It’s March 3rd – otherwise known in Japan as “Girls’ Day.” Everywhere, little Japanese girls celebrate by displaying a set of dolls dressed in Heian period court costumes. Sean is celebrating by claiming to be “on the verge of death” from a sudden case of stomach flu. I, too, am slightly sick, courtesy of last weekend’s sinus infection. We’re both home – it’s my day off and Sean called out of work. He’s loudly languishing in his room and I’m sniffling in mine. We’re separated by a thin membrane of a sliding paper door and I can hear his every grunt and whimper. He, in turn, can hear the clacking of my computer keys; a reminder that since I’m using the machine, he can’t watch episode after episode of The Office. Sorry, Sean – I have deadlines. Besides, it’s not as though I haven’t tried to help him today. I gave him the last of my flu medicine. I went out into the freezing, pouring rain to pay our rent and buy this week’s groceries, including fresh fruit and 2 Vitamin C drinks for him. I made him a sandwich, which he didn’t eat because he says he doesn’t like crab. I made him soup, which he didn’t drink because he said it was too strong. I brewed him a pot of lemon and ginger tea – from scratch, I might add – which he didn’t drink because he said it made him sick. I brought him a piece of roll cake, which he only picked at because he said it was “just okay.” I can’t do right by Sean today, and I wonder if the fish, chips and mushy peas I’d planned for tonight’s “Cheer up, Sean!” dinner will meet with a similar fate.
I won’t lie – I’m a bit miffed. Not because my efforts to show concern have been rebuffed, but because when I was sick this weekend, I received very little sympathy from Sean apart from a bottle of C1000 Vitamin Lemon drink. The rest of his help consisted of asking me over and over again why I was acting so “narky.”
“Are you? You don’t look sick. Come on, make me a toastie.”
“I am sick! Remember how much smoke there was in the izakaya last night? I think that’s what gave me the sinus infection. I’m glad I had some leftover throat anesthetic from my Tonsilitis because my throat was really bothering me this morning.”
“Well, cheer up, so. Christ, women are such babies when they’re sick.”
And here, today, he’s a 6-foot baby girl curled up in his bed.
“E!” he croaks from behind his pane of cardboard. “Help me. I’m dying.”
“You’re not dying.”
“I am! This is my deathbed.”
“It had better not be.”
“Why can’t it be?”
“Do you really want to die here?”
“I don’t think I have a choice.”
“Great. So I get to send your giant carcass back to your mom in Cork.”
“Would you mind? And would you make me something else to eat?”
“Yes, I mind! I’ve made you a sandwich, a bowl of soup and a mug of tea – all which you rejected. And this, after being so unsympathetic to me last weekend!”
Sean giggles weakly in his room.
“Why?” he asks. “Was something the matter with you last weekend?”
“I swear to God, Sean.”
It’s 7:31 p.m. right now. Still raining. Need to pick up some more potatoes from Supa Tamade. If potatoes can’t cure what ails this sick Irishman, nothing will.