I will treat this post as a diary entry. I apologize in advance.

Dear Diary:

I awoke yesterday to a sickness after sleeping for over nine hours. I did some laundry, spent the afternoon with a couple of good friends, and then threw a party in the evening, consisting of me and one other individual. The best parties consist of less than 6 people. Now, you may be questioning just why I allowed myself to have such a wild day when I was sick, and I ask myself the same question. For today I am also sick.

I awoke this morning with a thousand fiery daggers stabbing the back of my throat and what felt like fifty cotton balls stuffed up my nostrils. Sleep, so often alluding my grasp, was found in fits, and the multiple dreams I had between 5:00 and 8:00 attest to the fitful bit of rest I was given. And I sit here listening to my apartment. A heavy grey sky has cast its gloom outside my window and made its way into my heart. For today I am an invalid.

This is pure melodrama, but I don’t see why melodrama has adopted such negative connotations. We need more melodrama if anything. But I have been distracted for some time now, and my current sickness has brought my attention to this. Perhaps the worst sickness is the sickness which produces no pain. It is just like carrying a heavy, stuffed elephant around with you all day. It feels big and bulky and is altogether awkward to carry around with you. You feel as if you could function just fine doing the things you love, but then once you do them, you find how inadequate you truly are (hence this post).

Furthermore, your senses are all out of proportion. The only one that seems to be working with any sort of normal accuracy is that of touch, and of course everyone will lose their heads if you touch anything while you are sick. This is perhaps the primary reason why the healthy tell the sick to rest. It is not that stuffed elephants are unpleasant to look at, it is that the healthy don’t want to lug one around themselves. It’s actually fairly comical watching our friends try to function when they’re sick. They can’t walk but three feet without coughing or sneezing, and then when we eloquently say, “God bless you!” they return with a “thag you berry much!” and a cough or sneeze to boot.

I cannot help but notice that one feels a bit boxed in when they’re sick. This is why we feel like we can do cartwheels once we’re well again, only to break a leg. I have often thought that one of the greatest feelings in the world is seconds after you have regurgitated. Perhaps this is merely in contrast to the worst feeling in the world, seconds before the act, but after I throw up I feel like climbing Everest. Literally, I feel as if I could actually eat something finally, and this for me is often a feeling of jubilation.

Now it is not that I cannot stomach food but more as if everything I eat tastes like a table. I believe that one must know pleasure before they can experience pain. Though I am not sure it works the other way around, sickness always hints at how it could be. Life could be grey. The grey sky has somehow grown greyer as I’ve been writing, and it nearly makes everything else look grey too. Grey is a fine color, but I cannot help but notice the different shades of green the trees give us. It is enough for me that they are green, but it is more splendid that they are different shades.

But I said I was distracted and the sickness pointed this out, and then I got distracted. The sickness has pointed out that the little things are not as big as they once were. Now that I am sick, I am noticing how much I cherished the taste of food, the color of grass, the sound of silence. Silence once was a knight slaying a dragon; now silence is the white noise of a congested head. Silence is louder than noise. But not when you’re sick.

I used to sit on the banks of the Tennessee River when I was well, some four years ago. I would primarily sit and read, though sometimes I would ponder or people watch or watch my friend fish. I would also watch the herons, my favorite bird. They would sit so still for minutes on end, and I found this fascinating.

I remember one evening in particular in which the sun was trying to escape the clouds for one last pillow fight before she went to bed, and the result was a compromise between her and the clouds in which the clouds, in sandwiching the sun, produced a stream of purples and pinks of all different hues, and I could see the bright orb behind it all wishing to burst out but yet pleased with her work.

I would watch the cars on the dam and wonder where each was off to. I would often ask myself if any of them cared a bit about the sunset I was viewing. Then I would turn my attention to the boats and wondered to myself if they were bought to enjoy the surroundings or simply to fish. I wondered to myself what else was in the river besides fish or if my friend would ever catch one.

I used to run by the Tennessee. One time I ran 18 miles. Afterwards, I think I probably felt much like I do now. But there is something about running for long periods: you have little notion as to where your mind will take you, let alone your legs. One will often find that come mile 7 they are thinking of something similar to what was thought of during mile 3, and the thought pops up again during mile 11. In fact, when I finished that run I remember very little about what I was thinking.

I’m certain that, due to my melodramatic and romantic ways, at some point I ruminated on where I was going in life. I probably thought how nice it would be to meet someone along the way to run the final 8 miles with me. But then when I accepted the fact that it was not to be, I noted that the run was still completed and the real reward was this: Life should in some ways be lived like my run when I let my mind free. We ought not try so hard to mend every loose end and make everything perfect. It may just be that if we let ourselves go under His guidance we will end up at the finish line, with or without a companion. We should let our thoughts wander from time to time and see where we end up. We way be quite surprised by the results; we may end up where we began.

Yours,

SS

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2 thoughts on “The Invalid

  1. This was probably my favorite post of yours so far. Great writing. I am amazed how your writing style has been refined and strengthened even since your stint here in Emporia. I look forward to continue to read your posts, and keep up the good work, Mr. Snow!

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