My sister turned thirteen today the catalytic age when a lab rat may finally choose, to an extent, its overbearing experiments. Moving on from playing the parent pastiche to her own individual attractive prospect. Familiar phase, detained like a rip-off Stretch Armstrong in a tug of war, one side pulling for the oblivious past, the other for the woman she’s becoming. Get used to the Elastoplast bandaging. Nobody should blame her for the moments when she can no longer hold herself together. She’s begun ornamenting her clothes with a tea-stained decoupage, grisaille school skirt gradually receding. All grown up and ready to be broken. Slowly beginning to understand the awfulness, no opening doors to strangers, no walks home alone in the cool black night. She keeps asking what the pills are for and I don’t know what to say. Our heads don’t have a fire escape, or any means to sift the ostensible smokescreen. Soon she’ll be where I am now, perhaps having done the same crash dummy graduation spot, chain conveyor to melting pot. Some men will want her in walk-in refrigerators, skinned white mouse for basilisks and boa constrictors. Few things can be crueller than a teenager. I can’t save her from any result: the snare of possibility. Things would be worse anyhow, were she locked in an armoured suit of amethyst. I’m so sorry, in advance, for all that they will do.