This is the first story in the series Breathing, Moving, Feeling, Beating.

We will think later. We will only breathe now.

I brought you white orchids. Jasmine, narcissus. Anything you like.

I lay them on the new soil.

I picked a brightly coloured dandelion and lay it on the soil too. I think that's good enough. White-yellow-white-yellow-white. Green. Brown. And all are warm colours, and all would fit right on your palette, so you could paint a scene like this instead of being in it.

Well, we do what we can.

Benny opens a car door and we climb inside and click together our seat belts and adjust our purses, raincoats, cheap jewellery, brassy zippers and folded umbrellas with silent rubber squeaks. And there is silence, but for the expanding and contracting of lungs. Maureen snips off a loose black thread with a miniature pair of scissors and slips them into her handbag when I glance at their silver flash. I stare through the window and watch the new spring graffiti pass by.

Everything tastes warm and earthen, like pottery and worms and the fleshy pulp of flower stalks. Rain falls and clears. April showers, April, April, April. You left a few syringes in the dresser drawer. I pick up your satin underwear off the floor and toss it onto a chair and sit down on the bed. I tie a tube around my bicep. One more hit, and I'll be off this shit for good. I might leave for a rehab clinic soon. We've made arrangements.

The kitchen floor is cold. Mark is counting out birthday candles for Collins. He's turning twenty-six next week. When I sit at the table and lie my head down on the metal he doesn't even turn around. He just breathes.

I notice two lost match sticks lying on the floor beneath me.

If you were here—I mean, here in the spiritual sense, in the sense of your mind and soul and movement right next to me and not in some other realm which may or may exist—I might just take you out for a street-corner ice cream and a matinee in some theatre with newspaper over the box office windows and towels over the seat cushions. And maybe we'd have pretzels and wine for dinner in Thompkins Square Park, where you might fall asleep. I might wake you up to go home to watch cartoons on late night TV or maybe we'd just go take the subway home and lie in bed all afternoon long.

And sleep and wake and keep breathing.