She Says

My dog’s been circling the same spot for ten minutes trying to get it just right to lie down.

I can hear the rain pitter-pattering on the windows and my computer singing its own melody of errrs and creeeepps and blips and gggghhhs.

My cigarette smoke billows up to my nose, giving me that all-too-familiar uncomfortable burn that accompanies that all-too-familiar comforting smell.

I can feel the warmth of the keyboard under my fingers and my glasses hanging low on my nose and my hair gently caressing my face, just shy from poking me in the eye or going up my nose.

It’s cold in here, and my legs are starting to cramp so I stretch them out.

I don’t know what else to write so I’ll just write this.

This is an exercise my therapist wants me to do when I’m feeling anxious. Bring yourself into the moment, she says. Breathe, she says. Relax, she says.

I don’t think it’s working.

I taste my pumpkin spice latte with a hint of leftover whipped cream and then that familiar taste of ash.

There is a giant rip in Jack’s blanket, which is sitting to the right of me. I want to pick at it but I don’t.

I push my glasses up on my nose and can feel my eyelashes pressing against them. My ring slides down my finger but gets caught by my knuckle and I play with it. The burn hole in my pants scratches at my arm, which is resting on it since I’m sitting cross-legged again.

I smell my dog’s gross breath, which brings me comfort.

Bring yourself into the moment, she says. Breathe, she says. Relax, she says.

Maybe it’s working a little bit. But what about when it’s over?

I pull into myself like a child who’s frightened. I hunch my shoulders and cling my arms together and lean over my computer. My belly hurts.

As I take another drag, I rest my thumb on my chin.

The air smells crisp, whatever that means. Crisp and damp.

Tick, tick, tick, says the rain. The dog snores.

I run my tongue along my teeth.

Bring yourself into the moment, she says. Breathe, she says. Relax, she says.

Now I’m just sleepy.

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What are some exercises you do to control your anxiety?