“What happened?

  Whathappendwhathappened?” I implore.
But Rafi is in no state to answer.
I grab the phone and dial Mom.
You have reached Dr. Judith Heller, thank you for calling, please leave a...
I hang up and try again.
You have reached...
My fingers are sweaty, panicky.
Mom must be with a client. She leaves her phone in her handbag during sessions. The silver one with patent pockets. She is not going to answer.
Rafi’s holding his hand against his forehead for dear life.
“Should I bring you water, Tylenol?”
He shakes his head. “I feel nauseous.”
At least he’s talking.
“Okay,” I say. “Okay, now tell me what can I do?”
He moves his head toward me, winces badly. And lets out another bloodcurdling yelp.
An ambulance. I have to call an ambulance.
I dial 911. “38 Clifford Drive. My brother. Thirteen. He’s in crazy pain. His head hurts, he looks very pale... My mother. She’s not home. Not answering. Yes. The reception. Okay.”
“They’re sending an ambulance,” I say incredulously.
I don’t know if Rafi can hear me. He’s pressing his pillow against his head.
The Center. The operator told me to try the reception, to get hold of Mom.
“Nancy,” I say, “It’s Naomi. Can you forward the call to my mother’s room now?”
“Your mother is in session.”
“This is an emergency.”
“All right, I sure hope it’s important, you do realize that...”
“Nancy, I need to speak to my mother now,” I say, steel in my voice.
Classical music comes over the line. It sounds like the peal of an ambulance. I run to the window.
I look over at Rafi. He is very white. He is too still. Did he faint?
The music tinkles on. I am bursting — Answer, answer, answer — shouting and crying and moaning and no one can hear.
“Hello?” My mother’s voice is terse. “I’m in the middle of a session, can I—”
“Mom!” I shout.
“Yes, dear,” she says, fighting to keep annoyance out of her voice.
But I’m the one who’s angry, frantic, freaked out.
“Mom, come now. It’s an emergency. Rafi fainted.”
“No!” Mom gasps. “I’m coming...”
Sirens sound outside the house.
“I called an ambulance,” I say.
But Mom’s already hung up.
I fly down the stairs to open the door to the ambulance crew.
“Do we need a stretcher?” one of them asks.
I nod, afraid suddenly of these burly men, quick movements, grim expressions, and neon jackets.
I point in the direction of Rafi’s bedroom.
They clomp up the stairs and I’m left at the door. The blue lights hurt my eyes, but I don’t move. In the two-second intervals when the lights flash off, I can see a small, terrified slip of a girl in the window of the ambulance. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 688)