and then I would exhale. But then a little while later it would happen again. For twelve hours I had to keep reminding myself not to hold my breath.
Yesterday wasn't a much slower day. It became apparent even before 8:00am as I moved past another nurse in the hall.
"You just sighed," he pointed out, "everything ok?"
"Oh that, " I replied reluctantly, "that was just me breathing."
I got out of work late, tired but restless. I pushed through the throngs of people waiting outside of BMC for the bus and decided to walk to the next stop. Then the bus caught up but all those people from the BMC stop were already on it. So I kept walking. I missed two more buses and before I knew it I was at the Mass Ave bridge. It was now 5pm, and I had spent most of my walk talking on the phone to my mother.
I wondered if I had been breathing much. I guessed not.
So I stopped on the bridge. I put the phone away.
The sky to the East was a muted, periwinkle blue, but pearly and back lit, and it perfectly matched the color of the ice covering the Charles. Despite the wide semicircle of dark buildings dotted with glowing lights, splitting the sky from the water, it was possible to view the two as one entity. The regularity of the car lights coming and going against the neat rows of building lights gave the scene a methodical, orderly feel that was altogether reassuring. Still the effect of constant sparkling against the dark concrete and steel frameworks hinted of faery lights, mischief, and magic. The old John Hancock Building (now the Berkeley Building) lit its weather beacon as I watched lights turn off in the offices on floors below. Behind me the sunset was tinging the clouds light orange behind the Citgo sign.
I stood there for a very long time. In the middle of the city that I love, walkers, joggers and bicyclists passed me by. I put my hands on the railing and watched the ice and the sky fade at the same rate.
And I just breathed.