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they say. a difference a day.

Learning to Fall: coma.
Momma told the nurse she was glad it was over, that I was "let up out of the coma." The nurse told her not to worry that it was all going to be okay and then the door closed behind her and I opened my eyes.

Momma had been crying. Her eyes had that red rimmed look they usually get from a whole pitcher of martinis but I was pretty sure she wasn't drinkin' in the hospital.

"N.B.," Momma took my hand. "The nurse says you're gonna' be all right."

I felt good considering there were a million machines around the bed and that stinky pine sol smell was in my nose like a stubborn booger, oh, and considerin' I was in a hospital and all. I tried to move my hands and they rattled a harness against the bed. I was strapped in! Strapped in like a psycho in a movie or like a criminal. Like someone who just killed someone.

Before I could cry or yell or kick or anything Momma read my mind, or probably my face, and started undoin' the straps. I almost asked her if the police would take me away or if she was breaking me out, even though I knew I didn't do anything wrong.

"N.B., you remember how your daddy taught you to discipline yourself playing ball?" Momma asked.

"Uh-huh." I knew it was different from taking discipline from the principal and a paddle, or from Momma with a switch.

"Well," she sighed, "you're going to have to be disciplined and not pick at the wound on your chest or it will never heal up right." She rubbed my wrists where they were bound up by the straps. Her hands felt like butter and silk, all cool and soft.

"That's why they had you trussed up like that--so you wouldn't pick in your sleep--not because you're bad, no matter what you might think or what anybody says."


"What's a coma?"

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they say. a difference a day.

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