Sunday Six

Six sentences for Sunday, June 28:

She practices breathing the way the nurse at the hospital showed her, breathing in deep through her nose and holding the breath until her lungs flex with the urge to exhale, then breathing slowly until the air is thin between her lips. She hears the instructions in the nurse’s raspy voice, pictures her warm brown hands orchestrating the movement of Eleanor’s lungs.

She repeats this exercise until all she’s aware of is the movement of breath within her body, her chest rising and falling, the ghost of air across the inside of her lower lip—

—The touch of another’s mouth to hers, so light it’s hardly a touch at all. Her eyes closed, careful breathing so as not to let on she’s awake. And a woman’s whisper saying to her, “I’m sorry, please come back to me—

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