She's crouching with her son at her side who is shaking harder than she is.
She wonders if he knows what's happening. She hopes to God he doesn't. She weeps.
"Don't cry, Mama!" he says.
"Don't cry, Mama," he whispers. "I'll protect you."
He tries to stop shaking to show his mother he can, but he can't. She stops crying to smile at him sadly.
"Now, honey, don't you let the loud noises outside scare you. These boards aren't for nothing. We're safe under them."
"I know, Mama. I'm not scared of anything." he lied. He has always been worried about his mother. He's young and he doesn't know much, but he knows he won't end up like his father. He would never leave her. He will always protect her.
Next, a distant, but loud, explosion interrupts them.
He gasps. They cling to each other tighter.
The ground shakes. They feel the tables and chairs above them shake with it. They hear the breaking porcelain and the clattering silverware.
Everything is silent.
They're holding their breaths, shutting their eyes.
They don't live to open their eyes again.
They don't live to take another breath. (less)
She runs because it's probably the closest to 'high'
she'll ever be.
The only sounds are her breathing and her feet.
Inhale, exhale. Right, left. Inhale, exhale.
She runs because it's comforting to know
(more) that there are, in fact, places to run, places to hide,
places to go.
Her body aches but her mind is clear
and maybe she's using her every fear
to power her every move.
She leaks anxiety and hurt through her pores
and it dribbles down her neck and her back and more
and she's relieved.
When she runs, there is nothing.
Inhale, exhale. Left, right. Inhale, exhale.
"You have to be kidding."
"I'm not. Honest."
"This wasn't the reaction I was anticipating."
"Yeah, I can imagine... Sorry."
(more) "I just don't get it."
"Don't get what?"
"How you... or anyone, for that matter, could --"
"I love you."
"I literally just said it."
He takes her hand and squeezes it.
He and she become them.
She squeezes back.
The air is lighter and filled with something different.