man or woman?


“Yeah, Julie —  it’s Jackie —- Grandma —-,” my sister hesitates. 

I’m filled with a momentary sense of dread.  She wouldn’t leave news like that on a voice message.  No, that’s something I’d do.

Oh, yeah — did. 

The drive to the emergency room after the call from the nurse — she wasn’t breathing when they went to wake her up — didn’t know how long she had — it says ‘do not resuscitate’— pick up pick up pick up — oh god, please pick up.  

I dialed and redialed, five sobbing messages running hopelessly together that Saturday morning three years ago.  Her helpless, half-dressed body limp on the stiff gurney.  So vulnerable.  Breathe.

Whooo-sssssh.  That’s her voice in the background. 

“— just a minute Grandma,” then back into the phone, “Grandma says you haven’t been here in awhile, and she’s wondering —

“She’s wondering if you’re seeing a new man — or maybe,”  little chuckle —

“a woman.”

Trudi pipes in, “Grandma’s nosey.”

“Ok, call us back and let us know.”

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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