Tranquility seemed to come up around my bare feet, whispering and guiding me to the edge of Westgate Road; the street perpendicular to mine. I stumbled at first, but eventually the sticky air hushed me to a state of near unconsciousness, to where all that was comprehensible were my immediate surroundings, and the realization that my lungs no longer seemed to be broken. A half-crumbled wooden fence sharply introduced itself through the fog, like a cat unexpectedly batting at your feet as you walk around a corner.
I gazed up at a tall shadowed pine tree, reminding me that I’ve left the scene, and it seemed to speak to me, begging me to let him and everything else go. As if I could walk away. I scoffed at my response, my heart breaking with its overwhelmingly convincing validity.
It started to rain. Softly, as if the clouds were weeping with me; a state favorable to ten minutes before when all I could think about was death. Then the steam got warmer, hot, and warmer still, until my imagined escape turned to white tiled shower walls and I was left with my head between my knees and my arms around my ankles, crouched on the slick shower floor.
I no longer encouraged my conscience that the next day might be better; I’d given up on that a long time ago. Instead I stood up and moved to the front of the sink. Staring, through the remaining smudge on my dad’s bathroom mirror, at my reflection, now completely used to the unrecognizable gaze that shot back with tired swollen eyes and a waning blank expression.
The longing to be nothing crept around my feet, waiting to pounce, and I tried to numb it back before remembering that in the past I had let it do as it pleased; no longer finding use in sending it away. I rather welcomed it now, and felt the same despairing comfort as when it first awoke; it was more familiar than anything else. And when it wrapped me up just like the towel around my body, it let me know that I wasn’t done yet.
Then I walked outside of my father’s bathroom, out the front door, onto my driveway, and into the street. I walked down the road, and shook the hard pebbles of asphalt off my toes as I made my way down to the green split sign at the corner. I walked until I could see the name that read Westgate. I saw the wooden fence, I saw the wise pine tree, I saw the wet rain. I stared at this scene, at its embracing owl eyes and dark face that always told me I would survive. But I knew that it could never help me get away.