A few weeks later, I came home for dinner to an ambulance in the driveway. I feared Momma might be dead, and for a split-second, I wanted to run. I didn’t know where I’d go; I was just afraid to find out what was happening inside. But the door was open and I could see people in the living room—they looked like firemen—at the couch, talking to Momma. I started to walk toward the door, but Aunt Heather saw me and quickly gathered me on the porch, so I couldn’t hear or see what was happening inside.
“Your momma’s sick,” she explained again. “She needs more help than I can give. She’s going to the hospital.”
“What’s wrong? Does she need an operation?” Momma had told me that people went to hospitals for surgery and to die.
“It’s not like that. She doesn’t need an operation. It’s like I told you with the soldiers.” I could see she was struggling to find words to help me. She finally put her right hand to her chest. “It’s her heart. She’s sad. But not a regular sad. This is a sad that won’t go away. It’s so big she can’t feel anything else. There are doctors that can try to help her at the hospital.”
The ambulance drivers had moved my mom to a stretcher, and they were coming our way. Her eyes were beyond the stare. Her eyes were almost totally empty. I could tell she didn’t see me. I didn’t know if I should say something, or try to touch her. She was out the door before I could decide.
The ambulance doors slammed and they quickly drove off.