August 31, 2009

Origin of the Longest Breath

You did not look up as I passed. Your eyes were concentrated on your homework, and I could only see the top of your head and your jeans, but I knew it was you. I was humbled in your presence, lowering my ears and tucking my tail away. Without a word I excused myself and continued on towards the restroom.

How long ago was our last civil talk? How long had I been deprived of your smile, voice, and witty ideas? Too long. It was so sad that the silence between us remained as solid as a titanium wall, separating us with a breadth of three feet. Unconsciously, my feet skirted the outer rim. My steps became slightly absurd, adding a little bounce so that the zippers on my backpack jingled against each other.

Look at me! Look at me! They whined. Forgive me and return. I am so lonely.

However, you seemed to be busy, your icy blue eyes refusing to give even the slightest joy. In two more steps I stopped bouncing. A heavy weight of disappointment left bitter tastes of anger and embarrassment rotting in the back of my throat. My face flushed, but the turtle-neck shirt I was wearing was very warm. That was it. In the bathroom, I washed my face and pumped myself like a fighter in the ring. I was preparing myself for the next round.

I pushed the door of the restroom open and exited, my heart steeling itself. It was ready to see you again, to ignore you like you did to me for a year. My resolve met nothing.

I paused and stared at the seat cushion. Just air? It can't be! I whipped my head back and forth in a frenzy of hair and rubber bands. I was only in the bathroom for a couple of minutes! But no matter how I reasoned that a body absorbed in an important activity would never leave that said activity so readily, you were not there.

A cold, discarded cushion remained, the heat from your touch dwindling until it was a cushion without a purpose. An upholstery. No one finds an interest in just a seat cushion, and it didn't even look comfortable. Already, people regarded it as useless without a person of interest occupying it. It was the scenery. No. Even less than the scenery, an object taking up space that could very well be used by something more flamboyant or charming. Instead, they were stuck with a stupid, cheap, brownish-red seat cushion.

I sat down. In one moment, I had been struck dumb. Everything I had learned up 'til that point in time was forgotten, except you. How much I missed you, thoughts of how you were feeling whenever you saw me, and the pain of your neglect mixed together in a bitter emotion that was too big to describe, still is too complicated to represent accurately. You no longer cared about me.

That was what hurt more than the arguments we had and the angry emails we sent to each other. That was what stapled my feet to the ground, stuck between a Heaven of possibilities and a Hell of doubts. Flipped upside-down on a rotating platform, I was burning in Hell.

It was the longest second of my life, followed by the longest breath--spanning the subconscious, the Higher Forms of things, the mechanical restrictions of society, the delicate fabrication of the universe, the indistinct realm of fantasy, and at last returning to the lungs of a young woman wishing she was three hundred miles away in a land of certainty and love.

With all the riches of Life, the breath rejuvenated my spirits. God was saying, "Drink." And I drank. My aching muscles leapt forth and I stood, taking a step away from the seat. It was a husk of a chair now, leaving the Idea of Chair to wander about in the minds of man forever and ever.

I was free. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. A close friend of mine quit me cold turkey, and I was lost for a long while, depressed, the works. It took a year to finally realize I could live alone, if need be, and I got back on my feet again.