Breathtaking

She said she was ready for reality to sink in. Ready to set sail on this life she’s been living for twenty three wasted years. Said, she’d drop everything to have me in her life. All of the boys hanging off her skirt tail and the heroin they brought to her doorstep for hope of a fix and a fuck. She said she’d leave behind the needles and the nod.

Funny thing is, I believed her. Maybe it was the way she held me at night, my face resting in the palm of her hand like it was the framework she’d always needed. Like I was easy to hold onto because I was the only thing in her life that never tried to escape.

I’m not sure what makes me angrier. The fact that it was all bullshit, or the fact that I ate it all up. I wanted to believe it, more than I really cared for it I think. What an experience, spending five years of my life believing happiness wasn’t just attainable, but it was mine. (I thought it was ours, I think that’s the funniest part.)

I guess instead of letting reality sink in, she just sank from the weight of responsibility. You know, I never really found responsibility to be all that difficult. It kind of just was, you know. You do what you have to do before anything else. I mean, how else did she expect to get fed and be taken care of? Maybe that was the problem, maybe she didn’t think about it at all. If food was there, it was there. If she was alright, she was alright. Maybe I didn’t emphasize enough that in order to survive, you had to work to be alright.

She always told me she was envious of me because no matter what happened in life, I was always alright. I didn’t realize until now, it was just a matter making myself alright. I didn’t just wake up alright. I made the right decision, I picked the right friends I knew when to say enough. I knew how to float, so I never had to worry about drowning. It’s a matter of making yourself weightless, really. Just breathe in and out, work with gravity, not against it. Just be weightless. And it will all pass. And you’ll drift on.

She always loved the bay window of her apartment. How it hung over the city. She said it kept her from suffocating. I don’t know why, they didn’t even open. Her apartment was six stories up.  Just seeing the air out there was enough for her I guess. Just knowing if she wanted to breathe, the air would be right there waiting for here. Maybe she just liked the idea of being alright. I think if she was actually alright, she wouldn’t know what to do with herself. She’d twiddle her thumbs for a minute or two and then say, “And where do we go from here?” and I’d say, “There’s nowhere to go but up.”

But she was always coming down. Track marks on her forearms were reality’s bite marks. She and reality, they never got along. Reality took the oxygen right out of her lungs. The only way for her to just be was for her to lose herself completely.

I remember the last day I saw her. She was spread out, her blood like water splattered all over the concrete. The glass of her bay window shattered under my feet. I had gone to the store to get her some Advil. She was coming down for the fourth time that year. When I came back, there she was. She stole the air right from the city. She wrestled her last battle with reality. I guess she finally got sick of suffocating.


Written by Holden Lyric in response to Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words

Inspired by “Relaxation”

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