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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Wednesday, Jun. 05, 2019 @ 9:50 pm
I wake early, shift to ease the pressure from the floor against my hips. I haul myself up to standing, and the room sways like a listing ship. I hold onto the wall and make my way into the bathroom. Take my temperature while sitting on the toilet. I lean my head on cool countertop. I have a fever.
I pull open the door of the medicine cabinet. Nail polish remover, toothpaste, deodorant. No drugs. I collapse onto the linoleum floor. Press my cheek against the cool metal bathtub. There are drugs in my travel pack.
The day fades in and out of consciousness. I eat frozen berries, drink water from a glass milk bottle.
I hear from Russell. From my mother, my sister. From Mike. From Tim.
Tim checks back on me multiple times throughout the day. He calls me on videochat with his daughter, his beautiful angelic child, and she tells me, in the sweetest child voice, to feel better soon. He tells me that I look beautiful. He tells me this when I’m peaky with fever, my hair unwashed and unkempt, wearing an old grey sweatshirt. Your freckles, your freckles have come out across your nose.
I realize that I talk with Tim more than anyone else in my life. Morning, noon, night. His unfailing presence, so normal to me that I fail to notice it, forget to write about it. His unconditional love for me. You are my unicorn. I never felt good enough for you.
In sickness, I have gratitude. I’m grateful for the people who check in on me. Grateful for this apartment, for a space to call my own. The luxury of being able to call in sick. Oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, cool and fresh in my mouth.
I draw a bath. I’ve lived her for a month, and this is my first bath.
I’ve lived here for a month.
The house is sold. I am going up on Friday to collect my things. In the course of emailing, he includes this:
Your emails and statements to me in February were vindictive, blaming, and accusatory.
I reread the one email that I sent to him in February. It was honest, and I wrote it as I write here. Open, honest, vulnerable. It’s clear that we have always missed each other. Deeply.
I made the right decision. Without a doubt, I made the right decision.
The sun sets, and I realize that nobody else is going to take care of me in this moment. I slice an onion, caramelize it in my Dutch oven. I think of Flood as I pour white wine in to deglaze the pan. French onion soup.
The fever. My heart.
I miss you.