Salt

4

April 17, 2017 by The Citron Review

by Laurie Ember

 

As a little girl, I poured salt on slugs. Summer fun. Thick, white mountains from blue and white containers of Morton’s. Iodized or not, it sizzled their slimy bodies, dehydrated them.

“I’m melting!” I’d yell as they turned to mush.

They wasted away, lives extinguished in seconds, saline tidbits for the birds.

* * *

In college, with boyfriends and frat friends, we sprinkled salt between thumb and forefinger, licked it off, slugged down shots of tequila, sucked slices of sour lime. Briny lushes wasting the nights away until graduation. All in fun. Taken with a grain of.

* * *

Years later, our four-week-old baby was vomiting, dehydrated, listless, gaunt.

My husband and I rushed her to the ER.

Her blood pressure was falling. She was in shock. They stuck her with needles. She didn’t cry.

We were told this condition is genetic. A missing enzyme resulting in dehydration and salt deficiency. It’s called salt-wasting.

When both parents carry an abnormal allele, each child has a 25% chance of having the disease, a 50% chance of being a carrier like the parents, and a 25% chance of having two normal genes.

We had taken salt for granted. Squandered it. Underestimated its value. Ignored its place in history. There was a reason civilizations traded with it, that Gandhi marched for it. Salt is essential, and needs to remain in the bloodstream to sustain life.

We did not know salt-wasting was a thing.

Approximately one in fifteen thousand live births.

In our city of ten million, we might find sixty-seven similar kids. But only if they lived. And only if they wanted to be found.

Our baby was fading. Her whole body tasted like tears.

This is termed a salt-wasting crisis and rapidly causes death if not treated.

Rehydration was critical and constant.

We learned to dose her with saline from a needle-free plastic syringe. She sucked it down. Craved it. A sodium addict with her life-saving fix.

As our little girl grew, we filled her with green olives, dill pickles, caper berries, cornichons, pretzels. We stuck pitted black olives, like rings, on her fingers. She ate one at a time, grinning. She was having fun. We poured mounds of Morton’s into her hands and watched her lick it up. Replenishing and plumping. Thriving, unlike the slugs that foamed and disappeared.

 

Laurie Ember’s essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in Grand Piano Passion, Cheat River Review, The Huffington Post, CulturalWeekly.com, and MariaShriver.com. She lives and writes in Los Angeles, CA, was raised on Long Island, NY, and spends as much time as she can in Fairfield, CT.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Salt

  1. Jeff Cann says:

    Wow, that was good.

  2. Good writing, Laurie Ember. Need some olives- right away!

  3. Barbie says:

    Fascinating! Learned something new!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
67 days to go.

🍋 Instagram

We love inventive flash fiction at The Citron Review. Today's highlight is "Knitting." https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/knitting/ Carla Scarano D'Antonio obtained her Degree of Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. She self-published a poetry pamphlet, A Winding Road, and is working on a PhD on Margaret Atwood at University of Reading. She also contributes as a reviewer for The Blue Nib, London Grip, Write Out Loud, South and The /temz/ Review. #amreading #thecitronreview #summerissue #knittingstories #flashfiction
Our Creative Nonfiction Editor and playwright, Nathan Robert Elliott will have an actors' reading of his new play in Montréal at the Bibliothèque publique de Westmount Public Library on July 27 at 1:30pm.
We have some happy news to share! The Citron Review contributor Amye Archer has joined our Creative Nonfiction editorial team. Let's welcome her! Amye Archer - Author of Fat Girl, Skinny: A Memoir, and is the co-editor of If I Don't Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings. (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2019). She holds an MFA from Wilkes University. Amye's work has been published in Scary Mommy, Longreads, Feminine Collective, Brevity, Marie Claire, and more. Amye is mom to twin daughters and wife to Tim. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania. Follow her at @amyearcher https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/one-week/ #briefliterature #cheerstotenyears #amreading #TheCitronReview #creativenonfiction
We're pleased to highlight creative nonfiction from Julie Watson. "Odds Are" is now available in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/odds-are/ #amreading #flashcnf #summerissue #cheersto10years
Anita Goveas, @raspberrybakewell, has fiction featured in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/coverings/ #amreading #flashfiction #summerissue #cheersto10years
New Flash Fiction from Mary Grimm, who has published a novel, Left to Themselves and a collection of stories, Stealing Time (which are both on Random House). She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University. https://citronreview.com/…/…/21/the-dream-of-her-long-dying/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #Summer2019 #flashfiction #cheersto10years

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: