• Francesca Barrow


Her dark side. You had to be a Wizard to get her out of it. To bring her back. She knew the point; when pleasure became pain. It was history repeating itself over and over and over again. Yet almost deliberately, she powered through it every single time. She kept going like a Warrior to the place where things became difficult (where emotion ran to the height of unequivocal pain) as though it was necessary because as long as she got there, things would always be comparatively easier when she got back. Back - to the perfectly controlled, perfectly timed, perfectly groomed girl she was because she’d be damned if failure was an option. The problem was the ‘pain’; that landscape of both glory and madness (which she thought must be something that meant her world would always be slightly darker than most) was a combination both of things she’d suffered truly throughout her life and the conquest of a deep and unrelenting imagination. The former fed the latter and likewise until the black night met the sea and the Moon no longer existed. There were so many labels; so many things she was supposed to live up to - ‘Anorexic’, ‘Agoraphobic’ were the only two she’d only ever been officially diagnosed with. There must be more. So many others. But she’d decided a long time ago that love made the world go round so the others couldn’t matter. The truth is, she had been abandoned once before by someone who’s sense of responsibility was out-willed by a life of something similar. So she’d decided she didn’t believe in it because as long as she didn’t, she would be able to power through. And yes perhaps to a place where pleasure met pain and sensation was both beautiful and simultaneously felt as though the world was spinning at a million miles per hour and someone had cut open her chest and, despite her blood, running thick and mighty as the sea that met the black sky, ripped her heart out only to hold it just outside of her body and slap her in the face at the same time - but what it meant, what it meant (darling girl) was that she would get up in the morning and tell her loved ones she loved them and feel the same love in return. Yes, it was cheesy to say ‘love makes the world go round’ but it kept her going. Through the blatant fact that she’d been born slightly more unhinged than many and this was topped off, like her champagne glass, with the extra gusto of witnessing bruising and battering, grief, redundancy and everything else - there was still the music. There was still the fact that she had indeed been born slightly more unhinged than the rest of them; she heard melodies in her head that no one could hear (she could write a song in under five minutes). Words flowed like the sea - and even if it did meet the black night and the Moon no longer existed, the Sun would eventually rise in the morning. Some mornings, she felt like closing the shutters; the room enclosed in darkness. But despite every fibre in her body telling her to coldly shun the world, she always got up and created something (ANYTHING) because damn it (!), there was a World out there. Beyond the sirens and the bottles and the fright, she carried the weight of everyone when she had to. She took pain’s hand and said ‘I’m not scared of you. Like every great enemy, you will teach me. I will use you to fuel my Art and I will walk with you. And perhaps I’ll have to walk with you until till the end but if things should turn out differently and one of us goes first, it will be you. Because Sir, I am Strong. I am Number One. I am perfect’. So yes, her dark side. You had to be a Wizard to get her out of it. But the truth was that even if you were, she wouldn’t make a wish on you; for who said she wasn’t Magic herself?


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