Sunday, January 9, 2011

won't you call my name.

"Go to sleep," she said, brushing long fingers through centimeters of hair.

"I can't." I scratched my nose and sniffled. "My head's stuffed up like a Thanksgiving turkey."

"Did you take some medicine?"

I sighed. "Yes, but I told you, but the thing Benadryl's the best at is making me feel shitty in the morning."

"That's what it says on the box," she said, taking a long pull from her half-full bedsides water bottle. She handed it to me and I finished it off. "Jeez, you're thirsty."

"Sore throat. It's like only ten percent of what I drink actually feels like it's been drunk, you know? Dry throat should've been gone with just a splash, but it took a damn flood to get me there."

She sat non-responsive. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Don't worry about it. Medicine talking."

"Go to sleep," she said, taking the several balled-up tissues that had gone from my nose to the bed and tossing them to a nearby trash can. "Jeez. You've got more gross tissues here than a hospital burn ward."

"I blew my nose so hard that it started bleeding, all snot and blood and nasty just dripping like a rain gutter."

"That's disgusting." She rested a hand on my chest. "When you breath in and out, I can feel the stuffiness. It's stuffy enough to feel."

"Ugh. It's all over the place." I coughed five or six times and spat the results into the bedside bucket. "I feel like hell."

"Yeah," she said, looking at my too-short pajama pants and my ratty old sweatshirt, "but you look great." She smiled like sun and my nose felt a bit clearer. But that was just the coming of another sneeze, shooting out like an Oklahoma twister from nostrils so red they looked like they'd been power sanded. "Go to sleep."

I kissed her forehead and laid my cheek onto a newly-washed pillowcase. The last thing my eyes saw before I closed them was her face looking on mine, her eyebrows arched and lips pursed. She let a little smile reach her lips and I could feel her eyes resting on my face as I shut my own.

"Are you going to bed?" I said.

"In a bit," she said, "after I read for a bit." I could hear her slide her glasses onto her face. "Can I get you anything else? I feel so helpless with you all sick like this."

"No," I said. "I'm okay."

"Good." I heard a cover unfolding and pages turning, and I thought she put her bookmark on the nightstand. "Go to sleep. You'll feel better in the morning."

I dreamt of clear sinuses and road trips and woke up at 8:32 AM to neither.

But sometimes it's a victory to just wake up to a cup of coffee, a risen sun, and an arm draped over your wheezing chest.