Copyright is held by the author.
MY WIFE sits on the couch, choking on a grape.
I’m at the computer. My focus: football scores and highlights, until I hear her hand thumping on the arm of the couch. I turn my head to see her sitting up, eyes wide, mouth agape; a hand on her chest. Strange guttural sounds come from deep in her throat. They coincide with the rapid jerking of her body as she tries to breath. For a second I want to scold her for eating too fast, paying more attention to the TV than what she’s putting in her mouth, but bright red blotches appear in her cheeks, the veins in her neck bulge, turn purple. I swivel the chair around and sit forward. Options in my mind: slap her in the back, Heimlich maneuver, call an ambulance — but my arms and legs won’t move. My heart pounds and something inside grips my chest and stomach. My head fills with one question: is she really choking to death?
And almost as quickly, I wonder how much better my life would be if she did.