I walk home from work on a chill midwinter night, music tucked inside my ears, wind whipping my hair and skinning my lips; a night when the sky is so dark and so deep you feel the earth will defy gravity to rid you from its surface, to fling you out into the depths. It’s dizzying and exhilarating. Nowhere in the world do I feel lonelier than in my hometown; an environment so familiar I can reproduce every detail behind closed eyes, where I feel any absence with the startling burn of a fresh wound. Where days, weeks and months become so routine that one wrong step, one new route, or one missing link attracts the gaze of a curious spotlight amid the ordinary gloom.
Pulling a piece of string between my thumb and forefinger I will always search for a knot or snag, somewhere to stop, a blight to measure the rest of the smooth string against. No matter how much string I have to play with – long, uninterrupted lengths – my fingers will always find that knot.