"He just started breathin' faster and faster and his face was getting' red like he was gonna' pop or something. And he kept on saying that it was like bein' underwater and he couldn't get enough air. We sat there for a while on that little hill on the logging trail, and it smelled so good like a whole world fulla' pine-fresh smells – so good and fresh. I think it made it harder for him, though.
We had set out just about two o'clock – just for a little hike. We weren't gonna' be out very long, just long enough to walk up that logging trail and look back at camp from that high hill way out on the end of the trail by the power lines. We started goin' and once we got about a half hour out he says to me that he forgot his inhaler, but he thought it would be OK on account of how he had been pretty good lately and the air seemed pretty fresh with the wind all blowin' and him feeling pretty good. So we kept on goin'.
It was about an hour and a half and he just seemed like he couldn't drag those breaths in no more, I thought. He was lookin' at me and it was like his eyes almost kinda' bugged out of his head, but they weren't really, they were just kind of bulging and he was red and sweaty. I think we got too hot and he started breathing something his lungs didn't like, and that's when I got worried.
He just kept on cursing that he forgot his inhaler, and I gave him my water bottle and said just to sip it real slow and try to breathe real steady like. He tried it but it didn't seem to do any good. He just sipped real slow at that water bottle and I could hear him breathing – he was workin' real hard at it, and then he said he was getting' woozy and he kept on sayin' “God, Kelly, don't let me die, I don't wanna' die. I can't breathe no more, I'm gonna pass out.” And I was just tellin' him to be quiet and not get all worked up on account of it takin' more air and he didn't have any to spare.
And he started looking up at the clouds like he was looking at a painting in a museum the kind like we went to in a field trip once. And he was almost smiling, and so I started looking up to at those same clouds and they were framed by those pines and those white clouds were drifting by and the fresh pine smell was in the air, and we were sitting down and pretty soon I just leaned back and I was lost up in those clouds, and I could almost hear music, but it was just his windpipe or his lungs and they were making a sound when he breathed – first a high-pitched sound and then another lower-pitched sound, so that when he exhaled what little he could exhale, it was like it was in harmony. A little like a pipe organ and he sat there, making that music and I just drifted off to sleep and I don't know how long I slept.
And now I don't know where he's gone off to, but he can't have gone too far. And I tried hollerin' for him, but I don't think he'll holler back.