by Solomon Tate
My wife has been sick. Its nothing too serious, just a sinus cold accompanied by a very sore throat and a nagging dry cough, but it has been lingering for almost a week. I have done my best to nurse her back to health, but the other night, while I slept, the microbes of death and destruction that had been breeding in her system made their way to my side of the bed and like squatters took up residence in my system. I woke up sick. Together we lay in bed with dripping eyes and running noses, coughing and sneezing, while we try to figure out who’s going to make us soup as my kids roam around the house providing no useful service to us at all.
“I don’t have the energy to get up and get anything.” she says. “In a few days we could starve to death.”
“Unlikely.” I remind her. “We can always order in.”
“Who’s going to go to the door?” she asks. I had no answer for her. I only knew that it wasn’t going to be me.
I asked one of my daughters who has been going out all weekend to bring us something back. “Can you bring me a milk shake or something?” I asked. “My throat is killing me.”
“No.” she said. “I don’t know when I’ll be home and I don’t want to carry it around.”
“It doesn’t weigh very much.” I said. “You can just pick it up on your way home.”
“Its out of the way.” she informed me. “I have some Pepsi in the fridge you can have. But only take one can.”
“I told you.” my wife said. “We’re going to die in here.” I suppose it was a possibility, but I was not prepared to surrender. I headed out into the rain and returned with soup, bread, tea, and honey.
“I think I pulled a muscle in my chest from all the coughing.”, I said. “This is brutal.”
“You’ll start to feel better soon.”, she said.
“You think so?”
“No” she said, “but one of us has to take care of us and I’m pretty sure it won’t be me. I’m sick.”
“In case you haven’t noticed” I said, “I’m pretty sick too.”
“I know.” she said. “But you’ve already gone out in the rain and everything, and there’s no point in both of us getting worse.” Her logic, as always, was irrefutable. There was no sense in both of us getting worse. I just wasn’t sure why it always had to be me.
By the next day, I had developed a fever to add to the assortment of symptoms already plaguing me, and my head felt like it was in a vice, slowly being tightened bit by bit. It was almost impossible to get out of bed. “Well” I told her, “I’m definitely worse.” She just smiled and headed off to the kitchen, returning with a cup of tea and honey.
“Here” she said, “this should make your throat feel a bit better.”
“Thanks.”, I told her. “Its good to know that you’ll take care of me.”
“Of course.”, she said. “I need you better by tomorrow. The garbage has to go out.”