Television screens

Without her fully realising it, her life had become a strange dream-land where things didn’t really happen. Or at least they didn’t really happen to her. She often felt like she was standing outside the window of an electronic goods store, watching the many televisions displayed there. Even her thoughts and memories were on show. She wondered if anyone could come up and watch her life like she was now. The thought terrified her: her life was like melodramatic day-time television.

She wondered if maybe the out-of-body problem she was having might be depression. She worried that because she couldn’t work out how to climb back into the television set – or even which set to try first – she was missing out on some rather nice things. Each day she would wake up and watch herself stumble to the bathroom in the dark; use the toilet; have a shower; poke contact lenses in her tired eyes; catch the bus and walk to work; stare mindlessly at a computer screen for nine hours; take a similar route back home again; pull together some ingredients for dinner; stare mindlessly at a different screen for an hour or so; and then crawl into a borrowed bed.

She wondered if maybe her real life was happening while she was asleep. As a child she had often worried that, if one’s dreams and real life got mixed up, one might never know. And how could she know what kind of person she was in her real life if she forgot it like a dream the instant she woke up? Her childhood concern had a little more weight now.

The thing that had broken her all those months ago had done a very good job: she wasn’t sure if she would ever heal.

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