"I'll be right back"
I toss the comment over my shoulder,
Pasting on the fake smile I've mastered.
My breathing is shaky, my knees feel like Jell-O,
but I keep moving,
I step inside the bathroom, I make it to a stall,
my breathing coming faster and faster.
Now it's hitting my like a tidal wave,
The fear, the nausea, the anxiety.
It should be some four letter word,
banned from conversation,
only muttered quietly away from the innocent ears of small children,
never used in decent company.
It is a living, breathing, evil thing,
snaking through my veins,
worming it's way through my mind.
Everything seems to fast,
my thoughts, the ticking of my watch,
how quickly everyone else is coming and going.
"They'll notice I've been gone to long,
I have to get this under control, come on get it together,"
my breathing gets faster still,
my palms are clammy,
my stomach feels like it's in the soles of my shoes,
and all I can do is try to breathe.
Try to move, try to fight,
to struggle against the tireless monster waging war inside my own mind,
but I am not tireless,
my body is exhausted, my eyes begging to be closed,
to rest for just one minute.
Feel the battle dying down,
count back slowly from 100.
My hands slowly stop sweating,
my breathing becomes less ragged,
my legs feel more stable.
I stand up, I stumble, I catch myself,
and then I walk.
I wash my face, I take just one more deep breath,
and I move forward,
same smile in place, hiding the battle I have just fought.