The Blog on Fire: Sneak Preview!

Ok… let’s take a look at some actual writing, shall we?

I wanted to share this paragraph with you all, as it’s one of the most important parts of the earlier chapters.

What do you think?

Ever felt closed in? Trapped?

Ever missed someone? Or not missed them?

Tell me if this speaks to you…



The Blog on Fire: I’m writing a sequel!

So… it looks like I’m writing a sequel!

I know. Crazy. I can’t believe I’m here.

Until now, I’ve not made a direct post on this website. However, after a revamp I’ve decided to start The Blog on Fire. The main point of my novel The Butterfly on Fire is the theme of a “journey”. For this new blog I want to portray the journey of me completing a sequel. The next edition in the series. The continuation of the LGBT themed, fantasy story that is The Butterfly on Fire.

Lots of my readers and fans asked me “I need to know more! When will I get a sequel?”. For a long time now, all I could say was that my own story hasn’t progressed enough in itself for me to be able to write a sequel. However, eventually I found that I’ve been saying the same thing for such a long time that I could indeed start a sequel with bells on top! If anything, it’s going to be even longer than the first!

I have a fairly solid idea of the direction that I’m going in, but let’s not give away all of the goodies in one blog post… that would be no fun.
Further updates are coming, I promise.

Never in a million years would I ever have thought that one day I would be sitting here writing my second novel. Thank you to all the readers out there who have shown such interest in my work.

E. L. Croucher


Giveaway Winner Announced!

Congratulations Laura T!

Your free paperback copy of The Butterfly on Fire is in the post, along with a personal letter from the author herself!

Enjoy reading it, and don’t forget to spread the word. We look forward to hearing from you when you’re done. 

Thank you to everyone else who entered. Keep your eyes out for the next giveaway!

The Interview

An Interview with Emi Louise Croucher

An Interview with E. L. Croucher, author of The Butterfly on Fire: Mind, Body and Soul


Tell us a little bit about the book to start with.

I describe it as a fantasy / fiction novel, because there is a clearly defined fantasy narrative, whilst the others are a modern-day, fiction narrative. It follows three lives through certain challenges, like most novels, but it all comes together in a twist that (hopefully) the reader won’t expect.

16970598Now tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 25 year old woman working in London. I grew up here, but also worked and studied in Japan for a while. I’m actually a Japanese translator by day, indie novelist by night. I started writing The Butterfly on Fire because I had something important to say, and I wanted to write about it. I am a part of the LGBT community, and so the main theme of the novel is about that, basically. At first I never even imagined I would finish a complete draft, but step by step I kept at it, and here I am.


So, is the book basically just about you?

Yes and no. Certain scenes and parts of the storyline are based on what has happened in my life. Even some characters are based on real people. But it is no way just an auto-biographical novel. Thanks also to my editor, it’s developed into its very own little world. Literally in the fantasy chapters. Each character has been developed to how I wanted them, so it’s not as simple as it being ‘about me’.

What made you think of the three narrative based structure?

Without giving too much away, it kind of developed itself. I had three ‘voices’ that I wanted to represent. Each one of those affiliates to a part of a person. One being the body, one about the mind and the fantasy chapters are the soul. It all just grew from there, really.

Who is your favourite character within the novel?

Really? Am I allowed to even choose as the author? Although, I can imagine most authors would choose their protagonist, but for me that would be slightly strange as it’s based on me. So in fact, I would go with the love interest of the fantasy chapters. Prince Hikaru. Hikaru means light in Japanese, so he’s a real stereotypical, male ‘hero’ character. What I’ve also tried to do though, is modernise the out-dated hero / heroine narrative, and play with what it means to be a ‘hero’ when your lover is a powerful, magical Queen.

Would you have done anything differently, now it’s all finished?

I think anyone would. But generally in life I try and live in the moment and not look back on what I could have done. Sure, some chapters are probably more exciting than others. Some characters could have been developed more. All I am confident in is that the novel tells the message that I want to tell extremely clearly. You wouldn’t be able to read it fully and not see what I’m trying to bring to the table. For me, that is the most important thing. I’m happy with that.


