one last breath

Inhale sharply. You sense something orbiting your mind, but cannot quite pinpoint it. Is it the ringing in your ears when all you wish for is complete silence so you can hear your own thoughts? Thoughts that you have been refusing to acknowledge for days? You cannot quiet the static between your ears nor inside them. But, one thing is for certain: you need to let it surface to the forefront of your thinking. You exhale and command yourself be still, be still.

At first, it is distant murmur and you cannot distinguish whether the tempo is one of celebratory triumph or lamenting dirge. Your ever-hopeful, optimistic self tries to pull lilting notes that symbol a chorus of victory. Your practical, realistic self is no stranger to an incongruous tempo oft preceding the inevitable.

You inhale more sharply and hold it. You want to be able to decipher any note that may give hint on how best to proceed. There were so many allegro highs interspersed with melodic moments of joy, anticipation, and excitement. But, where there was once a constant flutter of beautiful sound, there is only the most unexpected sound of all. Silence. A silence so abrupt that you don’t hear it at first because the music is still playing in your ears. They keep ringing with notes of secret desires shared and ones you hoped would be.

Your mind spins. You need to consciously tell your lungs to expand and contract because it seems as though they cannot complete the task involuntarily. Your breath fights with your mind. Your mind fights with your heart. Your heart pleads for it all to stop.

So, you do. You stop. And with that motionless silence you bravely wait, but without breath. It has long since dissipated, an ether that bound to your last sustaining atom of oxygen. And then you realize it was too volatile to ever be contained within you.