Bit by bit the sounds of raucous laughter penetrated my exhausted mind as I lay in bed, face down into the pillow. I pulled up my covers in a desperate attempt to block the unwelcome merriment, aware that something was very wrong as the effort caused every muscle to ache.
Wait – merriment. Two things exploded into my brain, one so quickly following the other they could have been the same thought. First, it was Christmas Day! Second, I was sick.
I don’t recall just how long I’d stayed in bed lamenting my health when my younger brother came bursting into my room insisting I “hurry up” since our parents wouldn’t let him open presents unless I presented myself. Groaning, I dragged my sad, sluggish form out of bed, all the while trying to ignore its’ vast accusations that this was cruel and unusual punishment.
I crept into the kitchen where my fever soaked mind attempted to find some form of medicine to fight the onslaught of evil attacking my insides. It’s possible I stood at the sink for a good five hours just holding the bottle filled with little, white, fever-reducing pills, my desperate attempts to get the childproof cap off continually unsuccessful. At last my dear mother came in, undoubtedly wondering what was taking me so long.
I gave her my health update and mentioned the unwillingness of the mean medicine to come out of the bottle. She took the unruly item from my weakened hand and popped the lid right off.
I’m convinced I loosened it for her.
My body screamed to be put back to bed, but the living room really was so much closer. I lugged myself to the couch, missed, and ended up on the floor.
Of course I totally meant to do that.
Lucky for me I had placed myself (subconsciously?) right in front of my presents. It took a day or two but I managed to open them all. After conveying the proper thanks I curled into a ball on the floor and at last let loose the moan that had been trying to escape all morning long. I was blissfully forced back to bed where I slept a good portion of the day away.
Upon waking I discovered life might actually be worth living. It took a little effort, but I managed to emerge from my room feeling less like the zombie I no doubt resembled. I forced down a small glass of bitter water (why does everything taste funny when you have a fever?), returned to the living room and rediscovered my presents.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in a fog. Mom wouldn’t let me help make Christmas dinner (shocking, I know). Dad wouldn’t let me play with his new ‘toys’ (can’t imagine why). My two brothers created chaos everywhere they went with Mother scurrying behind in an attempt to keep things relatively clean. I probably would have joined my siblings had my head not felt like someone had filled it with helium and tied it to my body with a string so it wouldn’t float away.
I dozed here and there, missing most of "It’s a Wonderful Life" and "A Muppet Christmas Carol." The sudden unwelcome ringing of the doorbell echoed inside my hollow head. Our neighbors had arrived for dinner, choosing to brave the vile germs I emitted into the air with every breath.
We all sat down to the beautifully set table and said grace. That’s when it happened. The rolls (which I normally inhale) were passed under my nose causing a strange reaction to my insides. I sprang from the table – moving faster than I had all day.
For once that day something good happened: I reached the bathroom in time.
After a pointless vow to never eat again, I gave up and finally let my poor body crawl back into the very bed I should never have left in the first place. I was vaguely aware of a hand caressing my face, the covers being tucked in tight, a soft kiss, a whispered “Merry Christmas,” and the door closing. As I drifted off a sigh escaped my lips.
Okay so it could have been a snore.
One of my more miserable Christmas memories :)
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