I may or may not be getting sick. It may or may not be a bad reaction to what I've had for lunch these last two days. I am finally certain that it's not appendicitis. I've not felt this way since I was still living with my family in Minsk, the same little-child-me constantly coughing and being mildly unwell.
If nothing else, I'm at least grateful for this mystery infirmity for reminding me of that, and how I used to lie in bed with a hoard of books and a toy cat named Meeook and a toy dog named GahvGahv (the sound of a dog's bark) and the comfort of hearing my real dog's nails tapping on the parquet. There was a constant awareness that I was sick, that the sore throat would ebb and return no matter how many times I gargled and got covered with mustard compresses. The awareness trailing after me that I was sick was a blanket, something like air so dirty it's visible, so I never stopped noticing it. There was a certain kind of peace to be found then, too - after the nurses gave me shots and left, and I spent yet another day home from preschool, I stayed in my room and listened to records, creating clay animals and reading. Wicked Faire
preparations are at the forefront of my mind now. Getting sick before Faire would be unfortunate, and I'll try eating as much garlic and honey as possible to get whatever this is to die off.
For now, I'm going to go to bed earlier than I usually do, and remember listening to one of my favorite records again and again, a story of the Black Bull of Norroway
. The cover stayed on my mind long after we left it, and countless other records, behind when we moved. It was perhaps a watercolor, and most of it was full of lush grass. At the forefront stood a little figure watching something terrible and magnificent approach. The bull pierced his way out of the cover, the black sleekness of his encroaching shape easily conjured. For all other parts of the story, my memory is faulty, but I recall exactly this - a feeling, a knowing in my bones of what it must feel like when approached by the wild, and challenged to hold on while being stolen away. Few things are clearer than how I imagined it would be (smell: bovine sweat, sweet grass and trampled rich dirt; sight: a towering beast seeming so far away only a second ago; sound: snorting, soft, and small gasps on my part; touch: taut muscles underneath short fur, impossibly warm).
I remember dreaming of being whisked off by him, and riding and riding and riding through seas and plains. I remember holding on and pressing a small kiss to the back of the bull's neck. I remember wanting to keep that feeling inside me.