84: Something Told Me

84: Something Told Me

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Something Told Me

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.

~Steve Jobs

Something told me I shouldn’t be going out that day, but it was the first Saturday in a while that my husband and I would have the entire day to ourselves. After running a couple of errands, we’d do whatever fun things we wanted to do: visit the Farmers’ Market, have lunch out, go to a movie or maybe the zoo.

“See you later,” I said to my eighty-year-old mom who lived with us. “Remember! Don’t let the cat out.”

“Don’t you worry!” said my sweet and sometimes spicy mom. “I’ll take good care of Milot.”

I’d heard that before! It’s not that she wasn’t responsible, but she was getting older and less careful about letting our indoor cat sneak out.

As I opened the front door to leave, some opposing force seemed to be holding me back.

Strange, I thought.

My husband, who was behind me, gave me a slight push.

“Go,” he prompted. “What are you stopping for?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

I had an uneasy feeling. But we went. We ran our errands and then drove downtown to the Farmers’ Market.

We perused the stalls for over an hour, sampling some fruits, filling our bags with fresh tomatoes, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, and such. I noticed beautiful, ripe figs on display. Mother used to love figs so I called home to see if she wanted any. There was no answer, but that wasn’t unusual. On such a fine day, she was probably out in the back, tending to her plants.

We got her some figs and packed all the bags into the car. Then we drove to a popular Tex-Mex restaurant for lunch.

That was always a special treat. I could have those spicy frittatas any time of the day or night. Larry had his beloved chile rellenos. Then we topped it off with some Mexican sopapilla cheesecake and a second cup of cinnamon coffee.

“What shall we do next?” I asked. I was cheerfully enjoying doing “nothing” with my husband.

We decided to skip the zoo and take in a good movie at a nearby theater. Larry purchased the tickets while I observed the posters of the coming attractions. I couldn’t take my eyes off Julia Roberts’ photo.

When Larry joined me, he asked, “What are you staring at so intently?”

“Julia Roberts,” I answered. “Doesn’t she look like a younger version of Mom?”

He squinted as he studied the posters and said, “Actually, not at all. They both have their beauty, but in different ways. Your mom used to resemble Elizabeth Taylor.”

Yet he had a hard time convincing me. He also had a hard time pulling me away from the poster. It was as if something was holding me there. I kept seeing my mother’s face. As we walked to our seats in the dimly lit theater, a shudder went through me. As soon as I sat down, I jumped up again.

“We have to go home!”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, but we have to go now.”

I started rushing out, and he trailed behind me, protesting, “What happened? Are you worried about the cat? I thought you wanted to see this movie.”

I couldn’t explain it, but I had a horrible feeling that something was not right.

When he realized how serious I was, he went along without any further protest, as if he had sensed I knew something he didn’t.

We couldn’t get home quickly enough. As soon as we entered the front door, I called out, “Mother!”

No answer. “Mother, where are you?”

Larry headed toward the kitchen, calling, “Florence!”

It wasn’t my mother who answered, but Milot the cat, with a loud yowl coming from my mother’s room. I ran in there and experienced the shock of my life. My mother was in the middle of her room, flat on her back, silent and motionless. Though her eyes were wide open, she didn’t look at me. She just stared up at the ceiling. The color had drained from her face, and she looked helpless.

“Oh, Lord, please let her be okay,” I prayed.

Milot was meowing and kneading on my mother’s chest.

I gently removed the cat, and by that time, Larry had come in.

“Mother, what happened? Answer me.”

Something was very wrong because my mother was never, ever calm or silent if anything at all was amiss. Hardly a shrinking violet, she’d usually be yelling and screaming at the slightest provocation. But this time, there was not a peep out of her. That’s what scared me the most. I leaned in closer, and she finally uttered two words in a whisper, “I fell.”

She couldn’t move, and we dared not move her. She looked like she was in shock! Without hesitation, we called 911, and the paramedics arrived almost immediately. Gently and mindfully, they did their preliminary examination and then promptly laid her out on a stretcher and rushed her to the hospital. We followed the ambulance in our car.

She had broken her hip. A broken hip is serious for anyone, but especially for a woman her age. But we were still thankful it was not a stroke or a heart attack. We learned later that she had fallen earlier in the day and could not get to the phone when I had called. Luckily, she had the presence of mind to remain still and not injure herself further. Or maybe she had been in a state of shock.

The wonderful doctors were able to repair her hip, and she healed completely. She lived another ten years.

To think that she had been lying there powerless for hours! And had we stayed for the movie, it would have been even longer. I was so grateful that I had finally listened to that inner voice warning me that something was wrong, and I wished I had done so sooner. I don’t know if it was a premonition, or just that invisible, powerful bond that sometimes exists between mothers and daughters.

~Eva Carter

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