After Love

I couldn’t stop crying because I was so afraid. My already small eyes looked minuscule when surrounded by puffy skin, varying shades of red. I was terrified; of being alone or of being lonely? I was unlovable. The thought of moving to a new city and starting a new job was suddenly the most frightening idea I had ever allowed into my brain. Doing it alone was simply unimaginable.

I put on the dark lipstick bought after work in a failed attempt at retail therapy. Throwing my work clothes to the floor, I pulled on an oversized hoodie and unrolled my long yellow mat to do the only thing I knew could calm me.

* * *

My right palm is sturdy on the mat and my core muscles resilient as I reach my left hand toward the ceiling, as if peeling open my chest. Oxygen easily fills and filters from my lungs. Both hands down now, my triceps help me lower slowly, and then curl my spine back up. I am thankful for this strength; with each new pose, a tear drains away from my lower eyelid. Like a smell or place that takes you back to a memory you had all but forgotten, at the moment when I catch my own eyes in the mirror I vaguely recall how proud of my independence I had once been. Watching myself in the glass, I am flooded with the memories of all I was before. The speaker playing southern harmonies set over a heavy beat creates the score to my minute epiphany. I notice that I am beautiful.

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