How long had I been here?

Without a clock or even seeing the sun rise and fall, I had no idea how long I had been here. No way to count. No way to work it out. At first I tried to judge it by when I slept; each time I woke was a new day.

Then I thought about how little I slept now. And how some days felt much much longer than the next one. Soon I guessed without actually knowing day from night when I slept, I could just be napping in the day and not know. It was "as useful as an ice seller in winter". Papa used to say that. I remember that. Just.

I thought long and hard before I gave up. It was best not knowing. If I didn't know how long it had been, I could pretend it wasn't long at all.

I could pretend that I was at a sleepover and Mama and Papa were picking me up in the morning. I could pretend that they would pull up outside in the bright, shining morning in our car and call out my name out of the window. I could pretend that Papa would leap out when he saw me at the door and picked me up off the ground to put me in my chair. I could pretend Liam would be waiting on his side, in his seat, smiling widely with dribble dripping from his open mouth.

I could pretend this darkness that I now lived in was only the black night. One that would end soon with the morning's sunrise.