My Lungs

My Lungs - student project



My lungs feel like they are about to burst, my chest burns. I sprint down a desolate street in the North End of Detroit. I haven’t run for months but this morning I woke up needing more than anything to move fast. It is primal. Is this how gazelles feel?


I pick up speed as I turn onto Cameron Street. I pass the empty lot with the huge maple tree at the edge of the sidewalk. The highway is only a few feet to my left. I sprint but my lungs aren’t ready for this kind of movement. It’s been almost a year since I quit smoking, and an app on my phone keeps me updated on my health progress. It tells me happens after 24 hours, and 48 hours, and 1 month later, and soon I will hit the one year benchmark and that seems significant but I hadn’t smoked for that long, I only took them back up after the breakup. I'm in my mid-30s now and still when any stressful life experience hits I go back to the pleasure of inhaling and exhaling. 


A doctor I once met in Bali told me that while from a health perspective she should caution me against smoking the cloves I’d come to love there, on a personal note she thought I looked really cool while smoking. The smoking stints last between one to six months, until I again opt for walks and runs and fresh air over the limited and costly benefits of smoking. 


This morning I move my legs as fast as I can, and I feel my chest expand and fall and rise and I don’t know if I am running towards or away from something. I don’t know which direction I’m running. Right now there are just bare tree branches, potholes, and crocuses. The sidewalks are crumbling and uneven so I run in the street and when I can’t sprint anymore I double over and tears stream down my cheeks. The neighborhood is sparse so there no one is to see that my lungs are on fire, that I am on fire.