“I said to myself, you can’t shatter open.” A sentence in Esme Weijung Wang’s The Border of Paradise. I told myself this often enough, I cannot shatter; even the smallest cracks weren’t allowed. And then. Not cracks. No shattering. Disintegration. Myself, my world and the chilling after-waves, still rippling across everyone and thing I was near. Some after-waves choking and drowning some, sometimes happily or sacrificially so. Time, opportunities, trust: long since washed away.

It’s a sudden break, a pause or even a total standstill of your live checking yourself into a psychiatric hospital. It’s alienating, expensive, the food lacks spice, boredom and loneliness are more tangible than ever. And hospital is so expensive you’re scared just to go out for a bit just in case you might spend those euros glittering on the bottom of your purse. And almost inevitably your purse doesn’t even sing one cent jingles but grumpily crunches supermarket bills.

I keep wondering where are you? But then again, where was I these past few years? Nowhere near you, nowhere near myself.

Good wishes and best of health to you xXx say a bunch of cats lined with glitter with Hallmark indent. A bar of chocolate on my birthday. Perhaps next time? Or the week after the week after the day and month after that? Plastic electric blue upholstery. Overcooked vegetables. Still, a paradise. Llamas, goats too bloated for words, a tiny forest, a field of grass. A tree with initials carved circa 1946; stroke it and your hand feels the healing effect of time. Insight, practice, advice from peers and professionals alike.

Suffocating, liberating, painful, essential, lonely, constructive. And progressing. Then suddenly, sometimes:

I, for the first time, felt the natural poetry of the night breeze brushing my face.

The Wandering Earth, Liu Cixin