'As I lay dying'

Two nights ago I fried chicken in butter. I’m not sure I’ve ever fried chicken in my adult life but Eliza had asked the day before, “Mama, what’s a dumpling?” So I dug up a recipe for chicken and dumplings, the only way I’ve ever eaten dumplings, and found myself standing over a sizzling pan.

I dredged the chicken in flour and browned both sides of three whole breasts. My kitchen smelled like five years old, Sunday afternoons and the kids’ table my grandmother would set up for me and my cousins. And once again my mind drifted back to her.

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I’d left her lying in a hospice bed the day before needing to return to my daughters, to my life. When I said goodbye I knew it was for the last time. I knew the doctors didn’t expect her to make it through the night, again. She keeps surprising us all but, still, the prognosis in only a matter of time.

When I flew to see her the week before I’d hoped I’d get there in time. From the hospital parking lot I texted my cousin, who has tirelessly stayed with my grandmother every night since she went to the ER two weeks ago for signs of pneumonia, to ask if he was still awake. It was past midnight but I wanted to say hello, goodnight, goodbye. Just in case. <Read More>