The GIF of cat lungs being inflated. Then deflating. Being inflated again. Over and over forever. The fact that the creator of the GIF thinks it should be pronounced with a soft G, despite the fact that the word is an acronym, the first word in that acronym is graphic, and graphic is pronounced with a hard G. I wonder if he offers a reasonable explanation. I wonder if I care enough to check.
The GIF of cat lungs being inflated. How before the air comes, they look like bits of meat on a tray, though why that tray also has a paper doily on it . . . The GIF of cat lungs being inflated shows an image of a pair of cat lungs on a paper doily on a metal tray. Initially, the cat lungs look like bits of meat, but then the air comes, and they pop to attention. They expand. Their color lightens considerably. They look as though they might either float away or burst. Then the air is taken away and they go back to looking like bits of meat on a paper doily on a metal tray probably in a lab somewhere and why does the lab have paper doilies at all?
The GIF of cat lungs being inflated both does and does not make me feel like I felt when I wanted to be able to inhale indefinitely. I was reading Ray of the Star for the second time. I no longer wondered who Ray was. Each sentence felt like breath to me, like inhaling, like the main character was breathing in and in and in so that he could continue doing anything at all: open his eyes, drink a coffee, ring a bell, eat a pastry. Each sentence was an Einatmen, which seems strange considering how reading a sentence aloud requires exhalation. I would tap the edge of my Himalayan singing bowl and read a sentence. I would sit there and wish I could inhale and just keep inhaling and just keep inhaling.
This was all more than a year ago. I didn’t see the GIF of the cat lungs being inflated until last week. The GIF of the cat lungs being inflated both does and does not make me feel like I felt when I wanted to be able to inhale indefinitely. I did not just use copy and paste. I retyped the whole sentence. That is important. Now I’ve uncrossed my legs and am sitting up straight. I’ve taken my shoulders out of my ears. Another sip of coffee. A look around the room. To tap the edge of the Himalayan singing bowl would require that I stop typing and get up.
Dear David, do you remember the letter I sent you about breathing? No? I never sent it? Dear David, do you remember the GIF of the cat lungs being inflated? Dear David, the alternate version of “I’m Not in Love” is so much better than the version you put on the album. Dear David, we are two strangers. Dear David, you must be so tired of this by now.
The GIF of the cat lungs being inflated both does and does not make me feel like I felt when I wanted to be able to inhale indefinitely. The GIF of the cat lungs being inflated makes me sad for the kitty who died. I want to exhale to honor the cat whose lungs now mesmerize. Do we even use the word netizens anymore? Or netiquette?
Dear the GIF of cat lungs being inflated, I sat in the doctor’s office, waiting to get the results of a test I had taken a week earlier (I passed!), and saw you for the first time. You were as I have described you: red to pink and back to red and back to pink, on a white paper doily on a silver metal tray, very dead and alive, very somehow happy—
Dear the GIF of cat lungs being inflated, I wanted to show you to the doctor; I thought he would find you fascinating. In the end though, I put you back in my pocket and showed you to no one. I think I asked one person if they had seen you. They had. I have thought about you every day since that day. I am thinking about you now. I know that too much air would have ruptured you, but there was a time when I—