Cracked skin around your fingers that bleed and bleed until you suck each one like a toddler. It’s too cold. It always is in this country, but there’s no point in moaning so you keep on sucking and wincing because if you moan, you’ll end up as dead as the rest. The rings around your eyes make you look so tired, but you wear your sadness well. So well, in fact, that whenever you smile it doesn’t quite seem to suit your face. Thrashing against the waves and struggling to keep your head above water, you look so beautiful, and every time I think of you, I end up zoning out and dribbling like the freak I am not knowing what to make of one who can be so sullen and graceful all at once. Thrashing your legs and waving your arms, there are so many hands of ghosts that reach out to drag you down, but day after day you keep doing your best to avoid them. And those ghosts, how they know you so well and how they snatch and squeeze your skin as you swallow mouthfuls of salty water trying so hard to breathe in the fresh air your lungs so desperately lack. It hits you at the bus stop. One minute you’re standing there admiring the dead leaves next to your shoes, and then those hands are around your ankles, and your stomach shrinks and shrinks until you gag and cough and sputter so sure that you’re on the verge of passing out. You don’t, of course, but as you slump on the plastic seat while digging your fingernails into the palms of your hands, you wish you could just blink yourself away. You wish it every second of the journey home, and you wish it with each and every footstep that leads you to bed. But then after the darkness and the tears and the collapse here comes tomorrow and here comes the sun and here comes a reason to keep doing what you do even when you tell yourself that it’s all so pointless.