I have a cold. I don’t want it.
I’ve done remarkably well not catching it until now. Aimée had it to begin with.
We don’t have children, as such we are not immune to the mucus-based and airborne. As well as the Legion, Aimée works in the shop. The shop’s car park is ostentatiously popular with the mums and dads who collect their children from the nearby school, and walk those last fifty feet, thereby giving the appearance of glowing health. They might as well be vegan.
Of course, they soon sweep up their children, have a brief chat with other parents and head back towards the shop. A pint of milk. A newspaper. The kids will want sweeties of some description, because they’ve been good all day and gone to school. And then they drive them the remaining hundred feet home.
Having spent the summer enjoying their lives, going on holidays, scavenger hunts, playing with cousins, attending horse riding lessons, weddings and ju jitsu, the children are back in an enclosed space with other children.
It doesn’t take long. Someone has a sniffle, caught from a visiting auntie, and they topple like miniature dominoes. Every child catches and mutates the cold until they pass it on to their parents – resistant to most things, the cold has developed inside their children and turned into quasi-flu. It’s not really flu. It just sounds more impressive and better fits this awful, broken-headed feeling. Honestly, it’s as if I have an engorged snail living in my windpipe.
The children are put on bed rest, with plenty of fluids and daytime tv. The adults make their way back to the shop, to lean over the counter where Aimée stands, and try to read the flu medication on the shelf behind her, coughing and spluttering all the while.
Her height does not save her.
Aimée was sneezing like a dead man for a week and a half before I got it, probably from someone at the Branch AGM, but still.. now my head is heavy and spinning, my nose feels is shredded by balmless tissues, my throat is made of sandpaper, and I’m feeling sorry for myself.
Pumpkin has done me an enormous favour which means I can stop thinking about me for a moment. Before you start thinking that I am a monster, here’s what happened.
Pumpkin is a sweetheart, and I recently fitted carpet in my living room.
Pumpkin determined that it was fun to rub herself on the carpet; she puts her head down to the short pile and drives herself forwards with her back legs, pushing her neck against the wool. I suspect there’s an itch she can’t ordinarily reach. In any case, she has managed to get carpet burn.
We have spent the last fifteen minutes bathing her neck, applying cream and bandaging her. She hates us.
The bandage lasted about seven minutes. She was itching at it and almost certainly pulling at the creamy swab underneath, probably irritating the rash below even more. We slept in shifts and spent the night watching her.
I am no longer thinking about my throat. I’m thinking about hers.
Thankfully, she stopped itch- and injuring herself. The cream is made of miracles. She’s back to empty-headed happiness.
It was about three years ago that I last had the flu. And I knew it was flu, rather than a heavy cold, because I was watching ‘Enchanted’ and became convinced that the talking chipmunk, in the land of Andalasia, was in fact me.
I couldn’t get over the idea that I was somehow on tv. As if I’d kept it quiet, even from myself. I was a film star. The awful fact of it was: it wasn’t that I thought I had supplied the voice for the kooky cartoon chipmunk, I thought I was the kooky cartoon chipmunk. Me, myself, chipmunk.
It was very confusing.
Eventually, I realised there must be something wrong with me, and found some brandy. That worked well. Until I ran out of brandy. Then, I wondered how I got onto The Simpsons.