it only hurts when i laugh

I do this every day.
A 20 minute walk to the main road, take a taxi to the next town, and walk 20 minutes to work.
At the end of the day, I do the reverse. 20 minute walk, taxi, 20 minutes home.
But today is different, halfway into my walk home, it starts to rain.

The rain comes quickly.
One minute it is dry, the next minute, it is loud, heavy on tin roofs and everything is drenched.
One minute I am walking, the next I am running, ineffectively covering my laptop bag with my arms

I get home, struggle with the door and finally get it open. I am winded and I collapse into the closest chair.

I feel the tightness in my chest and I know what is coming next.
My breathing quickens as I struggle for air.
There is an invisible hand with a tight grip around my neck, and I wheeze.
There is a heavy weight on my chest and I can’t get in enough air.
I struggle and I fail.

I slide off the chair onto my knees and I start to cough.
I cough until my chest hurts.
I breathe, I try to. I try to breathe.
I am too weak to get up. I lie on my side on the floor in my wet clothes, and I cry.

I cry for myself. I cry for my inhaler. I cry because I haven’t always been my best. I cry for the people I miss. I cry because when all is said and done, we really are all alone. I cry until I fall asleep.

I wake up a while later. My chest still hurts from the exertion and my nose runs, but my breathing is fine now.
Cell phone shows it is a little after midnight, five hours since I got in.
Also, no missed calls, no text messages.

I get out of my cold clothes, crawl into my warm bed, and wait for the sun to come up.

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