YOUR FLU SHOT IS WAITING, said the sign outside Bartells, when I drove home from work last Friday. Ha! Who needs a flu shot, I said, through a tickle in my throat. The next day, that tickle was a mild cold. I went hiking. The day after, it was a bad cold. I played Scrabble on the couch. The day after that, it was the full-blown flu, and I slept except when I was blowing my nose or rolling over or groaning. Nate made me tea and drew me a bath and put my pj pants on me like I was a toddler. He rubbed garlic and oil on my feet and put plastic bags and socks on over. The garlic made its mysterious way up through my feet and into my breath, loosening my lungs on its way — my dad’s most folksy cure.
The next day, things got better, and it was like the whole world was new. Tiny things became incredible. I ate a tangerine. Kazam! The perfect orange sweet flesh zing. The rain fell on my hands. It was cold and I didn’t scrunch away from it. Alive!