• mariokiefer

The Cold: Day Three

When he opened his eyes, the clock read 6:00 am. He had meant to rise at 5:30 to prepare for his workday, but had overslept. Not that it really mattered, he did not need to start until 9 AM, but it was his habit to rise early.


He sat up in his bed and went to the bathroom intending to rise for the day, but when he completed his early morning ritual he heard the siren’s song calling him back to slumber. For a moment, he stood transfixed between the light in the bathroom that beckoned him to wakefulness and the dark of the bedroom that sang its lullaby. He acquiesced to the darkness and returned to bed.


“I will get up in 30 minutes,” he said to himself. “That will be plenty of time.”


Three times he woke and three times he succumbed to the calls from the Land of Nod. When finally he forced himself to rise it was 7:30 - far later than he had intended but still enough time to engage in his usual morning rituals (even if truncated) before he began his workday at the appointed hour.


Instead of his usual two cups of the magic wakey-juice, he had only one. Then, in the shower he turned the handle to warm, then cool, then warm again trying to regulate the temperature of his achy muscles as the water soothed his skin. He decided to forego his shave. Sure, he looked like Grizzly Adams, but it was not as if anyone would be gazing upon his beard on this morning.


He took some of the day-time medicine that promised to alleviate his symptoms yet allow him to remain functioning. He knew those promises were as meaningless as the declarations of love that preceded a one-night stand, but like so many before him, he acquiesced to their call.


For the next few hours he toiled away at his daily tasks more from muscle memory and rote than from considered thought. He was uncertain whether the fuzziness in his brain translated to something clear in the work product, but prayed that it did.


At lunch, he set his alarm to wake him in forty-five minutes, then took to bed.


He did not need the alarm to rise as his nap had been fraught with fits and starts such that he hardly felt he had rested at all. He rose and shuffled a return to his office to earn his afternoon’s wages. He toiled at his tasks for the next few hours until finally the clock chimed that it was time for him to take his leave.


His head was no longer pounding, but his chest continued to its constrictions and his nose whined in complaint with each breath he drew in. From this, he knew that he had reached the apex of his infection and the each of the ensuing days would be better than the one before. Still, he needed rest.


He cocooned on in his nest on the sofa and turned on the television to watch the recording of this evening’s Jeopardy as he waited for his partner to prepare their repast. Then watched the finale of the chilling adventures of a teenage witch before being drawn toward slumber.


Not trusting the government approved hallucinogens any longer, he turned to his Mama’s home remedy - a spoonful of warm honey and a shot of whiskey - then retired to bed.

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