Friday, Apr. 30, 2021 @ 12:53 pm
I wake at one am, delirious and uncomfortable. I take my temperature. One hundred point five degrees. I stand up and walk towards the bathroom, pausing momentarily to orient myself to the new apartment. I am half-way down the hall when the nausea hits. Dizzy and weak. I reach a hand out to touch the wall. I’m not going to make it. I ease down onto the floor into child’s pose, my heart racing. Breathe. Breathe.
Eleven hours prior, in a make-shift room in the pharmacy area of the grocery store, the walls constructed of pallets of bottled water. I watch the pharmacist push the needle into the glass vial of vaccine. A precious bottle sent up from America, the president’s good-will towards its Northern neighbour. The pharmacist takes my hand to arrange my arm.
“You’re so cold!” he exclaims.
“Take a slow breath,” he instructs. A quick, hot sting in my arm. “It’s over,” he says.
Hours later, in the deep quiet night, my immune system boils. My skin crawls, and I twitch and scratch at myself like a heroin addict. I writhe in bed, my fever peaking and ebbing every hour. Dawn arrives and the miserable hours pass. I fall in and out of sleep. Each time I wake, I hope that it’s over, but it doesn’t pass. The sun crosses to the west horizon and dips. Russell prepares me soup, and I last only a minute sitting up at the table. I return to the couch, weak and shaky. The fever remains.
In the middle of the next night, the fever breaks.
I rise the next morning, exhausted and relieved.
The maze of boxes.
The expansive view of the ocean, from the city to the island.
Now, now I can start to settle in.