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Forgot How to Breathe This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I think somewhere down the line we forgot how to breathe. Now we’re falling into a tear-wrenching plummet, bottomless as the nihilistic paper you read and analyzed in Philosophy 1, abstract as what we pour agony into and call art, distracting us like the rap music pounding in your ear buds. We don’t swallow because we have to, don’t notice a wrinkle in clothing when a loving hand presses into the puddle of warmth between the shoulder blades, and we don’t walk to jobs down the street. We can’t stand the cold and hate being sweaty in the hot, slopping around like those melting teacakes Mary Badham talked about when "To Kill a Mockingbird" was still a great movie. We don’t like seeing the crackle of a cheap camera make old-fashioned speckles on our pictures, maybe because it stains our teeth like coffee and brings down the image of ourselves we fabricated. We no longer think of taking our own lives as a thought we should avoid and treat the pills like taffy, something good for our guts. We don’t make a noise or sing because we love being able to and we don’t know what it feels like to get a chill feeling in the head from the honest draining of our bodily energy or calluses on our hands from scrubbing earth into our skin. There is no grit leftover from people who traveled and sweated and pushed their bodies down an unknown path, maybe a handful of people who have ever thrown their arms out and tipped their heads back even if it was raining and said “I’m alive.” We are pieces of ourselves. Breathing keeps us alive; life keeps us living. Life is a cry, not a yawn.
Or at least, it should have been for every soul who gave up and decided they didn’t want to wake up the next morning. Every writer who got tired of the sore fingers banging on their typewriters. Every human who forgot what the word human means. Every life never lived.





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