Seems the dis-ease is creeping round, making it's Captain Tripp's route around the blogosphere. I finally kicked mine with a trip to the doctor for a megadose of Azithromycin antibiotics and a really kick-ass 12-hour cough suppressant with hydrocodone that tastes like liquid Lemon Heads and works like being hit with a sledgehammer wrapped with a pillow. Now Mona's wee chillin' got it, have mercy on their little spirits and hers, so she'll be enduring the grief indirectly.
Hence the PFC word: Fever.
Fever. I had it. The first day, the last day, all the days inbetween. The chills, the unaccountable craving for warmth that simply wouldn't come, wouldn't last. The one thing I didn't have, the thing I don't miss, is fever dreams.
When I was a kid and fever would come visiting it's plague upon my temple I'd spike some pretty impressive temperatures in that way that only small children can. One moment I'd feel fine, perhaps a little scratchy in the throat, but the next moment I'd be reeling, trembling violently, temperature racing for those relegated to "at the bone" levels of readiness in meat and I'd be reclined on the couch, a cup of crushed ice at my side, wrapped in blankets to fend off the chills.
Invariably, it seemed, my mind would begin to play tricks, would warp reality around me like waves of heat coming off a distant road. There is a specific image that used to come back time and again, an image that so disturbed me that it would make my stomach turn. I've tried time and again in the past to draw that image with words, tried to make my mind call it back to full, sickening life in the confines of my mind's theater but I can never make it live, can never seem to shape it to that fever-sick sharpness. Every time I whip the curtains back on that small stage and throw the blinding lights of my attention on it, it is lessened, it is small and insignificant and powerless, struck dumb.
I wonder, when I lie in bed sick, trembling with the fever, what it would take to bring that image back to it's height of power? What dizzy pinnacle of fever would my brain require to reforge that stomach-turning image? If I could reach that point, if I saw that hell-spawned image in my mind again, if I could reach out with trembling fingers and touch the thing, cringe at the sensation I found there, what would I think of it, now that I am a man? Would it still have it's power over me, or would my adult mind see it for what it is, a shadow-play of sickness and fever, a puppet formed of smoke and mirror? Would I simply dismiss it, even though I labour in my state of dis-ease, or would I fall into it, head-first, revolted and shivering as always, powerless to look away, wanting to retch out the few teaspoonfuls of liquid left in my stomach?
I long to see it again, to vivisect it with all the strength of my adult's mind, with all the sharp tools that a love of surrealism has given me, for it is the most surreal thing in all my mind, but it hides now, seemingly for good. It lurks in my memories, a wasted shadow of itself, a pale and sickly child wandering the empty hospital halls of my memory, and my body heals it's ills and carries me back out into the sunshine.