You Take a Breath


I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.
 Sylvia Plath

You’re carrying your handbag, toys, bottles, folders, a briefcase, nappy bag, and whatever else your kids have demanded you carry for them.

There are toddlers attached to you, screaming for whatever about whatever. You’re running late for a meeting.

Your neighbour watches you wrangle kids and their paraphernalia. You want to appear professional, as well as a good mother, so you sling your tan leather satchel over your shoulder and offer a snack to your kids as you push them into their car seats.

But that’s not what they want. They want you to explain why the moon and stars don’t drop out of the sky and why is your face so red like a beetroot mummy …

So, what do you do? You click those seatbelts in record time and take off, slightly over the speed limit (maybe) and drop the kids off at your mum’s and speed (a little) to your meeting.

You can’t get a parking spot, so you say a word that you wouldn’t say if the kids were in the car, but automatically glance in the rear-view mirror in case a stray child is listening in the back.

Finally, you get a spot, but it’s only for half an hour, and your meeting is going to go for at least an hour, but you don’t care right now. You fall out of the car with your leather satchel,  your hire-me shoes and your killer attitude.

You’re two minutes late, so you push those entrance doors open and barrel through them like you own the place. The calm, collected, eighteen-year-old, rolls her eyes. You know she thinks you’re a crazy woman as you blast in like a tornado asking for Ms Kolowski only to find you went through the wrong entrance. This is 224/B and you should be in 224/A.

You run next door on your hire-me shoes, which are pinching your toes and probably giving you blisters.

You’re now six minutes late and the receptionist in 224/A hasn’t even looked up as you walk in. You stand in front of the desk watching the seconds click over on the clock hanging on the wall behind the slightly older, maybe nineteen-year-old, receptionist.

Finally, she looks up and gives you an if-I-have-to look that makes you feel bad for interrupting, but at the same time, you want to scold her for being young and rude.

‘My name is Johanna Jones, I’m here for a meeting with Ms Kolowski at ten.’

The receptionist points to the phone.

‘That was Ms Kolowski, she’s running ten minutes late and should be here soon. One of her children is sick this morning. If you’d like to help yourself to a coffee and take a seat, I’ll let you know when she arrives.’

You make yourself a Nespresso (ristretto) take a sip, and dream of George Clooney (What else?) for two seconds.

You close your eyes and take a deep breath. You pause. Your heart slows a little. Your feet still throb, but you just have to get through the next hour and then you can get in the car and slip into your flats.

You take a moment.

You take a breath.

You pray.

Dear Lord, I can’t live like this anymore. I need to find some space. 

‘Ms Jones? I’m Lisa Kolowski. Please come through.’

She turns and you follow her. You smile as you notice that Ms Kolowski has a jam handprint on the back of her skirt.

Written By Elaine Fraser.


About Elaine Fraser

Elaine realised she wanted to be a writer at ten years of age when the words flew off the page during a creative writing lesson. She studied English and Education at university and went on to spend many years as a high school English teacher teaching others how to write. In 2005, Elaine took the plunge and began writing full-time. Since then she has published five books and blogs at Elaine’s passion is to write about real issues with a spiritual edge. When she’s not travelling the world in search of quirky bookstores or attending writing retreats in exotic locations, she can be found in the Perth hills sitting in her library—writing, reading, mentoring writers and hugging her golden retriever.