I don't know if you remember this, but right up to the time you were eight years old, you'd welcome the mornings. I don't mean that as a sort of phrase, as a sort of sentence just to highlight that you were cheerful and enthusiastic. No, you'd actually welcome them.

When you were woken up, those were the days when it was the polished cello voices that woke you, and not the harsh shriek of metal tick tocks, you'd let your pursed up little mouth relax and the corners would turn up and sometimes, a flash of impossibly perfect white teeth would be revealed, and then - only then - would you open your eyes, and look first at the face of the person with the cello in her throat, and then outside the window. If it was sunny, you were happy. If it rained, you were happier. But you were happiest when the sky outside was low and still and calm, and the trees below were whispering secrets to each other, and hundreds of winds blew, carrying carefully, in the palms of their hands, the smell of rain.

It was that kind of day one Sunday in July. You pretend not to remember it, but you do.

You remember waking up to your perfect morning and running downstairs after a hasty breakfast and you remember, sharper than anything else, the sight of a door on the second floor, open, which was odd for nine thirty in the morning, with shoes lying carelessly around it. You remember thinking that it was odd, because you'd been through that door hundreds of times before, and it had never done anything so unusual.

You remember him coming down the steps and feeling a sharp stab of jealousy because he seemed more concerned about her than the swim that you'd so carefully planned, and you remember looking at him with a sort of sadness in the pit of your stomach, because he was going to leave very soon and your eight year old world didn't yet know how to exist without him.

The sun came out while he spoke to you - harsh, blinding, ruthless. And then you heard it, from him, and you really shouldn't have been able to comprehend it all at once, because if you heard it now you know you wouldn't be able to. But children can be very wise, they say, and you realised that it was possible to feel and not feel at the same time. Never had knowledge come to you so swiftly, and twelve years later, it still hasn't left you. Pain really can take over the body, it can slice its way down mercilessly, hacking out paths for itself: in your limbs, your chest, your back, your stomach, your fingers, your face, your throat. You feel it, you can actually feel it, taking over you, but the more it spreads, the more paralysed you get, and I can understand why.

You went swimming that afternoon anyway.

The night that followed was hard, with a different kind of pain. This pain was even harsher, it was more brutal, more forceful, it didn't let you hide. But it also gave you relief, it set you free, and by that, I mean that it didn't stop you from breathing like the other kind did - it pounded away at you until you just had to swallow great gulps of air, along with salt water.

It's funny though. I've only just realised it.

You went swimming that afternoon as if nothing had happened. It's a pattern that has repeated itself more than once, and one that you're not finished with yet.

And your favourite kind of days are still the windy, rain scented ones.

Do you still welcome mornings?

I'm not quite sure, but I think you try.

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