She stood over the mat for minutes, gazing at the edges of her sacred runway, before letting naked toes make contact.
Actual months had passed since she last committed to an intimate moment with this suggestive space. Sets of weeks with their own names: July, August, September. How long had it been?
As her awareness moved to nervous breaths, she realized she wasn’t sure what it would mean to her anymore, or if she had ever been there at all—this length of rubber, spread innocuously across a bedroom floor.
The kitten made last-ditch efforts at engaging in play with exposed feet and aching legs before being gently scolded, then shooed out the door.
And then there were two.
Deliberate and slow, her left foot sunk into the rubber, to be met by the right a second later.
Recognition. Memory. Release.
She moved through the poses, though they felt more difficult than she remembered. And she stayed with the poses, though her body felt weaker and more clumsy than she remembered. She rested and breathed. She moved again.
This pain is ancient, she thinks to herself. There’s no room to breathe and my heart has no space to sing. I’m choking on this old stuff—the debris of what I used to believe and what I wished for and who I was. I can’t remember her anymore.
And she remembers the night before. The night they purged demons together, in a living room painted a cheerful robin’s egg blue.
You stopped trying and stopped caring. And now I’m supposed to care. I’m supposed to care more than you. Well, fuck that. And fuck you. His words were choked as was her spirit, for she had divorced herself from it long ago.
There’s a fatigue that only the sick can know; and the ones that are closest have another illness altogether to experience. The sick know a longing for health that can immobilize. The one’s who watch them suffer, who witness them give in, know a quiet fear and a secret rage that can cripple. She surrendered herself to the fantasy of health and passed the burden on to another.
And now it weighs too much for either one of them to bear alone.
She moves to child’s pose. Selfishly sick, she thinks to herself and the words, though unspoken, lodge in her throat; but, like magician’s work, the thought disappears. And she’s there again. On that mat. In that space. Where thoughts have no power to take away what is so rightfully hers: this practice.
And when the tears come in corpse pose, she lets them.
When the emotions appear from unknown depths, when the confusion sets in, when the remorse bubbles up from foreign places, she lets them.
For once in her life, she stands aside to let them.
She let them come so she could honor them—because they’ve worked so damn hard to gain their freedom.
On the mat tonight, when she stepped delicately into place, she was safe—if only for those minutes—as her body stretched and moved.
Back to the mat.
Safe to be.
Her body remembered what peace, true peace, felt like.
Her heart arrived, willing to try for love’s sake once again.
Her lungs, so obedient, expanded and contracted with each twist, each reach, each additional present moment—thank you for bringing us home, they whispered. Thank you for remembering the way.
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