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    Emerging from the haven of her feathered duvet
    Never previously so aware of the shelter it affords
    She abandons the comfort of the fetal position
    And the safety of legs scrunched against her chest.
    Morphing from a state of horizontal
    But failing to achieve entirely vertical
    Her form remaining bent and hollow
    As if this shields her from the horrors of today
    And the dread and the fear of facing it alone.
    Tap, tap, tap
    Too distant to penetrate the membrane of her consciousness
    Knock, knock, knock
    Too irrelevant to break her spell of refuge
    Pitter, patter the footsteps fade away
    Leaving her to enter the dark hole
    In which her preparation can continue
    According to automation and rehearsed ritual
    Eliminating the requirement to engage brain space.
    Until she drags herself and the snake in her belly
    Across the expanse of her bedroom
    Prising open the final barrier -
    The door, her shield.

    And then she saw the cake
    And the note
    “We will all be there for you”
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