I was in a very strange state of mind. Little things seemed to hold more significance while the bigger, more important things just passed me by like ships on the horizon. Big things look a lot smaller when seen from a distance. And that was how I felt. Distant. I thought if I was going insane then I would know it, right? But then again, the few insane people I’d made the mistake of talking to in my life didn’t seem to know there was anything wrong. Unless it was that someone had turned into a seagull, or a tree had suddenly disappeared. I told myself I was being paranoid instead, something that was, in my opinion, much worse. I put the letter on my dresser and snuggled into bed, pulling the blankets up to my lips. My shoulders itched.
I woke up early the next morning. My shoulders really itched. I have to stop eating ice cream for dinner, I told myself. I couldn’t fall back asleep so I just lay there until it was time to get ready for work. I arrived exhausted. I didn’t even want to think about how few hours of sleep I had gotten that night. Of course, no one noticed. I kept trying to scratch at my shoulders discreetly when no one was looking but the itching was in that one place where it’s almost impossible to reach. I couldn’t concentrate. I walked over to the small table on the left wall towards the back. Accessories. Something shiny had caught my eye. It was one of the rings in the little colored-glass bowl. It was like a forbidden pearl nestled in a great clamshell. I reached out and picked it from among its fellow crop, holding it in my hand curiously. It wasn’t even my style. But I was just looking for reactions. Confirmation that I existed at all. I slipped the ring quietly into my pocket. My shoulders itched.