The Air is Breathing

October 25, 2010
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My name is Lily Paddington. I see things differently than other people. Like the air. Like music. Like the trees and the grass. And words. Everything. Right now, I hear a rhythm in what’s going on around me. Binder rings click open and shut; the fans in the room rapidly push air through the slim spaces between the sharp, white blades, like invisible spurts of steam. Here and there a paper rips or a pencil taps.

Currently, I’m in my Honors Lit class. But I’m not listening to the teacher going on and on about crime and punishment (not the book). I’m staring out the window at the pale blue sky and the broad emerald leaves that are crushed against the window. There’s an “imagine” plaque stuck to the glass, blocking my view of the trees and the sky.

I know air is invisible, or clear; but somehow I can see it. Outside, through the window, I see it pulsing, waving, undulating, breathing.

“Lily, are you listening?” Miss Austen’s voice draws me too quickly back into the room, where several heads turn to give me condescending looks. Apparently, everyone else is thoroughly enjoying her speech. I lift my gaze to Miss Austen’s edgy glare, smiling faintly.

“No, I’m sorry. I’m a little tired today.”

After a few moments of quiet glaring, Miss Austen takes a breath and continues. I look around and immediately feel suffocated; the air here is thin, stagnant, and dry; it lacks all moisture and movement. I am suddenly intensely jealous of the chocolate spotted sparrow perched on the ashen branches outside. It flaps its wings as soon as the thought pops into my head, and lazily soars out of the tree. The air billows around it, like water when a hand suddenly disturbs it.

A dark cloud has started to form fairly low in the sky, tainting thee intense blue around it with ashen gray. The blue surrounding it is heavy with moisture, and it looks as if the sky truly was going to fall under its sagging weight. Across the road the trees seem to loom and their dark branches reach up greedily to the heavy air above. In my mind I go with them, and leave the stuffy classroom far behind.

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Martie said...
Oct. 29, 2010 at 12:41 am
Excellent article! Is a book coming up?
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