You know that feeling when you’ve discovered you put down a burden you’ve been carrying for a long time?
The discovery at feeling that relief.
When did it arrive? What did it replace?
Like one of those tortoises that lives to be over 100 years old, it lumbers up your back. So slowly, so determined. It gets comfortable up there perched on your shoulders. Not comfortable for you, of course, but you get used to it. After a bit, the scaly creature becomes a part of you, stretching its neck and nibbling at your joy before you can have a taste, not aware of what you’re missing.
One day, as slowly and as surely as it arrived, it decides enough is enough. The tortoise turns around and crawls back down. You’re so consumed with doing all the things that you don’t notice. You reach up and absentmindedly scratch where the creature clawed at your skin. You keep going, staring straight ahead. Gotta get to the other side.
Until, for no reason you can tell, the wind shifts. Your face gets slammed with this new warm, sweet breeze. You stop in the middle of the road, close your eyes and inhale.
Your exhale escapes with frantic peals of laughter. Sudden. Uncontrollable.
Through the laughter you find that your feet have carried you the rest of the way across the road. You stop, turn around, and look back, a stupid grin still slunk across your face.
What is that, there just climbing up the curb on the side from where you came?
You squint to see through the dusty warm air.
What an odd thing. You think. What is that doing way out here?
As you shrug your shoulders, you dimly realize that they are now light enough to be shrugged.
With one last glance over your shoulder, you continue on, now with a spring in your step.