Twice today, I napped under my dead little brother’s afghan with my feet propped on my great-grandmother’s footstool.
I have a bigger footstool but something about resting my tired feet on a round bit of wood as the woman after whom my father named me might have done comforts me. I’m only imagining this scene. My great-grandmother Corinne Hahn Hayes died in 1944, two years before my parents married and eleven years before my birth. This little stool came to me at my grandmother’s death. I often use it when I feel poorly or sad, and crave some bit of nostalgia.
I take full responsibility for being sick today. With all the medical issues that I strain to manage, I failed to maintain a current maintenance drug for the chronic shingles from which I suffer. A mild fever rose on Thursday. The familiar tingle in my left eye and along one shoulder drove me to an awkward balance of a small mirror from which I could spy my back in a bigger glass. I stared at the angry line of pox marching in a fierce diagonal row to the base of my spine. I couldn’t abandon my post at the shop, so I gobbled vitamin C and Tylenol for two days. I finally succumbed at work on Monday. I dragged myself home and slept from two p.m. until early this morning when I woke hungry and nearly human.
My son brought my brother’s afghan to me when he visited at Christmas. Mine lies at the bottom of my cedar chest awaiting repair. After a hot shower this morning which substantially improved my mood, I slid into my softest cotton garments and settled in the chair that Tim Anderson gave me, planning to read. Instead I fell into a quiet sleep until one of the park workers lumbered past my tiny house on a tractor. The soft wool blanket had slightly fallen from my shoulders, settling around my lap. I touched its squares, thinking about my grandmother Corley who had crocheted one for each of us so many years ago.
The second nap followed a late lunch. I sat for a pleasant hour, dreaming of home. I woke in the dimness of evening, glad of the warmth of Steve’s afghan. Nothing needed my attention so I lingered until some noise outside startled me.
I count this day as a handful of lost hours, wedged between work responsibilities. I rarely indulge myself like this. I’ve scheduled a doctor’s appointment for next week. She will probably order labwork to confirm that the nasty little bug still haunts me. She’ll give me a lecture and a prescription; and remind me that I need to schedule with cardiology. Back across the Antioch bridge I will scurry. As I resume swallowing a fat green pill every day, the virus that I contracted in 1993 when my son gave me chickenpox will retreat back into remission. I will gently drape my little brother’s afghan across the cozy chair and resume normal life, no worse for this quiet interlude among soothing memories of the Corley ghosts.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the one-hundred and twenty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.