Of the many ways it is possible for humans to express emotion, breathing has to be one of the most subtle and most often overlooked. One always breathes, but at most times the lower functions of the brain take over and the act of breathing becomes unconscious. However, in moments of extreme emotion, at the apex of one's joy or the pit of their agony, breathing takes on a conscious characteristic, representing the moment at hand. Examples follow;

  • Fear: You're in a basement, alone. The lights have gone out, and its approaching midnight. Thoughts race through your mind, and your breath becomes feverish and erratic. Stuttered jets of air come out of your mouth quicker than usual. Until it happens, whatever you've been fearing in that eternal moment since the lights went out, when you gulp air in preparation to scream.
  • Anxiety: The test is next hour. You have't studied, there's no time to do it now. All you have to do is wait for your ultimate failure. Breathing is shallow, in and out. In and out. As if taking less air in will make the minutes longer, or go away entirely. This could be true, when you pass out.
  • Rage: You've snapped. The moment has gotten the best of you and you no longer are in control of your anger. Your breathing is also betraying you, deep and purposeful, preparing for the rumble that you will get into. You heart races, and because of this your lungs bulge to accommodate the new, higher oxygen demand.


Etc. So the next time you're highly emotional, stop and notice your breathing. It has changed, right along with the rest of you.
I made little noises for him, little gasps and huffs, I pulled air in with a quick hiss between my teeth, let it flow out throaty and warm. I cooled his skin with my breath, made it warmer. I gave him all my temperatures.

He kept saying Don't be afraid to make noise. I don't know what he was listening for, but he was not listening.

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