My husband and I live a few houses down from my mom in a small, rural community thirty minutes from town. When we run out of eggs, sugar, milk, wood, detergent, or any other such disposable household item, I can pop in at her house and get what I need.
Preparing for a small dinner party, my husband ran out of mayonnaise while putting together a potato salad. It was the middle of the afternoon when I hustled myself over to mom’s refrigerator. I announced myself as I knocked and opened the door simultaneously. “Hey, mom,” I yelled. I walked into the entry and turned towards the living room and saw her lying in the easy chair, mouth agape. I stared at her and called out again, and again, and then a little softer, “Mom?” Nothing. No movement. No twitch. Based on my increasing heartbeat and now sweaty palms, I felt panic creeping in. I wasn’t breathing and not sure she was either. Quietly I closed the door, ran back to my car and drove home.
Dirt was flying as I skidded to a stop at my house. I ran in, found my husband and blurted, “Honey, I think there’s a strong possibility that my mom is dead.”
“What? What the hell are you talking about?” he shakes his head in quick little movements, trying to comprehend what I’m telling him. I was relaying the story and he interrupted, “Did you go over and check to see if she was breathing?” He looked at me a little dumbfounded. “Well, no. I was scared and couldn’t do it. That’s why I’m here, so you can go back with me.” Isn’t that what husbands do for their wives; dead checking? Like when a bird flies into the window and crashes on the patio, or when there’s a dead mouse, he handles these situations. He grabbed the keys and we drove off to her house. He opened the door and to our surprise, my mom smiled and said, “Hey, guys, what are you up too?” My husband exhaled loudly and said, “I have never been so happy to hear your voice.” We got the mayonnaise, went home and made a drink, toasting, “Long live the Queen.”