December 16, 2009

Letting It Run Its Course

Since this weekend, I have been the sickest I have been since I was a little kid. I managed to get some Christmas shopping done on Saturday, drop my hulking jewelry box off at Goodwill, and have brunch at 'inoteca on Sunday before completely collapsing into oblivion for over two days.

Thank God I showered on Sunday, because I still have not.

Getting sick as a kid was both a blessing and a curse. Although I dreaded school every day, it provided a respite from my tortuous and traumatic home life. Staying home from school, though, provided no respite at all: secluding me in my room, the acrid smell of cleaning fluids burning my inflamed nostrils and tickling my scratchy throat, causing coughs that perpetuated throughout the night, disturbing not only my own sleep but that of my sister and my mother. Somehow my father managed to sleep through it all. Somehow my father always managed to ignore everything.

If my sister and I ever started to feel ill, at first we'd deny it, to ourselves and all those around us. We'd try to will the illness away, cast it out like a demon, before it possessed our bodies and subjected us to our mother's nursing hand. When we'd finally succumb to it, despite our weakened state we'd receive continued punishments, accusations, and denials all around one central theme: "You'd better not get me sick."

There were no warming soups delivered to bed-ridden infants. If you wanted to eat, you had to drag yourself down to the kitchen and sit up at the table. If you had to throw up, there was a Rubbermaid dishpan placed next to your bed on the floor (henceforth known as "the bucket"). Unlucky for me, more than once I didn't make it to the bucket and got sick in my own bed. God forbid you had to go to the bathroom, because you had no choice but to climb the staircase down - careful not to actually hold onto the wooden railing which had been painstakingly waxed several times over - and skate across the slick hardwood floor, through the kitchen of slamming cupboard doors, and into the bathroom at the farthest reaches of the house.

In my tiny little apartment, I don't have far to go for soup, tea, tissues, or the bathroom. I'm lucky enough to have Edith bring me medicine and orange juice. I had a pizza delivered for dinner. It's not too bad here, lying by the everglow of my Christmas tree in a flu stupor. But there's a life to be led out there somewhere, and I can't stay in here forever. Now that I'm an adult, I'll let myself be sick. But there's no reason to stay sick for too long - adventure awaits!

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