Three times he woke up. Was he supposed to breathe in suffering, breathe out hopefulness? Or was it breathe out suffering, breathe in hopefulness? The last time, he was gasping, like on a mountaintop. He counted breaths, swallowed down his heart, mindful not to wake her. Once he started counting, it was hard to stop. So he counted steps down a talus slope, cobbles shifting underfoot like living skulls, to the place where the contours formed a Y in a spongy alpine meadow lush with marsh marigolds with creamy petals that reminded him, again, of her.
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