About 10am yesterday that whole creeping ache thing started in my knees and elbows. By 11, I was feeling a little delirious, my throat was on fire and my repeated attempts at swallowing were largely unsuccessful. I magically drove myself home, arrived unscathed, promptly put on my warmest sweats and my ski socks, and spent the rest of the night splayed out on the couch. So yeah, I'm sick.
I used to never get sick, ever. The entire population of my college dorm could be crawling weakly through the halls, puking, coughing, hacking...begging for mercy from the flu gods, even praying for death. And I'd be cheerily heading off to class in tip-top shape. In fact, I was sick so few times as a youngster that I have very clear memories of my ailments. One in particular is totally unforgettable. I was 5 or 6. It was right around Christmas time and I had the flu. I was wearing Strawberry Shortcake jammies and laying on the red beanbag my brother and I shared. For the first day in the three I'd been sick, my dad decided he'd try and get me to eat something other than Zesta's, in the hopes that it would remain in my stomach for more than 60 seconds. I was down with the plan and ate some noodle soup, followed with a Pepto-Bismol chaser just for good measure. Proud of myself for this feat, I laid back on the beanbag in a post-soup glow.
My joyous relief lasted approximately 2 minutes before the rumblings from below began and I yelled for my dad to bring "the puke bowl" (a stainless steel mixing bowl that my mother designated solely for this purpose, the faint metallic scent of which I now smell every time I feel nauseous). In a flash, my dad was at my side and the puke bowl was in my lap. What ensued was extremely violent and seemingly never-ending. Once the vile eruptions finally subsided, I took a look at the contents of the bowl, a little amazed at the quantity of its contents but more than a little awe-struck by the pattern of said contents. (If I haven't disgusted you already, I might just succeed in doing so now.)
The Pepto and the Noodle/Snot components had split themselves down color lines - pink on one side; yellow on the other. There was no cross-over, no mingling of colors. It was pure pink and pure yellow. But it wasn't only the color pattern that I found so fascinating - the two sides had morphed themselves into a perfectly symmetrical pastel yin-yang. It was truly a Christmas miracle.