The ambulance men touched her cold body, lifted it, heavy as iron, onto the stretcher, tried to close the mouth, closed the eyes, tied the arms to the side, moved a caught strand of hair, as if it mattered, saw the shape of her breasts, flattened by gravity, under the sheet, carried her, as if it were she, down the steps.
These men were never the same. They went out afterwards, as they always did, for a drink or two, but they could not meet each other's eyes.
Their lives took a turn-one had nightmares, strange pains, impotence, depression. One did not like his work, his wife looked different, his kids. Even death seemed different to him-a place where she would be waiting,
and one found himself standing at night in the doorway to a room of sleep, listening to a woman breathing, just an ordinary woman breathing.