I felt the bile rise in my throat, heat emanated from my neck and cheeks. I knew it was anger, I was boiling with it. Something pulled at my chest, the urge to run or to strike out, I wasn't sure which. Fight or flight.
My legs twitched and I balled my hands into tight fists, fingernails aching to dig into the palms like a bull longing to drive it's horns deep into the bullfighter's ribcage. My jaw tensed, the bones of my skull pulsed with the pain of teeth not yet ground down to stubs.
A sick feeling settled into my stomach. Had there been enough food contained inside, it would surely have made its way back into the light of day by the shortest route possible. I swallowed hard. Hard, because the space of my throat seemed to have shrunk so that even the tiniest ball of thick spit could not pass. Sticky saliva pasted itself to the inside of my esophagus, deep enough to bypass the gag reflex but not far enough down to prevent the formation of a tight knot in my chest.
A bead of sweat worked a path down the side of my face but I dared not pat it away. I couldn't show my cards. Despite the rising rage, I had kept my face neutral. The blush of redness and the tight jaw muscles were not flashing neon but merely pale yield signs at the end of a cautious merge lane.
And so I yielded. Hands unclenched, folded neatly into my lap. Jaw slackening. The deep frown easing into a smooth forehead. I let out my overfilled tires, feeling relief as air escaped my lungs in a controlled wave. No pursed lips, just slightly opening my mouth, gently engaging my diaphragm to aid in the relaxation effect. Yoga breathing came to mind. I turned my head to the right, felt the cool breeze on my face and inhaled slowly. In for four, out for eight. In two three four.....out two three four five six seven eight.
Inhale, I breathe in.
Exhale, I breathe out.