Barely Breathing

Sparklers sizzle and snap like tiny welding rods. Gina watches her nieces and nephews as their excitement builds for the fireworks to come. Follow the breath in. Follow the breath out. Her smile never reveals the knots in her gut, the slight quiver in her left leg. To hide it she bounces her foot. Her sister says, “Settle down Gina, you’re as antsy as the kids.” Gina laughs. Whatever. The announcer thanks the boys who recently came home from Iraq. Girls, too she thinks. Breathe in, out. Waiting for fireworks feels like the boredom before the bomb blasts begin.

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