Martina had all sorts of problems
going on. She went to counselling once a week, and mom and dad were always
getting called into school to talk to the teachers about her, or collect her
early at the office after she’d been caught doing something like hurting
herself or making herself sick.
Shaynne had always been nice to me,
right up until his death. I never knew anything was wrong with him. Martina was
different. She had been silent and moody and I think we all knew she was
heading that way, like when you have a sick relative in hospital, and you don’t
want to admit to yourself that they’re dying, but you still know it’s going to
happen. We could delay it, but not stop
She hadn’t wanted to play with me. I’d
been only about nine when she committed suicide. We’d had a lot of games that
we’d play together. Looking back now, I know she’d only played with me to shut
me up, probably. We used to play dolls. I know that sounds babyish, but she
used to make up a game where we stripped the Barbies and drew tattoos all over
their weird, curvy, unevenly proportioned plastic bodies. Once Martina went a
bit mad and mixed up a paint-and-water ‘hair-dye’ for the dolls, dyed their
hair pinks, purples, blues, greens, every colour imaginable. Then she got out
her hairdryer, and once the doll’s hair was dry, she gave them all punk
haircuts and we tattooed them felt-tip pens. It was great fun until mom found
them, after we’d left them lying, discarded on the bedroom carpet.
“Katrina! Martina! Why did you mess up
your lovely dolls?”
We’d been severely lectured on how we
should have more respect for our toys, and received the usual ‘there are
millions of kids in the world who’d kill for toys like yours’ or ‘if I’d had
toys like this when I was your age, I would have respected them’ speech.
Mom had thrown the dolls in the
rubbish bag, but later on, me and Martina salvaged them and played many more
games with our (now punk) Barbie dolls.
The Barbies are now crammed into a
small cardboard box in the cupboard under the stairs. Sometimes I lock myself
into that cupboard, as if it was a little room. It’s a bit of a squash, with
all the stuff we hoard there, but I like it.
But when Martina stopped playing our
games, and had to go to counselling all the time, and got into trouble at her
school, I think we all knew the end was near. It was still the most horrible
shock I could ever imagine though.