You feel like you’re drowning on dry land.
You try to push past that growing lump in your throat, the pain that wraps around your voice box and expands like a disease.
It takes and it demands and it knocks the breath out of you.
The tears collect within your eye socket like a flood waiting to break free.
You’ve been here before.
Like a door, your eyes slam shut.
You try to reject this, this thing labeled attack and breakdown and you choose to put no labels on it.
You force yourself to break out of the rut.
Denial hits you like a shockwave—it paralyzes you, makes a mind of its own, and controls your actions—so you tell yourself you won’t spiral.
You know you’re on the verge of tears.
You know the feeling all too well because it settles deep within your bones and almost embeds itself onto your heart, and with every beat and every pump of blood, it spreads through your veins and your arteries as if it were oxygen.
You know you’d kill to bury yourself underneath the arms only you know can give the most comforting hugs, but they are nowhere to be found.
So you decide you will tread through the mud.
You will make it out of the quicksand.
You will not sink with this ship.
You will live to see another day.
You will catch the final ray of sunlight as the sun dips below the horizon.
You will pinpoint the constellations in the nocturnal sky and trace them on your palm.
You will laugh like hell and slap your knee if you damn well want to.
The sand will seep between the gap in your fingers and you will make yourself weary desperately trying to keep it within your grasp.
You will weather the storm.
You will gulp the salty water, because you know you haven’t lived if you haven’t done that at least once.
You will hop on tables and sway your skirt to your favorite song, drunken with joy and not alcohol, because what the hell if people are watching. You will give them a spectacular show.
You will sob and perhaps soak your garments with a stream of tears and maybe you will raise your hands, just to let them fall back down, and you will think, what now?
If you’re anything like me, you won’t know the answer to that question instantly.
So you will make it up as you go along, placing one foot in front of the other.
You will lie on your deathbed, your heart slowing its pace, welcoming whatever awaits you.
Not one ounce of regret in your entire being.
A distant voice will whisper by your ear, “You remember that time we thought we could live off beach water and sand? How we thought that was honestly all we’d ever need?”
A faint chuckle will slip out of your lips. “The...the jellyfish sting?”
Then, it will be the voice’s turn to laugh. “Hurt like hell. I swear I could’ve died from the pain.”
You will know death at that moment.
How it isn’t painful but rather…subtle.
Like a lifelong friend that’s come to whisk you away.
And then, this movie will flick on and this roll of clips will begin to speed through your eyes—moving at such speed, you won’t be able to believe you have witnessed such beauty—the trees you hugged whose roots lie feet deep within, the grass that crunched beneath your bare feet, the deer you caught hiding amongst the pine trees, the breeze that snaked around your back and kept you company on the lonely nights.
The air that entered your nasal cavities and came out your mouth without a cost.
All those tulips that wound up at your doorstep, possibly from the person who’s been paying close attention when you mentioned your favorite flower.
The coconut water that cascaded down your naked chest after you ripped through skyscraping waves.
Every seashell you put to your ear, every hair down your spine prickling because you swore you could hear the waves crashing against the shore.
You will think, my God… have my feet really carried me this far?
You will think how every little good thing in this life never demanded money from your wallet but simply asked that you soak it in.
And you will decide, right then, that you must bid this world goodbye in the most honorable way possible.
You must give your story an ending worth telling.
With your last sliver of energy, with the final living cells remaining in your body, you will spring out of that bed and break into a sprint.
And you will let no one stop you, try as they
You will spend that last twenty dollar bill on a Fiddle-leaf fig, and you will sigh with relief knowing that’s the best investment you’ve made in your entire life.
The rain will gush from the sky but will melt into you like a sweet melody.
You will bathe in it and you will relish every second of it.
Your heartbeats will come to a halt, you will plop down on the steady ground, your arms cradling your companion.
You will think, so long, beautiful world.
Your eyes peel open, your sight all blurry and your lips all pouty.
You scan the view before you—the plexiglass shielding you from the polluted air and the suburban heat.
A plane of view so wide you feel like it could be a world of its own.
A cup brimming with coffee sits besides you, stagnant.
You’ve been seeking peace for so long.
Was this…could this be it?
You steal a glimpse from the clay pot at your feet.
A Fiddle-leaf fig.
You ponder on choosing a name worthy of its glory.
You leap to your feet, your toes grazing the sunlight creeping through the balcony.
You whirl around and decide that battle will be for another day.
You step inside, rub your soles on the wool carpet, and you sniff through all the congestion that built up inside you.
And then, then you say, “Bring it on.”