They said I was overwrought and working myself into the panic and imagined it all but I couldn't breathe and I wanted to know if they thought I imagined that, the gasping and shuddering dragging breaths and still, the concentration to breathe, breathe, breathe

They thought I had been trying to distract myself, and it worked, but I wasn't, the waiting and breathing and slow stifling air in slow lungs just hurt. Breathing and breathing and time tick tick tick measured and inhale exhale inhale.

Was I faking that? The panic in waves and all through it a rise and fall and heaving, and the walls towering, closing in, and behind, my thoughts: Just like the books, and I opened the window, closed it, sat and focused on air.

And then it was dark and the night was here and breathing and breathe and you clattered up the steps and through the door and breathe I forgot because you were home.

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