Breathe – One Step, Two Step.

Breathe. one. Breathe two. Smile. three. Wave. four. Breathe. one.

The echo of footsteps thump into the air. two. Rhythmic reverberations resounding throughout the twilight. three. Doppelgangers pass each other, brief reminders of a world outside. four. Their paths intersecting again, and again. one. Same time, same place, mirrored paces. two.

Breathe. three. Breathe. four. Nod. one. Don’t lag. two. Breathe. three. Breathe. four.

The only sound breaking through the trance; Laura Jane’s voice screaming in my ear. one. Oceans swirl past my feet. two. I run past the Magical Mile, through Lake Shore Drive. three. No more troubled sleep. Four.

The sun has long nestled itself away beyond the hills. one. I watch as Atet floats on ripples of a still lake. two. Chang’e ghostly silhouette dances with the stars. three. A single bird’s screech cuts through the thumping. four.

Breathe. one. My shins are cramping, aching. two. My breath is as ragged as my steps. three. My double is gone, vanished with the sun. four. One more lap. one.  Smile. Two. Anger propels my feet forward. three. My body has morphed into rhythm. four. Up. one. Down. two. Left. three. Right . four.

I flag. I slump. A scream splits the moment. Feral. Hoarse. There’s no answer. one. Another scream. two. My breathe comes in gulps. three. Gasping I lurch forward. one.  I’M in ConTrol. TWO. im IN control. thREE. iM In cONtrOL. four.

My feet, my rhythm, grind to a staggered stop. one. I stare into the river, its black velvet pouring over, under, and around the polka-dotted rocks. two. My reflection looks back at me, warped by the water – by the whiskey – by heaving of my chest. three.

An explosion of water illuminates the night. two. A fount of mist mixes with the sweat dripping off my face. one. My reflection ripples and disappears. three. My feet join it. one. My chest. four. My neck. two. My eyes. three.

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My face breaks the water. one. A wounded howl on my lips. two. Sloshing, dripping, I fumble my way back to shore. three. Sloshing, ragged, uneven, jagged the steps come. four.

Damp pavement follows me. one. I turn off the path, back towards the sparkling lights of my neighborhood. two. I’m in control. three. Squish, Squish. four. I’m in control.

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