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I've been waylaid by a percussive cough and vision-inducing fever for the last couple of days. It's like the brutally surprising aftershock of an upper-respiratory infection I endured. (Although "endured" is a much more heroic way to describe the manner in which I dealt with the illness. I spent most of that week trying out my strangled voice on everyone I knew, and punctuating each public cough with a doleful gaze, in hopes that someone might crumple me up in their arms as they would an invalid.)


Each time I place my body in a horizontal position, I lovingly picture my own death. It's one of my favorite melodramatic tics. Next time you feel very sick, lie down on the floor – a bed or couch will not do; they're both far too convenient choices – and remain there, either on your back or side. If you have uncaged pets, probably a minute or too will pass before they start investigating. You will want to pet them, because they're totally adorable. RESIST. As they begin sniffing around your expiring body, tickling you with whiskers and hairless nose tips, a feeling of satisfaction will swell within you that surpasses the potency of the world's strongest antibiotics. I only wish I could convince loved ones to do the same, while I lie there, shivering. I want to be touched by noses.


Since I've fallen sick, my appetite has gone missing. It's hard to swallow, and nothing tastes like anything – even the Twizzler I tried to eat last night turned into a plastic garbage bag twist-tie once it touched my numbed tongue. (I threw out the remaining Twizzlers, in a fit of Gothic despair.) This morning I woke up pretty wiped out, primarily because I sweat through a t-shirt, sweater, and windbreaker in my sleep last night. I was running late so I didn't bother to replenish my precious bodily fluids and by the time I arrived at work, dizzied with a fever, I was so dehydrated I could have even drunk a Sierra Mist without cringing. Fortunately, one of the delis near my office sells fresh orange juice. And by "fresh," I mean "once fresh, poured into plastic cups and then frozen solid over the weekend and thawed out first-thing monday morning."

It was so perfectly cold in my hand that I had to exercise a great deal of restraint just to keep myself from popping a straw in it right there in the deli. That would have been crass. However, when I crept back to my desk I loved the orange juice like a woman. I still couldn't taste anything – which was good, because then I would have known exactly how long it had been since this orange juice was actually fresh – but I could feel its rush of freezing cold numbing my throat, and I felt healed. I can't ever go back to that deli, of course, because nothing can make me that happy again. (After typing that last sentence, I just threw out my laptop, in another fit of Gothic despair. sigh. When my fever breaks, I'll find a way to finish this story.)

WE FIRST MET ON 04.04.2005

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