Once, as a kid, I woke up in the middle of the night, shivering uncontrollably. I was curled up in one corner of my bed. I wanted my mom. But her bedroom was across the hall, which was a long walk outside my blankets and across a floor that in my mind might as well have been made of pure ice. If I was this cold huddled up in my bed, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving it. I don't know how long I stayed there, shivering and miserable. I don't even remember if I finally found the courage to run into my parents' bedroom, or if I finally decided to try calling out.
I realize now that I had a fever. I was thinking about that night, scary and alone and cold, at around 2 AM last night. And also at 3 and 4 and 5. I was in my bed, far far away from my mom, again shivering despite the unseasonably warm night and the down blanket. Josh made an effort to warm me with his body, but gave up quickly. We are snugglers, which means that every night, a half of our king-sized bed goes to waste. But last night, he could not get far enough away from me and my radiating heat. Half asleep, he muttered at me, "No, point that away from me!" and I tried to figure out how to position my body such that my skin would not be facing him.
I did not get much sleep. Once the chills subsided, I could concentrate more fully on the aches. No position was comfortable, because the pain was inside me somewhere. I craved sleep, for its restorative and time-travelling powers. If I could just fall asleep, I would wake up all better. Did I sleep? I think I did, between 5 and 7 AM, and maybe there were micro-naps between the tosses and turns.
I read up on home remedies to reduce fever, and they all sounded cold. Cold baths, cold food, cold air, and fluids. Josh kept telling me to drink lots of fluids, as if I hadn't already put away a two liter of cherry 7-Up. He just didn't know what else to suggest, and a sympathetic snuggle was still out of the question. I know the only cure is time. The fever is my body fighting something off, some tiny meanie that got inside and has to be removed. I thought back to try and figure out where I had picked up my meanie, as if I were going to remember that I'd been licking doorknobs in public restrooms, that must be it. I imagined the meanie baking in my heat, maybe with a glass of cherry 7-Up.
I also thought about Christmas, which is a crappy time to be sick. I thought about the line of family visits we had scheduled, and wondered whether I was going to make them at all, or if I'd go and sit in a corner with a blanket. Or maybe I'll get better in time, but by then the meanie will have jumped over to Josh's body.
Anyway, I'm sick. It sucks. I'll get over it.