Miranda lay curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor. After vomiting for the last three hours she was too weak to move. Too weak to care that the floor was colder than the coldest day on the north pole. Too weak for the horrid smell of vomit and diarrhea to bother her any more. Too weak to do anything but drift off into the darkness of a dehydration induced sleep until the next round of upchuck woke her again.
Finally the sun peaked gently through the dining room window letting Miranda know that morning had come. She could faintly remember dragging herself out of the bathroom so that her son could use the facilities in the middle of the night. She made it no farther than the wooden kitchen floor right outside of the bathroom door, her son having to step over her when he was done. She wrapped the blanket that had found its way to her over the night and put every fiber of strength she had into crawling into her bedroom, collapsing on the the floor beside her husbands side of the bed. A few minutes later she gathered the strength to wake him and ask him to take her to the hospital.
Miranda felt a little badly for having to wake him again. She had already woken him in the middle of the night to clean up the mess she had made the first time she got sick. She couldn’t stomach cleaning it herself, but couldn’t stomach leaving it in the bucket until morning either. Had she been feeling better she would have voiced the immense admiration she felt for this man, who without hesitating woke out of bed in the middle of the night and cleaned the bathroom, just for her to get sick in all over again.
The hospital poked and prodded, pumped her full of fluids, and then sent her home. She no longer felt the need to vomit, but her stomach muscles ached so badly, and the drugs they gave her left her drowsy. She slept the day away, drifting in and out of a foggy reality of children shrieking and playing in the distance.
The next morning she awoke feeling a little better. Better enough that she could sip on warm chicken broth and cold ice filled cups of orange juice. Slowly but surely she gained her strength back and began to realize just how incredible being sick had been to her.
Miranda was grateful it was only a twenty four hour bug. She, literally, couldn’t stomach having to go on like that any longer. As she nursed her belly back to consuming solid foods she rejoined her family in daily life. Sitting on the couch watching her children wrestling around on the living room floor she thought back to the time when at a moments notice of a queasy stomach she had her mom on the phone. How she couldn’t get sick anywhere but in her moms bathroom. How, when she was reaching the point of hospitalized dehydration, all she wanted was, her mommy.
It wasn’t her mom who cleaned up the mess this time though. It wasn’t her mom that drove her to the doctor. Or picked up her medicine. It wasn’t her mom that bought the chicken broth or the orange juice. Or even her mom who made the ice cubes. It wasn’t her mom who watched her babies as she spent a day in complete dehydrated unawareness.
It was him….
The guy who didn’t buy her flowers any more. Didn’t take her on fancy dates. Didn’t dote on her like he did in the beginning. Yet there he was, caring for the very things that needed cared for when she couldn’t. There he was, as he always had been, right there for her.
Miranda started thinking that maybe this is how things just are. This is what nearly twelve years together look like. It doesn’t look like vases full of roses sitting on her dresser until the very last petal wilted to the floor. It doesn’t look like racing hearts when he calls. Or sweaty palms when he was near. Maybe love isn’t the flurry of butterflies set in flight with the passionate excitement of a lingering kiss. Maybe, it was simply the warm comfort of knowing that they are there, right by your side, through any mess that comes your way.
Maybe, Miranda had fallen in love. Madly, deeply, insanely, in love. Just, not with whom she had thought.
As she sat on the couch that day sipping a cup of warm chicken broth, watching her children wrestling on the living room floor, she thought about what love really looked like. She thought about all the past twelve years had shown her. She thought about how it all began….
~TO BE CONTINUED~