Scratching eyelashes sounding like the broken wings of a bird. Some scrawny thing scampering around in the gutter wishing for a boot to come put it out of its misery. Soon enough, the bird will be bones, and then the bones will be dust, and all the love in the world won’t be enough to put its feathers back into flesh. He has a jar full of them—feathers, that is. Ones he found in the field behind his old house by the dry basin of chalk where he spent his youth searching for hidden doors. He also has a notebook containing a list of her known movements dating from the time he first spoke to her. He’s sure she doesn’t remember, but for him, it was the most pivotal point in his life. Up there with the first time he saw breasts, and the night he accidently discovered masturbation. There’s before her, and after her. Nothing in between; at least nothing of interest. There are some that would call him a pest, but without his eccentricities, these plains would be meaningless. The notebook in question includes times, faces and places, with her the focus of all three. What she was wearing. What side she had her hair parted. The potency of the shine of her black tights and on a scale of one to ten of just how much they left him hypnotised. Even now, when he recalls such times, he can see those days so clearly in his mind. If he concentrates with all his might, he can feel the breeze of those carefree hours blowing across his face. There’s a chill in the air, and a tingle in his belly. It’s the smell of how the stars swim with the smoke pouring out of chimneys belonging to endless rows of fast food joints. It’s the way the trees bend to the traffic clogging up narrow streets, and how the scent of exotic tobacco dances with the odour of unwashed armpits belonging to those coming and going from the train station on the hill. Those streets—they curve around ancient stones, dipping without reason as her outline smudges with those of the beggars who once roamed from one doorway to the next before they met their inevitable end either in an underpass or a discarded shed. The words he wrote resonate so much, but never again will he be able to touch what was once real. All that’s left is the realm of the unreal—a labyrinth that births every desperate, needy sentence that forever comes up short.