My body is sitting in a coffee shop in Banff looking out the window at the snowy sidewalk and people passing by wearing snowsuits, helmets, and goggles preparing for a day skiing. My hand is gripping a tall ceramic mug and my tongue is trying to taste the tea inside. But my brain is at home, sitting on the floor with my head in my hands, crying. I have no tasks to perform here to keep myself in this chair and I battle the constant force of pressure behind my eyes trying to push out tears. Pain grips my middle and I wonder what my day will look like, trying desperately to turn it around. My grip is weak and the mug drops down to the table, causing the couple beside me to look over in alarm with their mouths full of muffin and coffee. I shudder as the weak feeling creeps up past my elbows. My lips feel cool as if recovering from frostbite and I try again to soothe them with warm tea, this time holding the mug with both hands and craning my neck to meet it halfway. I don’t want company. The thought of carrying on a conversation brings a wave of nausea and I am grateful to be here alone. Now my brain is trying to be on the floor at home and here, bouncing back and forth like a racquetball and I put my head down on the table to stop the spinning. Time is moving but I don’t feel it. Looking around I’m sure everyone here is different than before. What day is it? How long have I been here? As I begin to come back I feel exhausted and exposed, unsure if I can walk the mile back to the hotel. Panic begins to close my throat and I struggle to swallow the last sips of my tea. I want relief that no amount of rest can provide. For the first time I notice music in the background, coming through the chill in my forehead. I will set out in the cold mountain air with the hope that the chill will bring me back and allow me to exist for another day.

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