Wednesday we had a nasty nor’easter and I started feeling chilly at work, came home a little early. 4 am, woke up feeling sickish in the chest, didn’t go to work Thurs, fully expecting to be back on my feet by the end of the day. I babied myself with tea and biscotti, television and chicken soup. Tried to sleep a lot but my legs kept cramping up with chills. By one of those cellphone flukes my boss returned my 8 AM call at 8:30 PM, at which time it was decided that I’d not be expected in on Friday, either.
And a good thing that was, as Friday was fever day. I just sort of watched from a distance as the brushfire consumed everything in its path.
In the evening, my good friend M. came bringing soup. He was a little freaked when it took me an age to sit up and then couldn’t take the soup. Chicken curry soup from the noodle shop, but it tasted like toxic chemicals. He did refill my glass with some delicious cool water, and left a container of it next to me for later, too. We tried a little plain lowfat organic yogurt, which I’d craved earlier (but the kitchen seemed a hundred miles away.) Even that tasted awful, like a mouthful of chalk.
The next day, yesterday, I was able to sit right up when I awoke, and move around the house a little. My throat and chest were sore, but my body temperature had normalized. But in some ways it was the hardest day of all, because I was so bored. I was still too sick to read or write or do anything much, but well enough to be aware of it.
There was a pretty American Black Duck/Mallard hybrid preening herself in a sunny pool in the brook. Enjoying her for a few moments from the kitchen window was a treat, but also made me realize that this long weekend was the one I’d earmarked for adding a few days to make a mini-vacation. And even without taking some extra days off, I’d figured I could get a hold of B. and do some birding, participate in the bird count for once, maybe even go eagle-watching a little ways from here.
But instead all I could do was lay around watching Destry Rides Again and The Good the Bad and the Ugly and wishing I’d asked M. to pick up some cat litter.
Eventually I was able to fall asleep, and woke up this morning in a fever dream, crying. I was a girl, living in a little suburban ranch house on a corner, there was something like a paintball game, a melee and a confusion of roughhousing little boys, and after the game I went to the neighbor’s house across the street looking for somebody, one of the kids, or maybe my own little sister…. It seems the girls were having a sleepover; I passed their prone, sleeping bodies in one room and went on to an empty bedroom belonging to one of the girls, my friend’s room. As I sat there on the floor looking up, there was a bookshelf, with a book, or perhaps it was a bird or some other object, dark and smooth like black basalt, with a paler inscription on it, and as I read the text, I became a little envious of my friend, whose parents had given her such a sophisticated, lovingly chosen gift… Then suddenly there was the image of my friend’s little sister, walking on sunshine, walking right out of the sunshine, out of the dappled country road and towards me, face beaming, all curls and dimples like a Campbell’s soup kid…there she was, and where was my sister? It had been longer than I realized; there had been three jobs – and in my dream I flashed back in dream-memory to one, another, and the next, and it struck me that it had already been a little over a year in the third one, and that while I was still a child they had sent me away for training… Looking up as the training came to my dream-mind, I saw a rugged rockfaced hillside, looming close enough that it filled my entire field of vision, and I could see every detail, each plant and branch, every rock and the very crevices within the rocks, and in my dream I knew that was what the training had been for, to develop such clarity of vision.
Then I was waking and there was a pain deep in my chest and I was crying from within that pain. The more I cried the more I woke up, and I could hear Tulus asking, but I was alone, “How’s Chacky? How’s Chacky? but that was part of the dream, and I didn’t know, and so I cried, and woke, no that was not in the dream, but in my computer, I needed to write back, but I didn’t know, I didn’t know….
...Yesterday, after I calmed down, I spent awhile trying to remember my childhood friend’s little sister’s name. I could remember my friend’s name – she had my name and we were classmates – and her twin brother’s. They were two sets of twins, and I could even remember the little brother’s name, and the name of our other friend, of the wonderful parental gift of Hollies records. I felt well enough to come to 43 T and start typing. I’d gotten pretty far along with the preceding when I flashed on that rock face, and instantly broke into tears again. Of course that was the moment B., bless him, arrived at the door with oranges, tea and DVDs, so I, in typical Pinhead fashion, quickly hid my tears, turned off the computer monitor and climbed back onto the couch that has been my home for the last days. And here we are on Monday already, and I’m not so sure I’m going to make this health challenge of being 100% well by tomorrow because I can still hear an awful lot of goop down inside my chest, but we’ll see.