They had told her that the pain would go away if she talked about it, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. She didn’t want to burden others with her suffering. She wasn’t selfish like that. And even if she had been, she didn’t know how to articulate what she was feeling. Were there words for what was wrong with her? Had anyone ever felt the way that she did now?
There must have been other people like her at some point, she thought. Every person was unique, but the experience of being a person wasn’t. Sooner or later, everyone knew heartbreak. Everyone in time would come to know grief. Everyone would know pain.
There were diseases, she knew. Things of agony. Diptheria. Ebola. Dysentery. Tuberculosis. Things that killed. And she was not dying, even if it felt like it. She had the strength still to feed herself, to bathe herself, to dress herself, even if it was a struggle to find the will. Even if all she wanted to do was to sit on the floor, her knees tucked against her chest with her chin resting atop them, her arms wrapped tight around her legs. She had been that way for so long, she could remember no other. It seemed to her that she was a creature made to suffer and nothing else.
And then one day, one night, one moment, the same moment it had always been, she awoke and she knew that she had to speak what was inside her. She had to tell someone, or she would die.