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A Breath Out for a Breath In

Your first breath took mine away.”

Islo read the last sentence on the wrinkled letter. His mom wrote it about ten years ago, with no inkling of what was to come. Since then, Islo was always sensitive around the topic. He didn’t know her very well, but his heart hurt as he read the letter. He sat in silence waiting for a miracle.

Maybe the snow would somehow cancel school, though it was online now so there was no way that would happen. Maybe the internet would go out and he could do the things he loved, the things she loved. But that was only his hopes and his watch would beep any minute now—Meep! Meep! Meeep!

*hugh..* Islo takes his time climbing down the attic ladder, and makes his way to the laptop. He begins his classes, bored all the way through and focused on something entirely different. School in person was always his better fit, but he had no choice this time, just like all of the other kids. He would much rather face important problems in school instead of learning geometry. His friend Anfa was a nice girl who had been by his side through school. Online school would have all but separated them if they hadn’t lived in close neighborhoods. He could see her on the other side of the screen, and he planned to go straight to her house after school.

His classes dragged on from 9:00 till 2:00, but when they finally ended, he could run over to Anfa’s house. He grabbed a bag of gluten free pretzels and rushed out the door. He had never felt disconnected from his mother, and had always mourned for her instead of acting. So on this new day, he had an idea. He didn’t have a way to contact Anfa beforehand, yet she was already waiting for him at the window! They met in the yard and he excitedly filled her in.

“Wow.” She replied. “Islo, that’s great! You really are connected to your mom, aren’t you?”

He grinned, “I didn’t want to have to wait, when I can start on my own!”

They started to contact their few friends and painted signs with real issues on them, masks as well. Their friends spread the word. Soon they had a large group, and even Islo’s father joined, and he was mostly working hard for them both. This big group stood in the downtown square and fought for their world, just as Islo’s mother had done.

“Islo, your mom is really proud of you.” Anfa smiled.

“Yeah, I guess she is.” He replied softly. “It’s what she would have wanted.”

“Totally.”

“I’m proud of me too.”

“If you can’t reuse it, refuse it!”

“One crying baby keeps a family awake. A mass of a Gypsy children will wake up the entire world!”

“We are skipping our lessons to teach you one!”

“There is no planet B!”

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