Sunlight enters the room. The folds in the net curtains cast shadows like bars across the armchair that sits beneath the window. The reading chair that gets the light. The comfy chair that holds a body in its embrace.

A cloud moves over the sun. The room dulls, feels somber. Pigeons coo from their perch on the gutter, spattering the window ledge and pavement from time to time.

The knot in her stomach comes and goes like the sun. A tightness in her ribcage. Electricity in her elbows. Chemicals changing pathways in her brain. It has to get worse to get better, but why? Why can’t it just get better?

The sky has changed from blue to white. Cloud cover, no chinks in its arrangement. There is a tension in her muscles, as though she is waiting for something bad to happen. The clock she’s had since Preston ticks on, punctuating the quiet in the room.

She misses company, but she doesn’t want to talk. She craves the comfort of strangers.

Clouds shift again. The sun returns, she switches seats, basking in the warm light like a cat. She enters the labyrinth of dreams within the pages of a book.