And as we stood out in the street making sure that her car was intact, which of course it was, I became aware of this feeling of having deserted my own life, as once I would desert my room; and I was suddenly filled with the most extraordinary sense of existence as a secret pain, an inner torment it was impossible to share with others, who asked you to attend to them while remaining oblivious to what was inside you, like the mermaid in the fairy story who walks on knives that no one else can see. I stood there while my sister talked, about her car and what might have set off the alarm, and felt this compelling pain of loneliness; in admitting which, I knew, I was also admitting the blackest vision of life. – Outline, Rachel Cusk