I always watched the shows like Thousand Ways to Die and I never would’ve expected my thirteen year old self almost becoming one of those dumb deaths. It was the end of 2012, I was with my family in Orlando. In a neighborhood we somehow felt safe in. The entire Hispanic family roamed and gathered out on the front lawn. Patchy grass underneath their shoes, all of them had streamers, horns, and kazoos.
From inside the house, bachata swayed my grandma’s hips– a full glass of liquor raised in the air. My father was out by the tree, fireworks in hand. My mother was trying to understand the Spanish that flooded quickly out of my cousin’s lips like Hurricane Katrina. I wandered through the large crowd, past the awkward younger cousins and grabbed myself a kazoo. This kazoo will soon play an important role in my almost death.
I heard the scream of my cousins, aunts, and uncles as the countdown began. All around me was screaming family members that I didn’t remember. The little kids jumped up in excitement some playing with chalk, attempting to spell out, “2013.” I saw my grandpa inside on the couch slyly drinking whiskey, the rim of his glasses reflecting the countdown.
I joined in with my family’s wails of decreasing numbers while fidgeting with the wobbly exterior of the kuzoo. When it reached zero we all screamed. The adults kissed on each other and the children blew their horns into the next year. As for me when I went in to blow on my kazoo, the first inhale brought in a part from the toy.
It flew and got jammed in the back of my throat. I felt my heartbeat in my eyes and my temples grew enlarged like a reptile. I couldn’t breathe or even speak. But, I was around happy screaming people that didn’t know I was desperately trying to cough up my life. Through my coughs, I heard laughter and soon the fireworks flew up in the air. It was like everything was in slow motion, my family was celebrating my death.
I watched them kiss each other on the cheek while my eyes watered in fear. It wasn’t until my last cough that the broken part fell out of my mouth and I took my first breath of air since 2012.