When she died it wasn’t graceful and quick, like a buck taking a bullet to the head. It was like throwing a trout out of the water and onto the earth. You stand there while it trashes about and you do nothing. You watch. Watch as the light begins to fade, its eyes roll over and its mouth finally stops gasping. Choke. It is what it is.
My mother trashed as saliva ran down her drain. Her eyes were glossed over as she gave her life away. I averted her gaze and looked out the passenger windows. It was supposed to be a hot July day but the leaves of the trees down Princeton streets swayed like it was Spring. The air conditioner was on blast, Pops thought it would ease the pain but her head still burned hot like a stove top. She kept flailing all the way to the hospital. He held her hand, something I’d never seen him do, and said nothing as the street lights stayed green all the way to the hospital. A small but useless miracle.
When he opened her door for the nurses to pick her up, she fell face first onto the pavement before they could catch her. Even when the doctors in blue and white came running out. Even when the one doctor was trying to earn his daytime Emmy, pumping into her chest as he watched on so many shows prior to training, her mouth stayed open until finally, choke. “Nothing could be done,” one of the nurses would later tell us.
When I think of May I think of July. When I think of July, I think of springtime in Princeton with the fish out of the water. She was cremated nearby.