In the labyrinth of the City of Owls, I tore the right sleeve of my shirt on an oak railing while running to your door to tell you I was a new person, changed, renewed, revitalized, no longer living painfully and robotically under the slate clouds of a depression I barely understood. But at the ripping sound of my sleeve, caught on a loose spike of wood, my heart began to race like a horse under the lash. Sweat blossomed on my brow. My hands trembled. Tears welled up in the corners of my eyes. I balled my hands into tight, white-knuckled fists and kicked a half-full trash can, spilling rotten orange peels and baby teeth into the street, startling an old poet sleeping in the gutter.
I took ten deep breaths and focused my gaze on a glass statuette of a hedgehog in the window of the shop next to me. I unclenched my hands. And I quickly forgot what I was doing, where I was going, why I was out in the streets. I didn’t forget you, it’s important that you know that, but I lost myself in a scarlet haze of panic and disorientation–briefly–and when I came out again, I was almost a blank slate, lost in an unfamiliar world, tranquilly confused.
I abandoned my quest to get to you and wandered the twisting streets of the city, singing quietly and tunelessly to myself, like the ghost of a rambling troubadour in a maze of smoky mirrors. I’m not sure if I’ve come out of that maze or not. I’m not sure of anything anymore. And so I continue to move through my days and nights, dreaming of you but unable to find you, wishing I’d taken a different route in the underground walkways beneath the Square of Moths and Candles.