She wanted to love this time of year, really she did. There was a certain beauty about nature’s last hurrah, before the cold set in for god knows how long. Everyone liked to talk about how excited they were over autumn’s arrival, it seemed. The sweltering days were replaced by an urgent bite in the air, the trees were aflame with rich colours, and perhaps more importantly than any other factor, it was a time for tradition and ritual, which were two things in which she’d always found comfort.

But she couldn’t love it.

It was more a harbinger of death than anything else. Metaphorical or literal, the world was winding down, preparing for slumber and darkness. The sense of dread would begin to creep in as early as August, but she was still able to push it to the back of her mind then. When you needed the air conditioner running every day and the sky was light at 9.00 pm, it was hard to worry about snow.

September made it all a little more real. Granted, it was still warm out, but the back-to-school nonsense was always such a big deal. And people were talking. About summer coming to an end, and about all the little cultural frivolities that certain segments of society seemed to obsess over. Halloween costumes. Thanksgiving plans. Pumpkin spice lattes. She’d never had a pumpkin spice latte before. Now there was bloody pumpkin spice everything. You had to hand it to whoever in marketing came up with that one.

And now, here it was: October. Now it was real. It may as well be winter. And winter meant everything that was wrong.

Illness, emptiness, darkness. Bad memories. Always a sense of loss and futility. Not that she didn’t always experience those, but they stung more acutely in the winter months, like the cold air itself. Things like Christmas, things that she used to look forward to because they would break up the monotony of this godforsaken season a little, they held no meaning now. She never really knew what to do with herself no matter what the time of year, but somehow the winter drove that home even more. That she had no purpose, that nothing had any value anymore. That she was slowly dying. That she was the one killing herself. And that was a particular truth from which she preferred to hide, because it also meant that she was the only one who could save herself. That level of responsibility was utterly terrifying.