What was the most difficult part of creating the novel?

I think finishing the first draft is where most people give up. Once I had a full blown draft with chapters and everything I felt like half the battle was done. Going into editing with P Goulding was such an exciting step, and it made it all so much more real. It began to come alive with each chapter we went through together. It was so worth completing the first draft to get to that stage.

img_6283.jpgWho do you feel the book is meant for?

It’s an LGBT novel, so the community and all of its lovely people. As an extension to that, I think the parents and siblings of an LGBT person would be able to relate to it as well. To be honest, any person that loves an empowering story and a bit of a tear-jerker would love The Butterfly on Fire. That is parallel to a wonderfully different fantasy narrative that really bounces off of the modern fiction element. Anyone that likes LGBT stories and fantasy then, perhaps?

What other influences helped towards writing TBOF?

Japan was a huge one. There are elements of the Japanese culture and language scattered neatly throughout The Butterfly on Fire. Queen Fubuki does some of her spells in Japanese. The main characters of the modern-day, fictional narrative go for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Japan has been a powerful and consistent part of my life, so it would naturally be the same in a novel that I create.

Wiccanism is another one. I have always been a spiritual person, since I was young. I have tried to stay faithful to the lore and add a sense of realism to the fantasy side of things by having real Wiccan terminology and acts.

Lastly, I would be a liar if I said my previous boyfriends and fiancés didn’t play their part as well! Lol

How is the publishing process going so far?

So far it’s been a whirlwind of excitement! We are getting some fantastic reviews on our Amazon page, as people are starting to naturally finish the book now. It’s early days because its only been two months since self-publishing The Butterfly on Fire, but we are off to a great start! I couldn’t be happier!

Tell us in 10 words why you think people should read this novel?

It will change how you view a certain minority (hopefully).

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

The Butterfly on Fire is definitely linked, in some ways, to a draft I started a couple of years ago for what would have been called Serendipity. It was similar in its narrative structure; in that it followed the stories of a few different lives and linked them all up together at the end. I think what stopped me from completing that old draft was the fact that I was trying too hard and ended up making it all too complicated. That, and of course the fact that I hadn’t progressed through my own personal story, and therein didn’t have the same motivation at that point. Once I realised exactly what I wanted to write about and cleared up in my head what message I wanted to send out into the world, it all fell effortlessly into place. I used the older draft as a kind of reference, and some characters are in their in one way or another, but The Butterfly on Fire sort of grew its own pair of wings and really took off by itself (pun instead!). 

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

As above, I am someone who needs to let the idea percolate and I cannot write without motivation. Some of the readers of this debut novel have asked “when is book two coming out? I need to know what happens!?” Unfortunately, I just have no idea. I know I will write a sequel, but until the ideas and the emotions start to flow in the right directions, I don’t feel as comfortable writing. I think a large part of that comes from my protagonist and main characters channelling my inner voice, depending on what different aspect of that character matches my personality.

I admire those who can just start writing without years of pretext, and hope to one day be able to do the same!

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I wrote a large proportion of The Butterfly on Fire at my ex-boyfriend’s house, so I can imagine how problematic it would be to not be able to write anywhere else! Ouch! Sunday mornings would be filled with cups of tea, comedy programmes in the background and the sound of my keyboard clattering away.

The other main location that I found inspiration (and time) to write was on my two hour commute to and from work. That train and bus journey was great for getting out the thoughts and feelings that I had gathered through the day into the book.

Yes, as mentioned above my medium of writing was my small laptop. But that’s not to say I didn’t have tons and tons of paper notes, drawings and hand-drawn maps! In fact, by the time I started editing the novel with P Goulding I had to carry around a full blown A4 folder with all my notes as well.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

In my case I was particularly lucky. I started The Butterfly on Fire whilst I was working at a legal translation company in central London. Within that company there was a proofreading department, and so I approached the lovely P Goulding with my novel when it was about three quarters of the way done. I asked her to give it a read, and if she liked it then would she mind editing it? She ended up becoming a virtual business partner! We then worked together to send specific sections to certain people; friends and friends of friends, when it was ready to be read by the world. One of the main goals we had was to send specific parts to random people (that don’t know me or my story) to see at what point they “worked out” the main part of the narrative. It was great to get feedback from a range of people, as it really brought the book to life. Overall, having a true friend help me edit The Butterfly on Fire will be one of my fondest memories in this entire process.

