It happens slowly at first.
Days drag on for weeks
And months pass with the glacial pace
Of time spent in waiting rooms
With hands folded in thoughtless prayer
For something even your heart couldn’t put to words.
But you breathe
Measured breaths marking seconds
As you fill your chest with air
Displacing the fear and pain that live there
While days stretch to infinity
And the idea of blinding yourself
To avoid watching minutes tick past
Seems less awful every time
You run out of ways to keep yourself busy.
The thought of a year spent like this
Is enough to make your eyelids twitch
And for your feet to wear out the rugs in every room
But that’s all you can think about
Because the thought of anything less
Is more than you can bear.
Suddenly, it’s over.
A week passes in less time
Than it takes to breathe again
And suddenly the future yawns before you
Like the endless stretch of existence
It was before you knew the end was coming.
The clocks move normally again
And the painful thinness of the air
Is gone despite it taking more work than ever
To just breathe.
It happens slowly at first
And then the world carries on
Like nothing happened
And it is everything you can do
To stay moored to life
After being stretched for so long.
Better and worse all at once
As you pick at your shattered, traitorous heart
That sighed in relief
When you finally got the call
But hasn’t been able to start breathing since.