– What death tastes like

I’m upstairs, in the bathroom, about to hop in the shower (as my mother would say. One can’t actually step into the shower, or take a shower. Hop, we must.).

Suddenly, from downstairs I hear running feet, the slam of a door, adult gagging sounds, and child screeching ones. I go to the top of the stairs. Through my mind runs all the first aid procedures I’ve learned related to choking and heart attacks.

“What’s happening?!”

I hear Grace, off stage, yell: “Dad’s gagging.”

I yell back: “What’s wrong?”

Jimmy walks, coughing, to the bottom of the steps. “Oh, my god, it’s the DayQuil. It’s horrible.” He drinks water from a cup.

Lydia joins me on the upstairs landing. Like Jimmy, she’s suffering from a sore throat, and she was the first one today to sample the orange liquid cold medicine.

“It can’t be that bad,” I say to both of them.

Lydia rolls her eyes at me. “Mom, it literally tastes like drinking death.” (Note: emphasis Lydia’s.)

And now I know.

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