Part one

‘Could you tell me of the different kinds? I have heard there are many.’

She stared back.

‘They have to be felt, to be understood. Their depth, colour, substance. Only then could you know, and if you are so lucky, you may not have to.

‘Well tell me what you can, so that I might be prepared.’

‘Nothing I say will change that.’

He was resolute. ‘Tell me.’

She didn’t answer for a while.

‘Sometimes, it comes suddenly. As though you were hit by a train. As though you were given a split-second to recognise and react, but instead stood firm, and were hence obliterated by force. You can imagine recovery here. Or lack of.’

He swallowed.

‘That’s not the worst though. There are hundreds of other flavours. Complex, dark, transformative, beautiful.’ She paused. ‘Sometimes it will be as though you were gifted a beautiful crystal necklace. Imagine one as fine as the one Ma wears.

You love it, somehow more than anything. You can’t bear to part with it. It fuses with your sense of self. Gives you energy, strength – it reminds you of love. It reminds you of how much you can love. Unconditionally.

Yet, you become addicted to this feeling, and its beauty. You fail to see that it is in fact, decaying. It begins to tighten, choking you. But you could never take it off.

A cut in your neck pours with blood, yet here, you are clouded with delusion of self-sacrifice. This is a slow death. Crippling, vampiric. It will leave you lifeless, it will hurt to breathe.’

She stared ahead dully.