Archive for March 29th, 2010

March 29th, 2010

The Phantom in the Other Room

I am lying awake in bed in the early hours of morning, my husband lost in dreams beside me while darkness shrouds the spring-time day soon to explode outside my window. I am sleepy-eyed and cozy and still in that blissful, transformed state that occurs only when you’ve just woken from a deep and restful sleep and the details of daily reality have yet to flood back into your consciousness to shock you stupid. That’s when I hear it. Like a phantom menace from my daughter’s bedroom emerge the sounds I have come to dread most: Cough-cough, sniffle-sniffle, cough, sniffle, cough-cough. “Please God, please,” I silently pray, “Please, don’t let her be sick again.”

My prayers fall on deaf ears. By the time I reach her bedroom the coughing is intense. Her child-cum-young-lady’s body is convulsing in rhythm to the spasms in her lungs, her cheeks, flushed and warm to the touch, and her face contorted in an expression that screams “Help me, Mom.” She is twelve. I am not new at this. I should be able to keep her healthy. I should be a better mother.

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