Singapore Adventure

Friday, May 05, 2006

Slow Deep Breaths
by venitha

I lie in bed watching the sunlight die away from the city skyline, and I exhale completely, emptying my lungs of air, my mind of thoughts, my body of tension. The frustrations of the day skulk reluctantly into the shadows, forming a scruffy police line-up on the window sill. I will them to jump.

Jump from the 19th floor! Do it! Jump! Do it! Uncooperative as usual, they stand blinking dumbly until one after another, I force them over the edge. I push my health insurance powerfully, both hands wide open. I flick my taxes quickly with my index finger, blow away the kitchen's persistent ants with a gentle puff of air.

I close my eyes, take a slow deep breath. Fill your stomach with air, Jim has advised me, and I envision starving children with swollen bellies, my nine-plus-month pregnant friend Sonja, a-

The lazy bing bong of the arriving elevator distracts me from my distraction. Not my taxes again! How could they survive that fall? I think of throwing myself off the ledge to escape them, then sternly remind myself that I am clearing my mind.

Damn it! Concentrate! Or, well… focus! On relaxing? Criminy. Am I so inept I cannot even–

A key turns noisily in the lock, and the door opens with its familiar click. A child nearly caught lobbing mangoes off the roof, I frantically re-don my calm demeanor, take a slow deep breath.

Jim enters the bedroom, looks at my prostrate form, then traces the curve of my jaw with a tender finger. I will myself not to flinch from his unintended tickle.

“Tough day?” He disappears into the closet, takes off his jeans and puts on a smile. He lies down beside me, squeezes my hand.

“You clash horribly."

He strains his head up to see his red and gray striped boxers below his green and blue plaid shirt, then wriggles into his pillows. “I do. And no one at work said a thing.”

We lie together in silence, hands clasped, taking slow deep breaths as the evening city skyline comes to life, light by light.