I took a sick day today and came to work.
Yesterday morning, I woke up ill. I felt like Iâ€™d been beaten up in my sleep and didnâ€™t have the energy to move. 2 minutes later Billy burst into the room clutching my dressing gown shouting, “up daddy!” “get up!” “uuuuuuuuup!” He does this every morning.
He climbed on top of me, pressed his cold snotty nose into the side of my head and screamed one more time “get uuuuuuuuup!”
I staggered out of bed, eyes crusted shut after just a few hours of fitful sleep. My head was pounding and I was covered in sweat. I hoisted my tired frame into the shower. It felt good, and after a few minutes I resolved not to go to work. Iâ€™d spend the day recuperating at home I thought.
“You’re not wearing that?” Heidi said in disbelief, as I put my shirt on.
“Why not?” I replied defensively, “It’s a shirt, what’s wrong with it?”
“You said you were ill!” She shouted.
“I am ill!” I answered.
“Then why are you wearing a shirt?”
This went on for some time. Why can’t ill people wear shirts? I wondered. What specialist ‘illness attire’ was I supposed to dredge up to authenticate my illness?
“So have you had diarrhea?” Heidi asked.
“No.” I said
“You’ve not vomited.”
“No.” I concurred.
“So what’s wrong with you then?”
“I’m ill alright, I’m sick, I feel like crap, just leave me alone.”
I went back to the bedroom for a lie down.
“If you were ill you wouldn’t be wearing that shirt.” I heard from the other room. “What kind of person wears a button down shirt when they are ill?”
On and on. I put the pillow over my head to drown it out.
It wasn’t long before Billy came to see me.
“Daddy’s poorly.” I said, hoping to elicit some sympathy.
He looked at me with kindly eyes and then stroked my hair a little.
“Daddy poorly.” He informed Heidi.
At least someone believes me I thought.
After a few more tender strokes of the hair he got bored. He looked at me for a moment, and then jammed his dirty fingers into my mouth all but choking me. After that he worked his way to my ears and tried to pull them off the side of my head. Then he lodged his cold, fat heavy knee into my neck, with the whole force of his body behind it. I screamed like a pathetic girl, “HEIDI GET HIM OFF ME!”
The rest of the day was made up of similar moments. I was given an hour’s respite when Heidi took him off to his friendâ€™s house, but at 4:30 I was completely abandoned. I pleaded with Heidi not to go to work, to take a sick day herself and look after me.
“Oh stoppit,” she said, “If you were that ill you wouldn’t be wearing that shirt!” And then she left.
At 7 this morning I felt worse than yesterday. I’d been racked with fever all night and had a pounding headache again.
Billy soon arrived on the scene. Today he had a big smile on his face. “Aaaadent unpantsâ€ he said.
“He’s had an accident” Heidi continued for him, “he pooped in his underpants and it was really disgusting”.
“Unpants unpants poooo poooo” Billy sang into my sensitive left ear.
I resolved to get myself to work no matter how I felt; I was never going to get better in this mad house. I popped a bunch of pills, had my shower and stumbled outside into the brisk November air.
5 hours of peace later and I am feeling a lot better.