Someone, something, planted a seed someday. It waited there for some time, hidden under layers of memory, hindered by reason’s commands. Yet its roots expanded in the silence of thought. Like long neuronal limbs, they took hold of that rich soil inside the brain. And the story started growing.

Patches of green grass now colour the fertile land of imagination. Thin, light like a first sentence, the blades gather around each other, some shorter, some longer. They bloom in all directions. Some are of a bright, precious emerald. Others bend under the weight of a tragic outcome.

One of them is bigger. Right there, in the middle of that endless plain. Thicker, stronger, a brown stem afloat in a green sea. More complex than its paratextual counterparts, yet not luxuriant enough to join its fully-fledged paper brothers out there. So it keeps growing. Its trunk thickens. Its bark cracks under the multiple creases of detail.

And then a first twig sprouts. Frail as it is, it might snap any moment; the cruel wind of doubt can be strong in that ever- evolving realm of ideas. Yet it holds on. As a reward for its tenacity, the straight, thin, stripped bough grows its first twisted bud. After such a success a second twig develops. With it come more buds and, with them, the first flowers. All of different colours, all with different smells, their names spanning the whole alphabet.

A few more leaves, and the tree will be ready. For months, years even, it has been drawing on precious Time, consuming it, sometimes so self-centred it deprived its host of vital resources – sleep, food, friends. But it was all worth it. Look how its highest leaves now brush against the enclosing sphere! It wants to come out. It needs to expand its branches to the wider world. It just has to wait a little longer. It is patient – that is its very strength. It will stay there, away from the cruel woodcutters who will edit it to a miserable, artificial essence. It will wait there, in its mighty land, the pioneer of an alternative life that will keep growing and thriving in its safe haven. Until its host finally uproots it and sends it away – but not today.

Meanwhile, bathed in the shadow of the leafy canopy, rooted in a seed fallen from the lofty limbs, another shoot surfaces above the earth. This time straight as an autobiographical ‘I’.