I'm so pleased to have had an essay published in Baltimore Style magazine (last November. I'm running four months behind in my life, that's why I'm posting in March). I've wanted to get back to essay writing for some time. I wrote this piece about my mother falling down the stairs on Mother's Day, so not sure what that says about me!
A note about the text: I did not choose the title or the log line in the magazine. Neither accurately describe the essay, unfortunately, but that's what sometimes happens when you publish.
Also, and this is so painful--THEY DO NOT USE THE OXFORD COMMA.
(Illustration by Francis Blake. Check out his fabulous work.)
One night, deep in the throes of a cold, I did a rare and dangerous thing: I turned off my phone, took some medicine and fell into a coma-like sleep.
The next morning I woke to a string of texts. 1) From my father with the vague but worrying message to “please call.” 2) From one of my two sisters (I’ll use her middle name, Lynn; my sisters are fine with being used in fiction but not nonfiction) that she was going back to the house because “Mom said no to an ambulance last night” (what?!). 3) From Lynn that they were leaving the emergency room for home.
Freaking out, I finally reached her and the story emerged. The night before, my mother, who is in her mid-70s and has developed vertigo, had been carrying a plate with some unfinished chocolate cake down the stairs from her bedroom and slipped (vertigo, rugs and socks are sometimes a lethal combination, take note).
The stair railing in my parents’ house is on the same side as the hand in which she carried said plate and, instead of dropping it and grabbing the railing, my mother tried to save the cake and tilted her body, hitting the stairs hard, bruising several ribs. The cake went flying, landing on an expensive rug, the exact thing she’d tried to prevent.
Dad rushed up from his basement man cave to find her in a heap. In response to his “What happened? Are you all right?” my mother said, “Get the cake!”
This pretty much sums up my family.