She left approximately 4,973,484 breaths ago, give or take several hundred thousand breaths. And if the average human heart beats 42,075,900 times per year, then she had been gone for approximately 21,593,200 beats, he calculated.
This new method of keeping time was comforting. Instead of allowing time to happen to him, he could control it. If he had developed this method sooner, while they were still together, he would have taken more breaths to make the moments seem prolonged. As for his heart, it always beat quicker when she was around.
Their first kiss would have been 4,000 breaths. That time, in the rain, 27,938 breaths. Their final road trip, 97,265,809 breaths.
Now, if he holds it, then he could reduce the amount she’s been gone. He could say, then, that she has only been gone for 2,987,102 breaths, which doesn’t seem as long.
Every time he holds his breath, though, his heart beats faster which makes it seem as though she has been gone longer.
The only solution, he concludes, is to become spatial, to become the field of the clock rather than the hands. Without too much effort and strain, he expands himself. It isn’t difficult. All he needs to do is lie very still while the wind, moths, and earthworms carry off small decaying pieces of his body. Now, he is the coffee shop where they first held hands. Now, he is the lake where they were married. Now he is the city where they lived for decades. Now, he is the hospital of her last breath. Now, he is ocean. Now, he is desert. Now, he is mountain. Now, he is cloud.
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