Everyday she would wake up, turn off her alarm and open her eyes. That’s when the world would fall on her. All at once, like a bucket of ice cold water. She’d be laying on her bed supine, still savoring the last crumble of her dreamscape, when


she would drown into reality.

Gasping for air, she would turn on the light and roll out of bed, finding in her wooden floor the support to stand up. Everyday she would need to learn how to walk again, balancing the weight of the world on her shoulder while putting one foot in front of the other, and simultaneously avoiding the obstacles falling in front of her. The shower was particularly tough- slippery tiles slippery world- she would often risk losing her balance. And oh, the jammed subway was her nightmare: it’s already hard for everybody, but it gets even harder when you are carrying on your back the globe instead of a backpack. People would get pissed at her: “Move! You’re in everybody’s way!”. But she couldn’t put the world down, nor shrink it into a marble. She could just endure the comments until she arrived at her stop. Once somebody pushed her while getting out of the underground, she was standing right next to the door, and she lost her balance. The world trembled on her shoulders, wobbling its weight around, risking to fall out of the subway door, to roll down in the streets and provoke chaos in the traffic. But the subway doors closed right after and so the world was kept safe, it settled again on her bones and she continued carrying it through her day.

But carrying the world was burdening her, hurting her.

This blue and green sphere would leave blue and green bruises on her shoulders, on her neck, on her back. And those marks would continue to hunt her in the sleep, hurting even more as soon as she laid down on her bed. Sometimes she would try to get somebody to help her carry the weight. She would ask her family, her friends, even strangers, if they could hold the world for her. "Just for five minutes", the time to squat down and pee at a public toilet. "Just for a second", the time to take one actual deep breath without feeling her lungs crushing under the weight of oceans and mountains. "Please", the time to actually find something funny, or beautiful, or deeply inspiring, without having to worry about the shadow that the giant sphere usually projects over her life. But everybody would tell her that they were too busy with assignments and deadlines and work and stress and -”I'm sorry babe but I really don’t have the energy for it right now”. So she would retrieve in her room, turn down invitations to parties and bike rides and concerts and how are you supposed to have a social life when you have literally the world weighing on you? How are you supposed to fully live and enjoy things and be funny on dates when there is a giant sphere burdening you? How can you just "be" when all your energy and focus are dedicated to keep this ball up and balanced? One day she woke up and as usual the world fell on her and she got so scared she started crying. Although when she goes to sleep she knows that in the morning the world is going to fall, every time it’s like the first time and everyday it's like the first day of life, and every morning she feels scared and shocked and lost.

Oncs she got drunk at night with her classmates, she carried her burden to a party and people confused the blue planet with a disco ball and thought she had a funny costume. She kind of had fun. But in the morning, when she woke up with a sandy mouth and bursting throat, she regreted her choice. That day the world hit her even harder, slapping both her cheecks until they got cherry red. She woke up scared with her heart racing and pumping loudly through her body. She tried to breathe deeply and expand her lungs so that the rhythm of it would slow down a little, but somehow the more she tries to grasp air the more the rhythm increases, it's like there’s a wall in her ribcage and she can only breathe a tiny bit before she clashes against it and then needs to do it again and again. She breathes faster and tries to get more and more oxygen and listen to the rhythm of her heart and tries to remember the breathing exercises she used to do in class- how was it? 4 seconds in-7 seconds out? Or was it the other way around? - her brain twirls around trying to count, trying to get consciousness of the spasms of her muscles, but the inhale and exhale counted pile on top of each other in her mind and they form a tower so tall it loses balance and crumbles and so she tries to count pulsations from the vein on her wrist but she can’t count no it's too fast. She's hyperventilating and the wall in her ribcage is closing her lungs and the walls aroind her are closing upon her and the air feels so heavy and gravitational forces so strong. She feels weak and her body trembles under the bed sheets, even her teeth are shaking from fear.


Julia wakes up, a timid ray of sunshine peaks from her window. Her still sleepy body is entangled in the pink sheets her grandmother gifted her for her sixteenth birthday ("for when you'll get married"). Only a pond of sweats reminds her of the dream she just had. But it was just a dream. She shuts off the alarm from her phone and glimpses at the 20 unopened emails and 37 unresponded messages. She decides she'll look into that after her coffee. She receives a notification from her calendar: "German exam at 9am". Followed by "Lunch with Ali at 1pm" and "Review Politics with Max at 3pm" and "Tutoring at 6pm" and a "call mum!" scheduled for the whole day. For a brief second, the walls of her room seem to close on her, gravity seems to pin her down. But it's just a second. Luckily, it was just a dream.