Sometimes you meet someone and they take your breath away in an instant. But more often than not, your lungs slowly deflate as the perpetrator takes a little bit of air at a time and you hardly notice until it’s too late.
Regardless of the method, at that point: you are powerless.
The one who took your breath away may come to you and fill you back up with air, holding on to you as you both float away to newer heights.
Or they may stare blankly at you as you flail and struggle. They would give it back if they could, but often times, another one has also taken their breath away. Or they have simply taken your breath and released it, tragically unaware of the importance of what had come into their possession.
In these cases, you slowly suffocate while looking your perpetrator in their eyes, unable to utter a single sound because, well, you have no air to release over your vocal cords. The last thought in your brain as your eyes fade to black is “Things could have been so much simpler.”
Luckily for you, there is no death in this hypothetical world I am painting. You wake up in a Mario Party balloon pump mini-game. With time, you will fill yourself back up with air.
You keep in mind that you will risk it all again. The loss of breath, the powerlessness, the possibility of painful suffocation. But the alternative is to be a deflated Bowser balloon lying on the ground, so you mash that A and B button as fast as you can and look forward to the next time your breath is taken away.