IMG_6223 I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

My heart is truly torn with this question. On the one hand, I am a millennial. We breathe technology, and I cannot deny the convenience of having a book I want to read on any device, instantly. It’s just so easy! Life should be easy, right?

But then again, nothing beats the smell of a good book. As an indie writer who is self-published, it is a huge honour to have a physical copy of my very own novel. Every time I see it, I just smile! Technology will overtake and outdate many things, but I think the paperback will be on this planet for as long as the human race is.

So I will have to answer this very carefully! I do buy ebooks, and enjoy the ease of reading on my commute. However, nothing will ever get me to digitalise that old copy of Harry Potter that I use to sleep with under my pillow when I was a child.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:

  1. childhood? J. K. Rowling
  2. adolescence? Cate Tiernan
  3. young adult? George R. R. Martin
  4. adult? Still George R. R. Martin (It’s a long series!)

Judging from the above I guess you could surmise that I too only buy fantasy novels. As much as that’s not my intention, the evidence says otherwise! I guess for me, a large part of why I love reading and writer is the escapology. More specifically the ability to be something other than myself and almost pretend to “be” the character I’m reading about. I would be Hermione Granger, or I would be Daenerys Targaryen.

IMG_6244.JPGSocial media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. The more I think about it, the more I hate it! What do you do?

Again, as a millennial, social media is a necessary evil that we are all brought up with. I admire those people who actively choose against things like Facebook. It must be annoying every time someone asks for your Facebook details!

For me, I have a website, and use Facebook, Instagram (@thebutterflyonfire) and Twitter (@TBOFmbs) to try and promote it. I’m now also on Goodreads (, but I’m keeping that in its own bubble for now. I manage them myself and do what I can to keep the pages alive. As a self-published author it’s fully up to me to market the novel, so I have to use social media for that. Whilst this can take a lot of time, I like that I get to keep control of the marketing of this book by doing it myself; as it’s such a personal story that I wouldn’t want to give the work over to someone else.

I spend a good two to three hours a day on checking notifications, coming up with new content and sharing the process of my novel out into the world. Sometimes I spend money on advertising and sometimes I just use word of mouth to get the novel out there as well.

I hope that my social networking is helping towards getting The Butterfly on Fire known in the world, and if not then I need to re-think what to do going forward!

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?

I personally try to answer every question in the state of mind and emotions that I’m feeling at that time. I’m a true believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason. So, things that happen may change how we feel, and I see within myself very frequently that I feel differently about things as I get older. This is all coming from the 25 year old me though, and as time goes on I may just rely on the copy and paste buttons when I have toddlers running around and dinner to cook!


Thank you for reading, and enjoy the book!

Review: The Butterfly On Fire: both contemporary and fantasy at the same time

Review – by Lia

Lost In A Story

E.L. Croucher, the author of The Butterfly on Fire, reached out to me to do a review on her book. The Butterfly on Fire is a seemingly strange mix of contemporary and fantasy, the story lines do however fit together. I think I would consider this a New Adult book, since the characters are in their twenties.


The Butterfly on Fire is the story of three different lives, each linked together by a tragic, unchanging truth.

Eric is growing up and realizing how different he is to those around him. How much longer can he hide from himself?

Beam is trying to balance work and romance like everyone else living in London. When embarking on such a journey, anything could happen.

Fubuki is Queen of a magnificent world known as Macha Land, but finds herself struggling to maintain the peace after an innocent man mysteriously dies at one of her…

View original post 533 more words

Official Reviews are starting to roll in!

The Butterfly on Fire: Mind, Body and Soul is starting to get official attention from some lovely bloggers and reviewers! We will try to make sure they all get a mention on here.

