14 people were killed too close to home*. But I’m not going to talk about that.**
My grandmother is still in the hospital two weeks after being in a car accident. It has been one thing after another, and it’s strange seeing an elderly patient developing infections, dyspnea, and edema like a textbook case except this is your grandmother and she is supposed to live to be a hundred.
She’s going to be fine, though (and this is not just a granddaughter’s optimism).
Being confined to four walls without korean dramas or WWE for distraction has left her with too much time on her hands, though. When the steady stream of visitors leave for the day, she is alone with her thoughts, and lately they have not been her friends: Why is this happening to me? Am I ever going to get out of here? Is this how I’m going to die?
I imagine her assessing her body for signs of reassurance or, more likely, concern. Her heavy chest and shallow breaths from bruised ribs. Soft wheezes like a slowly deflating balloon. Swollen belly, thighs, hands (I used to have such pretty hands! she tells me) with taut, fluid-logged skin. Her hips and arms are flecked with purple-red bruises – battle scars from the accident and unsuccessful blood draws.
She woke up at 2am yesterday with her eighty-year-old heart beating faster than a jackhammer. I was scared, she said. There was no one here and I was scared.
So tonight, I sit by her side and stroke her arm until she stops moaning, reminding her that she’s not alone. I think of Danika leaning over Levi’s crib, her hand lingering on his little back after he finally slips into that tenuous space before dreams.
*Shouldn’t anywhere be too close to home for a mass shooting?
**Except to say, we keep waiting for the world to change without actually making any changes.