I took two precious Vicodin last night and felt all my pain drift away on the magical cloud that is that particular narcotic. I love Vicodin. Probably too much. But the rush of euphoria as the pain that consumes my attention begins to recede is a thing of beauty. But I did sleep, waking this morning in a pleasant rush to check if I felt a bit better. Disappointment weighed heavily on me when I realized I didn’t. Bummer.
Feeling very sluggish and growing convinced that the smell of medicine was seeping from my pores, I decided to leave the house. I piled pdfs on a USB drive, tucked tissues and cough drops in my purse and headed off to work. After printing and faxing and filing, I arranged some documents in a pretty pink folder (with paisley print - my filing cabinet is utterly fascinating!) and headed back to my car. I guided it to Friend’s house, eager to greet her upon her return.
“Hello,” I greeted her tiny felines when I unlocked the door. “I know. I’m not the right human. She’s on her way though.” I sat on the couch all four of them joined me within the minute. So I murmured to them and stroked their coats and tried not to cough and scare them away. After several minutes, I called Friend and tried to decipher her words despite extremely poor signal. Then I began to wash bedding for her, tossing her quilt in the washer with the detergent she uses and watching the machine begin to churn. I returned to her living room, and when cats failed to join me again, dug out some papers and a blue highlighter and started to read. Three articles later, I realized I had learned a few things. And focused on work for almost an hour!
My pride was interrupted by a particularly vicious bout of coughing and as I moaned from the pain it caused in my muscles, I realized I didn’t want to read anymore. I coaxed a cat on my lap and smoothed a very pretty coat until I heard a car out front. “She’s home,” I told them with a smile.
“Hello,” I welcomed her when she walked in.
“Hi,” she said to me, and then she greeted the cats that moved toward her. I followed her outside as we unloaded her car, hauling in bags and boxes and still more boxes.
“I bought stuff,” she told me as I set a box full of binders next to the one that contained snacks and pills. “Costco.”
“I see that,” I replied. I watched as she unpacked, smiling at silly t-shirts, nodding with approval at pretty skirts and thanking her for my gift of sleeping pills. Thinking her very thoughtful, I placed the box carefully on top of my folder of papers.
“What’s the plan?” I asked once, leaving things open to see if she wanted to talk about her mom or the trip or work tomorrow.
“I should put the dark clothes in the dryer,” she replied and I nodded. “I’m not ready to be alone, I think,” she commented later and I nodded again. “When you called and said you were here, I decided you either really missed me or were extremely worried about me.”
“Both,” I said. “I did miss you - I didn’t have anybody to talk to! And it’s all weird when you’re not around. And I am concerned about you too. So I will take you home with me and feed you since that’s how I offer comfort. That works.”
So to my house we came, tucking bags in the trunk and picking up cheese biscuits and salads on the way. It’s at least a 30 minute commute from her dwelling to mine and the drive went smoothly. I didn’t even have to swear at people.
“Wow,” I finally said. “We are so fascinating.” I received a look for my statement. “Well, we haven’t seen each other for a week and we have absolutely nothing to say. That seems sad.”
“My head hurts,” she offered. “Right here,” she made a circle in the center of her forehead.
“Oh,” I said. “My head isn’t bad, but my ears are killing me. And every muscle aches from coughing.”
“My hip hurts from driving. Maybe I’ll take a bath and see if that helps.”
“I took Vicodin last night,” I confided. “I love Vicodin.”
“Yes,” she replied. “I figured that out.”
“I figured out how to refocus one of my papers,” I told her after thinking for a moment. “But it may not work.”
“I don’t know what I’ll work on tomorrow,” she replied. “Now that I’m finished with my project and moving on to something new.”
So I’ll say I wish you were here, but only to have you sigh in utter joy and relief that you are not. Perhaps as we both grow healthy, we shall become more lively and interesting. One can hope.