Summer seemed to end last Saturday when the weather turned from bright and almost unbearably hot to miserable and wet, gray with low clouds and a steady mist of rain. September, that wretched bitch of a month, took over with a dreary vengeance and my health followed suit.
I have been sick for the past several days and Duncan has had just about enough of it.
I am one of those people who chooses to bask in whichever bug has taken up residence in my body. I am not like my friend David, who gets dressed and goes about his day as though nothing is wrong, tending to chores and taking sensible care of himself. No, I am exactly like my friend Kevi, who, like me, has somehow managed to turn illness into an art-form. First I construct a nice little nest for myself on the couch, selecting only the softest pillows from my bed and a nice warm blanket to wrap myself in. On the coffee-table I assemble a wide variety of brightly-colored medicines, juices, water bottles, balms, ointments, tissues, syrups and inhalants, regardless of whether or not I plan on using them; their rainbow colors are somehow soothing and invigorating and it is comforting knowing they're there should I need them. I bring whatever book I'm reading and lay out several DVDs, usually television shows, which are quick and easy to watch and easier to fall asleep to and wake up without feeling as though I've missed anything. The blinds get drawn, the tea kettle is always on low, maintaining a nice steady simmer should my mug require a refill. The cats are invited to take up their perches on my hip and against my chest while Duncan nestles down on the floor below me and we all settle in for what always proves to be a miserably wonderful convalescence.
And then I proceed to moan. Moaning, regardless of whether or not anyone is close enough to hear, is a morbid and delightful remedy and I find I enjoy it very much. The cats don't seem to mind; in fact, sometimes it encourages them to be extra lovey and snugly. Even Dunc is kind enough to whimper along with me, occasionally finding the perfect harmony for an afternoon of misery.
After days of witnessing his papa languish on the couch, and nights hearing him gurgle and moan and sputter under a pile of pillows and scattered sheets and blankets, this evening he decided he'd had enough. The weather has turned nice, my cough has finally subsided and my fever seems to have settled down a bit so I humored him, climbed off the couch, scattering cats and tissues and vapor rubs in one quick motion, dressed myself in something other than sweats and a ratty t-shirt, and took him outside. He's been anxious to practice catching the muslin-covered Frisbee I bought him for his birthday so I donned a hoodie, grabbed his new toy and walked with him down The Run to The Glen. I wasn't feeling well enough to venture across the street to the park where the Soccer Hoards have assembled again, and where the frightful Columbine Marching Band has taken up their horrific mangling of music (and you all know how I feel about marching bands!) so we settled on the lip of the earthen bowl of The Glen, Duncan sprinting down one side, his head craned back keeping his eye on the Frisbee, then back up the other side to catch it (or not, as the case seems to be, although his aim is improving). The cool evening air felt wonderful and the last light of the sun was refreshing in my eyes and on my skin. Finally, when we'd both had enough of the Frisbee (it seems I need as much practice throwing the thing as he does catching it) he settled down in the cool grass and watched me close my eyes and turn my face into the setting sun. After a few minutes he ambled up beside me, pushed his cold nose against the palm of my hand and licked my wrist. I patted his head as a dragonfly zipped between us.
Duncan jumped after it, his tail high, his eyes wide with wonder, a delighted grin wide on his face. I watched as the dazzling metallic green of its wings and its impossibly slender blue body darted back and forth around him until it came to a standstill before him, just above his nose. The two seemed to stare at each other for a long moment and I was reminded of that scene from Bambi, the one my grandmother quilted onto my baby blanket, with Bambi watching the butterfly flutter about before settling quietly onto his tail.
It was a lovely evening, and even though my chest still feels thick and heavy and my fever hasn't quite decided what it wants to do for the night, I believe I won't be moaning and Duncan will be content with the medicine he fed my spirit today.