The prompt today is about being alive inside your body, but appearing dead to the outside world. Here I go.
Even though the winter had been mild, the arrival of spring, true spring, was welcome. I had my windows and back door open. The breeze carried with it the wonderful springtime fragrances. Fragrances I couldn’t explain other than by saying the smells of spring – fresh, clean, warm. The sun was blinding in the afternoon sky and the glare from the front window made it so I had to strain my eyes to watch what was on the tv. I got up and closed the curtains.
As I returned to the sofa, I pulled the throw around my shoulders. The breeze was welcome, but as the afternoon progressed, it felt chilly. I’d have to close the windows soon. I leaned back on the pillows. I felt my eyelids heavy and shook myself awake. Why am I feeling so damn tired all of the sudden, I thought.
“Mom?” Elise shook me gently. “Mom, you fell asleep.”
“I guess I did,” I replied. I tried to sit up, but felt a weight on my chest. A gravity pool holding me down.
“Mom?! Mom, GET UP!” Elise was shaking me harder.
“I’m UP!” I nearly yelled. “Stop shaking me.” I could hear a rising concern in her voice as she kept calling out to me. She didn’t stop shaking me. In fact, the shaking became a little more than shaking, more like rolling. I heard a loud thud and realized I was on the floor. She pulled me off the sofa completely.
“WHY AREN’T YOU WAKING UP?! MOM! MOM! MOOOOOM!”
I could hear the tears in her words. At the same time, I had no idea why she couldn’t hear me. I felt like I was talking. My ears could hear me speak. “I’m awake! Can’t you hear me? Why can’t you hear me?” My fear collapsed my heart. That empty feeling that finds you when you are utterly afraid, it starts in the back of your head like a weird tingling. It sucks the air out of your lungs and becomes a void in the middle of you. I still felt like I couldn’t move.
“Elise! I can hear you. Please, please hear me!” My daughter didn’t respond to that. She wasn’t responding to anything, but she was sounding hysterical and very frightened.
I heard my son come lumbering from his room. His heavy feet landing every step. I could feel his hands on my back. I felt his head against it.
“I can’t hear a heartbeat.” Mason said. “I’m calling dad, then an ambulance.”
“Call the ambulance first, don’t be stupid. Then call dad.” Elise said with a distinctive bubble in her throat.
“Don’t call me stupid, stupid. Call dad on your phone, then.”
“I’m not calling you stupid! She just rolled off the couch. I hope she’s not dead, whatdowedoifshe’sdead?! I can’t live without my mom. I can’t, I just can’t!” Elise seemed out of her mind already.
“Relax, I’m sure it’s nothing.” Mason said as he dialed 911. “We need an ambulance, please. My mom fell asleep on the couch and we can’t seem to wake her up. My sister rolled her onto the floor.”
“I can’t hear one.”
“Mason.” He was responding to the 911 operator.
“No, she’s still warm.”
“Okay, feeling now.” Mason pressed his fingers on my neck, then he moved them to my wrist.
“No, not that I can feel, but I’m not sure if I felt the right spots.”
“She’s lying on her stomach. I can roll her over. I’ve never done CPR, but I’ve seen it in movies and stuff.” I heard the phone land on the floor, then I felt his hands under me, then a big push to land on my back.
Even in my whitewash of fear, I felt impressed by his seeming calm and composure.
“How old are you, Mason?” Came the voice from the phone.
“How old is your mom?”
“OK. Now, you’ve seen how they straddle the person & place the heel of a hand on the center of the person’s chest? Do that and place the heel of your other hand on top of your first hand, lacing your fingers together.”
“I’m doing it now. What’s next?” Mason asked.
“Keep your arms straight and your shoulders directly over your hands. Push hard and fast, compressing her chest at least 2 inches. Let her chest rise completely before pushing down again. Got it?”
“I think so. Let’s do this.” Mason began compressions. Each push of his hand felt like fire in my chest. It was excruciating.
“STOP! STOP!” I yelled. “I’m not unconscious, I’m breathing, why can’t you feel me breathing? I’M NOT DEAD!”
“They’re here!” Elise yelled and ran down the stairs.
I heard the door open and lots of footsteps rushing up the stairs.
I felt the compressions stop & Mason get up off of me. I felt cold fingers on my neck and smelled breath of mint.
“Mrs. Watters, are you awake? Can you hear me?” The minty voice spoke to me directly. I felt a set of knuckles massage the middle of my chest. “Mrs. Watters…?”
Like a tree uprooting in a tornado, the air rushed my lungs, I gasped and some force pushed me upright violently.
“Am I awake?” I asked. I looked around and could see they were reacting. I was awake. All their eyes were bewildered. Relief loosened my shoulders and I was sobbing. “I could hear you, I could feel everything. I don’t know what happened.”
Elise ran at me and hugged me tightly. Mason was already close and holding on.
“Mom, I’m so glad you’re OK.” Elise said. Mason leaned his head on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around them and we just cried.