A thousand years ago, or maybe just a few less than that, I was sick in Minnesota. I had gone to visit a friend up at her college and I came down with a vicious flu. I didn’t let it stop me though. There were parties and drinks to be had. The one that sticks out most in mind however is a party at another nameless place in some nameless time. It’s not that they didn’t have names; I just can’t remember what they were. It was a thousand years ago after all.
In those days I had a pretty specific dress code, black Doc Marten boots, black Khaki pants, a white button down short sleeve collared shirt, a tattered cardigan sweater, a heavy black cashmere overcoat and a dark grey fedora. I was the picture of 1960’s in the 1990’s. I was adorable. Or at least I thought so. I remember sitting in a wooden chair at one of these many parties in that very outfit.
I remember this party, sitting in that chair, in that outfit, shivering with fever as I tried to drink a beer and have a good time with the people I’d come so far from Chicago to see. The one saving grace of this party was the fireplace, with a roaring fire in it. I pulled my chair up as close as I could to it and bathed myself in the warmth. All around me the party swirled with the revelry of youth as I sat, trying not to feel death’s creeping fingers crawling over my shoulders.
I remember people coming up to me, attractive women, asking me what was wrong and I’d have to explain to them that I had caught a flu or something. The sympathy was wonderful, but it didn’t stop anyone from keeping me mildly intoxicated. I think I took the alcohol advice of hot totties and whiskey as a cure all for what ailed me too seriously. So in my fevered and drunken mind I became quite the center of attention. I wasn’t an ass though. I was strangely insightful, thoughtful, philosophical even.
I started then to wonder if maybe I could do this college thing. If I can fool these college people with drunken, flu like ramblings, imagine what I could do with a sober and healthy mind. Although those thoughts soon were dispelled once I realized how incredibly drunk or high everybody at the party was. I could have told them that I was the new messiah, come to forgive them of their sins and cure them of the diseases of their past. I think they might have believed me. I might have even gotten laid.
Over the last few days, since Tuesday night, I’ve been sick. Feverish like I was that long ago party night in Minnesota. My mind was reeling in the fever, imagining things that never were or I thought might be, I thought the world was ending at the end of the month and the Mayans were only a little off in their calculations and maybe I should find myself someone to close out the world with. I’d wake from those thoughts and get back to reality.
The reality of pajama pants, and not shaving for three days. The reality of the crowding walls of my apartment, the fact that I haven’t been outside in two days. The reality of cold medicines that make me loopy. I would know that at one point, a thousand years ago, I was at a party in Minnesota with the flu, being the person I thought I was, with a future unwritten. Sick with flu instead of sick with knowledge of reality.