Breathe

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It starts deep inside your lungs where your veins and arteries twist and pulse to the rhythm of your feet as they hit the ground. One, two, three; two, two, three… And as your legs follow the inescapable pull of the adrenaline rushing through your body and your body is hijacked by chemicals and carbon dioxide you can’t feel the air that cuts through the corneas of your eyes. And the tears run down your cheeks and there’s an unbearable burning in your vocal chords that chokes you and makes you falter. You stop and you throw yourself onto the grass and it softens your fall. Your chest heaves with exertion and the sun rays reflecting on your pupils blind you. So you lift your hand to your forehead and use it as a shield, and as you do you blink repeatedly, and as you blink you stop breathing and you realise you’re lying under a twisted old tree and its branches soften the aching muscles in-between your ribs and your lungs begin to follow the motion of the leaves and the moss and the wind. As you breathe you observe the foliage dance a magical song that moves beyond realms. It takes you to that summer day in the park. You were five and your father had bought you a popsicle, and you spent hours rolling down the grass and rushing back to the top to do it all again. And you miss your father. You miss the arms you held on to as you fell asleep at night, not letting go for fear of never waking up again. You also miss the games he invented for you and your sister and the many hours spent putting toys together on Christmas Day. The light trickles through the leaves and draws shapes on your stomach. There’s an eagle with its wings spread wide and a penguin wearing a hat and a rabbit holding a tennis racket. And you know you’ll be fine. Like the roots know not to grow towards the sun and the leaves know how to float in the wind without breaking; just like them, you’ll be fine. Two, two, three; one, two, three…

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