I choked on a bagel years ago and had to be given the Heimlich
To dislodge it from my throat in front of the television on a Saturday morning with my family. My mother saved my life and if I were alone
I would have surely died.
So I didn’t eat correctly after, but in minuscule bites and never again alone
because if I did I would surely die.
I had glimpsed a flash of dark death for the first time and the visage never fully left the deep recesses of my periphery ever since.
I had trouble swallowing, I would
gulp things hard and lumps of things would appear and then disappear in my neck and my lymph nodes were always swollen so I’d touch my neck to feel my pulse
because if I didn’t I would surely die.
One day when I was surely dying at a family barbecue I retreated to the guest bedroom that used to be my bedroom before the bagel almost killed me and I felt the blanket in my fingers and looked out the window at the thick green leaves and cried until you came into the room.
You asked me what was wrong and sat next to me, leathered hands on my shoulder. Soft smile and voice with its Atlantic cadence.
I told you what was wrong and you gave me some half-good advice. Clearly this was disappointing. One-year-old choking incident crippling your grandson? You’d shot people.
You came into the room when I was crying and I don’t remember anything else like that ever happening. I didn’t cry like that and you didn’t come into the room while I did.
When you surely died I couldn’t remember the advice you gave me. I just remember the room.