My jaw pops. Pressure installs. I have been here before, yet it feels new. How quickly the mind forgets the bad, like it never was. But here it is again.

The body reacts, much in the same way. But a little different, like it still remembers the steps. It has gained some minor coping mechanisms. I take a breath, I smile. It will be bad, but less than what it was. Little comfort to help me through. I’m not ready, but I am in a different league. I have guns now – knowledge of what it is and how to fight it, both of them.

I’m preparing myself, it doesn’t work very well. Still, it’s all I got. Will it be over soon? Will it be gone forever after this? Probably not, but I still have hope.

Together they pack quite a punch, but the blow has less of an impact. I feel tougher, but not stronger. This is what experience feels like – am I wiser? It still hurts, it still causes pain – is it less strong or have I gotten more stable?

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