There’s no one at our bus stop.
The yellow beast chugs toward the corner, heaving to a stop. Its loud industrial honk blares through the neighborhood three times before the sliding doors pull closed on no one and the machine ambles forward, on to the next street where a pile of children push each other and laugh and fight with delightful pre-school energy, straining their necks for that glimpse of yellow but also hoping never to see it.
The day is brisk and vibrant with shards of sun lighting the way. At the door, I have to shield my eyes from its brightness. I can’t believe how fresh the air feels, how invigorating, how healthy. I suck a deep breath in, letting it center me with its crisp cleanness, hoping it will help prepare me for my day. Greedily, I take another moment and another sublime breath.
My house reeks of stale and sick, sapped of energy and hope, piles of soiled laundry, children crying, husband lying in bed moaning. An alternate world exists outside this house, one full of life, with everyday problems and everyday troubles – Did you finish your homework, Will you stop torturing your brother, Should we have tacos for dinner or chicken cutlets. It all seems so bright and entertaining in the throes of misery.
I am one of the infected and so I must shut myself away from the outside world. I must lay on couches and beds, wrapped in blankets shivering, close to the cool, lovely bathroom tile, the swirl of infection billowing in the air.
“Mama?” I hear, but I can barely lift my head to address him.
“Coming,” I muster and lift my body, heavy with the effort of sickness, but weak with emptiness over to where he huddles.
“What can I do for you baby?” I ask, wanting to die, wanting not to catch any more of what he has or to give any bit of what I have.
“Water,” he croaks, “And hugs,”
The water is easy and he takes a halting sip before lying down again spent. In place of hugs, I curl up in his bed around his feet.
Now 36 hours later, my husband is off to work armed with a bottle of Pepto, Tylenol and a Ginger Ale and two out of three of my boys are in school. I am slowly recuperating. I know because I am actually thinking about lunch although not sure if I can actually stomach anything. Also, a shower. When before the idea seemed a fantasy I didn’t even have the energy to want, I am now craving it with every inch of my crawling skin.
My middle son relaxes on the couch complaining of a headache but asking to play a board game, and my cleaning ladies are just finishing up removing all toxicity from our house; the smell of organic chemicals a sonnet to my sniffer.
They leave and I toss the last load of laundry into the machine. Over the last few days, I have successfully washed every fabric in my house. I crack the windows to let the fresh air in, look over to my boy and breathe a little easier. We’ve made it to the other side. “Can I get you something?” I ask, feeling his head which seems slightly warm.
He gives me a wan, funny smile like he’s not sure how he wants to answer and then throws up all over me.
Is he standing in front of a giant wedding portrait of you??????? And I’d like to send the stomach flu that bag of male genitalia I saw on FB the other day.
ha!! it’s JLO. he’s watching american idol! haha. he’s the best so far, tossed his cookies and stood up and sang.
Oh My- glad everyone is mended or on their way . The horrible bug made it to our home too! A guest that definitely misunderstood and then over stood its welcome for sure!
Fabulously written! I can so relate, sadly.
Hope you are all better soon xox
Thank you! So appreciate that. At least I can say something good comes from it!
I’m so sorry for this awful period, but glad that it’s almost over. When something serious like this happens to us, I always wonder who the culprit was, which parent sent a sick child to school, who didn’t wash their hands and touched their faces. Weird right? I wish there were more like you who choose to quarantine the family until it’s all clear. 🙂
Fingers crossed!! And I wish i were worthy of your appraisal but two days before it hit, I was happily serving up fresh cookies to a giant play date at my house. Most often, you don’t know until you know. So it’s hard to point fingers. Stuff like this happens. It sucks but it happens.
OMG This was us right before the holidays this year! I was on the floor and my eldest on the couch. I felt like death. He was giggling between pukes. lol Stomach flu is atrocious! I hope you guys feel better soon!!
We are on the mend!! Thank you. Now I could just vomit from the amount of laundry I need to do!!
Ugh. I feel your pain!
thanks. but don’t really feel it. 😉
For thanksgiving this past year there were 19 of us between two houses. 16 out of the 19 had that same crud. Glad I was not one of them and all their parents were there to take care of their own sick ones! lol! And it all started withe the 12 month old baby. We now call her Typhoid Mary. 😉 ~Elle
Oh jeez!! That poor baby will never live that one down! Hahaha
Oh god. Know this scene VERY well! Nothing worse! Well captured!
Thank you! It is a messy situation. Blech!
Well Done! I felt a little germish just reading this! 🙂
Fabulous!! Now go have some chicken soup and feel better! 😉
Ughhhh. I have always maintained that there is absolutely nothing worse than a stomach bug. It is the most wretched form of sickness. Hope that everyone is all better now!
We are on mend!! But dang that sucker lingers!! I haven’t had coffee or ice cream in a week!! That’s how you know I was bad!
You’re all disgusting. That is all.
Ha! Oh we were disgusting. Vile, gross and disgusting.
That is the worst! And you still have to do a lot of mom things, which makes it even harder. Glad you are better now!
It was bad!! But now we’re so much better! Still a little queasy though. I wouldn’t share a cone with me. 😉
You always make me laugh! Although I know it WAS NOT funny! 🙂 When my son was about 13 (old enough to get to the bathroom by himself, in my mind anyway) he had a bad case of the flu and called me to his room cuz he’d barfed all over his bed, but had been tossing and turning so the sheets had come partly off. Under the sheets he had an egg crate type mattress pad. Each little divot was filled with foul goo! He was so sick, but I sorta kinda raised my voice at him… I nearly vomited myself when I tried to take the thing outside (dripping all the way!) so i could hose the damn thing off. He’s 37 now, so yes, I let him live.
Thank you!! So happy that I can make you laugh!! That makes me so happy! Although, yes, the stomach bug is disgusting – just like the story you’ve shared! HAhahahahah!! So gross!! But it’s funny in the past!