Were all dreams a lie? She dragged her already damp shirt sleeve across her face one more time, but more tears sprung up to replace those she had cleaned. Alaya had never felt this guilty for living, for being alive and for taking breath after breath. Everything she ever wanted or ever dreamt about remained as elusive as a handful of the wind.

Not regarded as a great beauty, or as a girl of quick wit or intelligent words, Alaya had felt like a crack in the walls for most of her life, going mostly unnoticed. Still, there was one thing she had that no-one could take away from her…her dreams. Alaya would sit alone watching her elder brothers play or fight, and her mind would travel as far as it could dare. Sometimes, to a place where she would be regarded as wise, and where her words would be heard. And always to a place where she was important.

Alaya dreamt of love, of having a man who would love her with the whole of his heart. A man who would see her as a part of his core and would treat her as such. One who would see her as important and would be her everything. The dreams were not a soft cushion for the broken hearts Alaya had nursed in tears over the years, nor were they a comfort for the cold indifference Alaya got from her current boyfriend. Rather they were the source of many more tears.

Alaya dreamt of warmth and of family. Growing up orphaned with two elder brothers offered more protection than tenderness. But her brother’s wife, Sansa had changed all that. The first time she met Alaya, she pulled the younger girl into a warm embrace that almost took her breath away. The sweet spirit Sansa possessed pulled down Alaya’s walls and Alaya saw in her, a new found sister.

Sansa’s sweet spirit was the cause of Alaya’s tears. Her spirit was free, although her body had been crushed in an accident that should never have happened, together with her brother in a car that careened off a bridge into the lagoon. Sansa, with the soft heart was everything and more that Alaya could hope to be. But she was gone, and Alaya was still living. Why? Alaya was learning fast. Dreams sometimes hurt more than reality, especially when they are broken with jagged edges.

She would give anything to stop the madness in her head; the illusions she wished were her life. Was it so bad to desire to live? This dance between dreams and reality had to end. A jagged edge to the soft skin beneath her throat did it, and it was no broken dream this time. Just a fragile piece of glass that reminded Alaya of herself as she cut deep.