Advice columnists, speakers and movies emphasize romantic anniversaries, birthdays or other special days for couples. They depict flowers, candy, a candlelight dinner in a fine restaurant, sweet nothings whispered or written. Every year my husband aims to have some activities on our anniversary.
He fell flat on everything this year. In fact, he was laid out flat on his back. Well, not exactly flat on his back. Since he has COVID-19 he sat up a lot. This year hubby’s health quarantined us behind closed doors for our anniversary.
Instead of sweet nothings whispered to each other, he sat in his lounge chair on one side of the living room hacking, coughing and moaning his misery. I sat on my side of the room in my lounge chair, blowing my nose. We made quite the duet.
The romantic music of the day faded sporadically into snores when one or the other of us fell asleep. No fine bib and tucker this year. No, this year, I sported a Snuggie with a St. Louis Cardinals’ theme. When I stood up he said I looked like a Cardinal’s player in full baseball uniform without a cap to cover my bed head.
No delectable chocolate cake on the counter this year. This year, our treats came in little bottles of pills: vitamins, antibiotics, decongestants and effervescent Vitamin C tablets, plus all his heart medications, filled hubby’s stomach. I tried to give him a feast. I really did. I offered him chicken noodle soup, dry toast and rice. He took one look and shook his head, “I can’t eat that,” he groaned and slumped into the lounge chair.
So he drank broth, orange juice and water. He nibbled on a few crackers and lost weight. Whether he planned to start the year off with a purge, or not, he did and has lost about 10 pounds. That’s one way to fulfill a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight!
Some years we dress up and go out to a movie for our anniversary. This year, jammies, warm socks and extra t-shirts replaced our finery as we dozed and watched one banal movie or show after another on YouTube. Too tired to reach for the remote, we languidly let it roll from one show to the next as we lay on the couch or chairs. The first day of that, my husband looked at me about 6 or 7 o’clock and said, “We certainly have been lazy today.”
“No, just getting better.”
We don’t usually exchange gifts. Our anniversary is too soon after Christmas. Still, I did go to the store and pick up his prescriptions for COVID. Before our holiday rush, I anticipated one or the other of us having a cold or the flu (as it usually happens), so I bought chicken noodle soup, cough medicine, decongestants and cough drops. He didn’t unwrap presents, he unwrapped cough drops and ripped open envelopes of Vitamin C.
No fancy cake this year. We made do with an instant chocolate pudding pie.
The day of our anniversary in quarantine, a friend called, “are you about ready to kill each other?”
I honestly could say, “No. Not really. He sleeps a lot while I work on writing, sewing or clearing corners of clutter. I needed to be home for a while.”
Two or three days of living in pajamas in front of the TV sufficed for me. I woke up one day and dressed. It took hubby a couple more days to shed his fuzzy pajama bottoms. I understand the lethargy of this sickness lifts slowly. Still, I expect to be healthy enough to celebrate our anniversary by Valentine’s Day.
Joan Hershberger is a former staff writer for the El Dorado News-Times and author of “Twenty Gallons of Milk and other columns from the El Dorado News-Times.”