I tried to find some source of happiness in the beauty that surrounded me. As long as the sun was high on the horizon and a thousand nothings were to be seen and done I could carry on as if nothing of importance had truly happened in my life. The routine appealed. It gave my chaotic universe some semblance of order and I could at least pretend to feel at peace.

In the darkness of the long winter nights I struggled to keep my demons at bay. I tossed and turned for hours on end pursued by ghostly visions and when a deeper sleep took hold of me at last I would be roused suddenly by a recurring scream, bewildered and afraid, my eyes searching fruitlessly the pitch-black corners of the room for its source. It would take minutes, long centuries of them, for me to realise that the shriek had been my own; that it had been outwardly silent, an asphyxiated expansion of a cavity denied a voice. Yet the haunting cry reverberated for hours longer through the darkest recesses of my mind, taunting me, scratching away at the little oasis of everydayness that had kept me sane thus far.

With each sundown malign dreams gnawed away more intensely at my respite. I grew terrified of shutting my eyelids lest the storms of my unconscious took hold once again. Frenzied spells would give way to bouts of melancholia and with the lack of sleep; my waking thoughts had grown darker too.

I feel a vast emptiness all around me. No history, no memories, no content whatsoever. The world and all its tribulations belong to others, not me. Anguished. In pain. It is this pointlessness of misery that sweetens the taste of poison and makes one’s neck crave the cuddle of a rope. A set of fingers, following instinctively the course of those thoughts, trailed the rounded curve of the neckline and contracted gently for one moment only, reassured by the pulse of the blood surging through.

Had I fallen asleep? Was I awake? At times I struggled to make out the difference.