I’m sitting at the table and I have an itch on my head, just above my right ear. I go to scratch it, gently pressing my fingers in against the hair and the skin. The fingers just keep digging in, drawing blood first and then they gently parse aside the fibres of the temporalis muscle.
Deeper still they go, through the border of the parietal and temporal bone, reaching into the bag that keeps the brain whole until finally the fingers penetrate the soft folds of the brain itself.
I look around and my family have not noticed anything different. My breakfast sits before me, untouched and uneaten.
I am slightly sickened by this point so I retract my fingers, hold them steady in front of my face and twist the right hand around, noticing as I do the soft droplets of blood hitting the bowl in front of me. They are red tears dropping onto my cereal biscuits, mixing with the milk to make it a pinkish dye.
I want to scream, to say that this is not normal.
But then I realize, slowly, that each of my family members also have one of their own hands extended deep into their own heads, exploring their own personality and their own individual ticks.
This is normal. This is what we do. We examine our own conscious, our feelings, for hints and tips on how to react to external stimuli as appropriate. We look deep into ourselves and, finally, we also look to each other for social clues, for the nous that we think is missing from the familiar.
This is a routine that we practice each and every morning, the examining of our physical selves to better re-enforce our emotional batteries. We are what we are, we are both flesh and blood; we are but thoughts and emotions also.
The milk tastes okay with the droplets of blood, there is the hint of the mercurial and the taste of the metallic as I crunch down on my breakfast feed.
It is the same every morning, it is the same every week. For better or for worse.