Reveal in a tantalizing state of denial.
Those little red bumps getting all comfy on the rim of your throat, making it burn like a wild fire and shoot out pain when you try to open your mouth and squirm to say, “I…need…some..water”, are nothing.
Your throat hurts because you’ve been talking too much, screaming loudly to be heard in a hoard of rowdy chatterbox over-the-top friends that have had one too many cosmopolitans. Must be from belting out Backstreet Boys “I want it that way” into the mic during a night of karaoke like you’re some kind of Xtina Aguileria wanna-be, yep that’s why.
Make no sign of anything being different. Tell your friends that you’re still on for Wednesday’s happy hour, your boss that you’ll bring him coffee tomorrow morning at 9am, your pillow that’s dripping snot that it’s just condensation from the change in temperature, that’s all.
Sleep tightly, next to sweet cherry sucking candies and a glass of water.
Wake up without the ability to breathe. You reach for a tissue but your sneeze can’t wait and out flies a glob of thick mucus that looks like something out of Mrs. Brown’s science class.
Scoop it up with a tissue, examine it, smell it, debate whether it’s yellow or green–convince yourself it’s a yellowish/green. Snap a photo of it with your iPhone to send to Dr. Mommy or to Instagram, later.
Go to the kitchen and whip up a concoction of scorching hot tea laced with honey while cramming slices of toast sprinkled with cinnamon into your mouth all followed by a game of power hour played with shots of orange juice. Realize the only thing making progress here is your bladder that has you running to the potty every 5 minutes to dump out your doses of liquid courage.
Sulk in misery. Take a red sharpie and cross out your social life for the next 5-7 days. Close your eyes and imagine the world tossing and turning without you. Put up your “do not disturb” away message on Gchat because you don’t even have the energy to chat with good ol’ Mary Sue about your weekend. What weekend? All it left me with was a bad case of the heebie jeebies and phlegm.
Crawl under a fleece blanket and pop in a Rosetta Stone CD. Learn how to say “I don’t feel well” in Italian (non mi sent bene).
Use every last bit of energy you have to pick up the phone and dial your mom. Say “Hi mom, it’s me again, your 24-year-old daughter with an ugly case of the flu.” Listen to her as she reads off a list of things you wish you listened to days ago. Wash your hands, take your vitamins, rest. She instructs you to go into bed, eat some soup, take medicine. You revert back to your native tongue, baby talk, and tell her “But mah-ma, I don’t feel well”. She tells you to listen up and stop learning the hard way.
You sob, cry baby cry. Think back to the days when you were sick and got to stay home from school. Stuffing down mashed bananas, cups of apple juice, watching Blue find his clues. How yes, the world went on without you but it was a much simpler world. A world of cursive, shapes, spelling and sharing. Things you really didn’t care if you missed.
Stop using your brain, hang up the phone in a mad dashing rage. Realize mommy loves you but she can’t help you fight this 2,000 miles away. Understand that no matter how needy nouns are of you (work needs you, your bills don’t care if you’re snotty, dinner won’t make itself) you are in this by yourself. It’s just a stupid common cold that clouds and fogs and ruins the next 5-7 days of your life.
Get a text from mommy that reads: “She loves you and hopes you get better soon.”
Bat your eyelashes until the last pity tear splashes the screen.
image – Shutterstock