Years passed and the kitten grew smaller in her hands. Slowly Ellie was weaned off one medication, only for her to fall ill and given another. Sometimes Ellie felt her life was just waiting for the next doctor's appointment. She was too weak to go to school and was tutored by her parents, each working half weeks so their daughter was never alone. But all the same, it was a lonely existence. The children she
knew were just those of her parents' friends, forced to play with each other. Not proper friends forged in some special metal that withstood time, and so, like all her pills, they too came and went. Her only constant was her kitten. His ears had worn thin and his tail had fallen off and been restitched more times than Ellie cared to count. She looked after him well, but he was just a toy. When she was younger her
mother would tie a string around his collar so that she could lead him around the house, but aged eleven she preferred to just hold him. When Ellie was fifteen, her parent's bought her a computer. It was fitted with a special programme that would read what was on the screen to her and would type what she said into the microphone. For the first time, Ellie could freely
connect with the world. She listened to blogs written by other blind and visually impaired people. She learnt about boats and banks, world news - anything that took her fancy. She cringed at romance novels and learnt what love definitely wasn't. And she wrote. She wrote of her life on her own blog. She wrote poetry and prose, made up stories and described things that most would not think, bringing to life
the sensations that were dulled to those that could see. Ellie never expected much to come of it, she did not seek glory. It was just a means to escape her confinement. Kate and David saw a change in her too - where there was once an unsure and lonely child, now was a teenager who was brave enough to be stroppy and argumentative. Telling the world of her own thoughts, and unafraid to challenge others.
They also saw that her old baby toy left her bed less often. It would not join them on outings, it wasn't sat in her lap at dinner, they no longer heard her muffled whisperings to it late at night. The computer had also helped Ellie with her academic education. She was able to learn remotely from home, and twice a week a tutor would come over to assist where
neither the internet nor her parents could help. At seventeen the doctor cleared Ellie for school. Not long after this pronouncement, three times a week she attended a college that could cater to her needs. She still required a cocktail of drugs, but the fear of infections from other children had passed and Ellie was finally able to make some real friends. But Ellie also learnt what it was
to be excluded for her blindness. At home, Kate and David had always made sure that their daughter was never left out. From cooking to cleaning, Ellie was given a rich description of what things looked like. When out shopping, her mother would tell her what the latest fashions were and let Ellie pick the clothes that she wanted to wear. But all of these new people had neither the time
nor the skill to do any of these things. Despite their best efforts, cars became merely 'red' or 'blue', buildings were 'large' or 'small', and Ellie felt as if she had been plunged back into the blackness. In part, because she was a fiery teenager, and in part, because she did not know what else to do, Ellie raged. She screamed at her teachers and friends, she wrote furiously on her blog, she fought and
cursed at her parents, demanding to know why they had made her that way, why they had condemned her to live in a world that would never truly accommodate her. In her anger she locked herself in her room for two days, ignoring Kate and David's desperate pleas. There was nothing they could say to make her feel better, and there was nothing that she could say to them to explain exactly what pained
her. Instead, she turned to her kitten. By now the toy had been relegated to the shelf above her desk, but Ellie knew where everything in her room was kept and in a few minutes had curled up on her bed cradling the toy to her chest. Through her tears she told him everything in the same unsteady voice that she had when she was younger. She whispered to him her hatred of her present life and her fears of
the future. She was bound to be dependent on someone. And who could possibly love someone like that? Who would want to be burdened with an oversized child who would never be able to fend for herself? But the toy had no reply, it was, after all, just a velvet cut-out with some cotton shoved inside. And Ellie, in her misery, threw it against the wall. The toy fell behind her wardrobe where it stared at
the floor of her room from sideways on and started to gather dust.