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Coffee+Crumbs: Labored Breathing

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Ooo-ooo-EEE, ooo-ooo-EEE. In a nondescript office building adjacent to the hospital, I remember learning Lamaze breathing in my prenatal class. Nobody told me I’d use it when my kid was a teenager.

My hands gripped the steering wheel as I swung into a parking lot off the highway. The kid next to me grew quiet, their* belligerent tirade dwindling as I veered off the road and threw the car in park. “Sorry,” they muttered sarcastically, with just a hint of nervousness. Maybe this was the thing that would finally push Mom into the homicidal zone.

I gripped and released, flexing my hands on the steering wheel, forcing each finger to relax. I breathed, in and out, feeling my jaw clench and unclench. I wasn’t pushing out my baby but my baby was pushing all my buttons. Ooo-ooo-EEE, ooo-ooo-EEE.

Words slammed through my head, words I wanted to spew forth onto my maddening child. I could destroy them with the words forming in my head, I thought. Tempting. To win this argument, to put them in their place. They were so far out of line. They had no line. They were a lineless, blurry Monet painting, and I hate the Impressionists.

I wanted to crush them with my superior intellect and felt the words load into my mouth like Skeeballs ready to shoot. My kid was going down.

My mind was so loud, eviscerating them with every accusation. I was in closing arguments of the courtroom of my mind and I was winning; I was brilliant; all must bow before my knowledge and logical reasoning.

I hesitated, the words pounding on my tongue. READ MORE

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