Step 1) stroke a cat. this is always your
first port of call. cry into their fur if you like:
they won't mind so long as you feed them
afterwards. tell them all the things
no one else can possibly understand and
hope they stay on your lap long enough
to hear you out. if all else fails, Google
'cat videos' and sob into your laptop.
Step 2) take a shower. watch the water
split across your shoulders, splay at your
fingertips and tremble in tendrils down your
legs, only to re-emerge united at the gentle
curve of your toes before vanishing
for the cleansing of another. study the pipes,
memorise every detail of your own small workings
and marvel at the magnitude of human engineering.
Step 3) cry again. catharsis is
Step 4) boil the kettle: sadness without tea
is never going to get better. hot chocolate
can be a substitute here, if so inclined.
put on something soft that makes you feel
more fluid than person, and open a book.
put screens away. right now, you need to live
only your life. wallow in this moment; think
through everything that went wrong; welcome silence.
Step 5) sit with yourself. peel the traces of
battered heart and soured words from
your skin and gaze down at your aching
bones, thanking them for carrying you this far
and stirring them for the journey ahead.
step out into the gathering dusk, breathe in
the last remnants of a day you would rather
forget, and fall asleep until sunrise.