This story is an old one and over the years I have tried to tell it in many different ways. As it stands there is a mixture of all my methods. The start of each chapter will inform you as to who is telling that particular section, be it myself – the author, Harriet Shane, Jared Deacon or even a lowly street merchant.

Change Everything: Harriet Shane.

When life gets really bad, when you just want to curl up and die the little things that make you smile seem so much sweeter. When you're in love you never stop to notice the noise that dry leaves make when you stand on them, or the way sunlight bleeds over the horizon into the ever moving waters or the river. Yes, loss is a terrible thing but recovering from the numbness it brings feels wonderful – like that first stretch after a long sleep when you remember your limbs.

I don't know why people say that drink helps. It doesn't. All it brings is troubled sleep and a greater feeling of disconnection and while pain might bring you back to your body and bleeding can remind you you're alive it does nothing in the long run. I wouldn't dare suggest that people recover from loss or heartbreak; they merely learn to function in a different way. When a man has a stroke and can no longer speak his mind will often readapt and language will be rediscovered. Perhaps emotion is like that. I know I'll never be the same again though simultaneously, if you will excuse the cliché, I know I will survive.

I didn't expect to end up here. Never once in my life did I believe that I would, no, could, just take a step back from humanity and let time rush past me. I always wanted to change everything. By nature I am not a passive person. I suppose nurture, if you can call it that, made me this way. I can not deny that I've been loved but by the same token I can not deny that I've been hurt, and badly. The first time I managed to gain my feet again, the second too though it took far longer. I don't know if I can a third time. I seem to have retreated into my mind and while there are worse things I could do a retreat, to me, will always be a retreat. Some distant part of me, some part that's still got its pride, is ashamed of that. The rest of me is past caring, past wishing and past the time some sort of release would have helped.

As I stare out of the window I often wonder what would happen if I walked down to the river and just kept walking – let the freezing water wash over me and force my skin to feel. I wonder what would happen if I didn't fight the current and just let it take me, let it pull me under. And then I stop thinking.

But as usual, I've said too much, the end is never the place to start. This, like all other stories that end in tears, begins with a kiss and a smile.