A voice from far away said, “Mrs. Carson, Mrs. Carson,” and then
another voice said, “Mom. Mom.” A hand on her arm, shaking it. She
wasn’t sure where she was. What had she been doing? She tried to recollect—she had something to do, something to figure out. Didn’t she? A
problem that needed solving.
The voices grew louder and then her vision returned, and her hands
and lips tingled, and as everything came back—the morning elevator
ride, the too-hot coffee that had scalded her tongue, the words I think
something might be seriously wrong with me, and how they turned out to
be right—there was her daughter, beautiful and alive and at the start of a
long and maybe terrible journey, leaning over her, tilting a paper cup of
water to her lips and saying, “Mom, it’s OK. You’re OK.”
She thought back on the last year—all the doctor vis-
its and the misguided diagnoses . . . , the loss of time
to be a kid, to make her stupid football posters and
her As in math. She thought of the things the girl
had had to speak about with a male doctor more than
twice her age and how steady her little hand had been
as she’d held that meticulous list. All at age fifteen.
All on her own.