Relief

Ezra plunged his head down.  After the initial roar of the water and ice settled, the sounds of their voices, of their laughter, faded into the soft rattle of the ice cubes tapping against the walls of the steel sink.

The water was bracing, yet refreshing. He closed his eyes and held himself there as he worked to push everything from his head. It was too much.

A very faint, soft ringing rose up into his head as the body started to react to the time it had gone without a fresh breath. His hands gripped the edge of the sink for a bit of stability. He forced his head down to where his forehead rested gently on the sink floor. Another cold tap of relief greeted him when his skin touched the metal.

He thought about pulling out, taking another breath and plunging back in again, but he didn’t want to break this string of relief. In the water, there was nothing but the water. Outside of the water, at the point where the water now lapped against his neck, the world lay ready to pounce, to kick him again when he was down.

For this moment, for as long as he could hold his breath, he was safe, sober, alone, awake and in some sort of sense, home.

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