“What does it feel like?” My mom asked.
We were laying in a bed in a hotel room that had old, purple striped wallpaper somewhere in paradise, and I was slurping the last bit of apple juice out of one of those box cups.
“I imagine it’s a lot like what death feels like,” I told her.
She blinked at me.
I told her that having to face that feeling at least once a month, minimum, made me dread dying.
I was 16, and in four years after being diagnosed with a disease that left scars from needles on my fingers and thighs, the one constant in all of it was the way I felt when my blood sugar dropped.
I stared at the white ceiling, telling her about what it felt like to have a low sugar: it’s like I get caught in a rip tide every time. Sometimes it will wake me from a dead sleep; other times I can be mid conversation and just blurt out, “My sugar is low,” but really it’s more like I’m drowning just below the surface, just where I can still feel the heat of the sun on my face. And God, is it hard to breathe. So I drink whatever is in a cup they hand me, I eat whatever I am given. And the pain comes in waves.
I layed there on the bed next to her, watching the tears cling to the crease around her brown eyes before they fell down her sunburnt cheeks. I explained, and she cried, and I felt the waves in that moment.
“No you’re not.”
“No you’re not.”
And then finally, “There’s really nothing you can do about it.”
I couldn’t move, and the spasms of relief were just teases before I sunk into breathless pain again.
Gravity crashing against the human body.
And then your name buzzed across my phone screen.
“Don’t reply to that right now if you’re feeling like this,” she told me.
I smiled at your text.
“I’m going to marry him one day.”
She stared at me, but I didn’t hesitate.
She heard it, I heard it, the purple striped wallpaper heard it.
And it’s funny, because I’m 19 now and low sugars still make me feel the same way they did in that room, and so do you.