It starts with a tickle deep in my nose, like a dozen tiny feathers vibrating against the inside of its tiny passageways. One or two short breaths in through the mouth and I know this time I won’t be able to hold back. But this time I don’t want to.
I run for the tissues knowing the ensuing fallout that is to come, and then the inevitable convulsion. My eyes clench tightly shut lest my eyeballs fall out from their sockets, my nose crinkles and my head rears back tightly.
People liken the sound I make to the word, “a-choo!” but really it’s nothing like that. Two syllables, yes, but in reality it’s more like a short breath followed by the sound that comes from spewing the contents of my mouth, nose, ears and toes all in one second of contorted release. I feel my throat empty into my chest, the contents of my nose coming from where it’d been packed behind my eyeballs, all come pouring out into the tissue. If I’m lucky I only sneeze once. If I’m luckier there are two sneezes in succession, the second one to empty whatever might have been left by the first.
When I’m done, I’m tired but relieved. And if I’m really lucky, there’s someone near me to say, “God bless you, child. I think your socks fell off!”