I got on the bus one afternoon with a knifing pain in my side. When it came, I doubled over, holding my stomach.
I laid down on the seat, knowing Maria watched me with wide and fearful eyes. I didn't know what was wrong, so I couldn't ease her worry.
The pain came and went, came and went. I huddled in the seat, praying to God to make it go away. It didn't.
Somehow I walked home. I don't remember the trek.
When we arrived, I stumbled into the house and fell onto the couch. I begged my mother to take me to the doctor. The shock on her face was comical, but I was in too much pain to enjoy it.
She put me in the car and drove me to see our doctor. I don't remember the examination. I only remember lying in a ball and working through the slicing pain -- my eyes squeezed shut, my teeth clenched tightly.
I fell asleep.
I don't know how long they allowed me to sleep. I woke up on my own, still in the room. When I went outside, I saw the doctor sitting in chair close by.
"How do you feel?"
I waited for the pain. "Fine," I finally answered.
He smiled at me. "I think you can go home. I'll fetch your mother for you."
He called it atypical appendicitis. I call it ulcers. I'll explain later.