Claim your life back, one breath at a time (a short story)

Restless and anxious, I come back home. Meaning, I sit back down with my laptop to write you a short story.
The days are still dark now in February, one storm after the other blowing through the UK and my mind. Dark days indeed I think, scrolling through twitter: adults attacking a teen climate fighter, hate crimes and pandemic deniers.
This world needs to read joy I think.

I want to tell you all of summer parks with bright blue skies, playfully dotted here and there in white. Friends laughing all around you, occasionally spraying you with apple cider. A soft gust of wind carries a smell of daffodils and cherry blossoms, and you lean back to inhale it fully. The ankle bracelet you got from your Asia travels slides down your leg, the bells playing a little song for you.
The world is at peace, and so are you.

I need to tell you of freezing mornings walking on a British beach. The wind is hurling waves at the shore but stopping short at you: tightly wrapped in scarf, hat and coat. What is exposed of your face is burning, letting you know you’re here, right now. Even through thick layers of wool you can taste the salt on your tongue, leaving you thirsty for more. Dogs are barking at their owners in the distance, and small pebbles are crushing under your soles. Apart from that, you’re alone with a ferocious sea.
The world is at peace, and so are you.

Let me tell you of hot crowds in the London tube, elbows and bags poking at you. On your left, you spot someone else’s headlines lamenting terror. On your right, a homeless woman is being ignored, her tin pot rattling lonely in her hand. An ad straight ahead of you for a meditation app tells you to breathe in deeply. You do, but the air builds up in your chest. There’s nowhere to go.
You close your eyes. It doesn’t feel like the world is at peace.

Breathe in again I say. Gather up all the used up air in the train carriage, enough to lift it out of the tunnel. Enough to bring you all back to hot summer days and cold winter mornings, with air to spare and room to poke. Let the commuters run free through meadows, like withered flowers tasting water again, caged up cows discovering the grass, lab rats digging through soil.
All this is one out breath away. Be at peace, one by one, and the world will follow.

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