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Karin is a yoga teacher and mother who writes in her spare time. This is her second appearance in Daily Science Fiction.

After the bomb, we learned to walk slow. Slow as acceptance. Laborious and dragging. Heavy as longing.
In just a few generations, the big people died off. Big lungs, big breaths, blood hungry for oxygen. We little ones survived. Sipping the sparse breath between.
We got smaller. Learned to breathe shallow. Practiced an economy of speech.
Five words per person. Five sounds. For a lifetime.
If I had it to do all over again, no doubt I would say:
I love you. Forgive me.
I know you think I stole your fortune. Squandered your dowry. Pillaged your breath.
I should have silenced you. It's what mothers do.
But instinct runs deeper than culture. And I couldn't stop you laughing. I loved the sound of your breath. Your nostrils puffing air onto my neck. Your rounded back. The smack of hard toothless gums against my breast.
Girl, I heard you laugh and the places in my body made of water became more like water.
And the places in my body made of air became more like air.
I melted and rose. Collapsed and reformed. Drank in every mumble. Every sigh. Every breath.
I can't buy your five sounds back. But I can give you mine. There is a way.
I hope this letter finds you one day.
My girl.
There's an archaic expression that has long since fallen out of fashion:
You took my breath away.
I am speechless.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Author Comments

Listening to your sleeping baby breathe fills a parent with passion too big to contain. Sometimes we laugh or cry. Go weak through the limbs and crumple. At times, we promise and pray. And one time, I wrote this.

- Karin Terebessy
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