I can almost feel them give way. Those taut, stretched, straining muscles and tendons. The wee fibres of my being that struggle to keep me upright. To keep my foot lifting one more time. To keep my eyes forward and my head on straight.
If I turn too quickly I can hear one snap - not hear it so much as feel it reverberate in my inner ear. I feel a sharp ping between my shoulder blades and imagine the miniscule shift of a vertebrae as it adjusts to the newer tugs. My back is mis-shapen. My shoulders pulled forward by the sheer force of sorrowing filaments. My lower back, so recently revealed, is flattened by muscles that recoil from this reality.
I am not bamboo or willow - I am not infinitely flexible. I am only human. Bone. Muscle. Sinew. Somewhere a heart keeps somehow beating. Moisture trickles down my face when I get distracted and forget to hold it in, or when I breathe too regularly. It's better if I catch my breath - the force in my lungs helps keep me upright. If through some error a sob escapes, it's likely to break a rib. Sometimes it's impossible to speak. My lips and tongue are busy holding in the bits of me that want to run away from all this.
They say I won't break. That I'm someone who knows how to navigate these things. That if anyone can do this it's me. They say they'll catch me. That I'm not alone. But they don't hear it. The minute crackling of my body. The slow turning to pieces.That is mine alone.