I hit the 96th step and take a last deep breath, filling my lungs and sucking my gut... hoping my co-workers overestimate my cardiac health.
I tell myself that flushed cheeks are very attractive and that the small bit of perspiration around my hairline is very healthy and probably (surely!) smells quite lovely.
But while the inhalation stopped, I kept everything else in motion: throwing my shoulders back, smiling, arching an eyebrow, and walking away. Triumphantly.
But I'm also the girl who dashed up and down subway stairs, who walked miles around the city, and who carried much while doing it.
Now I'm the girl who walks nowhere and carries nothing but a paralyzing fear of a pulmonary embolism.
And so I take the stairs.
And still I go to bed exhausted from dormancy rather than motion.
To truly match the rigors of New York life, I might have to start taking those stairs once an hour – because something tells me that mouse-clicking is probably not the sort of exercise the doctor recommends.