Ah, it was good to be home. Linda’s lower back sent a jolt of pain up her spine when she bent down to untie her shoelaces. “Hate my job. Hate my job,“ she breathed out through clenched teeth.

7.5 hours a day were hardly ever enough to satisfy the needs her place of work imposed on her. So it was more often than not the case that she would spend 9 hours or more sitting in a desk chair which did not meet her ergonomic needs.

Recession. Her computer had been upgraded alright but there was no budget for new chairs. Linda lifted herself up out of her armchair laboriously. Well, they’d first cut then frozen her salary so she had no budget either to replace that battered old piece of furniture.

She paused in front of the mirror above the fireplace and let out a deep throaty sigh, then hummed. An alto hum. It had to be done on a low note, as low as she could make her vocal chords go. She concentrated on the vibration of her teeth and allowed her reflection in the mirror to melt away.

This was the most important stage in her daily ritual. To lose sight of herself and to at least for a few minutes let her other senses take over. And she had perfected the art of accomplishing this with her eyes open no less.

Allowing the soles of her stockinged feet talk to her about the temperature and texture of the ground she stood on. Letting the tip of her nose tell her how gently the air in her home was touching her. Letting her ears comfort her with the familiar tranquillity of home in which the sound of her own breathing stood out as the loudest and most dominant feature now that she was no longer humming.

Now it was the sound of her heart beating which competed with that of her breathing. Linda felt each heartbeat slamming into her chest. At quickening speed. This was not how it should be. “Have to get my sight back,” Linda thought as she slumped down to the ground losing consciousness.

(c) Ash N. Finn 2012

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