The Most Important Thing About Breathing

I’m going to tell you right now that I don’t like a single second of it. Papers rustle around me as I sit here, silent and unmoving, like a long forgotten statue hidden under the ruins of the library at Alexandria. Nothing. A train blows its whistle in the distance, the clock tower chimes one, two, three, four, five, six times. Six, it’s not a very pleasant number. Don’t three sixes in a row represent the devil? That can’t be a good sign when this one day might very well be the most important day in my life.

It’s impossible not to act, but I see it every day. Even now, I can’t stand it. They all just sit there, I mean, all they can do is breathe. They take in air and spurt it back out, like a vending machine when your dollar bill is too wrinkled.

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They are just a being, taking everything from the world and giving nothing back.

I don’t see it that way. It’s impossible to simply stand by when you know there’s something you can do to change what’s happened. I told myself that today, I am going to act. My whole life I’ve been standing by and waiting, but no more. I hear a ping on my watch, reminding me not to waste any time. Moving as quickly as a jet plane, I expose myself to the outdoors.

It’s cold, it’s wet, I’m not wearing the appropriate clothes, but that’s not what I’m thinking. There’s a passion, a fire, that pushes through my core and seems to be leaking out. Every step I take power thrives through my bones and the grey sky around me brightens.

This is life. I’m running, now. Chasing down fate like life depends on it. No. My life does depend on it. This one moment of this one day will change everything, and I am ready.

I stand before a door, tall and wide, just as I remember it. I turn away, not wanting to face my destiny resting just behind this piece of wood, or plywood, or fiberglass, or whatever modern doors are made of now. I close my eyes, taking myself back to the day I decided I needed to leave. I had a choice: college here or college there. I saw all the possibilities waiting for me out there, in the world. What did I have here in this small prison of a town? So it was official. It was my decision and I never look back on it, or do I? I snap back to reality as I hear a honking horn. A car of rowdy teenagers passes by and they yell a stream of unsavory sentences at me. They have no idea. To be a rebel, to wish for freedom, it isn’t worth it. At least, that’s what I keep thinking when I feel totally lost. ‘I was never like that,’ I tell myself. But then I turn around and see the door again, stained a brilliant blue, like the tears I have shed both from within and without this house. All those days and nights I thought I could get by on my own. I thought I was on a path to living up to my own expectations, my own plans, my own dreams, but now I’m not so sure.

I’m going to tell you right now that I don’t like a single second of it, but all my sitting and breathing has gotten me nowhere. These steps, these muscles, this will, propels me forward and I open the door. I let out a yelp. It’s still here, all of it. My hand slips my grasp on the doorknob and the heaviness of my heart is released as the door slams behind me. I see faces peeking out from the top of the stairs. I take a deep breath, not any old breath like I have been breathing every day of my life, I absorb it all in and close my eyes when I say, “I am home.”

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