In that moment before the toe of her shoe made contact with the edge of the
brick, she knew that there had been a choice, and that at that moment billions
of atoms were rearranging themselves into the shape of the universe that she
believed she lived in.
She went down hard onto the stones and as she fell her ankle curled
underneath her. The pain was tearing muscle and stretching skin. She felt sick
immediately and then a noise of the sea and in her ears. She staggered towards the bench and sat down hard, gripping her head inbetween her hands.
A woman came towards her out of the darkness.
‘Are you okay?’
‘I think I’m going to pass out.’
‘Hold on to me, I’ll take you indoors.’
They reached the kitchen table and the noise in her ears grew louder.
She tried, by keeping herself close and tight, not to let it happen; but she couldn’t stop the blackness coming down and closing over her. She fell to the ground again, this time on smooth parquet, and not the sharp but yielding gravel. Whenshe came to she could see shoes at eye level. Voices came through the crackleof white noise still occupying her head.
Someone said, ‘What happened?’
‘She just collapsed when I got her in here.’
She felt a warm flood of urine soak through her jeans.
She began to cry, ‘I’ve wet myself.’
She felt hands lifting her up, a blanket was wrapped around her waist. She
was laid on the sofa. She turned on her side and continued to cry. Her tears
ran from her with the uncontained force of a waterfall. Her skin below the waist
was beginning to grow cold and the heavy sodden material clung to her legs.
Her hand lay within another hand, and fingers stroked her with a kind rhythm. And then the words fell from her in a chaos, like the fractured Images in a bad dream.