Brokeback diaries Ep 1: The Fall

Friday 17th March: I am in the attic. My favourite room. Filled with light and sky views. It’s where I write, Sefi watching on.

I’ve climbed the metal ladder to this space for twenty years; one hand on its frame, the other clutching coffee and notebooks.

The ladder leads to a square opening over a 10 foot drop to the landing. So I always take care. I must. For I have both dyspraxia and a tendency to tune out at times. It’s why I don’t drive.

I’d been with my sister earlier. Looking out onto the teal and slate horizons of The Knap, we’d got excited about finally releasing a collaboration of ours into the world.

The Biscuit Tin and The Sequinned Skirt, it’s called: My story, my sister’s images. It’s raw and revelatory, which I guess explains why I’ve never quite allowed it to completion.

But negative ions have me pumped. So, now home I’m straight up to the attic, at last ready to push through the final phase.


I become focussed on placing a piece of card over the attic hole to keep the heat in. And then on tugging at a pile of wooden planks that are in my way. They don’t shift. I keep tugging.


The moment when I should’ve stopped. Tuned into my body.
Asked myself: what are you doing, Rachel?

But no, instead I plough on.

And this becomes the moment when I step onto a thin sliver of card and find it is not a solid platform.

The moment I step out into air.

There is no delete button for this. No undo.

It is happening. I am falling backwards into nothingness.

I think I reach behind me for the ladder frame. And fail.

I can’t picture the shape or direction of my body. Only the momentum downwards.

Blurred speed.

Until –

I feel my arm go Bash, Bash, Bash – 1, 2, 3, against the ladder frame where it is angled towards the ground.

In each moment of impact, I yell No, NO, NO!
My brain so clear and sharp.

Howls of outrage that this is happening
Howls of knowledge that I am in a moment of breakage.

Howls fuelled by the purest desire to fully exist.

However damaged, this is my life, my body. I will be in charge.

Crash land. Thump down onto my back.

I fall into my body.

I check my fingers and toes. Movement. Good. I haven’t broken my spinal cord.

Those last-minute ladder-bashes have buffered me from full on free fall.

I am lucky.

I could so easily have been jettisoned over the bannister onto the ground floor, and instead I have landed squashed into the tiny space at the bottom of the ladder.

I am lucky.

Sefi comes mewing down the ladder, soft cries of What is happening?

But it’s just us.

I can’t, shouldn’t try to, move my body.

My mobile is still up in the attic.

What do I do now?


  1. Ooh Rach, this is so beautifully written, but also terrifying to think of going thru this literally going through that attic space hole.
    You, are a strong, brave woman.
    Did you hear Charlotte sing ‘I’m a survivor ” at Eurovision I thought of you.
    Much love Rhi xx 🐇❤🐳🌻🌿🐾🐺🧿🐈🤗

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