You are slipping. Your hands are gripping onto the red monkey bars, your feet dangling two stories above the ground. The palms of your hands taste the metallic coldness and the paint chips whittle away at the pads of your fingers. Even though you’ve done this many times before, this crossing from one threshold to another, you are too scared to look down. This time feels different. Now your arms are tiring and your body is sore, dragging you downwards so that your toes point towards the ground below, desperate to touch something solid.
You are slipping. You try to fight off the wave of exhaustion but it just keeps coming like the tide throughout the day. The headaches crash into your skull and fill your mind with whirlpools of thoughts, all jumbled together with nowhere to go. You think of sleep and the prospect of a warm, comfortable place to lie, but you are so far away from that place. Each time you feel yourself wavering, falling into unconsciousness, you snap your head back up. There are still things that need to be done, no matter how tired you are.
You are slipping. You don’t remember your last time ice-skating, but you don’t think it would’ve been this difficult. It’s like the blades under your soles have been slicked with oil and you are always on the tip of toppling over like those wobbly toys you used to play with when you were young. Each part of your body feels separated – your legs have been moving forever, trying to keep you upright and your face has grown numb to the cold. You are just a jigsaw puzzle of mismatched pieces, scrambling themselves together again and again into a million permutations, trying to make yourself whole again.