Catch your breath, Katina says, her voice bellows above the music.
Catch my breath?
My breath lifts up, flies through the glass door, out over the cars in the lot, flows onto PCH, makes a right, then another, and heads off toward the beach. I watch her, music trailing behind a kaleidoscope of color and sound swirling and circling up and down in and out behind her.
I imagine her swan dive off the Esplanade. My breath flutters away, floating off to Hawaii or Fiji or somewhere out in the South Pacific. Some exotic island where I might not be able to catch her.
Stretched out in the sand, bronzed golden with vacation and tropical umbrellas and sweet ice blended rum, white, pink, blue liquid chill that calms and cools and warms her body from the inside. The sun beaming down warming her from the outside. The breeze lifts up off the water, tickles her toes and the bottom of her feet, moves up her calves, shins and settles in the well between her thighs.
She has hung a sign. It dangles from my chest, gone fishing. She’s sleeping in. She’s strolling the beach. She’s sarong wrapped, coconut oiled, topless, hammock napping, afternoon love making, wave lapping, sun set watching, dancing the night away.
Maybe my breath walks along the canals in Venice. In and out of bricked passage ways only she could fit through.
Maybe my breath sips hot chocolate in Paris and watches the women walk the streets, contemplating styles and fashion. She’s learning French. Uh oh, what if she’s taken up smoking?
Maybe my breath rides on the back of a donkey in Santorini, riding up to the Principal Town Fira. Sun shining, reflecting off white and blue and cobblestone and water. Why come back?
What if she never comes back? My breath has left me here peddling, legs pushing, pulling, up down up down around and around and around up down around, my heart goes ba boom ba boom ba boom and the tick tock of the clock and the music pounds b aba ba boom b aba ba boom b aba ba boom and my ba boom and the b aba ba boom up down around and around and one two one two one two.
This is your recovery, Katina says. The music plays on. I feel my chest push out, ribs expand, back fan, as my breath fills my lungs and I am happy that she’s come back to me.