There, on the hard, silver button for the second floor of my building, wriggled an inchworm. This thing, no bigger than a grain of rice, with its fuzz of pea-green skin was the brightest thing in the elevator. Before I noticed it, I thought I was the craziest thing contained in there, but here I had a contender.
Tiny legs raised in search of something while the alien head shook from side to side. You almost can’t call it a shaking though, because it happened so slowly. I understood. The silent freak-out of an anxiety attack that roars inside your brain while the rest of your body goes through the motions at an excruciating pace. Fingering the coins in your wallet, clearing your throat to distract from your shaking hand, trying not to burst into tears because you can’t find a dime and all you want is some chamomile tea as though it will relieve the pressure of the world.
I reached a sweaty pinky out and scooped up my little green friend. We sailed upwards together until the ding of the seventh floor spat us out. Before placing him on a shaded leaf on the rooftop garden, as we walked there together, unsure of what would happen next, I felt the deep rush of an overdue exhale. The rigid muscles of my chest opened up and I softened into the waves of breath as the fever of anxiety broke, the inchworm hanging on for dear life amid the gales of relief.