EXCERPT FROM ADRIANA PARAMO’S MY MOTHERS FUNERAL
People never die in silence. The dying retrace their footprints on their way out of this world. They speak in mysterious tongues before departing. They manifest themselves in trails of light, eerie noises, and apparitions. Their exit can be so boisterous that it sometimes gives the living inexplicable pangs, quirky warnings of the impending loss. Mom taught me that.
I was in central Florida, three thousand miles northwest of Medellín, the night my mother died. I was lying on a couch, dozing off to a ballad playing on television, when I first heard it: a dry thud with no echo and no origin; a single thump so loud and so close that it could have come only from within me. I sat up, short of breath, unnerved, alert, mortified. I turned the TV off and blamed my confusion on the slice of moon lurking somewhere in the sky behind the blinds.
This must have been about the time when my mother’s heart lurched and her caved chest heaved in the nurse’s arms. Now the thud was replaced with a sharp twinge where I once had had an umbilical cord. I could almost touch the anguish that was settling in the pit of my belly. Mom thought of this type of feeling as telepathic love, although she preferred not to use the word telepathy; she’d rather talk of presages, spurts of prescient awareness that some people, especially mothers, experience when their children are in danger. Mothers, according to Mom, could read anything into a situation. A fleeting glance could portend the end or the beginning of something. A butterfly’s wing could set off a typhoon. A windmill silhouetted against the moon could mean anything.
Adriana Páramo is a Colombian anthropologist winner of the Social Justice and Equality Award in creative nonfiction with her book Looking for Esperanza. Her writing has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Los Angeles Review, Consequence Magazine, Fourteen Hills, Carolina Quarterly Review, Magnolia Journal, So To Speak, Compass Rose, and Phati’tude, among others. Páramo has volunteered her time as a transcriber forVoice of Witness, a book series which empowers those affected by social injustice.
This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.