What Didn’t Kill Her


Bernice L. McFadden | Longreads | June 2020 | 8 minutes (2,024 words)

My brother never calls just to say hello.

On that warm, blue-skied, beautiful May day, I was sitting in the backyard of my cousins’ home, the sun warming my bare legs.


He didn’t sound frantic, but his words were halting. It was clear that he was upset.

“Mommy fell and hit her head,” he said. “The ambulance is on the way.”

My chest tightened.

“Let me speak to her.”

You sounded a little out of breath and a tad bit embarrassed that he was causing such a fuss. You couldn’t explain exactly how you’d ended up on the floor. You did remember that you were standing at the bottom of the stairs watching my brother and his friend carry a love seat to the second floor apartment and then, the next thing you knew, my brother…

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