‘The Interview’ will be coming shortly and we will feature a version of it on this site.

Also, The Butterfly on Fire is getting shout outs on and as well!

Check them out, and watch out for the reviews as well!


Goodreads Giveaway Extention!

The Butterfly on Fire has now been accepted onto and the hype is already buzzing! So, as a thank you to the team at Goodreads we are extending the giveaway competition deadline! Check out this post, or go directly to Goodreads for more information!

We are giving away a free paperback version to a lucky someone!

All you need to do is register your email with our website or share this post on any form of social media with our name tagged in the post. The winner will be chosen at random, and get a paperback version of The Butterfly on Fire sent directly to them.

It’s that simple!

We will even cover the postage and packaging fees. A free paperback copy of The Butterfly on Fire could be yours within days! The winner will be contacted regarding their registered address, or the social media post they use to share this post. The author will also send a personal message to the winner!

Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Butterfly on Fire by E.L. Croucher

The Butterfly on Fire

by E.L. Croucher

Giveaway ends August 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



The Butterfly on Fire: Free Chapter 1 Preview!

The first chapter of The Butterfly on Fire: Mind, Body and Soul is here for anyone to read!
Join the rest of the fandom on an empowering tale of self discover.

The full novel is available on Amazon in both eBook and paperback. See our PURCHASE page for more details.

Comment from the author:

Hello everyone!
Thank you all of your for the amazing support so far.
The Butterfly on Fire: Mind, Body and Soul is getting some fantastic reviews from all over the world! I hope that many more give the first chapter a read, as it’s free! Nothing to lose, right? Let me know what you think in the comments. Love and light to all!




The Butterfly on Fire: Mind, Body and Soul

Copyright © 2017 E L Croucher

All rights reserved.

Edited by P Goulding


Chapter 1 – Mind: A Beam of Sunshine


I was surprised that I could dream about her like it was any other night. After everything that had happened. It was like my subconscious didn’t care. Did that mean I didn’t care? Well, no, of course I did. And yet, I dreamt like I always did. It was waking up that was the problem. Facing the next day. Facing my family. Facing the doctors and therapists. Facing the other patients on the ward.

Telling one of the younger female staff members: “I don’t belong here, I think I should be able to go home” was probably the worst thing I could have done. She just smiled and said she would talk to one of the doctors. I didn’t realise that saying that would actually make me look even less stable and lead to me being kept there longer. How come they were the ones with the power to tell me when I could leave? It didn’t make any sense. But then again, none of it did.

At least I had stuff to keep my mind occupied. Stuff to stop me from reliving it all over again… That night. It was only two nights ago, and although it was still so fresh, I could tell that it was a night that I would never forget. I would look back on this day as the day that changed everything. Because everything had needed changing.

I had gone to eat breakfast and was sitting in the small dining area when one of the younger male doctors came in to check everyone’s mood. The middle aged woman who had checked on me before hadn’t said anything. She had just watched me and taken notes. This guy was new – or at least he seemed it to me – and was making sure not to miss any details. He saw me and looked on the list again, as if to say “who are you then?”

I guess the other doctors hadn’t told him yet. Shit.

“Erm, hi, can I take a name?” he said, oddly shy. He was actually very handsome. Short, blonde hair and a well-defined chin. Muscly, but still slim. I looked down to the floor to avoid his eye-line but glanced up quickly. I wonder if he could tell that I was attracted to him.

“A… ask the other doctors… please”, I managed to say. I felt like an idiot. What even was that?

“Oh, ok. Sure.” He looked confused, but he clearly knew by now not to question strange behaviour in a place like this. The rain outside seemed to pick up the pace and the noise was loud around us. I was starting to feel so awkward. I just wanted him to move on to the next room of patients. Leave me alone. Leave me alone. I didn’t know what to say.

“E… everyone calls me Beam.” The words fell out. “As in a beam of sunshine… You can call me that if you want.” Oh my god, I was flirting. I couldn’t believe it… In a place like this. After everything that had happened.

