Monday, June 10, 2013

Kate Miller 26: Allergies

 This wasn't your normal, cutesy little sneeze and sniffle bout of allergies...this was a monster.

26. Allergies (May 2013)
            Ugh! Kate wrote fiercely in her journal. She underlined the word with swift, punchy strokes. Then she just sat there and stared at the word and the blank page. Once again, she was awake in the wee hours of the morning. This was the perfect time to catch up in her journal, and she could not think of a single thing to write! There was something like an elephant sitting on her nose, and how could one possibly think clearly like that? She rocked slowly to one side and then to the other trying to peer around the elephant and into her disorderly brain where she knew she would see her thoughts lying in untidy piles all over the floor. Nope. Completely blocked.
            The elephant’s name was Pollen, and Kate had been fighting him for the first few days of their stay outside of Hillsdale. But pregnancy made her doubly susceptible to her allergies, and when they took hold, it was with a vengeance. She moved vaguely to the kitchen for her third cup of hot tea. Back at the couch, she looked at the clock: 5:00AM, it said. It was almost morning, and not a wink of sleep! Kate closed her eyes and sank into middle despair. (The size of the elephant was too ludicrous for her to sink to the very depths.) Of all times to not sleep, why did it have to be this one? It was now Graduation Day, and that evening they would drive all through the night to get to Boston the next morning. Not good…not good…not good, she thought. There! That was a clear thought! She picked up her pen to write it down, and then realized that, clear or not, it was not a thought worth immortalizing with pen and paper.
            Around 6 o’clock, Kate went back to bed for an hour and slept a little. When she awoke again, she sneezed three times and used three tissues. She knew she shouldn’t, but she rubbed her eyes—they were so itchy! Her cheeks were itchy…then her ears…then her chin. She growled and shook her head and dashed to the bathroom to wash her face. The cool water softened the itchiness and brought relief. She lifted her face—it felt puffy and swollen and completely atrocious, but it looked mostly normal…except for the red streaks on her chin where she had scratched too vigorously. And this was how the new day was beginning! She would have to buck up and get a grip. Kate couldn’t exactly feel brave and strong, but she did manage to square her shoulders and give herself a wry smile.
            The rest of the morning was filled with packing and loading the car, and a hurried goodbye to her beloved college family, though the sadness was tempered by the promise of a visit after the baby was born. Their schedule was full: first, she and Mister would split up for coffee and breakfast dates, then meet back at Jake’s apartment with the rest of the Miller clan; then lunch and visiting, preparation for graduation, the ceremony, a quick bite to eat, and on the road to Boston! Kate felt like she was four years old again, standing at the top of the forty-foot high dive. But as they pulled out of the drive, she said only, “Here we go!”
the apartment: eating lunch from the deli
            Kate had a delicious visit with her old professor, and when she and Mister got to Jake’s apartment, lunch turned out to be sandwiches from Kate’s favorite deli across the street. Kate sank into a chair (one of the few furnishings) and munched her pastrami sandwich, grateful to not be sitting in a restaurant crowded with graduates and their families. She surreptitiously blew her nose into a napkin and wondered how she would make it through the day.
            “You look tired.” Mister said, giving her a hug when she stood up. “Once we’re done eating, we’ll all go to my parents’ hotel and you’ll take a nap while the rest of us are at graduation.” Kate, felt a weak protest arise: weren’t they here for the graduation? But there was finality in his voice, and she had no strength or energy to dispute.
            “That would be great,” she nodded.
            Once she was settled in the room, it was time for the others to leave to get seats. Kate sneezed, blew her nose, and turned on her side. Her next and last conscious thought was, I hope…I hope…I so desperately hope that I can sleep…

see the elephant? No? He's right THERE...

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