Friday, August 15, 2014


“You know,” the cashier said, “so many people are coming through with cold medicine. I just started getting the sniffles myself.”

And I’m getting a big ol’ lump in my throat.

I have three days to conquer the cold. And I’m the type who usually takes six weeks to work through the common cold and its evolving symptoms. Currently, it’s a sore throat, stuffy nose and plenty of achoos to make me a too-tall Sneezy.

But, really, I’m a colossal Grumpy. After a six-week absence, the last thing I envisioned in seeing Tim back in Vancouver is me offering a dainty right-handed wave while the left hand gestures the STOP signal. “Stay back. I’m contagious.” How romantic.

That’s not how it’s supposed to go. I’ve seen every romantic movie ever made—or at least ever featuring Meg Ryan—and not once does the partner get off the plane cradling an oversized box of Kleenex.

Until the counter lady at the drugstore mentioned the parade of cold medicine shoppers, I was trying to convince myself that I’d developed a sudden allergy to Ontario and our family cottage. If only. I could adjust to staying away from that. Fifty years of cottage life. It was a good run. But Tim? Really?!

I want to leave the cold symptoms behind at the Ottawa airport. Abandon them like whatever lotion I forget is buried at the bottom of my backpack. “I’m sorry, sir. You’ll can’t take the hair gel with you. And you’ll have to dump your nasal congestion, too.”

No problem.

For now, I’m spending extra hours lying in a very uncomfortable cottage cot, trying to sleep, but really just tossing about as I seek to clear an airway and defend myself from a mosquito I can hear but can’t see. Supine and vulnerable. He’ll get me. He’s just messing with me, having a little fun first.

It’s become that kind of visit.

I’m popping Sudafed and lozenges. I’m blowing out an endless stream of phlegmy mucous—four or five pounds? Do I look slimmer?

In truth, the sore throat is on the way out. Apparently I managed to drown it in orange juice. The sneaky sneeze attacks are less frequent, but still ominous. The heart of the matter rests in my nose. Time is ticking and it’s still running.

So what’s the most romantic way to hand-wave anyway? Just in case I lose this battle.


oskyldig said...

Getting a cold in summer is horrible - it's like the most un summer feeling ever. I've been struggling with allergies and the fact that my bed and room are overwhelmed with dust. I can't seem to do anything about it, so it's been sneeze catastrophe all summer.

Rural Gay said...

I agree that an August cold is unseasonable and unwelcome. Must conquer! Hope you find a way to get the sneezing to subside.

Rick Modien said...

RG, I understand how important you think it is, when you see Tim again, that you're in perfect condition. And who wants a cold in August, anyway?

But being sick is part of being a couple too (thank goodness, it's only a cold).

I don't like when Chris gets sick, because I don't want to get sick myself, and I don't like to see him suffer. But I love taking care of him, and showing him how much I care in all the little extras I do to help him feel better.

So this could be a terrific test for both you and Tim. Make the most of it.

Rural Gay said...

Oh, Rick, I should think all your positive energy would be enough to kick this cold! It is improving much quicker than usual.