10 Things You Should Never Throw Up On – Ruth Brandt

  1. Your bed, obviously, although this can be hard to stick to if you’re really ill. Just try not to.
  2. Cat, dog, snake or other pet, yours or someone else’s. No explanation needed.
  3. Your laptop, iPad, phone. Ditto 2. And yeah, I’m aware I’ve listed loads of stuff already, but I’m getting there.
  4. Mother. Definitely not your mother, particularly when you’re sitting behind her in the car and you lean forward to open the window, but don’t get your head out.
  5. On your birthday. Or let’s face it, Christmas, or your mum’s birthday. The sort of days that go down in history as being spoiled.
  6. Into your drink. Bad move. And if you do throw up into your drink, never, ever think it’s a good idea to go back to drinking it. Seems obvious in the cool light of day.
  7. Between the sliding doors of a shower. Poking the bits out of that is a bastard.
  8. Over a nurse. Sure they’re trained. They sort of expect it. They say, ‘Never mind.’ They say, ‘Happens all the time round here.’ They say, ‘Really, don’t worry.’ Then they slurp away and a cleaner comes with a mop, and the healthcare assistant comes with clean sheets and washes you down, even though you don’t want to be moved or touched. Even though you’d prefer to be left to lie.
  9. When you see your consultant. When she says, ‘That’s it.’ When she says, ‘You’re done. Finished. Completed.’ When she says, ‘Go and enjoy your life.’
  10. On someone’s football boots after you’ve run up the pitch, dodged the defenders, dribbled the ball in past the goalie. After you’ve been hugged round the waist and lifted. After you swore to yourself you were done with throwing up. Then it’s just plain embarrassing.


Ruth Brandt’s short fiction has appeared in publications including the Bridport Prize Anthology 2018, Neon and Litro. She won the Kingston University MFA Creative Writing Prize 2016 and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions. She lives in Surrey with her husband and has two sons.

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Photo by Jeff Kingma on Unsplash

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