Wind rustled through the leaves, and crickets chirped. The air was cool and crisp; the sun setting early now that summer had bled away its heat to fall. The sky was red, deepening into a purple night sky.
I was at the door, my heart thumping. I stood there, frozen in place, trying to control my breathing. Trying to convince myself to move forward. To take the steps to get back control.
My stomach knotted, and my chest constricted. The weight of what I was about to do was crushing me, causing my breath to be shallow. My hands felt slimy, and the back of my neck felt hot. I trembled, and that shook me free from the mental web I was tangled in.
I took a step.
I took a breath.
I took another step.
I took another breath.
The crickets chirped at me. The sun sank a little lower. I needed to get inside before the sun disappeared. The cool breeze brushed my face, and I felt the wetness on my brow.
Breathe, I told myself. The rapid exhalation was making me lightheaded, and I wasn’t thinking straight. The door is right there. You need to get through that door. I had stopped moving, unable to think straight. My stomach threatened to convulse, and it became unbearable. I doubled over, clutching my sides, my breath ragged. Tears welled up in my eyes as I expelled the contents of my last meal on the porch. I retched until it was only dry heaves, my tears freely flowing down my face.
Just get to the damn door. I need to get through the door. On my knees, I wiped my mouth on my sleeve and forced myself to crawl. The crickets chirped loudly now. A warning. I reached for the doorknob as the last sliver of sunlight disappeared below the horizon. Open. Open. Open. I chanted. My stomach tried to stop me, but I turned that handle and pushed…
And it was too late. I missed it again.
I collapsed onto the porch and sobbed. I curled up with my knees to my chest, waiting for my nightmare to begin again. Every day, I tried to get through this damn door. Back to being in control of my own body. And everyday I fought with the monster who controlled me.
I never win.