My Morning Ritual

149 words published on June 16th

I wake up. I pee. I take my meds and drink twelve ounces of water in one go. That’s nineteen or twenty swallows. This is my morning ritual.

Sometimes I prepare myself for it. I take a deep breath. I expand my belly and try not to notice neglect in the mirror. I straighten my back.

Sometimes I forget that I play this little game. I start drinking the water and realize too late that I didn’t ready myself. Then it’s like squeezing final bits of air from an inflatable mattress: rolling it, pushing out the bubbles. Internal puffs of oxygen feeding my body for a final few seconds. Seventeen, eighteen—.

Water eventually seeps from my mouth. I wonder if this is what pre-drowning feels like. You know, the moment before the moment.

And then I brush my teeth. And then I shower. And then I begin the march.