Now it is real

Would you stop playing the fucking DS? I screamed in my mind.

I stood with one arm on the top of the rocking chair Mike sat in. When he rocked, I reeled.

Stop fucking rocking.

I watched my grandfather put one hand over his chest while his left arm sat on the arm of his chair, tensed with pain and numbness.

Is he really still trying to watch TV?

Followed him with my eyes as he got up from his chair and sat down in the chair next to the dining room table.

Make it stop.

I watched my grandmother put the blood pressure cuff around my grandfather’s arm. Watched him fuss over the position of the wire from the blood pressure machine. Saw the pain in his eyes.

The blood pressure cuff tightened and the little machine measured. Even if I could see the numbers, I wouldn’t know what they meant. Had the doctors told Noni what good and bad blood pressure numbers are?

Mike shut off the DS. For a moment I wondered if his stony exterior was disguising the memories running through his head, memories of his little brother having a stroke.

She said something that meant, “You’re blood pressure is fine,” but the words themselves meant nothing to me. “I don’t think it’s your heart,” she said.

I didn’t relax. I was under water.