By JOSEFA PETE
It was a day like any other day. It was July, a few years ago now. We had just celebrated AJ’s third birthday and PJ had turned one. I was at home with both boys. PJ had settled down for his afternoon nap upstairs. Peace and quiet settled over the house, as AJ became my little afternoon shadow.
We wandered into the study, me on the computer and AJ stood next to me playing with his toys on the desk. Within arm’s reach he raced his little car along the glass surface. Within arm’s reach he crashed his little car into a stack of pencils. Within arm’s reach he stopped. Silence. He grabbed my arm. Within arm’s reach his face was turning blue. Within arm’s reach my son was choking.
Adrenaline rose to my throat like petrol. I grabbed him, turned him around and started to hit his back. With the other hand I fumbled with my phone and rang 000. The instant I heard a voice, I yelled out my name, our address and then screamed “my three year old son is choking.” With that, I dropped the phone.
The study is right near our front door. I dragged both of us into the entrance way, opened the front door, knowing an ambulance was on its way. I kept hitting my son on his back.
In those moments, the house melted away. The two of us were in a large vacuous arena. A crowd surrounded us. On one side white, solemn angels stood with their heads bowed down. Their hands were clasped in prayer, a feint melancholy of song coming from their almost silent stand. The other half of the crowd was a snarling, evil sea of black and red. Spitting and cheering for death, the demons barbarically watched the scene with enthusiasm and gall.
In the middle, I was the gladiator.
In my mind was the echo of the first aid course hubby and I attended after we had AJ. “Keep hitting their back, hard and consistently, between the shoulder blades. Do not attempt to dislodge the item with your fingers. Just keep hitting their back.