The Hardscrabble Flu Friend Blues: On Bedside Visits From the KidsSerge Bielanko
It’s nice to see the kids through the flu-ish haze I have been living in the past 48 hours.
They appear at the side of my bed when I least expect it, saying stuff like, “Hi Daddy!” (Henry, 2) and “Okay, you can feel better now, Dad!” (Violet, 4).
That means a lot too, because my wife and I have both pretty much abandoned each other in our times of sickness, probably in yet another effort to prove to the other person that we don’t need them when the going gets tough. No 0ne is bringing me any chicken soup in bed and even if they did, it would be really, really awkward.
But the kids are a different story and once again they manage to penetrate the murky strata of my blues, this time by barging in on my semi-barbaric strain of flu and wiping the lonely cobwebs away from my face early in the morning or just before they hit the hay at night. I hear their thumping feet coming down the hall and even though I feel like shit on toast, my heart picks up the pace a bit and I get excited knowing that one of them is heading my way, to check on me the best that they can do.
The flu is so dumb.
It’s almost like being super-stoned on medieval torture or something, pieces of your body being stretched hard and tight, your flat thin nerves being whacked by a chain gang of weird gnomes and trolls who get off on sweating their asses off down in the sweltering boiler rooms of your central systems. You’ll be lying there in some semi-comatose state, having just been dropped by a high-flying dragon back onto your crappy mattress when out of nowhere a guillotine will sever your damn skull with a shooting pain that defies real explanation.
You hack up dry lightning.
Your back hurts from everything.
You swear to yourself, during your better moments, that you are going to be a health nut from now on; you are going to pop pink grapefruit slices like Easter bon-bons.
You lie to yourself and to the universe just to try and get better.
Violet and Henry usually split as fast as they showed up. I can’t say I blame them either. If there’s anything we should know about the young it’s that they don’t need to be hanging around old sickies. There will be plenty of time for that crap later. So, in they come and I feel their hand in the darkness as it slips into mine.
I squeeze it and they say their stuff, whatever they need to tell me or ask me. Then, sometimes I get a little peck/sometimes I don’t, but either way, I feel better.
I don’t need to be tough in front of them. They don’t care.
They already know I’m tough.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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