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“Welcome Home. Now Fall Apart.”

·425 words·2 mins

As I write this post, I’ve just taken my second dose of Sudafed for the day. I’m sucking on a mentholated cough drop.

I’m about to go down for a nap of indeterminate length.

Because apparently putting away the clean dishes and loading up the dishwasher with the few dirties kicking around in the sink was a Herculean feat.

Let alone making the bed.

Or slicing up the world’s largest sweet potato into small chunks and roasting it with oil and spices in the air fryer. (Why did I do that? In hindsight, “so I’d have healthy food prepped if I got sicker” sounds like a pretty lame reason.)

Yeah, that was all too much. Too much exertion. My body has decided that as penance it’s going to make me feel like I’m dying.

So dramatic, considering it’s just your garden variety viral upper respiratory infection. I’m dizzy and exhausted. My throat is sore. My nose is runny. I keep alternating between feeling too hot and too cold.

You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there.

But the reason I’m writing about _this _illness and the reason it’s so remarkable is simple: It’s the first cold I’ve caught since I moved to Texas.

True, I only got here about a month ago. And there’s something eerie about catching a cold when it’s been 100 degrees out for weeks, only cooling down a few days ago. Where I grew up in rural Maine, a summer cold was the rarest of occurrences.

Maybe it’s different in places where winters are more mild. Fleeting.

Anyway, this cold gets to be special. Because while I’m not exactly happy about being sick — in fact I’m downright miserable — getting sick somewhere really does make you feel like you are settled in a new place.

Once you’ve recovered from an illness somewhere, it’s hard to ever question that it’s home.

I think a lot about that. That it’s an important stage in any relationship — the point at which you’ve both let down your guard (whether that takes a day or a year) and you’ve let your raw selves out. Where you’ve really been present and unfiltered with someone else, even if it isn’t always pretty.

Especially after that first recovery, when you realize you’re with someone who it’s safe to do that with. That there will be a tomorrow even if you stumble into momentary ugliness.

There’s something special about that stage when you can look at one another and think, _Welcome home. Now fall apart. _


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