Thursday: Barbarians at the gate
Riders, sir! Enemy advancing! Portcullis down! Drawbridge up! All able bodies to the walls! Defend the city! Heaven help us, they’ve breached our defenses. We’re being overrun!
Muscles are seared by heat. Every joint creaks. Be strong! Don’t give in. Tell them nothing! But the fire, it burns. It burns!
Saturday: Eye of the Storm
The fire is out. My lungs pop and snap with the sound of distant firecrackers, only to explode in fits of coughing that tear my throat. My muscles have the strength of cooked ramen. I get aerobic just standing up. This thing, it has my wife, now; she is following my trail, and today she burns in Torquemada’s fire.
Sunday: Clever Girl
The virus spent two days in my chest and has fully colonized me. Now it climbs to its launch pad: my head. Chest rattling, nose dammed, the hacking coughs are joined by hook-ended sneezes that tear off little bits of lung in their explosive exit. My eyes weep tears of acid, burning, bringing more toxic tears. I am a seeping, spasmodic mass of flesh. The yellow jack flies high.
Monday: The Land of the Vocal Fry
My voice has dropped below Barry White level and shudders like an ill-tuned Harley. Every miserable exhalation is accompanied by a crushed-gravel moan, but not from pain; it’s a comfort. To hear my voice, damaged as it is, is to confirm that I’m still alive.
Tuesday: End Game
Expectations are low. Stamina is limited. We return to work (from home … we don’t want to give this to anyone else), but will continue to rest, repair, and recoup our spent reserves.
I do not often get colds. Usually, I fight them off. This is the first time I’ve been brought low in about two years. My wife — a woman who always gives me straight answers to direct questions — assures me that rather than being a man-baby about it, I’m pretty much a Stoic, refusing to succumb even when rest would do me more good. This time, I had little choice. Surrender was my only option.