Hands Free by Amy Laura Jackson

My handbag slaps my hip as I climb into the ambulance. It echoes the erratic beating of my heart, the laboured beating of hers.
My handbag catches on the stretcher’s metal frame when I swing my legs up. The strap squeezes my windpipe, making my breath hitch. Her breath comes fast and shallow, muffled by an oxygen mask. The paramedic asks me questions I should know the answers to.
My handbag weighs heavy on my shoulder after they take her from my arms and lay her on a hospital bed. Her eyes, half shut, never leave me. My hands, free from their burden, shake. I clench the strap between my fingers.

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