She writes down the names of her favourites stars on a sheet of lined paper, swallows her wine, then skips around the room somewhere between the giddy highs of elation and the unutterable despair that comes from knowing life can’t last forever. Today there’s magic and the lightness of being, and then tomorrow she’s shovelling the ashes of another failed dream. One second it seems as if those dreams are as real as the air she breathes, and then the next she’s rolling around on the ground with not a single ounce of hope left in her shrinking, tiny heart. Raising her hand to her brow, she wipes away the beads of sweat with the cuff of her shirt before opening the window and looking out across town. Her dreams are out there somewhere, she’s sure of it. They’re like the stars she studies, so graceful and full of mystery, but for the time being, so desperately out of reach. It’s enough to make that tiny heart of hers tremble and flinch at the merest of touches. She has some more wine. On an empty stomach, it’s not the smartest of moves, but the picture on the bottle was too pretty to resist. A cat with giant whiskers painted in a style resembling the work of Gauguin. Primal, full of colour, and altogether joyous. Holding the bottle in her hands, she peels off the sticker and places it on her vanity mirror. The thought of the cat watching over her is a pleasant one and makes her feel warm. The skies are blue, and somewhere far above, the sun shines and conjures a taste in her mouth of jelly and ice cream. Makes her think of the sea, and how she’d love to be floating across the oceans like those plastic ducks you hear about. The ones that go into it after escaping from their container during a shipwreck and then spend decades swimming neither here nor there, just lucky to be free from those human stains that do their best to hold her back and kick her down until she’s as subdued and numb as they are.