My inhaler sounds something like this: peoof! It is a high, squeaking sound like the brakes of tractor-trailers as they release their air or the seal on an oxygen tank when you have done something wrong. A little cloud of smoke bursts into the air right in front of me, and I immediately pull it all deep into my lungs, straining to suck in every last molecule. There is a moment before the smoke vanishes in which I look through it, and all the world is in a haze. But then it is pulled into my body, and the world is clear again. Only I still cannot breathe. I hold my breath, letting the albuterol absorb into my bloodstream for as long as I can. A few seconds and then I breathe in again, but it is still labored, wheezing. When I was little I was told to relax, and so I try. My eyes are closed; the black before me is flecked with red. I think it is the thin switchbacks of capillaries, but I do not really know. If I pretend terribly hard I can shape the red into a rose, but it takes too much effort to be worth it. I do not particularly like roses. My heart begins to beat loudly, and I open my eyes, take a deep breath, and feel the air filling my lungs. The compression, squeezing and suffocating, is gone. My lungs are normal.
I still have a paper to write. I still have terrors to put to rest. I still do not have the answers. I still cannot breathe.
And apparently I am still writing on this journal/blog/thing when I should be writing papers.