I have been sick for, oh, eleven years now. It’s been tedious, it’s been sweaty, and it’s gone on long enough.
I haven’t left the house since Wednesday.
O, how I tire of illness.
Viral, the doctor says. We’ll keep an eye on your lymph nodes – I don’t like the look of them – but just stay home, stay warm, get lots of rest.
Everyone has advice when you’re sick.
“Have you been drinking juice?”
I switch the phone from one ear to another. “I don’t really like juice,” I say. This is not strictly true, but I’m bored.
And I like winding Mary up every now and then.
“Orange juice! You need to drink orange juice. And apple juice. Oooh, and cranberry juice wouldn’t hurt.”
“Are you writing this down?”
I sit up, arrange the pillows under my head.
“Gotcha,” I say, pretending to write it down. “OJ, apoe, cranb.”
“Did you just say ‘cranb’?”
“Pfft,” she says, smiling. “Did you pick up the Airborne like I told you?”
“Isn’t that supposed to be preventative?”
“It works no matter what you do. I’m telling you.”
“Mary, it’s a virus. Nothing to do about it but drink lots of water –“
“ –or juice.”
“-and get plenty of rest. Seriously, I just lay around watching Sopranos and sleeping. You’ve never seen so much sleeping.”
“You’ll probably wake up this spring with twins,” she murmurs.
I close my eyes. Something about hibernation and bears. I reflect on the fact that I probably haven’t shaved my legs since Christmas. I chuckle to myself. “I don’t have the brain cells to respond to that.”
There is silence.
“What about Nyquil?” she says.
“Just like you taught me,” I say. “I drink it until my eyes cross and then crawl under every blanket I own to sleep the sleep of the righteously drugged.”
“That’s my girl,” she says.
“I gotta lay down now,” I say. “I gotta stop talking.”
“OK,” she says. “You go back to sleep now, get better.”
I nod, my eyes already closing. “I will,” I say.