Dedicated to one particular person. You know who you are.

Me and my muse were sitting in my room one afternoon. We were both silent and sullen. She was smoking a cigarette, and I was ignoring her.

I was somewhat angry with her for having abandoned me for such a long time, so I had snatched at the smallest excuse to vent my spleen – I had shouted at her for coming in through the window, which always surprised and annoyed me. She had reasoned that since she was ethereal, there was no way she could ring the doorbell, but I was in no mood to listen.

My muse takes the form of a thirty-five year old lady with dyed hair. She hates speaking in contractions. She always holds her purse tight, because my dreams are in there, and the purse was once stolen, giving me a year-long Writer’s Block. She is rather nice, but she is prone to witticisms and aphorisms, and that irritates me sometimes. There was a time when she was a twenty-five year old punk rocker, but she decided she had to mature somewhat, without dropping the attitude. She used to try a French accent once in a while, but I’m really bad at it, so she stopped.

As I watched, she silently made her way through six cigarettes. (The smoke didn’t annoy me, since, technically, it didn’t exist.) Then she prepared to leave, just as silently, when I finally spoke.

“You don’t like me much, do you?” I asked.

“And what makes you say that?” she said, taken aback somewhat.

“You keep leaving me for such long intervals, and then you come back and act all moody. There’s no consistency in your behaviour.”

“That is not the truth. You are the one who is not consistent. My dear boy, I can only come when you make an effort to invite me. You much prefer to wallow in self-pity. It has nothing to do with me.”

I realised that silence had been preferable. It is never nice to hear the truth, especially when it is a figment of your imagination telling you.

“But you should realise that, and come anyway. See, whenever I am depressed because I am not getting any ideas – that is when I need you most, and that is just when you choose to go on long holidays.”

“I think you would rather depend on me than think for yourself. Maybe you are right – perhaps I do not like you.”

I thought about what she said. I said, “Ah.”

“I think I will come back when you have something more to say than ‘ah’. Here. Have something to tide you over.”

She took out a toffee from her purse and flicked it at me.

“Use this to think about things – perhaps about what you just said. Maybe next time I will give you a whole bar of chocolate.”

She left through the window. I took a deep breath. Smoke swirled into my nostrils, but smelled of nothing. I turned on the computer and sat in front of it all afternoon. Then I wrote this.