“Your problem,” the doctor began, laying down his stethoscope “Is in being too real.”
The carriage clock on his desk chimed nine. “Your heart-aches, the dreams, memory loss, the peculiar sensation of moths in your lungs can all be attributed to this cause.”
I pinched my cheeks, rolling my tounge around the cavern of mouth. That couldn’t be right, I had been trying so hard not to exist. I had read all the right sort of books, while eating, walking, waiting for the train. I had changed my name at least three times in the last week. I had thought in the third person and past tense. I had even memorised The Jabberwocky until I could recite it backwards.
“A healthy girl of your age,” he continued, I wasn’t listening “ought to be no more real than a silk slip or a corn husk.”
My shoes felt too big all of a sudden. I was gripped by the fear that perhaps I had tried too hard. Tulle, ice, spectacles, fog.. I was forgetting something.
“Not to worry,” his bony hands scrawled something illegible on a yellow pad.
Windows, raindrops, crystal, plastic wrap.. oh, that was it. I had gone through to the other side, like cordial through a gauze sleeve. In unbecoming, I was nothing, and through nothing you can see everything. Everything, more bright and bold and painful than a gasp.
“Take three in the morning and two with your afternoon tea.” the doctor handed over the script.
I thanked him, turned, and walked through the wall.