“You stopped breathing once when you were five weeks old. Did I ever tell you that?”
No, she certainly hadn’t.
“I was about to take a bath and then I thought I’d better check the crib, so I went in and you weren’t moving at all. I thought you were dead. I snatched you up and tore out of the house to the Jensens’ and pounded on the door, and right then you let out a cry. Anyway, we took you to the doctor.”
“What did the doctor say?”
“He wasn’t sure. He didn’t think it was a seizure. I guess it was just one of those things that happens sometimes.” Then she got up to make a salad for supper.
That’s how Mother told stories. Never enough detail, and she always left you hanging at the end. If she had gone ahead and run the bath water, I’d be dead right now. And it was “just one of those things that happens sometimes”? I felt a little weak myself. I had gotten over the fear that I’d stop breathing during the night, all those years I used to remind myself to breathe, and now this. So I wasn’t dumb to think that your breath could stop at any time. It could happen right now, sitting on a white kitchen chair in a cool breeze and drinking iced tea. Fall over dead on the linoleum. Thirteen years old, dead.
Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegon Days