Panic

Are you are squeezing your eyes shut or staring wildly at the endless vacuum ahead? It’s neither dark nor light, yet everything swirling around you, compressing, suffocating. 

You stumble and fall and keep falling all without moving a muscle. Your head inflates and while it swells, pressure from some unknown source is pushing your right ear into your skull and does the same to the left. 

Maybe if you try to calm down you will go back to normal? Instead of the deep breath you try to take, you begin panting.  

Impossible to get enough air into your lungs you remember that time after your spinal reconstructive surgery when you couldn’t take a deep breath and so for weeks woke up each night huffing and puffing in a pool of sweat. 

Maybe this is something else but for the time being you think you might possibly suffoate and die right here and now.

Something tells you to run, and like a patellar reflex you immediately shout ‘Where?’ 

The sound of your voice startles you and the swirling darkness moves outwards. Your vision refocuses reminding you that you are sitting on your bed in your room, now staring at the picture on the wall. 

The one in the wooden frame that you bought in Denver. A photograph of a wooden chair with the broken back and silk lingerie hung from a line. 

It reminded you of how you imagined yourself. Dainty, feminine, broken. 

Breathing easily now, you glance towards the partly drawn white curtains and see the soft late afternoon light shining through the leaves of the orange tree. 

Two solitary fruit remain. The ones you couldn’t reach that were rotten long before you figured out how to get to them.