She paid everyone but herself.
Casting seeds into a wind that only blew one way, she waited for the tide to come back in, for the exhale that allowed her to breathe into the pain, for the tightness to lessen.
It never did.
She carried all of them, her broken bird back with wings held taut by a blindness that she depended on. The gilt edged morning gave way to a dusty afternoon bleakness as the dew dried up and so did her ambition. She’d forgotten the weave that kept her foundation strong, finding only time to splice over gaping holes in the firmament with whatever she could find that made some semblance of sense.

None of it made sense, but she tricked herself into believing spiderweb whimsy bonded as tight as a bead of weld. She convinced herself that it had always been this tight, that space to breathe was something for other people, that one day, a ship would find her in this dockless desert and then….

and then….