Tiny Hope

They’d sat with her long enough now that each time her breathing stopped they simply waited. And each time it stopped it kicked in again. With a gurgle and a splutter and a struggle like Sisyphus. She was as small as a kitten. They’d snatched her a name in a moment, for fear that a more considered one might come too late. Nothing more could be done for her. Deanne and Quan in a shared haze—their ordinary worlds contracted to this. Through another night of stopping and reviving and stopping again until at last the stopping was all and long minutes passed. They held hands in the silence. They tried to look each other in the face but it was too hard. Too hard. Then from nowhere a cough. Another wheezing breath. A small hand moving towards them as if it knew.