I have a warning tickle in my throat. I'll need some piping hot tea, a clove of garlic. Down the hatch, raw. Faint burn crisping my nose hairs. Post-garlic burps are awful, but more awful than Eve getting sick?
Our bedroom is so hot, so fucking hot: the radiator snorts and whistles, churning out thick, steaming air. The wide-flung window admits no refreshing breeze, any hopes of wind dashed by our enclosed square of brick. We turn on the fan and I perspire, all night, waking five, six times to turn and turn and turn and remember and remember and remember that soon I will have to get up and go to that place again - work - and I have to sleep more before my alarm goes off, please can I sleep more, and then my alarm goes off, and I look at my phone and turn it off. I live in a quiet moment of unadulterated loathing. Then I rise, slick with sweat and dread.
I often want to flinch away from the sneezing, coughing children in my classroom; they are pulsing hotbeds for germs that I am desperate to shield my child from, my child who I spend so many hours separated from, because I have to get up and go to a place and teach other people's coughing children. Read this thing, write that thing. Pass this test. Eve is supposed to be exposed to germs; that is how you gain immunity, or something, but I don't want her to be in pain, I don't want her to cry, I want to protect her from the unrelenting shit of this world: the gun massacres, the wet socks, the dirty toilets, the sore throats. But I can't flinch, and neither can she.
I ate a banana, drank some water, popped an Airborne.
I fed her and prayed for some sparkling alchemy to make my milk golden-pure and healing. (I try not to cry as I feed her because I don't want her to see that, I don't want to confuse her, I don't want to expose her to things she'll discover eventually. Let me pretend. Let me pretend for her.)
Mother's milk tea: it is awful. It tastes like licorice. This is immaterial. If I don't produce, my child doesn't eat. Stress can negatively affect your breast milk supply. I'll give you a minute to digest that impossible cycle of positive thoughts positive thoughts forced serenity. Don't think about elephants. Or your milk will dry up. No pressure.
I wanted this blog series to count down to something special, but instead I feel it spiraling down to something ragged and resigned. And despite my efforts and vitamins, every time I clear my throat it aches a little more.