It was as if everything she thought, felt, remembered, had an aura; behind the briefest eye-blink, least flicker of touch, a shadow, a kind of ghost presence. This aura wasn’t part of her, nor was it in any sense that she could fathom produced by her, nor did it seem answerable to her, even though — of this she was certain — only she was aware of it. Neither did it seem to precede her and her business: it wasn’t there before — couldn’t be anywhere — before she felt what she was able to feel, before she perceived what she — her body — decided she could perceive. And yet there it was, ghost of things present, faint pulsation of the real; at times like the glow on the surface of the universe, at others the dark outline of a world dazzled by there being nothing in it but its own presence. Often it was neither light, nor dark, nor anything visible, but just a presence — simply there — clinging to the motion of her being in space — like the field of a magnet, or radiation from the earth’s rocks. Of late it had occurred to her: perhaps it was the aura that was real, felt things, had a body, sat and moved through space and perceived the countless pulsations of light and energy in the universe, and that she was the shadow clinging to it, following it around, copying its business before it had time to look around and be aware of who she was and how her very presence was no more than a confirmation of the aura’s desparate need for something — anything — to keep it company.

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