It's just after 2:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, and I am still in my pyjamas. I've been in my bed since early last night, coughing and whining and trying to will away this cold that's creeped up on me. So far, none of my wishes for instant recovery have come true. I'm still sitting in bed, watching TLC's string of daytime reality shows, surrounded by kleenex and the various cold accoutrements: Motrin, orange juice, bottles water, viatamin C tablets, remote controls.
Calling in sick this morning, there was no question that I was telling the truth. My voice was deep and raspy, far from both sexy and healthy. "You sound horrible," my coworker said. Thanks so much.
"Well, I feel horrible," I said, just as I succumbed to a coughing fit.
"I take it you're not coming in today," she said. Good guess.
I placed calls to my mother, to my best friend, to let them know I wouldn't be at work in case they called looking for me.
"Do jou need anyting, Chimi?" Pollo asked.
"No thanks," I said, surveying my night table for my decongestant.
"Well, have jou eaten anyting?" she asked, knowing that I hadn't.
"I'm about to go downstairs and get something so that I can take my antibiotics."
"Chimi, dat's no good. It's late already. Jou need to eat. What do you have to eat there?"
"I can make a sandwich or something...I'm just not hungry."
"Well, jou have to eat," she said, scolding me. "And I know jou don't have anyting to eat dere."
"I'll be fine. I'll eat. I promise."
"Well, I'm going to bring jou chicken soup when I get out of work today," she said, matter-of-factly.
"Pollo, you don't have to."
"Well, I know I don't have to. But you're there in that house all alone. Who's going to take care of you?"
I suppose a little part of me felt like I'd been slapped. Every so often, you get a reminder that you're all alone. That you're by yourself, with no one to help you out. And while sometimes it's nice, sometimes it just feels horrible. When you're sick and immoblie in a house with no food, you realize that if you need soup or tylenol, you have to get it yourself.
But most of me just felt lucky. Because a few hours later, Pollo showed up at my door with chicken-noodle soup and a liter of Sprite. And even though I may live alone, with no boyfriend to bring me ice cream and advil, I have a friend good enough to want to take care of me.