A Faint Smile

November 13, 2009
“Did you just faint? I think you just fainted. Emily, are you okay? Are you pregnant? Look at me! Did you just faint?” My mom has a tendency to repeat herself; it seems as though her brain receives information faster than it can process it. While our relationship is built completely on trust, she enjoys asking pointless questions that she already knows the answers to, and repeats them. But typically, her frantic repetition occurs when she witnesses something extremely bewildering or unusual. This particular instance of her repetition happened be a response to when I fainted on Christmas Eve.

I like my mom. Most people love their mothers, but I like mine. While I may be one of the only sixteen year-olds to admit this, I have no trouble doing it. I have one of the most distinct relationships with my mom out of all of my friends. Of course I argue with her, but these arguments are different than most. It’s impossible for me to be upset with her for more than an hour. I have never once taken advantage of the trust in our relationship; however, I had to take quite a fall to honestly become aware of how much she means to me.

Just before I dropped to the ground, I was lingering in the kitchen waiting to make my plate of our holiday goodies. I can also remember exactly what I was thinking: the tiles on the on the floor in the kitchen looked exactly like the tiles in the bathroom from far away, even though they were not the same. I looked around to mention this intensely enthralling and important piece of information to someone who I knew would appreciate it. Mom. But then I fell. Fast. Hard. Ouch.

I was dreaming. I did not feel the chilling tiles which, moments before, stood as the major idea in my mind. Am I alive? I slowly became aware that I was sprawled out on the cold tile floor and reached out in my mind for my mom. The incomplete thoughts that raced through my mind were crowded, painful, and caused me feel the need to open my eyes at last. I could feel tears; there was nothing that could stop them from rolling down my cheeks, and I knew my mascara was leaving two dark, vertical stripes on my face.

“Em.” Mom. She could not hear me. I could hear others’ voices, but my mom’s was the one I wanted to listen to. There was nothing that I wanted more at that moment than to know that my mom heard me say her name. I felt her beside me and my own breath running into her chest that was inches above my head. I’m breathing. I could feel vibrations of footsteps on the floor; I was alive. My outlandish thought of my own death vanished when I knew my mom was there.

I felt her hands on my cheeks, wiping away my tears. I then heard her laugh; her giggles have always been musical and contagious.

“Mom, what happen- The ti-” I switched from sobbing to giggling mid-word. I tried again.

“MOM! What happened to- Tiles-” It was no use; I could not stop myself from belly laughing. Just the thought of my mom giggling at a time where something very strange and terrifying had just occurred was too much for my adrenaline- concentrated system. Because of this, I let out cracks of laughter between sobs. It hurt my head to laugh, yet the giggles persisted. Why in the world are we laughing?

The rest of my family stood around us with looks on their face that seemed to say, “Okay, Emily has for sure gone out of her mind.” This only made me laugh harder. I eventually made my way over to the couch and managed to sip water while talking to my grandma, mom, and aunt. Still dizzy, I leaned on my mom so I wouldn’t fall over again. She’s here.

When I gained control over my laughter and crying, I looked at the various expressions on some of the members of my family. My 5-year-old cousin would not look at me. I grinned at her, but she averted her eyes. My grandpa looked at me every few seconds, each time with a stronger look of concern and shock. My aunt and my dad appeared to be just as worried as my grandpa.

Then I glanced up at my mom’s face for the first time since I regained consciousness. She was smiling. Not the forced, “I’m actually extremely worried about my seemingly unstable, fainting-prone, and loopy daughter” smile, but a smile that conveyed affection and honest amusement all at once. It was the smile that comforted me even though I told myself that I did not really need to be comforted. She’s here.

Her quirky little grin disappeared momentarily. “This may not be the right time, Em, but did you happen to notice that the tiles in the kitchen are extremely similar to the ones in the bathroom? I mean, they look exactly the same from far away. I can’t believe you didn’t notice!” Involuntarily, my head fall back onto her shoulder and I looked up again as she smiled her faint smile.

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