Lydia got the letter on a Friday. She put off opening the letter because her days had finally become a relief of monotony she did not want to disrupt.

Of course, there was no escape from the misery. There was no way to brew hot blood into the ghost she had become. Some losses were not possible to recover from. But, time still went on washing over and through the horror it once wrought. Time did not care. Time itself forgot. Lydia had cried all of her tears and still there was some left. She had gone numb, past numb, but there was still some phantom feeling coarsing within, angling for some leverage to rise up.

The letter had a slight aroma – thin and sweet, a menace to her world. She stared at it a long while. The light through the curtains cast a blue about the room. She loved the stale, pallid air, it complimented the undisturbed dust of her mind.

There were volumes of life Lydia had willfully forgotten by now.

Maybe it wasn’t so willful, but she doubted very much she had had a choice. If she had kept remembering, she would probably be already dead.

After she read the letter, though, a vault unlocked. She smelled clove cigarettes and cloying, sweet wine. She felt the grass on her bare thighs, and the fresh, bitter taste of youth and what it was like to hope for some faceless happiness. She was the girl on the top floor looking down at a young man screaming her name in the night.

She went to her bed for awhile after the letter and stared at the wall, a familiar pastime by now. There was no relief from this. Sleep brought the threat of dreams. Alcohol, drugs, would not save her unless she took enough to kill herself. Everything had been done, everything tried. It was just her in the room, strangled by her indomitable thoughts.

It was still all out of her hands, the whole thing. Lydia wondered if living with guilt was somehow better than all this.