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Who is this sassy lost child
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Cristóbal knew he couldn't breathe but he kept trying to anyway, kept tasting blood, kept gasping and trying to just get enough air to say something so Abby would stop crying. He'd never wanted her to cry.

His thoughts were a jumble. Images of his mother, his grandparents, Dominic, Abby's family, the baseball team. All the people he'd tried not to let down.

At least he could say he'd tried.

Cristo's vision was going gray and fuzzy, and he tried to turn himself so that he could see Abby's face before it failed him completely. It was hard to focus on her, even this close. Maybe he was crying too.

He reached over with one shaky hand and let it rest on top of Abby's. He told himself it was good enough, even though she wasn't smiling and joyful like he wanted to remember her. He wanted to tell her that it would be okay to smile again, after this.

Maybe that was irony too, that this was what it took to think of everything he wanted to say.

If he'd had time, he could have written it all out, told her to forgive Kimiko for being scared and lashing out, told Abby that he loved her and he was fine with whatever way she loved him back, told her that she needed to live so she could take some words back to his family for him.

Cristóbal didn't have time. All he had was his last fading look at Abby's face.

By the time his vision went completely black, he'd nearly convinced himself that it was enough.

"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."

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Prepare to Burn · The Warehouse