by Kathy Miele
My husband, Steven walked into our living room where I was busy wrapping presents.
“Did I just hear you cough?” he asked.
“I don’t think so,” I said, but immediately felt that telltale tickle in the back of my throat and gave a quick cough. “Oh, no!” I didn’t even realize I was coughing! I can’t get sick now!”
“None of us can,” Steven said as he went in search of the disinfectant wipes. “Alex has finals next week, Max is studying for his exam and I can’t miss any work!”
“Well, I can’t miss work either,” I complained as I reached for the antibacterial gel, squeezed a huge amount into my hand and began coating myself with the thick cold goop. “Who else can get the rest of the shopping done?” I asked. “Who’s going to cook for the two dinner parties we have planned?”
“Who’s going to want to come to our house when we’re all sick?” Steven shot back.
“This is ridiculous!” I cried. “There’s no way I can be sick now!”
“Are you taking extra vitamin C?”
“What about zinc?”
“Steven, I just realized I’ve been coughing! I haven’t had a chance to even get to the medicine cabinet yet!”
“Well, while you’re there, get the thermometer out and check to see if you have a temperature.” Steven felt his head. “Do I feel warm to you?” He leaned closer to me so I could feel his forehead.
“Do you feel sick?” I asked.
“No, but you didn’t even realize you were coughing until I pointed it out to you,” he reasoned. “Maybe we’re all getting sick.”
Alex was home from school for the weekend and chose that particular moment to come into the living room. “Who’s coughing?” he asked. “Who’s sick?”
“No one,” I tried to reassure him.
“Your Mom’s been coughing,” Steven told him.
By the look on Alex’s face you would have thought Steven had just announced that I had the plague.
“Look, it’s probably allergies,” I said. “I’m sure I’m not contagious.”
“How can you be sure?” Alex asked. “I’ve got finals all next week!”
Next Max walked into the living room. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Your Mom’s sick,” Steven said.
“It’s allergies,” I said.
“She’s not sure what it is,” Alex told him.
“Look, if all of you are so worried that you’ll catch what I have, why don’t I just go into my bedroom for the evening? I’ll take some medicine, read some magazines and get to bed early.”
“That sounds like a good idea,” Steven said as he wiped down the table and everything that I’d touched with antibacterial wipes.
“Just let me know where you’re planning to order dinner from so I can tell you what I’d like to eat,” I said as I walked back in to my bedroom to get ready to snuggle under the covers, prop myself up with some fluffy pillows and begin leafing through the stack of magazines that I never seem to get a chance to look through. I had to smile when I realized that the best part of my holiday illness was that my throat didn’t even feel scratchy anymore. I felt fine. But there was no reason to let anyone know that until tomorrow morning.