When she’s feeling poorly, I rub her tummy and call the animals out from the woods at the foot of the garden. Climbing the stairs with their noses in the air, they jump up onto the bed and stay with her until she’s feeling better. It’s that time of the month, you see. When I’m feeling cruel, I tell her that it’s God’s curse, and therefore, it’s all her own fault. She doesn’t like it when I’m cruel and so attempts to turn on her side, but it’s too painful, and she gets tearful. Curled up and moaning and groaning, I stroke her hair and pat the animals on their heads before stepping outside into the sun. In the midst of my depression, I always had the feeling that the sky was too heavy and would one day fall down. Those days are now gone, but there are still those dreams I get where the world gets knocked out of its Goldilocks zone and drifts into outer space. Sometimes, when I’m lying there at night trying to sleep, it feels as if I’m drifting further and further away, and even though she’s right by my side, she feels a million miles removed. They told me things would get better with age, but I’m still as fucked up as when I was a kid. They told me that stuff would make sense, and although it appears to be that way for other people, in no way whatsoever does it work like that for me. Sure, it means I can write stuff that perhaps reaches out to others, but what I wouldn’t do for a little peace of mind. Lighting a smoke and watching the flesh of my arms slowly burn, a line of ants march across the paving slabs by my feet. Watching them intently, everything around me blurs until her cries call to me from the open window. Going back inside, I take the stairs two at a time and am beside her once more. She wants her hot water bottle filled back up. And she wants something to eat. Soup, she demands. Tomato, not chicken. Kissing me on the cheek, I wipe the hair from her forehead and hold her close as the animals shimmer and shine all around us. She smells organic, and of the playing fields of my childhood school located on Pastures Way. She smells of safety, and she smells of home.