Twenty-three thousand and forty times a day I breathe in and I breathe out.

I don’t usually think about this. My body has gotten into the habit after twenty-seven years in the business of breathing. If I do then I might think about how my breathing involves chemical reactions, pulling oxygen into my blood and feeding my brain, allowing me to live. I’m pretty sure alveoli are involved somewhere.

At this point I probably think about ravioli and go eat something, my mind on something else. You don’t have to think about the everyday – it just kind of happens.

But if you do, you might find yourself thinking about air, about life, about twenty-seven-year-old women who breathe more than you because they’re running marathons, or less than you because they’re sick. You might think about your high school science and how much you know about the “respiratory system” and all the people who know more about it, and the people who inhale and exhale quite functionally around twenty-three thousand and forty times a day, who carry on living without the benefit of such knowledge.

You might think about polluted air poisoned by companies who will kill us all, softly, and charge us for the pleasure. You might think about people in China buying clean, fresh air from Canada and find that funny, or sad, or both at once.

You might think about breathing deliberately, in and out. You might be meditating, or trying to calm down, or singing. You might be scuba diving and low-key scanning the water for sharks. You might be space-walking and high-key scanning for xenomorphs.

You might be reading this and becoming uncomfortably aware of your breath. I hope so.

The everyday: think about it.

– Rebecca Sutherland

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