The wind whispered in the night. It was warm and moist, but the breeze reminded me of cool lemonade on a hot day. There was a sweetness to it that I can’t put into words. I suppose that was at least a day ago. I remember taking a deep breath, pulling air through my nose and deep, deep into my lungs. I used to do this strange thing where I’d hold a deep breath, and then suck in a bit more, then a bit more. I would imagine a balloon expanding till it burst, and picture my lungs doing the same. I don’t know why, and I certainly wasn’t hoping to pop one of my lungs. It was just one of those silly things you do when you are young and don’t think about the consequences of actions. When my chest started to burn, I knew I’d have to exhale, that I’d lost my secret competition against my body’s natural functions. Slowly, so slowly, I let the carbon dioxide flow out of me. My mind swam as the sensation of floating invaded my oxygen deprived brain.
I don’t remember how I got to the balcony of the hotel room, or how I arrived in the city at all. One minute I was practicing a pointless breathing exercise that I used to play as a kid, the next I’m in a totally unfamiliar place with my feet dangling off the edge of a guardrail. Things tend to go that way for me. Flashes and glimpses of the in-between sometimes stick, but usually it’s too blurry to make sense of. It’s really hard to keep track of time when you consistently lose your sense of it, so I can’t say exactly how long this has been happening, but if I had to guess… 2 years? 3 maybe? I never know when a stretch is going to kill me. That’s just what I call them. Stretches. I don’t know how long they last, and I can’t recall what happens during them. Do I eat? Do I rest? I know I do some things, because I’ve come out of them with scrapes, bruises, and other injuries. That’s why I think one is going to kill me some day. But not today. Today I survived.
I woke up from the longest stretch I can remember. The last date I remember being sure I saw was two weeks prior to the date on the newspaper I saw in the trash. It’s nearly impossible to maintain relationships when you never know where you’ll be one moment to the next, much less how long you’ll have been away. At least I assume I’m away. Maybe I’m on autopilot. I try to phone the people who mean the most to me when I can; Mom, Dad, my siblings, but it’s so hard to remember sometimes. I usually feel like I just got off a call with one of them. I probably single handedly keep pay phone companies afloat. It’s hard to keep track of a cell when huge chucks of your life are not in your control.