I'm sick. It started yesterday, about halfway through work. I felt nauseas and cold, tired and achy. It was all I could do to get home at the end of the day and crawl into bed. I laid there for four hours, until Billy got home, my fever preventing me from getting warm despite the layers of blankets and cranked heat. Billy brought me crackers and ginger ale, forced me to eat, even though I was whiny and insisting that I wasn't hungry. "You have to eat," he told me, unpeeling a banana beside me in bed, "so that you can take some Motrin and feel better." He ate a sandwich while I forced down the banana and some saltines. He wrapped himself around me to keep me warm, and we fell asleep watching the Sopranos.
His alarm woke us this morning, Perry Como singing us out of sleep. He told me to take my Motrin and went to take his shower. Thirty minutes later, he kissed my face and left for work.
I stayed in bed all morning, reasoning that rest is what I need. But ten o'clock came and found me antsy. So I turned on the TV, picked up my box of Saltines and sought comfort in the movie channels. And there it was: Love Actually. It's one of my favorite movies, and one that never fails to make me cry.
It used to make my cry because I wanted it so badly. I wanted love, and to be loved, like it was in the movie. Honest and heartbreaking while glorious and all-consuming. Wanting what you can't have and having more than you can handle at the same time. I wanted it all: The pain and the pleasure that comes with the four-letter word love.
The past few times I've seen it, though, I've been nestled in Billy's bed. Once or twice he's been there with me, but more often, I watched it alone while he worked. And crying at the ending now seems less of an ache for something as intangible and far-fetched as love, and more of being able to identify with it. Because, sure, love sucks sometimes. It's confusing and frustrating and worrisome. It mutates you, makes you unsure of things you never before doubted. But, God, it does wonderful things to you, too. It makes you feel so safe; it feels like home. The small kiss, the reassuring touch, the soft smile.
I've been horrible to be around for the last week. Now that I'm sick, I can almost blame my week-long bad mood on the fact that my body's been trying to fight off a bug. But that's just an excuse. The fact of the matter is, I was a beast. Nothing could make me happy. I bitched and complained and worried and whined. I was sad. I cried. I made Billy defend himself for ridiculous things, things that weren't even worth defending ("Billy, why haven't you used your ipod that I gave you for Christmas? You know, if you don't like it, you shouldn't have opened it; that way we could've taken it back and got you something you really wanted."). I annoyed even myself, and I was sure that I was pushing my limits with my boyfriend. In the midst of all my silliness, I was sure he was getting fed up with me. What man, after all, wants to come home every night after a thirteen hour workday to a woman full of gripes?
"I don't want to get sick," he said, pushing my hair out of my face. "Because if I get sick, who's going to take care of you?"