Sick Day

November 16, 2011 | Posted in Childhood, Family, Parenting, Writing | By

He didn’t go to school today. He’s sick; but it’s the “on the couch” sick” not the “asleep in bed” sick.

He eats a bowl of unhurried soup, made from scratch with extra noodles.

He has his quilt, his stuffed bear, and a wet cloth on his forehead. Today he is the King of the Castle, but uninterested in the crown. He looks at the Lego creation he started yesterday and reaches for it, but his small arm goes limp and he draws it back under the blanket.

No Lego today.

Outside the window cars navigate the dark rainy street. Their lamps cut through the mist, punctuating the night with beams of yellow light.

We have gone nowhere today. We have done nothing important today.

The furnace is running and the house is still and smells like apples and warm blankets. The Halloween decorations lay jumbled in a tangle of skeleton arms and spider legs at the bottom of the stairs, out of sight. They wait to be put away.

They can wait longer.

No one on the street has hung their Christmas decorations. We see no physical reminders of time. We are frozen here in this day; unfettered by markers that inform us of our place.

Today is tethered to us by what it is, not what it can be held against on a calendar.

There is coughing; there are dark circles ringing dark eyes; there are restless shallow snores. The boy turns over and his quilt falls on the floor in a puddle of colour. I pick it up and tuck it around the small sleeping form. His outline measures only 7 blocks of the quilt – a year for each block. My hand on his forehead reveals that there will be no school tomorrow.

I head to the kitchen to make more soup, from scratch, with extra noodles.

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