The familiar scratching at the inner linings of your throat like a cat scratching at the walls, screaming to be let out. The sensation of your airways closing like that time when a man you did not know choked you for reasons you did not know. When you felt your adrenaline pumping in your veins and tears streaming down your face. This is death, but there are no tears, no obligated mourners, no candles lit or rainy days, just a feeling that something is over. Or perhaps you wish it were. For once people tell you to stay in bed instead of scolding you for remaining there. People bring you soup and medicine as if you weren’t already sick and as if somehow this cough is worse than the plague inside your brain. Perhaps my throat is now filled with microorganisms feasting on my flesh, but at least I’m not alone anymore. At least there is hope. Whether that’s hope for a recovery or hope for the alternative I am not at liberty to discuss, but there is hope. Which is more than I’ve had in my hands for months. More than I could muster in years. I am hollow. My heart is an empty violin case waiting to be filled whether it’s with music or a gun, he no longer cares. The beat is played on and on as if the band has not already left as if everyone has not already left me. Here. Yet strep throat makes for perfect company. No one tries to explain to you how strep throat isn’t a real disease. No one preaches how you should be stronger than your strep throat and no one tells me you to stop being sick, as if maybe they care. The truth is that strep is the best friend depression never knew she needed.