There is a woman who marks the days. Not the days that have passed, but the days to come. She marks the days she has yet to live. All these days she marks, up to the one that might be her last. She cannot know that one. There is a last day. A last mark. But it is arbitrary.
As she lives each day, she removes one mark. She wipes it clean from the slate with her thumb because it is gone. She considers herself lucky that any days remain.
As the sun leaves her at the end of the next day, going places she cannot go, she erases one more mark.
And when the sun circles round to come up behind her again, she watches it pass over, squints her eyes against it, shades her eyes with her hand. She watches it leave her again. And when it is gone, she rubs away one more mark.
How many are left, we wonder.
One day, only a few will remain.
One day, three will remain.
One day, two.
One day one.
And as the sun leaves her on the last day, she will lay her bare arms on the earth, rest her head, and die.
Or she might go on.
She might live more days. She might count herself lucky each day, and mark each one that she lives. Each day as the sun leaves her behind, still living, she marks that day as gone, and over time the marks add up. Perhaps they become quite a number.
One of those days will be her last. She will die.
We cannot know when.
She wipes the slate clean. She fills it full of marks. And as the sun circles round to come up behind her again, she rubs one away. Soon she has three remaining. Then two. Then one.
Then she dies.
Or begins again.