You breathe in powerfully, take two steps forward and stumble. You stand back up, tall. The next inhale is a gasp and a cough at the same time. You take another step. Another. Another. Another. Your chin is tucked, head low but gaze still set straight ahead. With every breath and inconsistent step you take, the chaos in the world around you grows louder. You hear the icy falls crashing into the River below. You hear the melody of the snowy pines rustling with every gust. But with every inch you move forward, you shed a layer of emotion. With each subtraction, you become lighter. Louder. Louder. Step. Step. Breath. Step. Breath. You don’t look left, you don’t look right. Step. Cough. Breath. Now you feel nothing but fear and focus. You feel pain - you grimace at it - but it doesn’t hurt. Your face - numb. A light buzz vibrates inside your body - energy. You are physically too weak to keep moving forward , but mentally too strong to stop.
Step. Step. Breath. Cough. Step. You’ve felt like this before, but not to this extent. You’ve never been this close to dying and said no. You’ve never felt this alive.
Your lungs are burning - doesn’t matter. You were born to keep going. Icy snow flakes scratch your cheeks as they fall at 45 degrees. The wind howls in your ears. You howl right back.