The Yawn

Jon Chaiim McConnell

The yawn began several minutes before sundown. He’d returned from work and just finished circling the block around his apartment the exact amount of times it takes to find a good parking spot. And, though it was a strong one, opening his jaws about as wide as they were built to open, he didn’t think much else of it at first. Simply let the yawn build once and then again to its second and usually most dramatic crescendo, raised a hand to his mouth, and had a quick bout of fun modulating his breath through his fingers in loud mawps. He’d in fact been known to his family, friends, and some acquaintances to yawn in this way. In his little muted trumpet noises.

      But when his standard yawning time had elapsed, and he lowered his hand to his lap, he found that the yawn was continuing without him. His lungs still pulled fresh. His mouth wouldn’t close. His shoulders remained up, tightened about his ears. Was he aware that these things can sometimes happen? It was hard to tell. Quickly, though, he realized, he would need to decide how concerned it was necessary to be.

      At first, he thought he’d simply wait it out. A yawn was a perfectly natural thing to occur, and at this time of day especially. Though, aren’t the criteria for fulfilling the purpose of a yawn still somewhat up for debate? A lack of oxygen? He breathed all the time. Though, also, he had had a very long day at work, and maybe missed a few breaths when he wasn’t paying close enough attention. Maybe the rate at which he breathed was not as frequent as generally recommended. He tried to get up from his desk and go on short walks, too, eat some salads every now and then, is he not as consistent about those things as he should be either? A body is an entirely unclear convergence of systems.

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