The Cold - The Beginning
It began quietly. Hardly noticed by those around.
The man had been home for only three days when his partner began to complain of a headache. Not long thereafter, the coughing started and his partner became intimate friends with his handkerchief and tissues.
The man was happy that he was uninfected and took deliberate precautions to remain so. Carefully, he avoided any physical contact with his husband.
“Don’t touch me!” he cried out when the other attempted to kiss him goodbye on his way to -- wherever it was he was going.
He placed a barrier of pillows between him and his beloved each night before sleep.
He washed his hands with such obsession he thought he could see muscle and bone through translucent skin.
He bathed himself in Purell.
His partner was feeling “a little better” when they drove two-and-a-half hours to look at land. As each mile marker passed by, the man saw his partner slowly returning to normal. (As if “normal” can be defined.” Then came the drive back.
A little pain started to invade his head. It was nothing major, but since he usually did not suffer from headaches, he immediately knew something was wrong.
About an hour outside of Early, Texas on some back country highway (Hwy 16, to be exact) just beyond San Saba, but not quite to Llano -- somewhere around the small town of Cherokee (population 175, or so the sign boasted) his lungs spasmed. Thus began his body’s attempt to eject the offending viral organisms, but, at least at this point, to no avail.
It was nearing 4:30 pm as they passed Marble Fall and decided to stop and pick up some roadhouse BBQ for dinner. When the man pulled into the Opie’s parking lot, he knew that he was ill.
He turned to his partner and said, “I think you gave me your cold.”
Did he get an apology?
Did he receive love and support?
Did the other say “let me take care of you” ?
“Ha Ha!” his partner cackled like a witch. “Now, you know how I feel.”
That evening at home, he took some of “The nighttime, sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so you can rest medicine” and crawled into bed.
Thus, the Great Plague of 2020 had begun.