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Writing by Emily Dozois // Photograph by Mabel Windred-Wornes

Writing by Emily Dozois // Photograph by Mabel Windred-Wornes

This is what I remember:

It always happened. Every night I was woken up by a tickle in my throat, or a cough, or a sharp wheeze, and I always ended up okay. And if I wasn’t okay, I would wake someone up to save me. But this time was different.

I remember that when I finally woke up, I wasn’t breathing. There was no tickle, no cough, no wheeze. There was no air. I tried in vain to take a breath and discovered I could do nothing but choke. My lungs were on fire and my airways had swelled shut as I slept. I tried to call for help and discovered I could not make sounds anymore. I told my legs to move, I told my hands to push myself up, and discovered I could not move anymore. I wasn’t afraid.

I remember trying so hard to move, willing myself to get out, to escape. I finally managed to twist around so my feet were resting on my pillows and I was looking out the window. I used all my energy, and I could do nothing else. I wasn’t afraid.

I remember staring at the moon and being filled with an overwhelming feeling of peace. I have never been able to replicate this state of being; completely free of any anxiety or pain. The moon was the only thing I could see; the only thing I was holding on to. It was the only thing holding me there. I wasn’t afraid.

I remember knowing that I was going to die; that the next time I closed my eyes would be the last, and I would not wake again. That the last thing I would see was the moon, and what a beautiful last thing to see. I wasn’t afraid.

I remember wondering why it was taking so long. It felt like hours when really only moments passed. I remember that I didn’t mind waiting and watching the moon. I wasn’t afraid.

I remember slowly forgetting to choke, forgetting that I was supposed to keep breathing, and the moon kept holding me there. I wasn’t afraid.

I don’t remember that my mother found me like this. I don’t remember my fourteen-year-old body being lifted from my bed and carried down the stairs.

I have a brief memory of a mask being placed on my face and someone asking me if they should call for help. I was so, so tired. I wasn’t afraid.

I don’t remember the paramedics as they tracked mud through my house, loaded me onto a stretcher, and took me away. The next day I counted their grey footprints.

My next memory is in the hospital. I was finally breathing and no one seemed to understand that I died back there, with the moon. They sent me home. I wasn’t afraid.

The next night I laid down to look at the moon. And suddenly, I was afraid.

Every night I would lie in terror, with my medications and new pager on the bed beside me. I was afraid.

I would drift into fitful, exhausted slumber only to be awoken as soon as my breathing started to relax.

I was afraid.

I am afraid.


Emily Dozois

Emily Dozois is an 18-year-old photographer from Ontario, Canada. She is known mostly for her conceptual self-portraits that are mainly inspired by her struggles with a severe lung disease. At the age of fifteen, Emily discovered photography and the artistic freedoms it gave her to express the troubles that she faces on a daily basis in a healthy way. Since then, Emily has not stopped creating with the hopes that her images can inspire others to do the same. See her photographs on Flickr.

Mabel Windred-Wornes

Mabel Windred-Wornes is a 17 year old girl living in a humble shack with her family in Melbourne, Australia. She loves taking photographs of her sister and friends, often in nature.  She loves drawing, stream of consciousness writing in the dark whilst listening to moody music and writing songs in her bedroom about the experience of being a teenage girl – lovesick, bursting with emotion, confused and yet intrigued. She has a folk duo with her sister called Charm of Finches and gigs around the country dragging along a rambunctious family of five.

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