I walk with my arm in front of my face, my back hunched. The wind blows sand at me. The sand gets in my hair and my eyes. It sticks in the hair on my arms and legs and chest. My mouth has never tasted anything but grit.

I stumble as the sand shifts under my foot. I hit the ground, but manage to shield my face with my arms. They form a wall for me to rest my forehead and a small cavity where I can breathe. My legs and chest are flat on the ground, the sand is soft when it’s not being blown at me.

I lie there as the sand builds up around me. I feel it bury me; my head and arms first, then my legs and torso. The sand forms a shield. It blocks the wind from biting and wearing at my skin.

My air begins to run out. I think about staying there, allowing the sand to suffocate me. I’ve been pushing through it for longer than I can remember. Maybe I should just take a break, wait for the end.

But I push myself up to my knees. The sand cascades down around me and immediately my face and chest are stinging from the sand. I stand the rest of the way up, and continue stumbling my way forward.

After a few steps I turn back. There is nothing to mark my temporary shelter. The featureless expanse of sand remains unblemished. I orient myself to the only thing I know.

I walk with my arm in front of my face, my back hunched.

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