The man with the raspy breath…

On the evening of December 26, 2007 I went shopping at a Half-Price Books store.  Yes, yes, I already told you about what I bought that night.  But I didn’t tell you about the man with the raspy breath.  Half-Price Books is a somewhat large store, but on that particular night, it wasn’t large enough.  No matter where one stood in the store, one could hear that raspy breath.  It was deep and guttural, like his head was so stuffed that he had to breath through his belly button, which is what made it echo.  His lungs had to have been filled with pounds of phlegm because it seemed like it wanted to spurt out with each breath he took.  Five times the man actually cornered me in the History section.  He couldn’t have been six feet tall and he must have weighed about 280.  He was wearing a tan barn jacket, like the L.L. Bean kind, and he looked like a sickly troll.  After his first trip into my isle, I became so distracted from my boo task at hand and I started to fantasize about taking a baseball bat and slugging his head clean off of his shoulders.

I tell you about this man now, because I need for you to know what he did to me.  I need you to know about his absolute disregard for my life or the lives of the other book shoppers.  He did not care that it was Christmas-time and that maybe we all had families to tend to and activities to attend.  And, I tell you about him now because I am so angry with him and I don’t know if I will ever get over it.

When I woke up on the morning of December 28th, I felt a bit of burning in my chest, just at the base of my throat.  A small indication that perhaps I might be on the verge of catching a cold.  S and I went about our day, running errands and doing a few of our fun Winter Break activities.  But still, there was a nagging thought that I might be getting sick.  I resolved that when we got home that evening I would start pounding Airborne disks.  But we ended up skipping Target and heading home earlier than anticipated because I started really feeling sick.  When we got home I tried to play at little NCAA2008, but I couldn’t get through one game (WVU v. Marshall, in case you were wondering).  I went upstairs to bed at 8:56 pm.  I was so sick that I couldn’t even watch the Patriots/Giants game.  I was just miserable sick.

When S came up to bed after midnight, I was coughing so hard that I threw up.  I couldn’t breathe.  I ached.  I was so hot and so cold that I had to go off to sleep in our spare bedroom so that S wouldn’t have to suffer along with me.  And that was that.  I was sick as a dog.  Fever so bad that I was hallucinating.  Fever so bad that I couldn’t do anything but sleep for several days.  S did all she could to keep me hydrated, but I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t barely drink.  It was awful.  It was the flu and it was spread to me by the man with the raspy breath.

I missed New Years Eve.  Sure, S did her best to wake me up and stick a glass of sparkling juice in my hand, but it was nothing like we had planned.  I missed New Years Day because I couldn’t stay awake long enough to do anything.    By Wednesday, January 2nd, I was able to get out of bed and come downstairs for a short period of time, but it was days before I was able to eat anything.  Even today, I’m still weak as a kitten.  And yes, even today I harbor hatred for the man with the raspy breath.

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