“You’re taking too big of bites.”
“Just drink some water to help it go down.”
“Why did you throw up?”
My normal was here again. I shoot up in my bed. My chest feels like someone has lit a match before “tossing it down the hatch” that is my throat. I grip my chest and run to the bathroom. I stagger between the railings on the hallway banister. I look like a druggie as I push back medicine cabinet bottles and search for the Tums. I sit on the bathroom counter in just my tank top and undies, recklessly abandoning the fact I am not home alone, but back from college for the summer. I find the Tums, I grip them like a crazed animal holds a sparkly treasure. I tear into the bottle. They are relief to the feeling of my chest collapsing onto itself. But before I can open the bottle, everything goes black.
I wake up to my parents. “Tums and a glass of milk,” I demand. I fainted from the pain and after the sweet pause of unconsciousness, I am roused by the pain yet again. They comply, and I send the substances down like water to the fire. I have been through this before. Waking up. Waiting. Begging. Praying the burning would subside. But until my release, it feels like my throat, like my chest, was trying to give birth to something, like I am straight out of that scene from Alien where the monster bursts through the chest cavity. I would force it from my bosom if I could. Minutes pass. My heart thumps. It feels like I can barely breathe. And then, I sit up on the couch and slowly drift back to sleep.
“We have to take her to a doctor,” my parents say finally after years of me complaining about things getting stuck in my esophagus. I guess I didn’t realize that whenever someone else swallows, they don’t feel the slow agony of the food refusing to go down, like some vitamin pill going horizontally at every morsel of food.
I walked into the specialist’s office.
She asks: “Do you have allergies?” “Mmm lots of them” I say.
“Heartburn?” She questions. “All the time,” I say.
“How long has this been going on?” She asks. “As long as I can remember,” I say.