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At first it felt as though my old self would simply resume: that I was on pause, would start again should I tap the forward triangle floating above my head. I visited old haunts, striding knowingly, fingers trailing dry sandstone walls and withered vines, broken Roman pillars (it is winter within and without): a revenant with unfinished business. It was a fiery winter’s day and I burned quietly in my clothes. I felt mean again. I used to be so mean; my own Queen—and, I fancied, above everyone else. Feeling tall again in riding boots I went up to the old library again, for old times’ sake, and it smelt just the same: of dusty tomes and stale air, atmosphere most academic! How I used to climb those unsightly stairs to the seventh, eighth floors—and down to fifth and third again—heavy volumes in hand, full of ambition and anticipation. Learning, I learnt long ago, is always exhilarating. I soared like the only bird in the sky, rested only atop the tallest, leafiest tree. It was liberating, I say to myself now, but thinking back, was I ever that free? Was I not, as I hesitate to recall, caged by my own expectations, lonely and aloof? So much for being ‘better’. Now I stand still, pale and spectre-thin, clinging to a past polished by the sands of time. Things are perfected in retrospect, from the present perspective, with the future looming ominously ahead where I cannot see: looming like the grand carpeted stairwell curving turret-ward that I never climbed to the end. Still light shone through the stained-glass window, and footsteps echoed in the stone walkway I once tread with youthful ignorance.