The Christmas cards from her best friends were still on the mantlepiece. One of the cards had come in November, and here we are in May. She saw the cards every day, but she looked at them only every now and then.

This morning she picked them up, one by one, but she did not put them down. She held them in a small pile in her hand. The dust from the cards brushed against, then settled in, her fingertips. It was a sensation she had never liked and when she was young she used to lick the tips of her fingers then rub them against her thumb. It was something that had annoyed her mother.

She used her other hand to rub her eyes then scratch her hair. She had showered as soon as she got out of bed, but there were nights which could not be washed away.

Now that she had them in her hand she did not know what to do with the cards. She could see the dust on the mantlepiece, and it felt wrong to put them back.

The window rattled in the way it had started to do. The top window pane was still cracked and had that small, inexplicable hole. It was old, thin glass. And rattling like that. It was the kind of thing you should fix.

It was a good place to put the cards though. Over there on the window sill. She could move the rocks and the broken cup. And the paint was light, so you couldn’t really see the dust.

If the cards were there, then from her desk, she would only have to turn her head a little and she would be able to see them. All lined up.

And she could remind herself to be the person her friends thought she was.