The Absurdity of Living To See Yourself Die, Part 2: Two Breaths and A Balloon

incase you missed it: Part 1

Two firemen carried my limp body down a flight of stairs and layed me on the floor. Soot and mucus began leaking out of my mouth and nose. An EMT started preforming CPR. First my head was tilted back and a mask was placed over my lips. The EMT pinched my nose shut and began exhaling air down through my wind pipes and into my lungs. My chest rose, and then fell sharply, the weight of it sitting hard on my lungs. Again, air was forced into my lungs, my chest rising, and then falling sharply, like a balloon pinched shut between your forefinger and thumb suddenly being released. Another EMT began performing chest compressions to keep the blood pumping in and out of my heart. As the EMT tried applying a third rescue breath I shook to life violently, inhaling a deep, filling breath. I shot up, sitting upright, and vomited over my tshirt.

An old man going into cardiac arrest, a boy crying on the floor, a woman shouting, her voice hoarse, and scared “MI HERMANA, MI HERMANA, ARRIBA!” These are the things I saw when I opened my eyes. I searched the room, swooping my head back and forth looking for my girlfriend, half conscious of my surroundings and the situation. We met eyes. She was also covered in soot, a look of horror across her face, along with a fragile smile. Thankfully she had been pulled from the fire immediately. Before we could exchange words we were grabbed by fire fighters and brought downstairs where we were quickly

forgotten in a sea of people. Some which had injuries, others just standing around and staring. We walked out of the building, not knowing what else to do, and were approached by a short, portly cop who asked if we needed assistance. We really didn’t know, but he insisted that we did. We were walked over to an ambulance, passing a line of camera men and news media who began flashing away, taking pictures of my girlfriend whose face was covered in soot, only interrupted by two lines of flesh that had been washed away by her tears. I became enraged, threatening to break their equipment, pick a fight. I looked like a real asshole. Some lowered their cameras, others just continued flashing, quite accustomed to the situation.

It wasn’t until we were given oxygen masks that I realized how sick I actually was. I could feel the physical weight of the soot and chemicals which sat in my throat and lungs. My blood had also absorbed a fair amount of Carbon Dioxide, and Cyanide  as well(Yeah, fucking Cyanide) and unfortunately my body was doing a very poor job of absorbing oxygen.

So there we were. Two 20-somethings, kids

really, sitting in the back of an ambulance, with our hair matted to our  heads, and emergency blankets wrapped around our bodies. I became aware of my adrenaline level slowly returning to normal, as maintaining my breath became noticeably more difficult.

I wasn’t dead, it was a miracle. It was a fucking miracle, as a matter of fact. I began to think about the extent of my injuries, and contemplate how serious of an impact it might have on my life. I clutched my girlfriends hand, softly. I had very little strength actually left in my body, as the ambulance raced downtown to the hospital.


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