I’ve never understood why other people spend so much time in public toilets. Like when you hear the flush, and then they don’t emerge for another 5 minutes. What are they doing? Is there some secret ritual or benefit I’ve never been made aware of, never discovered in a bolted cubicle? Are people who spend longer in public toilets 10% more attractive? Is there a direct causal link to self-confidence and not giving a shit about the line of people queueing outside your little box? I just want to know what the deal is.
Tennessee inhaled as far as he could, til his lungs were full to bursting, and sat quietly at his wife’s dresser, looking into the mirror and holding his breath. The silence of the morning sat as a cloak over his shoulders and echoed the fat beats of blood in his ears. He watched thoughtfully as the skin beneath his collar sent out fans of deep red, like spilled wine on a tabletop. The air in his lungs pressed uncomfortably, rapped at the door of his throat but he was resolute, and would not let it pass. A proscenium of colour lowered itself down his face, a dirty, bruised sort of purple. His chest bellowed. Small white stars began dancing in the corners of his gaze. He shifted slightly, refolded his hands delicately in his lap. A blood vessel in his left eye threw itself boldly across the white like a flash of red lightning. More joined it, spattering the ball with venomous streaks. Black snow fell in his periphery. Bells rang in his ears. He sat staunch, certain. If death was the state of losing all of one’s breath, then this was surely its opposite. His wife stirred in the bed behind him, sighed and slept on. He pitied her that sigh, that oxygen set free again. No, he had caged his own life force once and for all. There would be no exhaling now. His fingers ached. His eyes flashed blood red. He sat still as a god.