Outside Air

In winter, I miss the outside air. When the cat comes in from the garden, I coax her up onto the bed. Her fur is cool to the touch, and she smells of woodsmoke and frost. Sometimes I lift the window a couple of inches, lean my face against the cold glass, and inhale. This time last year, I wasn’t well enough to lift the window. This time last year, I wasn’t well enough to stand here like this for a few minutes, breathing in. When I first became bedbound, I saw a counsellor who told me that, if I asked, there would always be someone to help me; all I needed to do was keep breathing. I kept breathing. I keep breathing.

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