“Ok, Beam. Nice to meet you. I’m Dr Martin,” he said with a genuine smile, before walking out the door. Of course, that name wasn’t on the list he had in front of him, but I felt rude not introducing myself at all.

I looked back down at my breakfast. It was actually really nice. I had been dreading the thought of hospital food so much, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had bacon, eggs, beans and chips. Today was only a Thursday and yet we were being served a fry-up! A strange pang of guilt hit me, as I thought of tax payer’s money being spent on my breakfast. Did I even deserve this? No, I didn’t. Not after what I had done. The guilt worsened and gradually I completely lost my appetite. I pushed the plate away, but then I noticed one of the cooks watching me and she began pointing and whispering something to one of the other staff members. Oh right, I had to eat. They would check my plate. They would ask questions.

I picked up the fork and tried to force the bacon into my mouth. Then a girl around my age walked in. She was holding a guitar and looked extremely absent, as if she was surrounded by a thousand fairies that made her dizzy. I tried to catch her eye, in an effort to make friends, but she was miles away. I wondered why she was here. She didn’t look insane or too thin. Or anything. Just normal.

Then I realised I would look fairly “normal” to her if she even saw me. Maybe I looked a bit worn out. But just like any other patient in here. True. I wanted to talk to her. I hated feeling so lonely in here. I just couldn’t catch her eye. After trying a couple more times, I thought I would give up. It’s not like she was going anywhere. I could talk to her another time.

“No! Fuck no!” boomed a voice from outside. It was loud enough to get this other girl’s attention too. Yet, still with a gazed look on her face, she looked through the open doorway that was directly behind her. The brunette ponytail cascading from her head gently flicked as it fell from behind her shoulders.

“Calm down. Just calm down Samantha” a doctor said in a soothing voice, but it only seemed to freak her out further. Two other doctors ran in and grabbed an arm each. One of them was the hot doctor from before. It was the first time I had seen something like this – although I had been expecting it. There were about twenty patients in the ward in total, some with more severe mental conditions than others. I constantly tried to reassure myself that I was of course one of the less mentally ill patients, but what worried me was that everyone in here seemed to do the same. Samantha was taken to her room and everyone on the ward continued like nothing had happened. I heard her lock her door as loud as she could. All the patients’ rooms locked from the inside, but the staff had a key anyway. The locks were really just to make us feel safer – that’s all.

I had to get out. Even if it meant pretending that I was a completely normal person. Just as that fleeting thought ran through my head, a therapist came out from the therapy room. It was built deliberately in the centre of the ward. The main sitting area was next to it, where most of the patients sat and stared at the TV all day. I couldn’t say for certain that they were watching it, just staring at it. One patient enjoyed singing along to the music channels so loudly that the ward staff had to send him to his room. The singing, however, would not stop. I was scared that the other patients would kick off or something, but instead, some smiled, others joined in. One stood up silently and left to go to his room. But no one seemed disturbed or surprised at this elderly man’s attempt at singing Little Mix. In fact, he was rather talented for an old man.

“Next it’s…” The therapist’s sentence trailed off. She turned to face me. “It’s your turn darling”, she said gently. I smiled. How kind. She must have really liked me. I felt the safest I had for a long time in that small moment.

“Ok, do I need anything?” I was used to saying that for job interviews, or meetings at school. Always ask if you’re expected to bring something. A notepad. A pen. But here, in this context, the question seemed almost sarcastic. I had nothing. Barely any possessions at all. The therapist just walked back into her office, expecting me to follow her. So I did.

I walked into a small room with too many people in it. They were all sitting around in chairs like the patients on the ward, but they were clearly different. They were doctors, therapists and other staff that I hadn’t seen on the ward yet. They didn’t stare, they watched. They didn’t sing, they whispered. They didn’t smile, only nodded. I sat. They were analysing me. Every movement. Each one of them gave off an aura of superiority.

