The heavens open up and there comes a warm paper thin rain which collapses like a gentle fog against our faces as we walk an empty trail in the park along the river. Not the first time you and I have walked this crooked little path but perhaps the first time in such low hanging weather, you and I moving along like two silent clouds. There is a sweetness in the evening air as summer simmers into autumn and I can smell the seasons blending into one another, earth and water, leaves and decay. Mistakes and regrets hang suspended from the trees and I wait for you to mention any of it but the end of the day has you clipped at the tongue so I walk a little bit behind. You try to be the kind of person they want you to be but it’s hard because that allows so little room for anything else and what you really want is to feel something. Anything besides the numbness you can’t seem to shake which finds you in the darkness and slides itself around you so the days become nights become weeks where you aren’t sure what to say or who to say it to, but the words stay there in your throat all the time like a threat, like a dare to cross a great divide in mere seconds flat if you just had the nerve. Stopping in a clearing where a bench juts out farther toward the water, we take swigs from a bottle we brought along and light cigarettes while considering whether or not it’s worth an attempt to speak. Nothing much comes because when the weight of the world is everything you don’t know how to say the grayness sits between you and other people. I skip a stone across the moving surface of the water, and I remember the stone shaped like a heart someone else gave to me when we stayed in the mountains years ago, when the river and the sky and things between us were crystal clear. I’m in over my head. Drowning on dry land. And I know we can’t go back, and you know I don’t know how to move forward, so for now you look out across the shadowy landscape, watch the sun’s flames setting the woods on fire. My fingers are wrapped around my smoke, my heart is beating fast in my chest, and my thoughts are somewhere out over the horizon, soaked in warm rain falling one hundred thousand miles away.

6 Replies to “Exhalation”

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