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When Bears Fall From Trees

April 29, 2013 14 comments

by Elizabeth Aquino

We walked up the street last night with my three children to eat dinner in a Chinese restaurant. The air was cool and the evening sun cast light on the streets that bounced back, yellow. Yellow is the color of the sunlight in southern California on a May evening, and I held Sophie’s arm as we walked. Henry pushed her wheelchair ahead, and Oliver skated along on a scooter, weaving on and off the sidewalk. I could write of presentiment, a halt or shudder, but that would mean something unusual would have to happen, and nothing unusual did happen. We walked up the street last night to eat dinner in a Chinese restaurant, and no bears fell out of trees. We ate hot and sour soup, steamed fish and garlic broccoli, vegetable egg rolls and orange chicken. Oliver spooned white rice three times onto his plate. We perused the paper placemats for the thousandth time, determining our Chinese year. “The Snake avoids the Boar,” Oliver said, “that’s me and Sophie!” “The Rabbit is the luckiest of signs!” said Henry, “that’s you, Mom! And I’m a Tiger, vibrant and energetic!” When the check arrived, we opened our fortune cookies and read them aloud, agreeing that they weren’t really fortunes but rather wise words. You are kind and filled with integrity, one said. The wise man eschews vice, another. We wished for real fortunes and decided to walk a bit more and buy a lottery ticket with the numbers on the fortune slips. Outside, Sophie looked up at the fading sun and began to have a seizure in her wheelchair, a big one, a very big one. Oliver scootered away, Henry asked what he could do, I wrapped a blanket around her, bears fell from trees, and we bought lottery tickets at the donut shop and then walked home.


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Elizabeth Aquino (blog) is a writer living in Los Angeles with her family. Her work has been published in several literary anthologies and journals, The Los Angeles Times, Spirituality and Health magazine and online magazines. When she’s not driving her sons around to their interminable sports games and practices or advocating for her daughter and other children with disabilities, she uses vast swathes of free time to bake pastries and dream about coming back in another life as a surfer.