Moving the book aside, the partially squashed tube of paint patiently awaits her touch. When her fingers caress its scrunched-up body, the colour seeps into her skin via tiny cuts to her cuticles where it subsequently courses through her veins like the drug of love. Her veins are narrowed from smoking too much, and if she continues going through twenty cigarettes a day, there’s a chance she’ll go the same way as her father. The thought has crossed her mind on more than one occasion. She pushes it away the same she does to the rest of her unpleasant thoughts, but it comes back just the same. The paint she’s chosen is the same colour as her father’s eyes. Deep, blue. Prussian. It’s not the reason she chose it, though. No. The reason, she thinks, is because it reminds her of the lake behind her grandparents’ old house. It was a private lake, but through a hole in the fence of the garden belonging to her nanny and grandad on her mother’s side, she could sneak through a dense expanse of woodland and visit the watery wishing well that called to her through the open windows whenever she came to visit. It was a place she would retreat to when she needed to be alone. A refuge that offered her the chance to collect herself when she made the painful but inescapable transition from being a girl to a woman.