Saturday, January 5, 2013

Memories of Pneumonia

Prompt:  Start by writing down your three earliest memories. Then try to incorporate all of them into a single cohesive piece.

Time: 10 minutes


3 memories:

  1. Fingers shut in trunk.
  2. Standing in an x-ray room, wearing a heavy metal vest.
  3. Drinking watered down apple juice.

Her head is screaming. Not the way her fingers screamed when her mom closed them in the hatchback trunk, with biting razors of pain, but screaming the way someone in a scary movie screams: long, prolonged, echoing.

Her mother is there again, holding out the Pizza Hut cup with its plastic straw pointed at her mouth, but she pushes it away. She can't bear the thought of sweet ginger ale bubbles in her mouth again. Just the idea is making that prickling sensation in her throat, and she gags over the crinkly plastic garbage pail.

Robin Hood the fox and Little John the bear--they dance back and forth across the screen over and over again until her lids fall and black heat surrounds her again.

She is jolted awake. Somehow she is buckled into the back seat of their station wagon, wrapped tightly in blankets. For an instant she thinks she is on her way to the Carriage House, and that makes her think of snacks: apple juice--watered down of course--and animal crackers. But then the car jerks again and acid rises in her throat. One of the blankets is wet and smells sour. She begins to cry.

She is still crying when they Velcro the leaden vest across her chest and drag her, stumbling, into the dark, metallic X-ray room. She is trying to stay straight and stand still, but her chest just hurts so much, and her head is still screaming, and she can't seem to stop crying.

And then she is wearing paper, laying on paper, and she can't even feel the needle as she watches it poke under the pale skin of her arm.

"You're being so brave," the nurse tells her. She thinks of Robin Hood.

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