Before We Rushed Our Daughter to the Hospital

By Lina Herman

It’s 3:10 on Wednesday this past Wednesday three days ago
I’d skipped the Next Steps and Check-Out
sections of my team’s quarterly planning meeting
to get Louisa to Bayview Park early for after-school surf camp
she likes to pull her wetsuit on before they head down to Cole Point
I get home in time to whip heavy cream we are going low-fat high-carb
I mean high-fat low-carb I hear Isabel’s world history teacher on speaker
begging the kids to turn in something anything by Friday
when he lets her class out she comes to the kitchen she zips and unzips
her brown velour sweatshirt with daisies embroidered on the pockets
she asks me what I’m doing now and I tell her about my quick snack
before my 3:30 debrief call I eat the cream with blueberries and pecans
out back under our avocado tree I like the way the sun lands soft
for my few extra minutes I choose between The New York Times Daily
and my urban paranormal fantasy audiobook I can’t remember which I pick
probably the shapeshifter novel that’s what I like when work is piled on
I bring my bowl and spoon and mason jar still half-filled with sparkling water
back to the kitchen Jacob has come home early wearing his navy tie
he picks at the leftover cheese from my ranch salad I had wanted
to at least wash the whisk before my call I hate it when people in this house
leave the whisk in the sink it seems so delicate like it will get crushed
under dirty dishes though it never has but it’s also nice
to lean against the counter and chat about what was it bike riding
at the waterfront maybe or defrosting salmon for dinner
I thought you were in the bathroom he says and I wonder out loud
why heavy cream tastes so much better in its whipped form
when Isabel comes in shaking crying arms crossed
her hair in a low ponytail strands hanging loose
gripping two empty amber prescription bottles
hair falling out of her ponytail all those strands
and tells us she swallowed all the pills

Lina Herman lives in California where she writes poetry and short prose. Her work has appeared in BOOTH.

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