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EVEN now, there are times when the past seems closer than the present. In those dangerous moments, the old pain stabs me again, pressing on my throat relentlessly. Anything can trigger a memory, anything at all. The black nothingness that sometimes appears between thoughts is filled with sad reminders, like flashing lights in the darkness.

I see his lone back facing me as he faces the window, looking far off into the desolate world that used and betrayed him.

I see that one single tear running down her cheek as she bends her face close to mine.

I hear the lost voices of my sisters crying out into the empty sky.

I feel the compassionate touch of my Queen when she reminds me of companionship.

It stings and twists my heart. I know it's fruitless, but I always struggle to free myself from the grasp of the past. Nothing works, nothing can save me. All I can ever do to soften the pain is to live. Live on, and on, live as well as I can.

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