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Micro Stories

Inhale, Exhale and Let Go

October 25, 2016

“You’re beautiful,” he whispers. She quickly turns around and her eyes widen as she vigorously shakes her head.

“Please don’t say that,” she quietly pleads.

“But I have to. And I mean it. You’re beautiful.” He takes one cautious step towards her.

“You’re beautiful,” he whispers again as he takes another small step in her direction. Her eyes flutter closed as she instinctively crosses her arms over her chest and inhales deeply.

“You’re beautiful.” He inches closer. She takes another deep breath and exhales shakily.

“Please,” she utters with her eyes firmly shut, “Don’t.”

She rubs her hands up and down her arms restlessly and glances up at the sky. Overcast and grey. Just like me, she thinks. She reluctantly tears her face from the sky and meets his gaze. His eyes, a deep amber with flecks of brown, remind her of her favorite marble she used to play with as a kid. She sighs. I wish I could go back. Although piercing, his eyes are incredibly warm and comforting like the glowing flames of a fire burning tenderly in a cozy log cabin fireplace. They gently invite her in and earnestly plead with her to relax and stay for awhile. The tension in her body slowly eases and her arms fall languidly to her sides. It’s okay. You’re okay.

He steadily creeps forward and reaches his arms out until his fingertips graze the hair on her forearms. Slowly and hesitantly he pulls her in, her body flush against his, and wraps his arms gently around her. She sharply sucks in a breath and stills, unsure if she should return the warm gesture or hang there like a limp noodle in his arms. You’re okay. Relax. 

He bends his head down until his mouth skims her ear and whispers, “I love you.” 

She lifts her arms, shyly placing them around his back and lays her head softly against his chest. Inhale. Her eyes begin welling up with tears. Exhale. The salty droplets gracefully fall to the ground. Inhale. His arms tighten around her back and he holds her closer. Exhale. As each tear drops, a little bit of heaviness falls with them. You’re okay. Waterfalls continue to cascade from her eyes as she releases it all. You’re okay. She lets it all go. And then she inhales deeply, breathing in the fresh, crisp air.

He dips his head until their eyes meet and firmly cups her face in his hands.

“Trust me,” he whispers.

Holding his gaze, she takes another deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. And another. Inhale. Exhale. She calmly nods her head and smiles as the last tear tumbles to the ground.

“Okay.”