The main therapist, who I assume was in charge of the rest of the staff, was a small, thin lady. Many of her colleagues were double her size. She wore a black blazer with sleeves that were rolled up so far that they only came down to her elbows. Her hair was in a tight bun with a small black band around it. Her shoes were stylish, but simple. She looked like a PA to a CEO rather than a doctor. Then again, what does a doctor in a mental ward look like anyway?

“So, how are you feeling?” asked the main therapist. It was uttered in the most condescending and pitiful tone that I had ever heard, and yet, it was still somehow comforting. It made me want to explain everything. But that was not going to happen. No way. Not here. Not now. I couldn’t. No way.

“To be honest, it’s all very overwhelming being here. But, if it’s going to help me get my life sorted, then I don’t mind. Obviously, that’s all I want.” I tilted my head gently to the right and faked a small smile. I felt like I was performing for them. GCSE Drama paid off. They were waiting for me to fuck up. But I wouldn’t. I would keep it together.

“And how is it you would like us to help you achieve that?”

“Well, therapy to help me deal with the issues I have in my head would help, I think. If that’s what you think? To be honest, I’m not sure I want to start taking anti-depressants. Not if I can get better myself.” I could feel the words start to tumble out, so I stopped there.

“Therapy won’t be a problem, of course not. That’s what we’re here for. You seem like a very positive, happy… person. How did you get yourself into all this, eh?” piped up one of the other therapists. She was larger and wore scruffy clothes. Her hair fell recklessly down, covering her face. Was she allowed to talk to me in such a condescending way? No one challenged her, so I guessed she was.

“It just all got too much. The realisation of what I am. Obviously, deep down I have always known that one day I would have to deal with the shit… oh sorry, deal with the stuff going on in my head. But it got to a point where I couldn’t run away anymore. And knowing that I had to deal with everything just seemed so… so…”

“Scary?” another therapist suggested. Her hair was cut short, and she was slightly chubby. She was the first therapist that actually looked me in the eyes. She seemed genuinely gentle and understanding. I felt like I could trust her. To tell her everything in the hope that she could make it all better. I wanted a friend.

I looked down. I wanted the questions to stop but they had only just begun. The main therapist stopped writing notes and put down her pen. Then she looked up.

“Ok, well, this all seems standard enough for now. We will have to put you on anti-depressants and keep you here for another couple of days. You will be able to leave when we are convinced you won’t try anything stupid again. Can you promise us that you won’t? Ok? You are so young. You promise? We’ll do one hour of therapy a day, and we will arrange for you to see the psychoanalysis expert. You can go off site with a member of staff, but not on your own yet. Does that all sound fair?” She wasn’t asking me. She was asking the room. Her large group of subordinates nodded. They were not going to argue with their boss. So it was set. I had no say at all, but I had never expected to, to be honest.

I continued to sit there while they continued to watch me closely, until I realised that I was meant to get up and leave. So I did. I couldn’t tell if it had gone terribly, or perfectly. Later that day, I saw other patients go in and then come out crying that they were being held for another month. That really hit home. Maybe I wasn’t crazy like this lot. Maybe I was just in a bad way. Regardless, if I kept this up, I would be home before I knew it. Work wouldn’t need to know. Friends would understand. And my family… Oh fuck, my family. Every time I attempted to think about my family, a dark cloud of guilt surrounded my entire being, and I just couldn’t face it. Not yet.


* * *


That evening, I was showering in my room when I heard a noise. My room was the only one with its own toilet and shower on the ward. I felt lucky, but then again, I could understand why I had it. Maybe the other patients were jealous, or maybe they didn’t even notice. I didn’t care. I was too busy enjoying my shower. The negative energy of the day was flowing off me and down the drain. It circled and tried to hold on to this world, but the force of the water dragged it away. It left me clean and a step closer to happiness.

Then I heard the noise again. It was coming from directly outside my room. I dried myself off with a towel, and looked through the small glass window in my door that the therapists used to check on us. They checked that we were sleeping at night by turning on a haunting red light every two hours or so. It made falling asleep difficult. Even when it woke me, I would pretend to be asleep so that they would think that I was ok. One of the other patients had told me to sleep facing the other side so that even if my eyes threw themselves open, only I would know.

