Her sobs are wilted, withdrawn things, though her tears are fresh and pool at the base of my inadequacies. I sail my hand across her shoulders, riding their whimper sympathetic ebb and flow. I feel queasy. We can fix this, I tell her, everything will be okay. I wonder if you can die from crying, whether it would be dehydration or an atrophy of the soul. I offer to get her a glass of water but she shakes her head. Probably she’ll die soon, dried up and ashen like a Pompeii person. Everything will be okay, I tell her.

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