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Out the Window (harbinger of pain)


Out the Window (harbinger of pain)

A rip in the fabric of my eyesight was formed by a chaotic flashing serpent of an oncoming migraine headache. The spiral of pain spun in the center of my field of view, painlessly for now,  as I was trying to write the previous short-short story. I was forced to give up typing and close my eyes as I slowed my breath to calm the dangerous progression leading toward an incapacitating ice pick of pain. I might have to ask for emergency help rather than get on the plane back home.

In breath. Hold. Pressing my palms to my eyes. Praying. Asking for a reprieve. The fireworks sparkled into larger and more intrusive patterns.


Deeper breath. Hold. Prayer.

I stood up from the cafe table, shutting down my laptop and Spotify. I needed to concentrate on my breathing while I entered the airport convenience store and bought a bottle of flat water and a Rolo. A bit of sugar, water, and breathing as I walked in the direction of my gate.

In a cacoon of silence and deep breathing.

“Group 6, can board now.”


Water. Darkness and noise-canceling headphones reversing the calls and chatter of the small town airport.

From there, nothing worked the way I imagined. Time to get to the back of the modern little jet, four people astride, next to the last row. Breathe. The air nozzle above my head pushed out tepid air. The smell of air travel.

My phone passed the downloading music process to my cellular plan as I left the public wifi. I let the enhanced silence fill my head with breathing. A full flight. Slow breathing.

As we got in the air the snake withdrew without further menace. I switched Spotify to “downloaded songs” and the blowing air got a bit crisper. The bottled water tasted a bit better.

And we were back on plan. Home. “No snacks, no snakes, thank you.”

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.

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