5:16. she was not sure how long she’d been up but if she were to measure it based upon toilet visits, she would imagine hours.
the a/c was on and the covers were off, yet she was roasting. her cotton shorts and t-shirt, normally breathing comfortably, had decided to hold their breath and restrict more than imagined possible.
it hurt to lie down. getting in and out of her bed under the mosquito net had become a daunting task and for a moment she paused the mental build up and fell into the foetal position on the floor.
she remembered her water was finished and she would have to painstakingly manage the 12 or so steps to the fridge for more. no tap water here. the thought of tap water sparked an extreme sense of urgency in her and she rushed back to the toilet for more punishment.
what had caused this? it might have been the plums she bought in shoprite, she knew she had washed them, in tap water. the thought of the link between ebola and plums and bats had crossed her mind. it could have been the free meal provided two days before, or was it three, that she wolfed down as if she hadn’t eaten before and would never eat again. at this point there was no use in speculation, what was done was done.
once she had given all there was left to give, she cleaned her hands thoroughly and wiped her seemingly permanently sweaty brow. she stumbled toward the new 1.5L bottle of water. she feared if she did not drink she would die.
she had, in her few moments of lucidity, self-diagnosed a case of enteritis on web md and other google avenues of research. cholera and typhoid were considered. she expected the worst and slowly lowered herself to the floor again. she glugged what felt like half the bottle down her gullet only to see that at most she had consumed a couple of fingers of water.
she remembered the net she had to traverse and stayed on the floor. crawling was the best method she had concluded.
she arrived at the bed and eyeballed her adversary. she figured what she was seeing was impossible, a symptom of her caffeine addicted brain, deprived of coffee for 96 hours. the net appeared to have taken on a face. it laughed at her predicament, mocked her weakness.
she began to cry. she cried for a million reasons. she cried out of dehydration worry. she cried because she could not remember ever having been this ill. she cried because she was trapped and alone in this body that would not function, despite all the work she was required to do in the next week before the holidays would free her. she cried and as she cried, she worried that the now rather large tears would only contribute to her anticipated death by dehydration.
she resigned herself to ignoring the net and got into bed. a small victory.
her head was on the pillow for less than a second, it seemed, before the urgency reared its ugly head again.
she ran, a feat that was preposterous just minutes ago and greeted the throne once again. when it was over she walked more slowly than than she had ever walked in her life, back to the bed. she stopped caring about the net in her way.
she took a long drink from the bottle before getting into a tolerable position. she wondered to herself how long it had been since she had taken those pills and drifted into a shallow sleep.
minutes later she awakened. it’s 8:57. she was careful not to move because she knew movement could aggravate the sickness.
like the directions on a shampoo bottle, her actions were repeated throughout the day. she went from a state of fear to unconsciousness to hopelessness and round and round again. she felt as though death was inevitable.
once recovering in the weeks to come she would realise how ridiculous she had been.