Under the cover of not night, but of this heavy state blanket, I’m trying to get some sleep. Yet, sleep sleeps not with me tonight. There is only this headache. But “headache” doesn’t accurately describe the severity of this phenomenon. My skull hurts. My cranium aches. My scalp is too sensitive for my own touch. I whince if my pony tail, bunched on top my head, moves too much. I lay here thinking, the bones of my skull must be so mad at me, they’ve decided to get on some petty shit.
Its been two days straight. Non stop. My only option is a perpendicular one. I’ve tried to get up, get some water, a cold compress, and immediately I know it to be a mistake. I can not be out of bed for more ten minutes, have my eyes open for more then ten more minutes. Submerging my head under the covers is the only sensible action to this insensible situation, squeezing my eyes to never ending throb. I have tried every position imaginable in order to find comfort and I fail miserably, because somehow, this pillow still feels like an alley red brick.
I am miserable.
Time is measured by spare moments of distraction. And tonight, distraction is in the the form of a sound that seems to come from right over there. From a guy asleep in a bunk that is less then six feet away from the bunk I am not asleep in. I hear what can only be described as someone “coughing up a lung.” Uncontrollably and repetitive. A timer on a sickening tick, sounding off every so often on the nose. My ears welcome the distraction, yet are disgusted by the hackling and gurgling sounds of this man nastily spitting up what is caught in his chest. Tries his best to unhinge what is in his throat, even if his lung comes with it. A ball of phlegm curls up in my throat, and I’m forced to swallow it back down, making a face you’re probably making as you read this.
I write in my head. I relax. Then I start to notice all kinds of other coughs, sneezes and sniffles beginning to bombard my ears from all sorts of varying directions near and far. It’s a musical of malady, a symphony of sickness. Scores and arrangements, all lead by the orchestra’s leader, who is right over there, the cougher up of a lung.
There is illness all around me. Everyday one of us is taken outta, too weak to even not sleep anymore. Leaving behind an empty steel springed bunk, stripped of its bedding, its life and its person. Every day another emtpy steel springed bunk appears, marking the disappearance of one of us. Then it hits me. I am one of a 171 mass of bodies living in an enlarged garage, a mush fake military barracks. And there is an enemy living among us. Some of us don’t believe it exist, but we all stand around and watch as the nurses rush another one of us out on a gurney. While the rest of us just keep passing it back and forth to each other in a never ending game of sick hot potatoe. I’ll be glad when its my time to pass it, just not to whose turn it is to catch it.
Thanks for Listening,
Jason Bernard Thompson
Categories: Jason Thompson