I inhale sharply and as I do I close my eyes. No not just close them, I shut the world off. I turn off the sounds of the bellowing fan, of the almost quiet rustle of the curtains as they brush against the peeling yellow painted wall, of the buzz of night quiet – the quiet often interjected by distanct sounds of the cricket’s nightly symphony.
I turn off all the sounds.
Even too the sound of silence.
And for but a moment I do not exist. There is no concept of who I am and what I am.
I am for that tiny slice of time nothing.
The breath quickly expands my lungs and the realness takes over, the breath forced out and my heartbeat now dominates, pounding, loud, reminding me that I am here.
That I exist and that I am not nothing.
Breathing. It is what life is. One breath after another. Continuous. Incessant. Unbroken. A reminder that despite wanting to just slow time down or shut it off that we have to just continue…. to move on. Despite hardships and hurdles despite moments of magic and joy.
That life goes on.
Today was hot. A kinda heat as the people would say. Something else, oui boy.
The sun beat down today mercilessly as if angry. As if somebody do it something and it just want to take out its rage on us all.
God help us.
Because this kind of heat is the kind of heat that make you just move sllllooow. And it’s the kind of heat that does just take away the little energy you have to make it through the day. And with that gone all that’s left to do is to just sit down somewhere.
In the shade of course.
Preferably somewhere with a breeze. And if you lucky by a fan or in some air conditioning. So that for that moment when you just relax like the energy does just come right back inside of you and is relief and joy you feel. Because now so is when you can finish up what you have to do for the day and go home.
Just pack up your things, tidy your desk, put away your tools, fold de last sheet, wipe de counter for de last time, hang up de apron, wring de last water out of the mop, lock up de shop, turn off de lawnmower, close de book shut.
Oh how that feeling of having to leave work behind with satisfaction buzzing through you veins does just be so sweet. Oh gosh is like you could taste it in you mouth that feeling. For you didn’t just work but you finish something. You real scrub that dirty dirty stove today and you make it look like new. You fight up fight up with that piece of concrete today but it sit down perfectly as it should. The foundation going to hold. Yes man it will hold for many many years. Oh yes well thank God chapter 4 done. Boy that was real bacchanal teaching them miserable, fidgety children multiplication.
But they get it.
And oh God the road was real treacherous today but everyone home safe man. And the brake light need to fix but ah go leave that for tomorrow.
And the house lights slowly come on one by one. Flickering as if fireflies in the night. The night…. A darkness that quickly casts down soon after the mighty sun sinks into the pool of blue and takes with it its vexation so it leave people well alone to enjoy the coolness of the evening.
The day is over and supper is eaten.
And before climbing into bed one must pray to God. One must kiss the children goodnight and make sure that de damn dog tie and wouldn’t go and interfere with the neighbors, chickens, goats, garden, cat.
And one must be sure that the there is a pot under the leaky bathroom faucet to catch the water for every drop counts and that they call Aunty Eileen to tell her that tomorrow please God they will make sure to drop her by the doctor to operate on the cataract in she eye.
Because she can’t see and is plenty plenty grandchildren she still have to mine.
And one must be satisfied.
Having worked hard, having put up with the misgiving sun and having given into the evening breeze and nightly quiet that they deserve nothing more that crawling into a warm bed and closing their eyes.
That they could just before they silence the world, breathe.
Breathe and pretend that they are nothing. And let the breath just take control so that they are something. Even as they sleep they exist.
They are real.
And tomorrow will bring another day of work, of sun, of end of day satisfaction.
Living, like breathing never stops while we are alive.
Breathing. It is what life is. One breathe after another. Continuous. Incessant. Unbroken….
Safiya is a Grenadian national working in the Prime Minister’s office there. She holds an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a BSc in Marine Science from Eckerd College.
In addition to her passion for the arts, literature and fashion, she is interested in Environmental Policy, Climate Change Adaptation and Climate Policy.
Title collage via tumblr of the Jamaican fashion model, Jourdan Dunn & apple image.