I remember being sick. I feel oozy and hot. I am curled up under a mountain of soft blankets. Doctor is playing quietly on the TV. The spaceman’s magic too overstimulating right now. There is a *clink* *clink* *clink* wafting in from the kitchen. The scent of vanilla so pungent and strong as he sits down next to me. This is my first night having tea and I remember it tasting bitter and nasty the first time around, but he assures me that it will be sweet.Carefully maneuvering a straw to my chapped face I take my first drag of slippery sweet tea from a 30 ounce GNC container. Oooh, the honey and vanilla. Two tastes so easily complement each other. I know that’s the moment I got hooked on the syrupy concoction.
He looks tired but eleven year old me could not give two shits because I feel utterly miserable. It feels as though I am clouded in a heavy sky where my lungs cannot seem to take in enough oxygen. As I shake with heat and paint he shoos away the sun from my watery eyes; he pulls the curtains to a stop by my feet at the end of the couch. It’s lumpy and the cushions smell like popcorn and stromboli nights.
He props himself up on the front of couch, and stays with me for hours. At some point the sweat and tears start to cool. My bones feel dense. His back must be on fire. Dad spends too much time rolling around a desk in an office chair. When he gets back up to refill our tea he struggles to rise. I watch drowsily as he reverse-mountain-climbs up from the floor and wobbles to make another brew.
Now, I sit next to him when I visit from home. We sit on a different set of cushions and work, work, work, sometimes talk. We watch movies and silly tv shows together. Although I am much more inclined towards coffee now, Dad gets up and go to the kitchen. I haven’t slept in the house in years, my sister’s and my room converted into a awkward storage/gym space. I’m going to drive back to my mom’s house sooner or later.
I sit on the couch engrossed in whatever is stealing my attention away from the present. Couple minutes later I hear the *clink* *clink* of two mugs being set down on his table in front of the recliners. Two steaming mugs of tea and honey.
Later on, I find myself having trouble breathing, thinking, standing and I make myself some tea and honey. I find the largest mug… bowl I can get my hands on in my kitchen and keep it steady as I make my way to my dark, cave-like bedroom. Closing the door, putting a silly show on, climbing under the heavy, thick blankets I miss my dad. And I fucking hate being sick.