The hollowness in her eyes was deafening. And the buzzing in my ears rang like the feedback mics blast when you get too close.

Suddenly my chest tightened as if the ribs decided to close in. Every breath felt like a struggle, like a thousand pine leaves were simultaneously rubbing on against my raw flesh. Or like a thousand fire ants were eating away at the goo and the meat, snapping their little shiny black fangs, tearing apart the tough muscles together and working their way through the juicy pulp. Oh what a feast they must be having!

I tried to draw a long breath to compensate, but my nose wasn’t cooperating and I dared not to open my mouth because I didn’t want her to think that I am about to speak.

That was when she rescued me. Just like the first time in first grade, when she extended her hand of friendship.

“Here,” she said. I drew a long breath.

“Here,” she handed me the papers.

I noticed the inflection in her voice. She trembled but she did her best to hide it. Not from me though, she could never hide it from me.

Continue reading “2nd”