New Year, or The Flu
My New Year has been spent in solitude and introspection. So many dreams and stories have filled my head while I've waited for the storm inside my stomach to pass. Just like any other time I've had lengthy periods of sickness, the moments of being unable to do everyday tasks--to write, clean, eat, and wander--eventually give way to sensations of gratitude when I am well again.
Eating again, after immediately expelling any food hitting the lining of my stomach, is like re-learning a process I have spent my whole life depending on. It's a gamble deciding what food I can depend on to settle and make its way through my digestive track. I savor the thought of spicy and acidic foods, roughage, and filling legumes. I dream of Ethiopian and Mexican foods. I wonder if the French press coffee I am sipping right now will undo the good I've done in eating homemade applesauce and corn crackers for the past two days.
In the first stage I was not well enough to do anything. I did not want to see moving images or digital interfaces. I closed my eyes and let dreams take me for hours, escaping reality while I could, often waking in a rush, sprinting to the bathroom, grateful that I live alone. I experienced the embarrassment of calling a friend, an ex-boyfriend of all people, crying, with instructions to pick up Imodium, lemon-lime Gatorade, and toilet paper for me from Target. My feelings of humiliation neutralized by my gratitude for his act of kindness, dropping everything for the well-being of a friend.
As much as medicine and rest have done their part in healing me, so have the well-wishes of friends and family, their love, support, and desire to be the cure to my pain. My physical isolation has been crowded with their ghostly presences. Cuddling with Nico and Atticus, my two cats, in my bed, and listening to hollering and midnight banging on pots and pans to celebrate the New Year, my jealousy in missing this opportunity to bring in the New Year with others is quickly extinguished. Even though this sickness is having its way with my body, I resolve to appreciate the kindness of a friend, the love of family, the taste of savory food, and the ability to write it all down.
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