This is how a month flies by.
First you bust ass trying to clear your schedule for Rabbitcon. It’s not easy because of the podcast you’re now running, and the regular review and column work you’re doing. Still, you just barely succeed in giving yourself breathing room. You go and enjoy four days with the best people and best gaming. Unfortunately, your girlfriend catches a respiratory bug while she is there. She’s tough, so she works through it. Except she shouldn’t have, because rather than petering out after a few days, this infection becomes full-on pneumonia.
Then you’re in the ER at 3:30 in the morning when you were already exhausted three hours ago, and the words on the page no longer make sense. You’re reading about Stalingrad, which is already a dozen kinds of bizarre and obscene, so your exhaustion addled thoughts become even more hallucinogenic. You’re also starting to think morbid thoughts, because it’s the ER and your girlfriend gets nasty respiratory infections all the time. Right now she’s making the same sound your grandmother was the last time you ever saw her alive, when she patted your arm reassuringly with a feathery white hand.
But she was almost 90 and in bad health, and your girlfriend is young and will recover through medication. But it’s been a long night with some troubling thoughts, and so you’re quiet as you drive back home through a dawn snowstorm that will likely be the last gust of winter before a cold spring. Then you sleep before getting back to the work of playing nurse, a role you enjoy because it’s not often you get to feel like someone really needs you, that you’re really helping make life better.
Then you get sick, and a last walk into Boston pushes the matter beyond doubt. You’re shaking and wheezing by the time you get home, and you go straight to bed. Now, for the first time in a month, you have a minute to think. Because for once, you really can’t do much of anything else. You think about what you want to say once you’re finished explaining where you’ve been, and what you want to do once you’ve got a handle on the new life you’ve started living. The answer isn’t particularly interesting. The same, but better. And more.
Unlike most days, however, you know the first step you need to take, and you can take it right now. You start by putting a kettle on the stove, and putting some tea in a mug with a generous spoonful of honey. The rest will work itself out eventually.