Heart Surgery

I walk home in a daze. What the hell did I just experience? I search for a logical explanation, but I find no comfort in science and psychology. As I walk, that familiar ball of tension begins to twist in my chest. Panic begins to set in again. Just take the medicine, I start to repeat to myself. Maybe, just maybe, I’m a little crazy. Maybe, it’s all a trick of a twisted brain. Maybe, I created something out of nothing. Maybe, it was a distortion of sun and shade and autumn wind. Maybe. Maybe, I could make it all go away.

Once home, I retrieve a bottle of water from the refrigerator. Can dehydration lead to hallucinations? As I crack the seal with a twist, I hear mom’s key in the door.

“Amber?”

“Here!” I call from the kitchen. As I walk into the livingroom, I stop in my tracks. I realize my grandmother is not with her. “Where’s mima?”

“Maybe we should sit,” mom motions to the sofa.

“I don’t need to sit,” I watch her nervously.

Mom sighs and sets her purse down. “Your grandmother is scheduled for heart surgery tomorrow.”

“What?!” I was prepared for some diabetic complication, but heart surgery?

“She started having chest pain and we took her to the hospital. There is plaque buildup in her arteries . . .” her sentence starts to trail off as she starts to withdraw. This always happens when she’s stressed.

“Is that why you didn’t answer my call?” I try to keep my tone neutral, but when I see that defensive look in her eyes, I see I miscalculated.

“Not answer YOUR call? Why yes, at the time I was concerned about my mother dying. What was YOUR excuse for not answering MY text, yesterday?”

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