Anxious Playback

She scraped the ladle against the side of the deep set pot of soup. “I’m glad she’s eating,” I thought to myself, “but my god, I wish she’d stop with the metal against metal.” Each ding and scrape, my blood surged and crept a degree higher until the moment she dropped the ladle back into the pot and sealed it with the lid.

“Right, I need to go for a run,” I told myself, “Now.”

I strapped on my neon blue running shoes, grabbed my iPod, and snuck out the side door. For the first mile, I walked faster than usual and had a conversation with myself. I’m not lonely, not schizophrenic. The metal on metal just made my spine hurt and I was hanging from an anxious, thorny branch. Someone needed to talk me down and I am the only one who knows how.

As I turned into the school grounds, I slipped my earphones in. The sound of my own painfully anxious thoughts were subsiding and I was ready to hear something pleasant. Portishead’s self titled album made the cut. “It’s so jarring,” someone once said when I played it for them. Not to me, never.

While I escaped into the sound of the greatest trip-hop album ever made, I ran. I ran the perimeter of the high school. The bleachers were calling my name and I managed a few. Then, I began to run around the track. Fifty minutes later, I had run the entire length of the album, so I stopped. In silence, I stood on the cushiony track and stared at the new scoreboard some generous alumnus donated. My breathing was steady and hard. The crisp winter air made my sweat prickle against my forehead. My lips curled up in a smile and I began to laugh the way I did when I was young. The loud, full bodied laughter filled the air and echoed off any surface it could find. The metal against metal, the self conversation, the Portishead, and the silence, they lead me down a happy path. I was happy… And I knew it, and I clapped my hands.

[By Ellie McHale, Inspired by Daily Prompt]

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4 thoughts on “Anxious Playback

  1. […] Anxious Playback | A Life In Paperback […]

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