Flushed cheeks

I can feel it radiate from where I stand, waves of subdued electricity fuelled by my own expectation.
We wait, hoping we weren’t too wrong about what was to happen, defusing the eagerness for fear of disappointment.
‘Are you ready?’

I nod an answer and take in shallow breaths of a courage that eludes my grasp. A hand closes over my wrist and we dive in.

The brightness of it all hurts my eyes, but I force them open, I don’t want to let a single millisecond escape.
White, white everywhere, patches of well-aligned red and green sometimes, the place hits me with the grassy taste of peace and persistence.
We must remember, remember, remember, my brain scans, ditching trochees and iambs to make room for new memories. I let my senses go into full perception. Full recording.

Something cracks in my neck when I lift my face towards the ceiling. High.
My pupils slither back down the almost untainted walls, licking the details, jumping from stain to dent to engraved letter.
Little words of wisdom displayed for the world to share were always estranged from me. And yet here the quiet voice of quotes on the walls reaches through skin and bone and marrow, teeth grazing ever so lightly, eating pieces of me.
The surrender to the cliché comes with a grace I could never find when I lost other battles.

A chair creaks; the oak remembers all the emotions of all the people. How many discoveries, how many epiphanies, how many failures?
Nobody wants to know.
I grip the edge of the table. Three rings on my fingers seem heavy and undelicate next to paper.

I don’t know how long it lasts. I don’t record time.
I walk out in a haze, cheeks flushed.
But
my hands are not trembling; I thought they might.
Breathe in; breathe out.
Two smiles,
outside the library.

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