By Mir
July 13, 2004

Our house is infected, so I’m afraid you can’t come over today. It wouldn’t be safe. You don’t want to catch it, do you?? And here I sit in the middle of it, guilty.

I’ve infected my children. I thought I was taking all the proper precautions, but as we are prone to puppy-piling and sticky kisses, I guess I should’ve known this would happen. Plus it’s been overcast for several days… that couldn’t have helped, you know.

All three of us have a severe case of Slugbutt.

It started with me, of course. The kids were perfectly fine, and I spent a lot of time on the couch trying to keep up a brave front. “Oh, that’s a beautiful picture!” I would croon, lifting my head up to view it. “Did you build that tower all by yourself?” I would admire, complete with the required hair-tousling. Maybe I should’ve washed my hands more.

At first, their worry turned to mania. Five minutes resting would be rewarded with the cyclone effect in whatever room I’d left them. I pushed them out the door to the yard when it got too bad inside, and they would run around in circles until they fell down. But I didn’t mind, because this was a sign that they were still healthy and strong. Back inside again, they clamored for snacks and activities and attention, and–still dragging–I did my level best to meet their needs yet shield them from my affliction.

But all that is over, now. I can toss aside the facade. The television is on Noggin… as it has been for about a day straight. The children lounge on the couches in their pajamas, barely picking at their cereal, declaring that they’re too tired to move. They’ve cocooned themselves in blankets (blankets? in July??) and are pretending to be babies in adjoining cribs. So other than the occasional “goo goo!” and the drone of various animated creatures on the TV, all is silent.

And the guilt… the guilt is overwhelming. This isn’t right, for children. They should be running, jumping, shouting; playing. I never meant for them to come down with it. Honest.

I must try to nurse them back to health. I must be strong for them. And I will. Right after I rest a little while….


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