I’m not sure where we’re going but we’re on Newberry Street when I start coughing, and when we get home I’m still coughing what can I do about this coughing and Avery says maybe a bump of coke, which makes me laugh and cough, which I guess is better than just coughing, especially since my throat is getting really sore and I don’t know, maybe miso soup, maybe miso soup and then a bump, okay actually the miso is helping, oh, I hope I’m not getting sick, getting sick on our week together it was supposed to be a vacation, right, a vacation without Ned around and he wanted me to go with him to Hong Kong on his business trip, or Hong Kong and Taipei and Tokyo, one right after the other I guess to recruit students or something like that, he didn’t say exactly. Ned doesn’t like to talk about his work, I mean once in a while something slips but generally he doesn’t say much and I don’t ask because that means I don’t have to tell him much when he asks me about school. School, work – it’s all lies, right?
So it’s my romantic week with Avery, except now I’m coughing and then I do a bump, which kind of makes me cough more but at least it makes my throat a little bit numb and then Avery is kissing me again — stop, you’re going to get sick, stop.
Mattilda, I never get sick, you know that.
Avery, you don’t want to get this cough.
If I was going to get your cough, I would’ve had it a long time ago.
I think this is something different.
And just then I’m coughing again, and then Avery gasps and grabs my hand and I’m wondering what’s going on but when I look down I see there’s all this blood on my hand, oh my nose, maybe I shouldn’t have done a bump. I always think of blood red as being something really dark, burgundy or maroon or even darker but then when you look at it on a white towel it’s red, bright red. Shit, what am I going to do with this towel?
But I don’t like to leave them things like this.
Mattilda, I’m sure they’ve seen worse, let me get you some ice.
And she’s right, they have seen worse, like that time when Ned’s shit poured out of his ass like dark brown water onto the sheets, I’m thinking about that awful smell and how he seems so embarrassed when he was pulling the sheets off the bed but then he still wanted me to fuck him. That was before he figured out how to use his enema bag, now it’s always hanging from his shower even though we haven’t fucked and I don’t know how long and I’m so glad we had separate bathrooms, thank you to whoever designed this house.
The next day I wake up in bed with Avery and at first I feel a little better, right, I mean at least I’m not coughing, but then I go to the bathroom and my nose is bleeding again, this time both nostrils, and my throat hurts so so much, what the fuck is going on? Avery thinks I should go to a doctor, but I hate doctors, what is a doctor going to do for me? Give me some antibiotics that’ll make me sicker, but why am I so fucking freezing, Avery I know it’s 60 degrees out but should we turn on the heat? Then I’m shivering so much that my whole body starts to shake and I’m sitting on the toilet shitting everything out, I mean I’m shitting everything out and then I’m still trying to shit more, it’s like my sphincter won’t stop contracting even though there’s nothing left.
So we go to the clinic, and they tell me it’s bronchitis. And I have a serious fever, 102.5, I don’t think it’s ever been that high before. Guess what? Antibiotics.
So then I take the antibiotics, and I’m shitting again. Shitting and coughing and shivering and then sweating, shivering and sweating, back and forth I mean this is ridiculous, for three or four days everything blends together it’s just fever and chills and nausea too and I realize Avery isn’t offering me coke anymore, I mean I realized that before but I didn’t want any although now I sort of do. But Avery’s hugging me while I’m in bed sweating and I can’t believe she hugs me this way I mean what would I do without this hug but I mean I don’t even like to be around someone when they’re sick and here she just keeps bringing me closer, it’s our holiday sick house and when will I ever feel better?
Oh Avery’s sleeping, so cute here in my sweaty bed and I don’t want to wake her because she hardly ever sleeps, right, but I am getting hungry again, although last time I ate miso soup and then went right to the bathroom to shit it out, so what can I try this time? What time is it, I can’t quite see the clock, oh, 4:50, maybe Avery sleeps in the middle of the day, maybe that’s the key, I don’t know, maybe I’ll just watch your eyelashes and the way they go up and down, oh, now I’m getting tired again.
When I wake up, Avery’s sitting next to me on the bed, petting me through the covers, I don’t want to say it but this is so much fun, in a way, even though I feel absolutely fucking awful I mean I can hardly breathe, what the fuck is stuck in my head, why does my throat hurt so much, I must look awful, I can’t believe she’s seeing me when I look this awful.
And Avery says: I made dinner.
Yes, I made you miso soup, just like you asked for.
I asked for? I didn’t know you knew how to cook.
Mattilda, I don’t know how to cook, I’ve never cooked anything in my life but I’ve been watching you and taking notes, notes in my head. I made miso soup — with tofu, broccoli, mung bean sprouts, scallions, that radish, what’s it called again?
Right — Daikon radish. And ginger. A little bit of ginger. I know you said it’s good for your throat.
I don’t know if I can get up yet, what time is it?
In the morning?
Mattilda, I would never wake you up in the morning. Here, I’ll go get some soup, and bring it upstairs.