I am surrounded by a beautiful treasure chest of laughing, sighing, glittering, gorgeous people. They flock all around me, merging into each other creatively with sparkling smiles and perfect grace. I am between them, and they flow over me like water rushing, rippling over worn, gray stones. They lend me some of their sparkle and warm me for a time. But then, as dusk draws near, they silently, slowly begin to flit away. Each person is a thin, gauzy color which peels away as I walk on, resolutely alone. They whisper and sigh and fly away, sapping the color from my cheeks and stealing the breath of laughter from my throat. Stripped of their life, their warmth, I am a cold gray figure, solitary and shaded. Living is like a beautiful picture in my head that is fading, bit by bit, until I can’t remember quite what it looks like. It is a runaway melody that comes and goes in the dark, taunting me with sweet snatches of sound and tantalizing echoes while I toss and turn, trying to recall the melody. I make a feeble grab—but no, it’s gone. I curl back into myself, exhausted by the effort, and slide back down against the cold, white walls. They are all around me and their blankness is painfully large. They are shrouded in shadows, but there is no glimmer of light, however faint. There are no windows, but the roof is open to the sky. Navy blue and obscured in darkness—no stars can be seen through the black haze. The cold creeps in between the thin fibers of cloth that cling to me body, and I pull my knees to myself, clasping them with my hands, creating a circle. A zero. A symbol of nothing, to stand for all of time.