Comfort Doesn’t Come in Cups

When you are sick, you can’t get comfortable. There are aches. There are things called noses which do not exist unless they are cold, or unless they are running. Mine is running.

I thought it was food poisoning at first. Maybe it is. My stomach grew fists. I got very little sleep. I discovered for the twenty-third time in my life that porcelain is very very cold, even through fever dreams.

I do not understand people who want to be alone when they are sick. I do not understand the desire to shut yourself away, and make everyone else go away. I want people around. I want them to sing me silly song, and run their fingers through my hair. I want them to make me matzoh ball soup in a good homemade chicken stock, and to bring me tea, unafraid of contagion. I want them to read to me, long pages of Shel Silverstein, or Maurice Sendak, or Friedrich Nietzsche. I would do the same.

My friend Faith makes the best matzoh ball soup. “Everyone needs a Jewish mother when they’re sick,” she says, and I agree. I wish I could carry her in my pocket, so that when she’s hurt, I can hug her, and when I’m sick, she can make soup for me. We’d give each other good advice.

My problem is that I’m a sun lizard. I am always cold. My nose is cold, even though the rest of me is burning away. If I had a heat rock, I would put my nose on it, and let it run until it was quite finished, and then put it back on to enjoy some matzoh ball soup.

But I don’t have a heat rock. And Faith does not fit in my pocket. And being a mystiskeptic, my matzoh ball soup is mediocre at best. I have to make my own comfort, which is not so bad when you can measure it in nails clipped cozy down to the quick, in the weight of a cat’s purr, and in the smell of read pages. Unread pages smell different. Take my word for it.

Because when your friend Faith is far away, and you have only mediocre matzoh ball soup, the comfort you make is the best you’re going to get.

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