The Last Exhale

It was inevitable that this sun-soaked path would grow shadowed and chilly.
I was lost.
In my gut I had been waiting for this moment, but still blinked in confusion as the sterile blue sky clouded over.

The breeze, which was happy and light just moments before, now slithered around my shoulders. Straining to listen for the approaching doom, my heart swelled and squeezed a bloody fist in my chest. My ears filled with the sound of a frenzied drum.

Stopping on the rutted path, I straddled a patch of grass, brown and dry, to try to regain composure. I focused on the thin line of grey clouds that formed a meniscus along the liquid expanse on the horizon, wanting nothing more than to pour the sky on the dead vegetation between my feet.

I continued on since there was no way to go but forward. Tip toeing along the path, the prickling sensation of total awareness tingled uncomfortably like a foot that had fallen asleep.

Relief flooded into my gut when I spotted the door at the foot of a tree. It never occurred to me to find the location a bit unusual.

But it was so small.

I would have to get down on my knees and squeeze through.

The door knob, only a tiny smooth pearl in my hand, turned easily enough as I greedily took in the gold light that threaded through the cracks at the hinges. I wanted desperately to be welcomed inside.

But I didn’t fit. I was too large, an expanse of flesh and thought that couldn’t fold.
I removed my coat,
my hat,
my mittens unraveling between the thumb and pointer finger.
I shed my sweater
and boots.

It was as if the door shrunk in size with every layer I discarded.

I peeled away my skin,
my bones,
my muscle.
I pushed away my day dreams
and tried to slide through the entrance without success.

I shed all of myself,
until I was an exhaled breath.

But when I tried to enter,

a breeze blew me away.

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