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—
Six sentences for Sunday, June 21:
It began in the middle of her back.
Sometimes by the end of the day, every inch of her seemed to itch: her shoulders, her scalp, the little nascent hairs on the backs of her arms. She itched from fatigue—from the desire to be done with the day—and usually her problem could be remedied with blunt fingernails or, at worst, a back scratcher.
The itch she felt on this particular evening was like that ordinary sort of itch, but more so. It seemed to emanate from deep under her skin and to pervade every surface, every crevice. Even her eyelashes itched.
Six five sentences for Sunday, June 14:
Sometimes she feels sure there is a room beyond the light. If she stares hard into that excruciating light, she can almost see the details—almost a room hospital white and agonizingly clean, almost someone standing there, almost, almost, but not quite.
She wakes herself up, but for a moment she is still looking, still straining to see. The apartment is dark, quiet except for the bloodrush noise inside her ears. The cat appears at the door to her bedroom and watches her from a distance.
Six sentences for Sunday, June 7:
“Albie,” I say, “who do you think writes encyclopedias?”
“Why does it matter who writes them?” I can tell he’s getting impatient with me.
“Do you think it’s one person who knows everything about everything in the world, or is it lots of people who only know a lot about one little, particular thing?” Albie doesn’t answer, slumping lower in his chair. “I wish I knew everything about everything, I think that would be better than just knowing a lot about one thing, don’t you?”
Six five sentences for Sunday, November 3:
Years from now, she will remember him as nothing more than a childhood fancy, a spirit dreamed up by a restless, willful, lonely little girl. On the occasions that she is called upon to reminisce on the subject—which will be more frequent than she would like—she will tell people he came to her in a dream. Indeed, it must have seemed so: his long shadow cutting the ground before her, more like the idea of a shadow than a shadow itself. She will say there was a beam of light through the window and, caught in its gaze, she invented him. This explanation is easier than the truth, which even she herself does not believe.
Six sentences for Sunday, September 14:
Never have clouds moved so slowly. I try to count the number of breaths it takes one of them to cross the lawn, but I lose count. In the whole time I’ve been watching, it’s moved only a quarter of an inch, as if it’s caught in some invisible net.
“That’s our cloud,” Albie says, pointing to the one I’ve been following. “We’ll keep it. I’ll carve our names in it, Albie and Evelyn forever.”
Six sentences for Sunday, September 7:
Soon I will have outgrown the swing. Already its wood is growing porous and soft, the varnish all peeled off. One day I will jump off it and never come back.
I’m thinking of the abandoned swing rotting away on its ropes when Albie rushes up behind me and shoves me hard. My legs lift as the swing rises, and rises, and rises. Air rushes past my ears in a two-step rhythm, one deep gasp as I go up and a sharp exhale as I lurch back. Albie’s palms press against my shoulder blades, forcing me higher and higher.