After I was dry and in my PJs, I crept outside. Curfew wasn’t for another couple of hours, and yet it seemed late in the day. The girl from earlier was outside, with her guitar. And now a boy was with her, around our age as well. They were playing the guitar and singing. It was outside in a kind of cage like extension for the smokers. I could smell it from my doorway, but luckily the smell of smoke had never particularly bothered me.

I didn’t recognise the song that they were singing, otherwise I probably would have joined in. Instead, I just walked over to them smiling and waved gently. They turned to me and whilst smiling, they kept singing. It really was lovely. They seemed at peace and untouchable. The guy stopped playing the girl’s guitar and rested it on the floor beside him. He was tall and thin, with jet black hair. He had a goofy look about him, but was still quite handsome. In a geeky kind of way. If you had seen him with the girl out in public it would have looked odd though. You would immediately know they weren’t a couple. If they had been in the same secondary school, you could tell that she would be with the popular kids and he would be in the library. But in here they were friends. It was sweet.

“Hey, you alright?” he said. Charming. Very charming.

“I’m… good. Sorry, I couldn’t help but hear the guitar. You guys seem really cool.” I felt like I was in secondary school again.

“Aww, you are the cutest thing ever. Why are you in a place like this?” the girl asked. I felt like I could trust them, like I could tell them anything.

“I tried to kill myself a couple of nights ago.”

“Oh shit, really? But you seem so happy?” He seemed shocked. I thought that attempting suicide would be seen as normal for patients here.

“Well, I guess, yeah. It’s like I’ve been reborn I guess. I don’t know, it sounds stupid. I had a lot of stuff going on in my head.” I was starting to mutter so quietly, I even irritated myself.

“That sucks. I’ve been here for ages now. Therapist says it’s not safe for me to be out there.” He turned to face the other side of the smoker’s cage. The main road leading to the hospital seemed to tease him with cars casually driving to and from it. The guy dropped his head and his jet black fringe covered the left side of his face until all I could see was the back of his neck. He didn’t strike me as dangerous.

“What about you?” I said to the girl.

“Let’s just say it’s safer for me in here too.” She deflected the question with an ease that had taken months to perfect. I could tell.

I stayed outside with them for what felt like hours. We talked and laughed, just like normal young adults did. Except that, every two hours, one of the staff on the ward would come and check on us. They took notes, and then carried on.

After a few days on the ward, it was finally time for me to leave. Georgina had come to pick me up in her small Ford, with flowers and a huge tub of ice cream.

“I bet you were dying in there with all that healthy food they must have had you on,” she laughed. Georgina was my best friend, and had been for years. We had gone to the same secondary school together, and moved into a small flat together through college, along with two other roommates. We went on to get a smaller flat together when we both started working. It was a Saturday, so she could come and get me without taking time off. I’m sure she would have done it anyway, but I would have felt even guiltier.

“Thank you for coming Georgina.” I sounded sad, but thankful.

“Don’t be silly, you’re my best mate, I will always be there for you. I just wish I had been before…” Her usual bubbly personality fell away. The guilt was too much for me to bear. I had to change the subject. Or maybe I should’ve faced it head on. It was still all so new to me. How was I supposed to react to people?

“I… I hope you brought spoons!” I joked. Awkwardly. She just stared at me and forced a smile. She was always better at faking smiles than I was.

“Listen, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t see the signs earlier. You clearly weren’t happy… even after everything we tried. I will do my best to be there for you from now on, ok?” Georgina said as she touched my arm. She looked me dead in the eyes and nodded. I could feel the cold droplets of water from the ice cream tub fall onto my already freezing finger tips, as the summer sun began to melt it. Soon it would be soup.

“Thanks. That’s all I could possibly ask,” I said with a smile. The engine started, and soon we were driving on the M25 back up to our flat in Camden.

It was the start of a brand new me – I had decided. I had to. I had no choice. It was time to face everything that I had run from for years. Everything would be fine, surely? I would put the past behind me as of this day. That would end up becoming the single most important day of my life.



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