Sick Days

by hargitai

The night felt long and sticky. Andy found herself up and turning, then sleeping and then up again. "The little things," she cried, "the little things are sticking to me." But it was too late, the house was quiet, everybody was away. Slowly she fell back to sleep, her pajamas soaked with her sweat. She didn't know that while she slept her lungs were hard at work, pumping air into her hot little chest, melting it into a fiery force that carried more and more heat to her cheeks and to her fingers. She didn't know that her body was fighting a disease. All she knew was that now and then she found herself sitting up, her lungs whizzing and grasping for air. "The little things," she whispered. "The little sticky things."

She was scared and tried to sleep but the ominous words of doctor Hailik about grandma kept her awake. "The fundamental erosion of her health," doctor Hailik muttered.

"Grandma won't be with us much longer," mother whispered. "She won't be with us much longer because she cannot eat well, and whatever little she eats does not melt into the fires that heat the flesh. Her arms and fingers are now weak, her head often feels dizzy. She now sits more than she walks. She now sleeps in all corners of the house.

Her energies now are concentrated in her soul. It is her soul that makes her live now. It is her soul that makes her move the little she needs. She talks little. Her words are short and few. She sees us differently now. She takes food to her mouth slowly, and she keeps the food in her mouth and lets it melt. She doesn't chew. She doesn't swallow. She lets the food mix with her spit and lets the fire of the food ooze into her flesh through her gums, through the cavities of her rotting teeth. Now and than she presses her worn gums together until they bleed and then she lets the fire of the food ooze through her raw flesh to heat her soul. She mostly sucks on green sugar candy. She breaks the pieces with her old gums until the splinters of the candy open the blood vessels in her mouth. Then she feeds slowly on the sugar. She feeds and nurtures slowly, she feeds and nurtures her soul. Now and then she stops to form a word with her lips, and then the green sugary melt mixed with the red of her blood starts dripping from the corner of her mouth. And then it drips down on the head of her hand and on the top of her fingers. Sometimes she looks up and asks you with her eyes to come closer. God, she has so much love in her eyes!"

"The erosion of her health is fundamental," doctor Hailik mutters. "Grandma will not be with us much longer," mother whispers.

Andy found herself sitting up on the bed again. Her lungs were whizzing and her chest was hot and heaving, and she whispered that in her dreams, that in her dreams, little things, little sticky things covered her body, painting her flesh blood-red and candy-green.

Copyright © 1996
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