Written on 10 March 2020

Word Count: 484

My days normally begin waking in a wet, muddy diaper. The mush pressed against my nether regions is unbearable. Some people might think I can't feel the rash, but I can. Slowly, my eyes adjust to the brightly lit room. The sunshine beams in through the open window— the curtains are pulled apart to make sure I don't sleep in too late. Right now, I wish I could just sleep forever. I shift my head from side to side, making use of the few muscles I'm able to control. On my bed, I'm immobile. I can't help myself. I have to do the one thing I can do.

My jaw quivers as I wail and cry. Tears run down the sides of my face, but I can't wipe them away. Soon, Mom comes running into the room. When I see her caring face, my screaming subsides.

"Oh, baby, I'm sorry. I should have checked on you sooner," she apologized, each word dripped in honey. She grabs a tissue and dries my tears.

"Let me help you."

She says this every time, but it isn't like I have a choice. I can still remember the hospital when I was bare naked in front of all those people trying to clean and change me. In the haze and the pain, I almost didn't notice them. Almost.

"One, two, three," Mom counts before hoisting me up in her arms. She heaves and I take a moment to appreciate how strong she is. Not only here, but at the emergency room. The doctors wouldn't tell her about how I was doing. She must have been worried.

Mom brings me into the bathroom and sets me on the floor, resting my head on a cushion. I begin to whimper again, and she doesn't hush me— she allows me to cry.

"Alright. Let's get this over with, okay? Let's get you clean."

Carefully, Mom removes my dirty diaper and wraps it up before throwing it away in a pink bin. Then, struggling slightly, she lifts my legs. With lots of wipes, she cleans the mess from my bum and around my private areas. Every moment she touches me reminds me of the hospital. Exposed. I clench my eyes as the hot tears return, trailing down my face.

My mom notices my tormented expression and coos me, "Oh, sweetheart. It's okay, I'm almost done."

I wish I could tell her what was really the problem, but I can't speak. Mom tries to teach me, but it's just barely out of my grasp. Soon, I'm clean. Mom pulls out a new diaper and wraps it between my legs. I take in a deep, shaky breath. Finally. Mom washes her hands, then picks me up again. She brings me out of my room to the living area, setting me down on the couch. She brings a wooly blanket and tucks it around me.

"What would you like to watch, hmm? How about those cartoons you like?"

She makes them sound so childish, but I can't defend myself. Instead, I keep quiet. After turning on a show, she leaves to grab more of my supplies. When she's out of sight, I silently weep. Ever since the hospital, I can't do anything anymore. It's agony to need people to change your diaper when you're eighteen.