Do you ever want to run so fast you leave yourself behind?

Run so fast you break free from the shackles of your flesh and your mind and everything that holds you to this earth. Run until nothing matters but the wind you could get ahead of if only you pushed an inch harder, lungs burned and becoming ash, muscles melted in acid and eyes unseeing.

Then the slow realization as your body gives up before your mind does - that birds are trapped in the wind as you are trapped on earth, and they dive out of the sky yet catch themselves before they hurtle into the ground the same way you slow down before your lungs refuse to swallow air again.

When your legs refuse to break you free, you find something better. Breathe out, more. Inhale. Inhale. Inhale until your lungs become balloons you float out on, dangling from the string of chemical freedom until your toes finally lift off your chest. There's nothing and everything all at once. The world slows down until the darkness becomes white, pure nothingness. In this place you're unaware of your existence. You could stay here forever and become nothing at all. Briefly, you're aware that something inside is empty and excruciatingly void. It's your lungs screaming for air, and somewhere you have sympathy for them, like you might for a crushed ant.

Something moves and it feels strange. Feeling means the pain in your lungs is dragging you back to your body, forcing you to make a choice. You wish to remain in the limbo, neither dead nor alive, a purgatory of the flesh. Overwhelming dread fills up your lungs, your skull, your throat, you're gasping for air you wish would never come, you're drowning in the blood pumping in your ears. Something tingles on your face. Hands. Face. It's a smile you're barely aware is yours. Your skin is connected to you by tenuous strings. It tingles at the touch, numb yet almost painful, playful, it's all the same while the ecstasy of escape is still yours. There's a space inside that asks to be left void, begs to be unpolluted. Slowly, the balloons are deflated like cheap helium balloons you had for a birthday you barely remember. You sit back in your body, wishing you had a choice to stay beyond it forever.

In the end, it's always the lungs. We need air to be alive and air traps us in our mortal vessels. Maybe that's why to die is to become infinite, to give up air is to finally escape, but we search for somewhere between death and life where we don't exist yet exist too much all at once.