You’re trying to be productive. You’re finally reading that book you were supposed to read weeks ago. As you lose concentration, you begin to realise the position you’re sitting in is not that comfortable after all – your legs are twisted weirdly and the arm you’re supporting your weight on is starting to ache. Back to the book. Focus.
Your eyes skim over lines of text as you reposition yourself. Still uncomfortable. The paper feels rough underneath your fingers, the cardboard cover is digging into your palms, slicing between your fingers. Focus.
The book starts to feel heavy as you zone out, the effort of holding it upright suddenly seeming like a weightlifting session. Cramp is beginning to spread through your neck and across your shoulders. Turn the page. Carry on reading. Focus.
Page after page after page after page. Your fingertips feel raw against the paper, the exertion building tension in your forearms. It’s just a book, it’s easy. Anger bubbles in your chest, rising and spreading to meet the tension in your neck, your back, your forearms, your fingers. Your legs are tense now too. Just one more paragraph until the end of the chapter. Focus.
You gasp for air as you drop the book at the end of the chapter, finally remembering to breathe. How long have you been holding your breath? Your shoulders drop, the dull ache coursing throughout your body serving as a reminder of the energy you expended, just reading a book.