#127 Trapped

by Heidi Willis

I watch news while chopping onions and celery, the quick schwuck-schwuck of the blade white noise mimicking the helicopters on TV. Another coal mine has collapsed.

I use the steel of the knife to scoop the vegetables and dump them into the stew to the sound of keening mourners. Crowds gather in the Chilean mountains: wives and children and lovers and story-hungry reporters. They snake a camera through a hole. Figures, they cannot give men food or water or air, but they can capture fear and make a buck on it.

I lose the miners’ words as my children skitter around the counter, one small fist bunched around his sister’s braid, a fiercer wail by half than the mourners. “Let go,” she cries. “She kicked me,” he counters. I throw a scowl to shut them up and turn back to the news.

The camera catches the coal-dusted men. They’re looped in arm, singing in a language foreign to me. Incredibly, they smile. One blows a kiss.

Glued to their plight, I take the wooden spoon, sink it into the pot. My son pushes my daughter; my daughter grabs my arm—the arm clutching the spoon in the stew, which hurtles to the floor, burning bare legs and feet and hands.

I scream them to their rooms.

I sop up the mess to the song of Chilean miners trapped in a cave. Strangers trapped and singing, and I cannot stand to be in a kitchen with my kids.

How far would you go to save the life of someone you love? This is the question the Babcock family struggles with when 12-year-old Ashley is diagnosed with diabetes, which quickly turns deadly. A day or two in the hospital stretches into months as the doctors explore every medical alternative to find a way to cope with the mounting complications, but Ashley continues to deteriorate. If faith can cure Ashley, the folks at First Baptist Church are sure they have more than enough to keep her alive. But as Babs watches her daughter's life and death struggle and sees her family start to unravel, she turns to the Internet and science to find a solution the doctors say isn't there.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.


Anonymous said...

I relate to this piece, and I can really appreciate the overwhelming "trapped" feeling the author conveys so well.

pegjet said...

This was an awesome flash. For once, not an appreciative message when others have misfortune (is this blasphemy?), but what really runs through a person's head.

Deb said...

Hi Heidi,

I really enjoyed this. So well done, so I went to Amazon to read your book reviews - now I have to read that too!

Heidi Willis said...

Thanks so much, everyone!

Anonymous said...

Been there. I would like this more if I could believe it were fiction.....

(That was a joke. Often my jokes do not translate to the interwebs well.)