The door is heavy, and I lean into it with a shoulder as I drag a backpack and grocery bag in behind me. Whiskey, cigarettes and music are the sustenance, but I think I've thrown some sandwich fixings and a change of clothes in there as well. I push the door shut with my back and stand facing myself in a mirror that reaches from the floor to at least the lower level of heaven. I have no idea how high these ceilings are so I'll just say they're the perfect height.
Here's where I breathe, the first good, solid inhale/exhale I've had in at least three days or nineteen years. Can you have an anxiety attack that lasts nineteen years? Some slow, steady, oozing acid in your gut that's been there for so long you think it's normal. Of course, it is. You know it 'cause you've been watching and listening as everyone else lives in their panic as well.
I drag the essentials with me as I follow the hallway to the right. There are pictures, paintings and framed articles about the place hanging on the old brick wall but I ignore them 'cause they say this place isn't mine, and I'm saying for right now it is. Kay, one of the most gracious and generous women I've ever met, has allowed me this say for a very fair price. She left me that key.
I drop the backpack in the bedroom to the left, a large room with double, dark stained doors. I'll return here later, but I'm quickly headed back up the hallway to the end where I stop and place the grocery bag on the dining room table. I slip off my flip flops without even looking down and feel the coolness of the wood floor beneath my bare feet.
I don't know how long I'm standing here, but I think this is where I take my second breath. Inhale. Exhale into a massive space, contained but not, a world all it's own. Once again, I know the ceiling is there because its a beautiful, decorated red tin and those massive brick walls are all around me reaching, reaching up.
The sun's light is pouring in from the glass facing me at the back of the room and I run toward it, pull open the door, push the screen and literally jump onto the back porch. This is a beautiful Spring day so I sit in the old, wood chair to my right and take in the scene. The brick walls continue here but show more wear and color. All that is missing is that tin ceiling as this place is opened to the heavens and the blueness of the sky falls in.
I hear the water dropping into the fountain.
The birds sing me their song.
I close my eyes and take my third breath.
To be continued.....