freewrite: unwell


mark was sick (again), weakened by a trip up two flights of stairs, bed-bound, coughing, queasy. he went back to work today.
for two days, thomas has been a touch fussier than usual, wanting only mama’s arms. yesterday i caught a scent off his brow, a mustiness, a sourness. “he’s going to be sick,” i thought. “no, that’s silly. he’s probably just teething.”
before bed, his head felt a touch warmer than usual. just teething, i told myself. bone erupting through delicate pink gums. the system working through trauma. of course he’s running hot, all systems in gear.
but all night his head wavered from warm to hot, even after i threw off his blankets, even with a damp washcloth against his scalp. i curled my body round him. i dreamed i was back in college, but there was no place for me to stay – i forgot until it’s end that i graduated almost five years ago now. i’ve been dreaming a lot lately, something i haven’t done much since i was writing a lot of fiction.
and today? he is a little irritated, uncomfortable, sleeping a bit more than usual. his head is like a thermos full of warm tea. but the rest of his body is functioning as usual. no rattling cough. none of the Danger Signs. a fever is a sign that the body is fighting. i am tired of fighting. mark and me sick last month. mark and thomas this month. we are not people who often fall ill, certainly not enough to render us bed-bound for days.

nurse, my mama friends say. nurse, nurse. so we are in bed, and he is fussing, eating, peeing, napping, occasionally gracing me with that bashful baby grin as if to let me know he’s alright, he’s okay, he’s just fighting a war.



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