She dances, letting the wild twists and turns spin her across the floor, swooping like an angel before twisting up again, stretching her arms and legs, before collapsing to the floor.

She breathes hard, struggling, choking to get more air, her heart beating in her chest like a frantic encased butterfly in a jar. Help me! it screams, Help me!

She lays on her back, staring at the ceiling, only concentrating on breathing, knowing it could be over in the second she loses focus and doesn't tell her chest to rise and fall.

She knows, inside her, that what she is doing is horrible. Mother was right, she thinks, grimacing as she struggles to breathe, I can't dance anymore.

She had been beautiful, before, years before, when she could fly through the air like a leaf floating down from a tree when the air gets too crisp.

She coughs, sitting up, her stomach clenching as she struggles for air. She gasps, trying to get air to flow through her exhausted lungs, wishing, only wishing, that she could dance forever, and no one would stop her, and her mother wouldn't find her, and that her lungs wouldn't ever give up and she wouldn't die.

Tears start sliding down her face as she coughs again, dropping back onto the floor. The tears dampen her face, but still she struggles to breathe. Someone help me, she's thinking, please.

But no one comes. So she rises again to dance.

"Breathing" ~ Alisa Turner 10.23.12