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An extract...

She woke to the sound of donkey bells. An orchestra of different pitches, chiming in between gusts of wind. She was relieved to have a bedroom to herself. Her eyes began to open and a smile immediately spread across her cheeks. The light, the pink morning light was divine. Like nothing she had ever experienced before it darted in between a vast crack in the mountain. She stared at it, keeping her body tightly protected under her sleeping bag.  She was cold. She felt lonely, but she felt comfortable. She felt vulnerable, but she felt excited by that vulnerability. 

She closed her eyes, and she could still experience the darting pink colour. More vivid almost, with her eyes closed, for the darkness around it exaggerated its brightness. Her breaths began to lengthen, as she listened acutely to the chimes coming from the donkeys. Her inquisition could not wait, her fear of the cold being overcome. She lifted herself up, wriggling within the sleeping bag so it continued to cover her up to her collarbones, and looked out of the window behind her. It was so different the scene from this window compared with the other. A village was below her, one that she had not had the chance to suss out when they arrived close to midnight. There was a man, and two young boys standing among the donkeys. They didn’t seem to be doing much. To the right was a water pump, where a small crowd of children gathered to collect water. They were filling big buckets, and washing each other in this sort of animalistic way. It felt tribal, it looked loving. Loving, but bitter cold. 

The children laughed, as they splashed each other, their wild spirits at ease with surface discomforts. They knew nothing of warm water coming from a tap. It didn’t exist in their world. 

A little girl caught sight of Abby staring from the window. She pointed up towards her, laughing to her friends, before they all started to wave. Slightly embarrassed, Abby pulled her arm from within the sleeping bag and waved back. She felt a sadness weeping out of the palm of her hand as she waved. She pressed her palm against the freezing window as if it were a way to connect on a deeper level with the children below. 


Abby had grown up with everything, everything and anything material. But she had always felt an emptiness right in the base of her stomach. She had the appetite of a horse, and often she would try to fill the emptiness with food. But it didn’t work for the emptiness was a craving for love. For love. And it was as she pulled her hand away from the window, the children still laughing and pointing towards her, that she realised the love that she longed for was self-love. The hole in her stomach could not be filled by another, only by the self. 


The palm of her hand was wet as she drew it up to her cheek. It was cold, but she embraced it, enjoying the second of equilibrium with the children below. She wanted to experience what they felt, she wanted to find comfort in discomfort. Happiness in sadness, balance in extreme. She wanted to fill the hole in her stomach with simple satisfaction, rather than complex craving. If seemed so simple on paper, but she was confused.




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