When I was a child, there was a tiny wooden bridge that ran over an even smaller stream which branched off the river near my house. It was a little way off the beaten path and overhung with trees so old that the arms of a ten year old could not reach even a quarter way around their trunks. It was quiet there. The only living things you were even aware of were the myriad of tiny minnows milling their way toward the beck and the dozens of tiny birds hopping in and out of the branches above you, ignoring you completely as if you may as well not have existed. I sat on that bridge, legs dangling over the side, for hours, probably days in total, doing nothing but sit and quietly watch as life carried on around me. At the age of ten this was a comfort – a break from the incessant babble of my life – it made me feel at peace. At the age of thirty I find myself once more sitting on a bridge, watching life carry on around me, ignored as if I might as well not exist. I don’t harbour any blame, any grudge; I know that this is something I did to myself. That there is a flaw, a defect, something that is mine and mine alone, that prevents me from joining either the minnows in the stream busily heading for wider waters or the birds in the trees happily chattering to each other while they build their nests and make their homes. I am neither bird nor minnow; I do not belong here. My very presence is an assault against the natural order of the environment. So I sit, and I watch, and I swing my legs as if the motion alone, however useless, might convince me that at the very least I am still alive. I want so desperately to be a part of it – I have tried swimming but no amount of swimming can make me a minnow just as no flapping of wings can make me a bird. I am apart from it all and it is no longer a comfort; it no longer makes me feel at peace. There is a circle of life and in this circle, this cycle, I do not belong. I am alien to this place and however much I wish for it, I can never be anything other. The only way to rectify this, the only solution that seems reasonable now, is to slip away and hope that in death I can add something of worth to this landscape in the way of decaying leaves or decomposing branches. To hope that the thing inside me that is inherently toxic can be washed away by the passing of seasons, the falling of rains, and that next time, in the next cycle, I can find my way to the river or learn to build a nest near the sky. That next time I might belong here.