Tuesday, February 14, 2006

she loves me

gargle with salt water, she says. i've heard her say this a bazillion times before. from fiery throat to lost voice, from year to year, this voice, which has represented home and comfort to me since before i took my first breath, has sent me to the kitchen to stir mort.on salt into warm tap water. some things never change. she is hundreds of miles away - a four hour drive. i am bringing my boo-boo - my enflamed throat and chest - to her, telling her my woe. and she responds, you should gargle with salt and warm water. in these, my sage late twenties, i roll my eyes, having heard it before, often before, way more than twenty-some times before. but i make a mental note to remember to go to the kitchen to mix up some salt water. i listen to her voice - it's all i have of her most times. her hug is infrequent, her face a mere image, projected from my memory to the back of my eyelids, like at the drive-in movies we went to when i was small. but her voice is just a phone call away. i can't get her expert touch, feeling my forehead and my neck for fever. i can't bury my face in her abdomen, which carries the womb that was my first home. but i can hear her voice, conjuring the furrowed brow i know she gets when she is concerned about someone - me - when i say my throat hurts and my back is achy. i can hear her voice slipping into serious mode as she cautions me to see the doctor i chose because it was her doctor once, and if this doctor was good enough for her, she's good enough for me. in my invincible youth, i roll my eyes again as i hear her voice recount the worst case scenarios i need to avoid - flu, walking pneumonia... i miss her. i wish i could wrap my arms around her and just hold this, my best friend, my first teacher, my nurse, my role model, my comforter, who i know will be praying for me tonight.

after we get off the phone, having exchanged i-love-you's, i head to the kitchen and grab a glass. i turn on the faucet and test the temperature with my hand, feeling the water go from cold to tepid to warm. the glass filled, i take my mort.on salt out of the cabinet and pour it into the water while stirring, stirring a cyclone like she used to do. i tasted the water - needs a little more. after adding more, enough for a little froth to surface at the top of the liquid tornado, i take my medicine to the bathroom, give my reflection a loving look in the eyes, sip a mouthful of water, and gargle. thinking about how she would be proud of me for taking her advice, and glad that i didn't shrug off the simple remedy. singing several notes through the water to the ceiling while her words, "it always works for me - better than anything else i've tried," echo in my head.

later on, i blog about her. with a calm throat that hasn't burned for hours.