‘Nadir’

In the days that followed, she found herself wanting to write the most unsayable things; the things you should never think; thoughts that make your eyes heavy with tears in the supermarket. Of course, no good would come of them. They led to no catharsis, just more of the same. Sad, dark words kept shuffling into sentences, marching unforgettably into view, remaining there until they overflowed.

It happened mostly when her mind was still. They were the quiet times in which the empty pools would fill like caves in a flood. It was all she could do to look up, away from their bewitching mirror depths, because she knew it would only take a glance, and she would be drawn under.

Once she went, there was no ladder, no outstretched hand to pull her up. It was just like in her dreams, where the sadness prickled over her, freezing her from the inside out. It crept cell by cell, from her core to her fingertips, rendering them cold, grey, motionless. It might last minutes; sometimes days. At the end of it, she was never quite sure where she had been – only that it was over, and unbelievably, she was still intact, in the most physical of ways.

Her body ached, but when she examined her skin, there were no bruises to be seen. No sign of a wound; no redness, no infection. She was, a doctor might say, in perfect health. But she couldn’t shake the feeling that there were countless emptinesses inside her, perhaps more every time it happened.

If someone had shown her a diagram of a body with every internal part drawn at half the size, she would have nodded and said yes, something like that. But really, it was as if she had a cavernous hole behind the ribs, right at the centre of her, where something good should have been. Yet when it filled, nothing felt more terrible, and she was powerless to cure it.