One day after school, my great-aunt Heather was at the house. My mom lying on the couch; she was awake, but she didn’t notice me. Aunt Heather put her index finger to her mouth, nodded for me to be quiet and follow her into the kitchen.
“Your momma’s sick. She needs our help. I’m gonna stay here for a while.” She did her best to comfort me; if anyone ever could, it was her.
Life got better and worse at the same time. Aunt Heather helped us get up and ready for school, she cooked great meals, and she watched TV with us. She’d tell amazing stories about when she was a nurse in the war; in Korea, not the “The Big One.” It had been a few years before I was born and my dad was there too, but they never saw each other. She said she helped soldiers in the hospital, the ones who hadn’t been wounded, “not by bullets, at least,” she added. Jack asked why soldiers were in the hospital if they hadn’t been shot.
Every day after school, I’d still come home to find Momma on the couch. She didn’t say much and it was scary to watch her stare without seeing.