We’re called to the cemetery for a woman passed out. I have been here so many times before.
It is almost always the same story. Beautiful, clear day, green grass, a procession of cars parked along the road, memoriams white-washed on their back windows. “Remember Julio. R.I.P.” And then the gathering of mourners, all dressed in black.
A small crowd surrounds the woman who sits on the grass, crying, clutching at her heart. A man tells us she passed out, but they caught her before she hit her head. My partner lowers the stretcher, and spreads out a clean sheet on it. I wait while a relative whispers to the woman in Spanish. From where I stand I can look down into the earth and see the white casket with the gold cross on it, red roses draped across it.
She is quiet in the back on the ride to the hospital. Her eyes still wet, she looks at the ceiling, at the cabinets. Her fingers caress the stretcher rail. I wonder if she knows. He was on the same bed. We traveled over this same road as the sirens wailed. Can she feel his presence? Can she hear his voice? “It’s okay, mami. It’s okay. I’m all right now.” Are his arms around her? Can she feel his heart beating inside hers?