear your footsteps on the path;
Anticipate your knock upon the door.
I'd let you in without ceremony, ambivalent,
Neither pleased nor alarmed;
We just... coexisted.
One day, I took you to school and realised
That this wasn't quite the norm.
That if my friends knew people like you,
They weren't discussing it.
Perhaps it was just me.

On the cusp of adulthood,
Your visits became more frequent;
Your knocking more insistent.
At times I would ignore the door
But you'd barge in all the same.
Unbidden yet familiar,
You became a constant companion
Though not one I would choose.
I didn't know what you wanted from me,
But you took it anyway:
My years, my confidence,
Experiences, opportunities,
Chances at relationships,
My first-class degree,
My first career.

On finding out I wasn't the only one,
I dared to ask your name
And finally discovered
That we are not friends or housemates
Needing to muddle along.
Rather, you are a thorn in my side
And are best ignored.
If I can't ignore you
Or pretend to ignore,
I will use you for my own ends;
Take back some of what was mine.
Never again will I answer the door to you.
If you break and enter,
I will suck the life out of you
And feed it to my Notes and Words.
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