Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Influenza Dance

It happens once a year. You get a flu shot take vitamins get plenty of rest and still she comes for that dance. You would think such a person would get the hint. But that first sniffle, then that first strange sneeze. You really don't believe such a creature could come with just a cold. A puff of air presaging a black storm. But then you cough. Just a little puff if you will. Now Enza is waiting in the wings for her turn and you do not want to take up this dance. But she is not patient and you hack up that first dark green globule of mucus in the morning that announces her arrival.

Now you do not want to dance and Enza is getting mad. So you go to the doctor and get some Tamiflu . She is really annoyed and now you are coughing so hard in bed you wake yourself up. You are literally jumping off your pillow. You cannot sleep. You cannot breathe. You hack out thick green globules of Enzas wrath. She is all dressed in black and you are making her wait. And so you go back to the doctor and gasp that the Tamiflu did not work. Bring in the Zithromax.

Enza is now in full regalia. A flowing black Victorian number and she is mad as hell. She lets loose with everything she has. Your heat throbs. Your appetite is gone. You are losing weight. You are hacking so hard your chest hurts. You feel like you are drowning. Still you hold off. I will not dance. I will not do this and she lets fly and you start vomiting and cant get off the toilet and you simply want to die. Ok. Ok. I will dance with you, you gasp out.

So you take her in your arms and she smiles and sends cold death shivers through you. You waltz around the room past all those small graves of all those children she took in the epidemic of 1915. You have seen the small graves and she is gliding lightly in your arms and smiling.  You shake your head and gasp... not me. Not now And she smiles and touches you lightly on your nose. Silly boy. Not this year my dear....not yet.

And she leaves you like that. Gone. Her fury abated for another year. A black willowing spirit fading into the winter night. You collapse into the bed. And slowly, slowly, you get better. You swear you will never return to this Godforsaken place and never dance with Enza again. Until next year... when she comes in the black of winter and demands her dance.

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Books by William Hazelgrove